On Monday afternoon, the defense shredded what was left of the state of Florida’s case against George Zimmerman when it presented inarguable evidence about whose screams were heard on the 911 tapes.
In the way of background, on April 11, 2012, the office of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey drew up an affidavit of probable cause to charge George Zimmerman with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin.
A critical part of the evidence to support the affidavit was the fact that Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, “identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin’s.”
From the beginning, however, the state knew that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help. All the evidence, especially the injuries to Zimmerman’s head, supported Zimmerman’s immediate response to the first officer on the scene, “I was yelling for help, but no one would help me.”
At the time, of course, Zimmerman had no idea that a 911 call would record 40 seconds of him yelling for help, but one did. Nor did he know that he know that Witness No. 6, Jonathan Good, would fully support his own version of events, but he did.
On Friday, July 8, the day it closed its case, the state called Fulton to the witness stand. As expected, and as highly anticipated by those wanting to see Zimmerman convicted, Fulton claimed that it was her son’s voice on the 911 tape.
“Ma’am that scream or yell, do you recognize that?” asked prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
“Yes,” she said. When de la Rionda asked who she thought it was, Fulton answered, “Trayvon Benjamin Martin.”
In cross examination, defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked Fulton two questions, the impact of which was understood only by those following the case closely – namely did she anticipate what she was about to hear when she first heard the 911 tape and did she discuss the tape in advance with any member of the family.
Taking the stand Friday morning after Fulton was her son and Martin’s half-brother, Jahvaris Fulton. Fulton also claimed to recognize the voice on the tape as Trayvon Martin’s.
O’Mara pointed out in cross-examination, however, that Fulton had told a reporter two weeks after listening to the tape for the first time that he could not be sure whose voice he heard.
“I guess I didn’t want to believe that it was him, that’s why during that interview I said I wasn’t sure,” Fulton said. His recovered memory seemed much too convenient.
To counter these two witnesses, the defense, once it started presenting its case on Friday afternoon, called six witnesses to the stand to testify that it was Zimmerman’s voice on the tape.
Zimmerman’s mother, Gladys, went first. In a sense, she was no more reliable a witness than Martin’s mother, but O’Mara presented her as an emotional counter-balance.
Gladys and her brother, Jorgé Meza, who followed his sister to the stand, served another function as well. Both had dark complexions and spoke in an accent. They were every bit as ethnic as Martin’s parents.
Following Zimmerman to the stand on Monday were four Zimmerman friends, all of whom said that the voice they heard was unquestionably Zimmerman’s. They also provided quiet testimony to Zimmerman’s character.
Martin supporters in the blogosphere had no patience for their testimony and no sense of the irony of their own impatience:
“Hearing them refer to this overfed, overzealous child-killer as ‘Georgie’ is kind of making me nauseous.”
“George Zimmerman’s best friend & wife? We are supposed to believe them? TUH. How insulting.”
“How utterly shameful that TM’s parents are forced to listen to him scream again and again to facilitate these defense liars.”
Of the four friends, the fourth was the most compelling. John Donnelly had been a medic in Vietnam. In his emotional testimony, he explained that when he heard a friend crying for help on the battlefield, he knew who it was without even seeing him.
In a similar vein, Donnelly claimed that he had no trouble linking Zimmerman’s speaking voice to his screaming voice. When Donnelly finished, the court broke for lunch. But it was after lunch that the hammer really came down on the prosecution’s case.
The man delivering the blow was Sanford Police Officer Chris Serino, the lead investigator in the case. Under O’Mara’s guidance, Serino told how he played the 911 tapes for Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, two days after the shooting.
When Serino asked Martin if the screaming voice on the 911 tape was his son’s, Martin said “no.”
Sanford PD Officer Doris Singleton testified next. She witnessed the exchange and confirmed what Serino had said. “He was telling Chris it was not his son’s voice,” said Singleton.
It is unlikely that the media will discuss the full impact of the testimony of the two officers. They almost assuredly put a lie to Fulton’s testimony that she was unaware of the 911 call until she heard it two weeks after Tracy Martin had and in Martin’s presence.
In a larger sense, the officers’ testimony puts a lie to the hysteria generated by the Martin family’s attorneys and sustained by the major media.
Savvy blogs like the Conservative Treehouse knew this moment was coming for more than a year. The major media have no excuse for their ignorance.