Zimmerman Trial: Judge Hears Dispute Over 911 Call Analysis

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A voice-recognition researcher for George Zimmerman is discounting the methods of prosecution experts who claim that screams captured on a 911 call belong to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and not to the ex-neighborhood watch volunteer.

Researcher James Wayman was called Monday evening by defense attorneys after another day of questioning of prospective jurors for Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial. One expert in a report had identified Martin as the source of the screams, and another testified at a pretrial hearing that the screams didn’t match Zimmerman’s voice.

Voice experts were hired by lawyers and news organizations to analyze the recordings, which were made by neighbors during the deadly altercation last year between Martin and Zimmerman in a gated townhouse community in Sanford, Fla.

Thus far, experts have reached mixed conclusions about whether the screams belong to Martin or Zimmerman.

Defense attorneys don’t want the experts to testify at Zimmerman’s trial arising from last year’s fatal shooting of Martin. Zimmerman, 29, is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, saying he shot the teen in self-defense.

During jury selection, which is continuing for a seventh day Tuesday, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson has been listening to testimony from voice recognition experts. She must decide whether the prosecutors’ voice recognition expert can testify by determining if the expert’s methods are too novel or whether they have been accepted by a community of experts.

Wayman doubted the screams came from just one person and said the 911 call was too brief a sample to draw conclusions from. Wayman said he was “baffled” by the methodology of one of the experts.

“That is not enough data … to do any reliable estimation of who the speaker is,” Wayman said.

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