Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel
March 16, 2012
As lead investigator for the Sanford police department, Serino -- who conducted several interviews and a video walkthrough with Zimmerman that jurors are likely to see at trial -- could be a key, if complicated, witness in this case. Detectives are typically strong state witnesses, but Serino's role in this case is unusual: After his investigation, Sanford police didn't arrest Zimmerman, choosing instead to forward an affidavit to the local prosecutors' office requesting a manslaughter charge. Further complicating matters: Early versions of Serino's request listed second-degree murder as the charge, but even as he was preparing it, Serino insisted to the Orlando Sentinel that there wasn't enough evidence to defeat Zimmerman's self-defense claim. And in an interview with the FBI, he told agents that superior officers pressured him to file charges in the case, though he didn't think the evidence was there. The investigator also raised eyebrows when he hired Jose Baez, the attorney best known for representing Casey Anthony, to represent him in the Zimmerman case.