Interesting case, indeed.
It is, O’Mara acknowledges, “a perfect
case for my skill set.”
So was the case of Michele Roger,
an exotic dancer accused of killing her
allegedly abusive boyfriend and bringing
in her family, who disposed of the
body. Roger stabbed and killed David
Richmond in 1992; she said he was trying
to push her face into a hot stove burner.
O’Mara says she was clearly defending
herself, and that yes, she should have
called 911—but that she was scared and
called her family instead.
Her father and brother, who got rid of
the body, received two years’ probation.
Her mother was sentenced to a year of
probation and community service for failing
to report the death. Roger was convicted of
second-degree murder and sentenced to 17
years in prison.
But the fight was not over. O’Mara
worked doggedly for her release, eventually
making his case before Gov. Lawton
Chiles and the state clemency board. In
1999, outgoing Secretary of State Sandra
Mortham signed Roger’s clemency papers
on her last day in office. Roger served four
years of her sentence.
The Zimmerman case began on Feb.
26, 2012, at Retreat at Twin Lakes, a
multiethnic, gated townhome community
in Sanford. Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch coordinator, called Sanford police
and reported a “suspicious” person
walking through the community. The
person in question, Trayvon Martin, was
coming back from a nearby convenience
store with a bag of Skittles and a can of
iced tea. Martin, an African-American
teen who lived with his mother in Miami
Gardens, was visiting his father’s fiancée
and her son while serving a suspension
from school. He was unarmed.
Zimmerman radioed a police dispatcher,
who told him he didn’t need to follow
Martin. O’Mara says his client stopped
following the teen at that point. They
eventually came face to face, the encounter
escalated, and Zimmerman shot Martin
once in the chest.
A media and social-media frenzy
ensued, with rumors and questions flying
on all sides, including: Zimmerman was
white and a known racist; Zimmerman was
half Hispanic and not racist; Martin had a
criminal record down in Miami Gardens;
police were covering up evidence; why
wasn’t Zimmerman arrested immediately?;
who could be heard on the 911 tape
screaming for help?