Before he joined the Zimmerman team, Donald West had already handled some of the most high-profile criminal cases in the Orlando area in the past 20 years. In 1998, he served as co-counsel and helped Joseph "Crazy Joe" Spaziano get off death row. Spaziano is the former motorcycle-gang member convicted of raping and murdering an Orlando teenager, whose body was found in an Altamonte Springs dump. West also represented Orlando music mogul Lou Pearlman on bank-, mail- and wire-fraud charges, and political consultant Doug Guetzloe, who'd been accused of failing to pay taxes. West specialized in death-penalty cases in private practice before joining the federal Public Defender's Office in Orlando. He left that job to join the Zimmerman defense. He had previously worked with O'Mara on the Frederick Peter Cox case. West has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1981. For the past 25 years, he has been board certified as a criminal-trial specialist, the same high ranking O'Mara holds.
Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel
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