Former Boone County Medical Examiner In Zimmerman Trial

Related Story

BOONE COUNTY - The former Boone County medical examiner, Dr. Valerie Rao, was attacked by defense lawyers in the George Zimmerman trial, after being brought to the stand for the prosecution Tuesday.

Defense Attorney Mark O'Mara asked Rao about her testimony, in which she said Zimmerman's injuries "were not life threatening." O'Mara then asked, 'What about the next injury," suggesting Zimmerman's life might have been threatened had the confrontation continued.

Rao questioned Zimmerman's claim of self-defense. Zimmerman said he shot Martin after 17-year-old attacked him.

Rao was the Boone County medical examiner from March 2004 to March 2006 . A KOMU report in 2006, when Rao left Boone County, said she received negative feedback from medical residents.

Those residents complained Rao did not work with the students enough, even though she was a university employee. Dr. Alan Luger, the pathology residency director in 2006
said, "I would not be able to certify them to the American Board of Pathology that they had done the appropriate number of autopsies to be able to sit their final board exam in pathology."   

Also in 2006, pathology resident Allison Lisle said, " We all wanted to have a good experience over the medical examiner's office and see what that was all about. But she was pretty limiting on our opportunities in that." Lisle was not the only former resident with a negative comments for Rao. Resident physician Angela Konrad said, "In addition, teaching of Pathology Residents and Medical students was of the utmost importance, a practice that Dr. Rao failed to uphold."  

2006 was not the first time Dr. Rao faced complaints. In 2003, while Rao was the district medical examiner in Florida, complaints where brought up in a  Medical Examiners Commission Meeting. The MEC meeting minutes from 2003 said, "Dr. Nelson opened the floor for discussion, since Dr. Rao had several non-favorable responses." The document later stated, "Some of the general areas of dissatisfaction expressed by some of the law enforcement representatives were Dr. Rao's propensity to classify virtually all prison deaths as homicides and a lack of expertise by the office personnel in the management of crime scene investigations." It also said, " Funeral directors generally complained about the lack of consistency in the manner in which Dr. Rao's office dealt with funeral homes from day to day."