Zimmerman hearing focused on 911 tapes - WFLA News Channel 8

Zimmerman hearing focused on 911 tapes

Posted: Updated:
SANFORD, FL (WFLA) -

An expert hired by an Orlando newspaper testified Friday that screams for help on 911 calls don't match neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman's voice.

Tom Owen testified on the second day of a hearing that will determine whether voice identification experts can be used at Zimmerman's second-degree trial for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The trial starts Monday and Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Testimony for the hearing was to continue Saturday before Circuit Judge Debra Nelson makes a decision.

Owen was hired by the Orlando Sentinel last year to compare a voice sample of Zimmerman with screams for help captured on 911 calls made by neighbors. He said Zimmerman's voice doesn't match the screams. He only compared Zimmerman's voice to the 911 calls because he didn't have a voice sample for Martin at the time.

"The screams don't match at all," Owen said. "That's what tells me the screams aren't George Zimmerman."

Owen also testified that remarks Zimmerman made in a conversation with a police dispatcher aren't a racial slur. He testified Zimmerman said, "These f------ punks."

Under questioning from Zimmerman's attorney, Owens conceded that the sample wasn't long enough to run a proper test according to the specifications of the software. He said he "looped" - or repeated the sample - in order to run the analysis. Defense attorney Don West said that was a novel technique and went against usual standards.

Nelson has said the standard for determining whether technology under question is allowed at trial is whether it is too novel or not accepted by a community of experts.

Owen also conceded he had a financial interest in the software he used to conduct the analysis.

An audio expert also gave testimony Friday by telephone. Alan Reich has said in a report for prosecutors that the screams on the 911 tapes were from Martin and the defense does not want him to testify at trial.

Reich's analysis also picked up words that other experts never found. They include the words, "This shall be" from Zimmerman and "I'm begging you" from Martin, according to Reich.

Under cross-examination, though, Reich said it wasn't possible to reach absolute conclusions based on the quality of the audio.

An FBI expert testified a day earlier that there wasn't enough clear sound on the 911 recordings to determine whose voice it was. Hirotaka Nakasone also said the concept that individuals have unique voice-prints that identify them is misleading. "No one can speak in the same way twice," Nakasone said.

The screams captured on the 911 calls are crucial pieces of evidence since they could determine who the aggressor was in the confrontation. Martin's family contends it was the teen screaming, while Zimmerman's father has said it was his son.

News Channel 8's Jeff Patterson will be live in Sanford for the trial.  Our live coverage starts Sunday night at 11, on News Channel 8.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @wflatampa

  • NewsMore>>

  • Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    Boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:52 AM EDT2014-04-20 15:52:47 GMT
    Former midddleweight boxer Rubin Carter has died. (Source: Flickr) Former midddleweight boxer Rubin Carter has died. (Source: Flickr)
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, died Sunday. He was 76.
  • Good Samaritan renders aid to man in Tarpon Springs crash

    Good Samaritan renders aid to man in Tarpon Springs crash

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-04-20 15:49:47 GMT
    The crash occurred on Keystone Rd. in Tarpon Springs on Saturday night. The crash occurred on Keystone Rd. in Tarpon Springs on Saturday night.
    A Good Samaritan helped save the life of a 52-year-old Holiday man Saturday night after he lost control of his vehicle and landed in a pond in Tarpon Springs.Richard Fenton was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa where he is listed in serious condition.
    A Good Samaritan helped save the life of a 52-year-old Holiday man Saturday night after he lost control of his vehicle and landed in a pond in Tarpon Springs.Richard Fenton was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa where he is listed in serious condition.
  • Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout

    Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout

    Sunday, April 20 2014 10:53 AM EDT2014-04-20 14:53:24 GMT
    The Ukrainian and Russian governments are reporting a shootout at a checkpoint set up by pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine that has left one person dead and others hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
    Ukraine and Russia traded blame Sunday for a shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine that left at least three people dead and others with gunshot wounds.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • VIRAL VIDEO: Selfie Captures Man Getting Kicked By Train Engineer

    VIRAL VIDEO: Selfie Captures Man Getting Kicked By Train Engineer

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 2:46 PM EDT2014-04-16 18:46:32 GMT
    A video posted to YouTube showing a man getting kicked in the head by a person on a passing train has gone viral.
    A video posted to YouTube showing a man getting kicked in the head by a person on a passing train has gone viral.
  • Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Tuesday, April 1 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-04-02 03:26:55 GMT
    "Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo"Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
  • Trending: World's most haunted island up for auction

    Trending: World's most haunted island up for auction

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:17 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:17:05 GMT
    Poveglia. Image Wikimedia CommonsPoveglia. Image Wikimedia Commons
     A small "haunted" island off the coast of Italy near Venice will hit the auction block in May.
    A small "haunted" island off the coast of Italy near Venice will hit the auction block in May.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.