Courts

Zimmerman hearing on audio experts continues Saturday

 
 
George Zimmerman arrives at Seminole Circuit Court in Sanford for a pre-trial hearing  on Friday, June 7, 2013. Jury selection in Zimmerman’s trial is scheduled to begin Monday, June 10, 2013.
George Zimmerman arrives at Seminole Circuit Court in Sanford for a pre-trial hearing on Friday, June 7, 2013. Jury selection in Zimmerman’s trial is scheduled to begin Monday, June 10, 2013.
JOE BURBANK / AP

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

A hearing on the reliability of audio experts in the George Zimmerman case continues on Saturday after two experts spent all day testifying Friday in a Seminole County court.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Miami Gardens teen who was visiting Sanford in February 2012.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman “profiled” and pursed Trayvon, while his defense claims he fired his pistol in fear for his life during a violent struggle. The case has drawn worldwide attention and cast scrutiny on Florida’s self-defense law.

Jury selection is set to begin Monday. But first, Seminole Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson must decide the extent to which audio experts can testify about their examinations of 911 recordings that captured the struggle between Trayvon and Zimmerman.

On Friday, New Jersey audio expert Tom Owens, whose first analysis of the recordings came at the request of the Orlando Sentinel, testified that he compared the recordings to samples of Zimmerman’s voice.

“The screams don’t match at all. That’s what tells me it’s not George Zimmerman,” Owens said.

Owens’ testimony via video, while not concretely identifying Trayvon as the person crying for help, is key for prosecutors because it still suggests the teen is the victim.

Defense attorney Don West, during cross examination, suggested that Owens was using voice analysis software in a “new and novel” way that isn’t accepted by the scientific community.

Also testifying Friday: Alan Reich, a voice expert who enhanced the audio and claims he hears Trayvon say “I’m begging you” and “Get off of me” before the fatal gunfire.

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