Judge Debra S. Nelson Rules Two Prosecution Audio Experts Witnesses Will NOT Be Allowed to Testify in George Zimmerman Murder Trial
Prosecution audio expert witnesses denied …
Judge Debra S. Nelson has ruled that two prosecution audio experts will not be allowed to testify in the George Zimmerman second degree murder trial. Zimmerman is charged with the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. This is a major blow to the prosecution’s case against Zimmerman. Prosecutors had looked for expert witnesses to identify the screams in the 911 tape, the night that Trayvon Martin was shot by Zimmerman, was that of Martin. As reported at the Miami Herald, the testimony of Tom Owen and Alan Reich, both of whom analyzed a 911 call by a neighbor that captured the sounds of the brawl, was key for the state because it could have painted Zimmerman as the aggressor. However, the defense had sought to prevent the prosecution experts from testifying, arguing that the science used to make such audio identifications was not reliable. In the end, the 911 tape will be allowed to be played at trial as well as the prosecution will be allowed to present any witnesses familiar with Martin’s voice to testify, but the audio experts are out. Previously, an FBI speech scientist, Dr. Hirotake Nakasone, a senior audio engineer, testified that current technology cannot categorically determine whether a voice heard on a 911 tape screaming for help moments before Trayvon Martin was killed was that of Martin or George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering him.
The ruling by Judge Debra S. Nelson was released Saturday morning after hearings stretching over four days in her courtroom in Seminole County, Fla. The judge was asked to decide about background screams recorded on a 911 police tape and whether the voice could be identified.
The defense had sought to exclude the prosecution experts, arguing that the science used to make such audio identifications was not reliable. The expert testimony, identifying the voice and screams as Martin’s, would prejudice the jury against Zimmerman, defense attorneys argued.
The prosecution insisted the science was valid and that it was up to the jury to decide whose voice was heard screaming
In her ruling, Nelson held that the 911 tape could be played in court, but that prosecutors will not be allowed to use the audio experts to identify the screams in the background as the voice of Martin.
However, the prosecution will be allowed to present any witnesses familiar with Martin’s voice to testify, the judge stated.