In a major win for George Zimmerman’s defense, Judge Debra Nelson found on Saturday that disputed audio analysis of Trayvon Martin’s last moments is too tentative to allow into court.
A Florida jury won’t hear expert suggestions that Trayvon Martin gave a desperate shriek for help in the background of a 911 call before being killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, a judge ruled Saturday.
The ruling by Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson is a clear win for Mr. Zimmerman, whose guilt or non-guilt will be decided by a six-woman jury, with opening arguments scheduled for Monday. Zimmerman is the lone survivor of a Feb. 26, 2012 conflict inside a gated Florida neighborhood that pitted him against an unarmed 17-year-old returning to where he was staying with a bag of Skittles in his pocket.
The lack of an immediate arrest and the appearance of racial underpinnings to the tragedy brought Martin’s death to the nation, where President Obama commented at one point that, “If I had a son, he would’ve looked like Trayvon.” The case has since become a mirror in which America’s views on guns and race are reflected, and sometimes distorted.
The evidence, however, in the case is scant, which is one reason why both sides hyper-analyzed a rash of 911 calls to the Sanford Police Department. Using techniques dating back to World War II, two expert analysts – Alan Reich and Tom Owen – had ruled out Zimmerman as owning the voice that screams out “help” (or “stop,” as Reich interpreted it) before a gunshot rings.