The yells and pleas audible on several 911 calls could provide clues about whether George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin. The judge in the case will decide whether audio experts can give the jury their analyses of the calls.
In one analysis of 911 tapes that record Trayvon Martin’s last moments alive, his killer, George Zimmerman, is deemed to utter a cryptically religious aside – “These shall be” – and then Trayvon is interpreted as yelling, “I’m begging you” and “stop!”
That analysis, put forward in a May 15 report by audio expert Alan Reich, a state forensics consultant, is potentially devastating for Mr. Zimmerman’s defense, whose trial is to begin Monday.
On Thursday, the Seminole County circuit judge presiding over the case, Debra Nelson, begins two days of hearings on whether the jury can consider that analysis – or whether it is, as critics suggest, “voodoo forensics” that should be discarded as hearsay.
The hearing will also take up whether other analyses of the 911 calls should be weighed by the jury. But the analysis by Mr. Reich is considered the key one at issue.
Since Trayvon can’t testify at the trial and the majority of eyewitness accounts are murky at best, the snippets of voices that can be heard deep in the background of several 911 calls have held crucial but elusive clues for a central question the jury will be deciding: Did Zimmerman truly fear for his life when he fired, or did the older man control the situation and fire at a helpless and defensive Trayvon?