Relatives clash over 911 call in Fla. shooting

Martin, Zimmerman mothers each claim 911 recording of someone screaming for help is voice of own son
Associated Press
Jul 6, 2013

The mothers of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman listened Friday to the same 911 recording of someone screaming for help, and each said she was convinced the voice was that of her own son.

The starkly conflicting testimony over the potentially crucial piece of evidence came midway through Zimmerman's murder trial in the 2012 shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old.

"I heard my son screaming," Sybrina Fulton, the teenager's mother, said firmly after she was played a recording in which distant, high-pitched wails could be heard in the background as a Zimmerman neighbor asked a dispatcher to send police. Moments later on the call, there was a gunshot and the crying stopped.

Gladys Zimmerman, though, testified she recognized the voice all too well: "My son." Asked how she could be certain, she said: "Because it's my son."

The testimony came on a dramatic, action-packed day in which the prosecution rested its case and the judge rejected a defense request to acquit Zimmerman on the second-degree murder charge.

The question of whose voice is on the recording could be crucial to the jury in deciding who was the aggressor in the confrontation between the neighborhood watch volunteer and the teenager.

The identity of the person sharply divided the two families: Martin's half brother, 22-year-old Jahvaris Fulton, testified that the cries came from the teen. And Zimmerman's uncle, Jose Meza, said he knew it was Zimmerman's voice from "the moment I heard it. ... I thought, that is George."

The prosecution rested after calling 38 witnesses over two weeks. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara promptly asked the judge to acquit Zimmerman, arguing that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.

O'Mara said an "enormous" amount of evidence showed that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, and he argued that Zimmerman had reasonable grounds to believe he was in danger, and acted without the "ill will, hatred and spite" necessary to prove second-degree murder.

But prosecutor Richard Mantei countered: "There are two people involved here. One of them is dead, and one of them is a liar."

Mantei told the judge that Zimmerman had changed his story, that his account of how he shot Martin was "a physical impossibility," and that he exaggerated his wounds.

After listening to an hour and a half of arguments from both sides, Judge Debra Nelson refused to throw out the murder charge, saying the prosecution had presented sufficient evidence for the case to go on.

Earlier in the day, Sybrina Fulton introduced herself to the jury by describing herself as having two sons, one of whom "is in heaven." She sat expressionless on the witness stand while prosecutors played the 911 recording.

"Who do you recognize that to be?" prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked her.

"Trayvon Benjamin Martin," she replied.

During cross-examination, O'Mara suggested — haltingly, in apparent recognition of the sensitivity of the questioning — that Fulton may have been influenced by others who listened to the 911 call, including relatives and her former husband.

O'Mara asked Fulton hypothetically whether she would have to accept that it was Zimmerman yelling for help if the screams did not come from her son. He also asked Fulton whether she hoped Martin didn't do anything that led to his death.

"I would hope for this to never have happened and he would still be here," she said.

O'Mara asked Jahvaris Fulton why he told a reporter last year that he wasn't sure if the voice belonged to Martin. Jahvaris Fulton explained that he was "shocked" when he heard it.

"I didn't want to believe it was him," he said.

The doctor who performed an autopsy on Martin also took the stand. Associate Medical Examiner Shiping Bao started describing Martin as being in pain and suffering after he was shot, but defense attorneys objected and the judge directed Bao away from that line of questioning.

He later estimated that Martin lived one to 10 minutes after he was shot, and said the bullet went from the front to the back of the teen's chest, piercing his heart.

"There was no chance he could survive," Bao said.

With jurors out of the courtroom, Bao acknowledged under defense questioning he had changed his opinion in recent weeks on two matters related to the teen's death — how long Martin was alive after being shot and the effect of marijuana detected in Martin's body at the time of his death.

Bao said last November that he believed Martin was alive one to three minutes. He also said Friday that marijuana could have affected Martin physically or mentally; he said the opposite last year.

The judge ruled before the trial that Martin's past marijuana use couldn't be introduced, and so the jury did not hear Bao's opinion about the drug's effect.

Comments

deertracker

How can the jury determine who was yelling if they have never heard either of these guys speak? Each mother is going to say it was their son.

Simple Enough II

True.

Blues

Riots in Fla. are coming soon to a TV near you.

The Big Dog's back

There won't be any riots over this.

Blues

Promise?

PaulYall

The voice expert said that this would happen! If this wasn't such a big viral profiled case, he would have been acquitted right after the prosecution rested its case! The judge just didn't wanna get lynched!

deertracker

Lynched is spelled with a "y"!

Contango

Re: "Each mother is going to say (that) it was their (her) son."

deertracker

"That" is really only necessary if I had quoted either of them without using quotes. "It" refers to voice. I'm working hard to get it right for you pooh!

The Big Dog's back

It sad that the only thing pooh comes back with is grammar corrections. Pathetic.

Contango

Re: "It sad"??

Poor illiterate DERPY.

Contango

Re: "'It' refers to voice."

Then you should have stated such DERPY II.

"Each mother is going to say (that) it was (the sound) their (her) son('s) (voice)."

deertracker

LET ME CORRECT YOU. Each mother is going to say it was their son's voice. Better????????????? Need a picture too?

PaulYall

I knew that! :)~

JudgeMeNot

I believe that Zimmerman will be set free. Why on earth would Martin be yelling for help while on top of Zimmer giving him a smackdown beating? People who have never once hear Martin speak, yet, convince themselves its Martins voice.

The Big Dog's back

zim said in the police interview room that it didn't sound like his (zim's) voice. So that leaves one other person. Let me think .......

JudgeMeNot

We know from your track record you have a hard time thinking.

The prosecution has absolutely nothing.

deertracker

Why would you be on the bottom getting a beatdown when you have a gun!? I'll be glad when it is over. Either way Martin will still be dead!

JudgeMeNot

Why would you be beating Martin when you got a gun? I too will be glad when it is over.

Contango

The Big Dog's back writes: "zim said in the police interview room that it didn't sound like his (zim's) voice"

deertracker writes: "Why would you be on the bottom getting a beatdown when you have a gun!?"

It's tragic how mental deviants in this society treat this trial as entertainment and reality TV - really sick.

Wait for the verdict.

The Big Dog's back

And pooh sits around drinking Kessler's and pounding keys on a computer.

JudgeMeNot

Better choice than drinking the Kool-Aid you and deerwacker religiously drink.

OBAMA KOOL AID

Relax -- Drink Up -- No Worries

deertracker

How dare you mention religion and Obama in the same post. Blasphemy!!!!!!!!

deertracker

Now that's entertainment!!!! Kesslers, a keyboard and pooh!!

deertracker

Mental deviants? ROFLMFAO!

princedenny

Trayvon was a trouble maker and Zimmerman had every right to protect himself and his neighborhood. Martin's mother, and most of those who support her, can see the dollar signs if they find Zimmerman guilty.

Same with Rodney King. Dude had a rap sheet longer than my leg and resisted arrest. Beating was deserved.

What is TRULY sad is that police officers now give BOGUS citations (left of center, seat belt, broken headlight, etc.) to people who will just pay the fine BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD TO.

The Big Dog's back

So Trayvon deserved to be killed huh? Who died and left you in charge?

Simple Enough II

Well from what I've read, TM decided to jump GZ and that was his 2nd mistake, his last also.

West

Interestingly, about a decade ago, your county prosecutor, Kevin Baxter, failed to prosecute a convicted felon, who just happened to be a white male who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Erie County, Ohio.

Now, I'm not certain, but I believe the deceased victim's name was Jevin Wilson.

So, I'm just wondering if the Sandusky Register would be interested in revisting that story due to the national attention regarding self-defense in the Zimmerman trial.

West

Simply put, Zimmerram is a coward! He's yet another low-life, that doesn't know how to fight fair. He's armed with a weapon that could instantly kill someone and so he used it. Well, one things for sure, if he's acquitted of the murder charge, he'll never be able to live peacefully in the State of Florida again.......or anywhere else in this country.

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