State experts differ on voice analysis in George Zimmerman case

Published On: May 14 2013 11:24:06 AM EDT
Updated On: May 14 2013 05:42:50 PM EDT

Audio experts gave differing opinions on whether screams for help captured on 911 calls were those of neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

Audio experts gave differing opinions on whether screams for help captured on 911 calls were those of neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old he fatally shot last year.

[READ:  State Discovery | Reich Report | Speaker Identification (If viewing on George Zimmerman app, visit our mobile site to see full documents)]

The state released its 16th supplemental discovery on Tuesday, which shows the findings from one of the state's audio experts, who say Martin is heard in the background of a 911 call saying "stop" -- not "help," as previously believed.

The expert, Allen Reich of New Jersey, says that it's Zimmerman who says, "Dear God, these a-holes always get away, but not on me."

Reich then said he hears some sort of religious proclamation, "Thee Shall Be." According to the report, then Martin is heard saying, "I'm begging you," and then Martin saying, "Stop," just before the shot.

In another report released by the state, the second team of audio experts say some of the screams were from Martin, and others were made by Zimmerman and the call was difficult to distinguish the difference.

Local 6 spoke to Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, who says the fact that the state's audio experts' findings are conflicting will need to be settled at a hearing on May 28.

"It is fairly unique.  I think the science that the different state's witnesses are using are conflicting, the different modalities," O'Mara said. "They conflict with each other, so we're going to have to see how it all pans out. I'm glad that we have the hearing set for the 28th and this will all hopefully be figured out then."

The hearing was set by the defense in hopes that a judge would decide whether the type of science to pick out who was saying what on the audio tape is even admissible in Florida or if it's so new that it shouldn't be allowed in front of a jury.

The state fired back saying their audio experts are used in court frequently and that it's not a question whether it should come in but a question of how the jury should consider it and whether it's an expert that should be in front of a jury with a sound science.

The state said it's up to the jury to decide which experts to believe.

O'Mara pointed out that the FBI listened to the tape and couldn't determine whose voice was saying what and that other experts for the state have had inconclusive results.

"I challenge that they come up with a science that say you can tell a person's voice by their age," said O'Mara. "I will tell you all the experts are going to say you can absolutely not tell a person's age by their voice."

The expert audio testimony released on Tuesday is the most damaging for the defense if it is used in court.

"That would lead me to believe that was an execution, that this was first degree murder," said Local 6 legal analyst Luis Calderon.

Calderon also said the experts' scientific studies are also called into question.

"I think it calls into question whether this was based on actual verifiable scientific studies," Calderon said.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in Martin’s shooting death, which occurred in February 2012. Zimmerman is claiming self-defense. His trial is slated to start June 10.

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