Trayvon Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin
SANFORD, Florida (AP) - Trayvon Martin's father has testified that he
never denied it was his son's voice in screams for help on a 911 call.
Tracy Martin said Monday that he merely said he couldn't tell if it
was Trayvon Martin after his first time listening to the call.
Tracy Martin's testimony came after the lead investigator testified
that Tracy Martin had answered "no" when he asked if the screams
belonged to Trayvon Martin.
Convincing the jury of whose voice is on the tape is important to
both sides because it would help jurors decide who was the aggressor in
the confrontation that left Martin dead. Relatives of Martin's and
George Zimmerman's have offered conflicting opinions about who is heard
Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense.
The lead detective in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder case
testified Monday that Trayvon Martin's father told him that screams for
help on a 911 call weren't his son's.
Officer Chris Serino was called by the defense to testify about a
meeting with Martin's father in the days after the Miami teen was
fatally shot by Zimmerman last year.
At the meeting, when Tracy Martin listened to the 911 recording and
was asked if it was his son, Tracy Martin said "no," Serino said.
"He looked away and under his breath he said 'no'," Serino said.
Tracy Martin was in the courtroom as Serino recounted the meeting.
Under cross examination, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda suggested
that Tracy Martin may have been in denial about his son's death and
"It could be perceived as denial," Serino said.
The investigator's testimony was just the latest effort to determine
who was crying for help on the 911 calls. Convincing the jury of whose
voice is on the tapes is important to both sides because it would help
jurors decide who was the aggressor in the confrontation that left
Martin dead. Relatives of Martin's and Zimmerman's have offered
conflicting opinions on previous days about who is heard screaming.
Another investigator, Office Doris Singleton, backed up Serino's account of Tracy Martin's initial reaction to the 911 call.
A series of Zimmerman's friends on Monday testified that the screams
on the recording were their friend, and the 911 call was played multiple
times in the courtroom.
After the call was played for Sondra Osterman, defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked who it was.
"Yes, definitely. It's Georgie," said Osterman, who testified she
first met Zimmerman in 2006 while working with him at a mortgage
company. Osterman and her husband, Mark, describe themselves as the best
friends of Zimmerman and his wife.
The emergency call captured the confrontation between Zimmerman and
Martin shortly before Zimmerman fatally shot the teen. Zimmerman's
mother and uncle testified last Friday it was Zimmerman screaming.
Martin's mother and brother also took the witness stand last Friday to
say the voice belongs to Martin.
Zimmerman himself once said during a police interview that the
screams didn't sound like him, though he and his family later said the
screams were his.
Prosecutors had wanted to introduce as witnesses two audio experts
who said the voice belonged to Martin and ruled out Zimmerman's voice.
But Judge Debra Nelson prohibited the audio experts from testifying,
saying their methods were unreliable.
Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, has pleaded not
guilty to second-degree murder and says he shot Martin in self-defense
during a scuffle in the townhome complex where he lived. Martin was
there visiting his father and his father's fiancee.
Prosecutors contend that Zimmerman was profiling Martin and perceived
the teen as someone suspicious in the neighborhood, which had been the
site of a series of break-ins.
Prosecutors were also seeking Monday to stop defense attorneys from
presenting an animated depiction of the fatal fight. Their motion
requests that the animation not be mentioned or played at Zimmerman's
trial, claiming it would only confuse jurors. They said the animation
doesn't show a murder weapon, only approximates positions based on
witness accounts and artificially depicts lighting conditions.
Defense attorneys hadn't immediately filed a response. Prosecutors
said in their motion that the animation commissioned by the defense was
created by employees of the animator re-enacting the fight wearing
Under cross-examination, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda implied that
Sondra Osterman and her husband, Mark, had a stake in the outcome of the
trial because they had written a book about Zimmerman's case and were
donating the proceeds to their friend.
Mark Osterman took the witness stand after his wife to testify about
how Zimmerman had chosen and purchased his firearm. He testified that
Zimmerman could shoot with both hands, and he also said he recommended
keeping the gun loaded.
He said it was Zimmerman's voice screaming when the 911 call was played for him in the courtroom.
Former co-worker Geri Russo also testified it was Zimmerman yelling
on the call, as did John Donnelly and Leanne Benjamin, a married couple
who became good friends with Zimmerman and his wife.
The prosecutor also played for Sondra Osterman a nonemergency police
call Zimmerman made to report Martin walking through his neighborhood.
In the call, Zimmerman uses the words, "F------ punks. These a-------.
They always get away." Sondra Osterman identified the voice as
When asked by O'Mara if she detected ill will, spite or hatred in his voice, she answered no.
Prosecutors must show that Zimmerman acted with ill will, spite or a
depraved mind in order to get a second-degree murder conviction.
Defense attorneys also called the owner of a gym where Zimmerman had
gone to lose weight to explain to jurors the mixed-martial arts fighting
method called "ground and pound." Defense attorneys have said that
Martin slammed Zimmerman's head into the sidewalk while he was on top of
him in "a ground and pound" maneuver. To demonstrate the move, gym
owner Adam Pollock straddled O'Mara on the courtroom floor. Pollock
testified that Zimmerman trained in the form of fighting known as
grappling but was an unaccomplished fighter.
"He was about a 1," said Pollock when asked to rank Zimmerman's athletic skill on a scale of 1 to 10.