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Zimmerman and Martin mothers clash on witness stand

By Mike Schneider & Kyle Hightower

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:41 p.m. HST, Jul 05, 2013

SANFORD, Fla. >> Trayvon Martin's mother and George Zimmerman's mother clashed on the witness stand today over whether the screams for help that can be heard in the background on a 911 call came from the teenager or the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot him.

"I heard my son screaming," Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, said firmly after listening to a recording in which high-pitched wails followed by a gunshot could be heard.

Gladys Zimmerman listened to the same recording later in the day and answered, "My son" when asked whose voice it was. Asked how she could be certain, she said: "Because it's my son."

The conflicting testimony over the potentially critical piece of evidence came on a dramatic, action-packed day in which the prosecution rested its case and the judge rejected a defense request to acquit Zimmerman on the second-degree murder charge.

The question of whose voice is on the recording could be crucial to the jury in deciding who was the aggressor in the confrontation that ended with Zimmerman killing the 17-year-old.

The question sharply divided the two families: Martin's half brother, 22-year-old Jahvaris Fulton, testified that the cries came from the 17-year-old. And Zimmerman's uncle, Jose Meza, said he knew it was Zimmerman's voice from "the moment I heard it. ... I thought, that is George."

In asking the judge to acquit Zimmerman, defense attorney Mark O'Mara argued that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.

He said an "enormous" amount of evidence showed that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, and he argued that Zimmerman had reasonable grounds to believe he was in danger, and acted without the "ill will, hatred and spite" necessary to prove second-degree murder.

But prosecutor Richard Mantei countered: "There are two people involved here. One of them is dead, and one of them is a liar."

Mantei told the judge that Zimmerman had changed his story, that his account of how he shot Martin was "a physical impossibility," and that he exaggerated his wounds.

After listening to an hour and a half of arguments from both sides, Judge Debra Nelson refused to throw out the murder charge, saying the prosecution had presented sufficient evidence for the case to go on.

The prosecution rested late in the afternoon after calling 38 witnesses over two weeks.

Among them, earlier in the day, was Sybrina Fulton, who sat expressionless on the witness stand while prosecutors played the 911 recording of a Zimmerman neighbor urging a dispatcher to send police quickly.

"Who do you recognize that to be?" prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked her.

"Trayvon Benjamin Martin," she replied.

When introducing herself to jurors, Fulton described having two sons, one of whom "is in heaven."

During cross-examination, O'Mara suggested — haltingly, in apparent recognition of the sensitivity of the questioning — that Fulton may have been influenced by others who listened to the 911 call, including relatives and her former husband.

O'Mara asked Fulton hypothetically whether she would have to accept that it was Zimmerman yelling for help if the screams did not come from her son. The defense attorney also asked Fulton whether she hoped Martin didn't do anything that led to his death.

"I would hope for this to never have happened and he would still be here," she said.

O'Mara asked Jahvaris Fulton why he told a reporter last year that he wasn't sure if the voice belonged to Martin. Jahvaris Fulton explained that he was "shocked" when he heard it.

"I didn't want to believe it was him," he said.

The doctor who performed an autopsy on Martin also took the stand. Associate Medical Examiner Shiping Bao started describing Martin as being in pain and suffering after he was shot, but defense attorneys objected and the judge directed Bao away from that line of questioning.

He later estimated that Martin lived one to 10 minutes after he was shot, and said the bullet went from the front to the back of the teen's chest, piercing his heart.

"There was no chance he could survive," Bao said.

With jurors out of the courtroom, Bao acknowledged under defense questioning he had changed his opinion in recent weeks on two matters related to the teen's death — how long Martin was alive after being shot and the effect of marijuana detected in Martin's body at the time of his death.

Bao said last November that he believed Martin was alive one to three minutes. He also said Friday that marijuana could have affected Martin physically or mentally; he said the opposite last year.

The judge ruled before the trial that Martin's past marijuana use couldn't be introduced, and so the jury did not hear Bao's opinion about the drug's effect.

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kahuku01 wrote:
The question to this case is, what led up to this fight and someone getting shot because the other claimed self defense. On a dark rainy night, George Zimmerman, while driving to the store, observed an unidentified person walking through his neighborhood. Realizing that there were several break ins within the neighborhood and as a neighborhood watch captain, he elected to observe this individual from his car and also called the non-emergency number for police. In the meantime, Trayvon Martin realized that Zimmerman was watching him while Trayvon was on the cell phone conversing with a woman. As testified by the woman, Trayvon was on his way home to his father's fiance's home after making a purchase at a 7/11 store. Zimmerman claims that he lost sight of Trayvon as Trayvon disappeared in the dark between the buildings. Zimmerman parked his vehicle, got out, and proceeded to locate Trayvon so that he could point Trayvon out to the police as they were on their way to the location. As Zimmerman walked on the sidewalk, between buildings, from one end of the street to the other, and as he was returning to his vehicle, Trayvon appeared out from the dark and confronted Zimmerman and a fight occurred, and as a result, Trayvon got shot as Zimmerman claimed self defense. My analysis to this case is, if only Trayvon had acted as a matured young man, and continued to walk to his destination without stopping, hiding or confronting Zimmerman, regardless of being observed by Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. It's such a sad situation when this type of incident could have been prevented.
on July 5,2013 | 05:33AM
kolohepalu wrote:
Zimmerman should have listened to the police dispatcher who told him to stay in his vehicle. He acted as a self-appointed vigilante and it didn't work out well for him. Then there is the fact that he started a fight and then pulled a gun when he started to lose- makes him at least a coward, if not a criminal.
on July 5,2013 | 06:22AM
HD36 wrote:
It's no crime to get out of your car. He didn't start the fight. He only shot Martin after he began to lose conciousness because Martin was suffocating him. Sound like self defense to me.
on July 5,2013 | 08:59AM
kahuku01 wrote:
What caused this fight to start and when did it start?
on July 5,2013 | 10:42AM
hanalei395 wrote:
What caused this fight, in the first place, was Zimmerman following the victim in his car, then on foot (when he was told not to) and feeling brave with a loaded weapon. That was the start. How it all ended, with the killing, according to Zimmerman ... "It was God's will". ...( Zimmerman's words).
on July 5,2013 | 01:06PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Sorry ...."It was God's plan".
on July 5,2013 | 01:17PM
Anonymous wrote:
What I have read is that Zimmerman was following Martin, and the dispatcher told him to stop following him. Zimmerman was walking back toward his truck when Martin jumped him. Martin was on top, attacking Zimmerman. Zimmerman had a gun under his shirt, during the attack Martin saw the gun, and told Zimmerman he was going to kill him with it. That is when Zimmerman shot him. This case should never have been prosecuted.
on July 5,2013 | 01:21PM
hanalei395 wrote:
You didn't see trials on TV. According to the prosecution, Zimmerman told 3 different stories of what happened, just before the fight. And it's all on record with the police report. One of the Zimmerman's stories ... "Martin jumped out of the bushes". When told there were no "bushes" around, Zimmerman quickly changed his story. And that's only one side that is heard. The other side ... the guy is dead.
on July 5,2013 | 01:58PM
8082062424 wrote:
you really need to watch the trail. it not like you are saying.
on July 5,2013 | 02:00PM
Waterman2 wrote:
rail road job.
on July 5,2013 | 05:50AM
kolohepalu wrote:
A tale of two punks, a wanna-be thug and a wanna-be cop. Wanna-be cop shoots wanna-be thug because said thug is kicking his butt even though wanna-be cop started the fight. This was not about race, it was about macho posturing and insecurity- a result America's glorification of gangsta culture.
on July 5,2013 | 06:20AM
serious wrote:
Will Zimmerman's mother and brother go on the stand and testify that it was George's voice? I don't see why the judge allowed this!!!
on July 5,2013 | 06:53AM
kainalu wrote:
Who here would expect the mother to say anything else? Give me a break.
on July 5,2013 | 07:08AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
"Mother Defends Son."


on July 5,2013 | 09:51AM
cojef wrote:
Prosecution error?? Should it have been "manslaughter or 2nd degree"? So far, a prosecution witness that lived across the street testified that Martin was on top and Zimmerman on his back on the ground and saw Martin swing at Zimmerman several times. Zimmerman has the injuries to the back of his head and a broken nose. The victim has slight bruise on his fist/hand, indicating he was on the top. Only one juror need to vote for acquittal and there would be a hung jury. Easier to prove manslaugther, as someone is dead.
on July 5,2013 | 05:11PM
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