USA TODAY US Edition
New defense lawyer not new to spotlight
The defense lawyer taking on the most high-profile criminal case in the USA has a low-key demeanor that stands in stark contrast to the national furor surrounding the Trayvon Martin murder case.
And this isn’t the first time he has gotten exposure from a murder drawing the country’s attention. Mark O’mara is known to central Florida residents because he appeared often on Orlando television station WKMG as a legal analyst during the trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida mother acquitted in July in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
A tall, reed-like man with a long face and red hair, O’mara, who is representing George Zimmerman on a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Trayvon, sounded relaxed Thursday as he spoke to news reporters and later with CNN.
“He’s got a low-key, kind of softspoken demeanor and presence, which can be extremely effective in the courtroom,” said Wayne Wooten, an assistant state attorney in Orlando, who tried another high-profile case against O’mara in 2004. “No one should mistake that for a lack of understanding what is happening around him in the courtroom.”
O’mara presents information to a jury “in a soft-spoken manner (and can) almost get people leaning forward, hanging on the words,” Wooten said. “He’s very intelligent, very thorough and in my mind very strategic in how he evaluates a case.”
O’mara is a former prosecutor with 28 years of experience as a lawyer, according to his law firm’s website.
O’mara said the Zimmerman family found him after consulting with other area lawyers. He explained why he took the case in a matter of fact tone: “It’s what I do. I’ve been doing it a long time. I think I’m pretty good at it,” O’Mara said. “Mr. Zimmerman needs a very good and focused defense and we’re going to build him one.”