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Experts At Odds Over Whether Screams For Help Came From Martin or Zimmerman

The latest battle between attorneys in the trial of accused murderer George Zimmerman is being waged over whether the screams for help captured on 911 calls are those of defendant George Zimmerman or of shooting victim 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

In reports released yesterday during the lead-up to next month’s trial, one New Jersey-based audio expert said the screams came from Martin, while a Florida-based expert said the shouts were a mix of Martin and Zimmerman.

The views of the experts are significant because they could help a jury in deciding whether Zimmerman’s claims of self-defense are justified.

The prosecutors hired the audio experts to compare samples of Zimmerman’s and Martin’s voices with the shouts from the 911 calls phoned in by neighbors of Zimmerman. While Martin’s family claims the voice is that of Trayvon, Zimmerman’s father has said in court he believes the cries are from his son.

Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O’Mara, who is concerned the analysis of the 911 calls would prejudice jurors, has asked a judge to determine whether the audio analysis can be used during the trial. 

“Counsel has significant and legitimate concerns that such evidence will confuse the issues for this jury to decide, and it may well mislead the jury in this area of inquiry,” O’Mara said in the filing.

O’Mara may ask the judge for a delay in the start of the trial so that he can hire his own audio experts to counter the experts hired by the state.

Concerned that Zimmerman’s lawyers will make the case a referendum on the character of the Florida teen, prosecutors filed motions made public Monday asking the judge to prevent Zimmerman’s attorneys from introducing any evidence about whether Martin had ever been suspended from school, smoked marijuana, been in a fight or worn fake gold teeth. In addition, prosecutors want to keep out of the trial any social media screen names Martin used, the contents of his text messages and his school records.

Prosecutors say such information is irrelevant.

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