The jury in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old unarmed teenager, will soon decide the defendant’s guilt or innocence.
As the state called its final witnesses and the defense launched its case last week, jurors heard from family members of Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
Tracy Martin, the father of Trayvon Martin told a jury Monday that he believes a 911 tape contains "my son's last cry for help" on the night he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman.
“After listening to the tape, for maybe 20 times, I said that I knew it was Trayvon’s voice,” Mr. Martin said.
Sanford Police Det. Christopher Serino and Police Officer Doris Singleton both recalled playing the 911 tape for Tracy Martin days after his son was killed, and both said the elder Martin did not recognize his son's voice on the tape.
But later, Mr. Martin changed his mind, the defense said. The Martin family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, told reporters at the time that Mr. Martin had listened to a cleaned-up version of the audio and recognized his son’s voice.
When asked to explain the discrepancy between his initial reaction and the one that followed on Monday, Mr. Martin told the jury that the police were wrong.
"I never said that wasn’t my son’s voice," Martin said.
The 911 call is a crucial piece of evidence because it could provide clues as to who was the aggressor in the fatal Feb. 26, 2012 confrontation. But because the screams were distant and the audio, from a 911 call, was too limited to allow for a scientific opinion in court.
The emergency call captured the confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin shortly before Zimmerman fatally shot the teen. A series of Zimmerman’s friends on Monday testified that the screams on the recording were their friend, and the 911 call was played multiple times in the courtroom.
Zimmerman’s mother and uncle testified last Friday it was Zimmerman screaming. Martin’s mother and brother also took the witness stand last Friday to say the voice belongs to Martin.
Shiping Bao, the medical examiner who did the autopsy of Trayvon, said he believes the marijuana may have had some effect on the teen. He initially thought the amount of drugs didn't have an impact but later changed his opinion and now believes the drugs had an effect. Now, Bao, who testified for the state last week, may be called to testify for the defense.
Zimmerman, 29, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and says he shot Martin in self-defense during a scuffle in the townhome complex where he lived. Martin was there visiting his father and his father’s fiancee.
Prosecutors must show that Zimmerman acted with ill will, spite or a depraved mind in order to get a second-degree murder conviction.
Zimmerman faces life in prison if convicted. It remains unclear whether Zimmerman will testify, although jurors already have heard his account through videotaped police interviews played in court.