In My Opinion

Fabiola Santiago: Moms of Trayvon, Zimmerman are victims too

The mothers, too, are victims.

The mothers, too, needed to have their day in court.

But it was difficult and heart-breaking, despite the strength and composure they exhibited on the witness stand Friday, to watch the mothers of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman in the fight of their lives for their sons.

Two mothers: one seeking justice for the loss of her young son’s life with a bullet to the chest; the other trying to keep her son, who faces second-degree murder charges, from going to prison for life.

Sybrina Fulton began the day identifying Trayvon, 17, as the voice heard pleading for help in the background during a 911 call by a neighbor.

“Trayvon Benjamin Martin in Heaven,” she called him, when asked to name her children for the record.

She verified his date of birth and described Trayvon’s two tattoos, her voice never failing: on an upper shoulder, praying hands, pearls running through them, with the names of his grandmother and great-grandmother; on his left wrist, his mother’s name.

“I heard my son screaming’’ on the tape, she testified.

In cross examination, defense attorney Mark O’Mara tried to suggest that it was hope that led her to that conclusion.

“I didn’t hope anything,” she said. “I just simply listened to the tape.”

She added: “I hope he was still alive.”

O’Mara persisted: “You certainly would hope as a mom that your son, Trayvon Martin, would have done nothing that would have led to his own death.”

“What I hoped for was that this would have never happened and that he would still be here,” Fulton said. “That’s my hope.”

Fulton, who was followed by her older son, Jahvaris, who also identified the voice as Trayvon’s, has sat through most of the trial, except when graphic photos of Trayvon’s autopsy were shown Friday during the medical examiner’s testimony.

Fulton and Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, have been allowed to sit in the courtroom, despite being potential witnesses, because state law allows it when the victim is a minor.

After the prosecution rested its case Friday and Judge Debra Nelson denied a defense motion for acquittal, Gladys Zimmerman began the defense’s case with her testimony that it was her son’s voice on the 911 tape.

“That’s George’s voice,” she said.

“Are you certain of that?” O’Mara asked her.

“Because he’s my son,” she said.

She had never heard him scream like that, she added in her brief appearance, in “anguish,” “fear,” and “terror.”

Even the stoic George Zimmerman — who has sat emotionless, sometimes taking notes during testimony and seemingly detached when photos of Trayvon’s body were shown — choked up with the presence of his mother and his uncle, who followed her testimony and also said the voice on the tape was Zimmerman’s.

“It was George screaming for his life,” Zimmerman’s uncle, Jorge Meza, said.

At the end, the two mothers and the supporting testimony of son and uncle may cancel each other out when the jury weighs evidence. Or not. Five of the jurors are mothers; all six are women.

But no matter how one views this trial, Friday was a day marked by the sadness of the tragedy.

You could see it in the mothers’ faces.

Read more Fabiola Santiago stories from the Miami Herald

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