Judge weighs voice experts in Zimmerman trial

AP News
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Posted: Jun 08, 2013 10:31 AM

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge listened Saturday to a third day of testimony that will help her decide if voice-recognition experts should be allowed at George Zimmerman's trial.

The hearing was held two days before jury selection starts in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Voice experts were hired by lawyers and news organizations to analyze 911 calls made during the confrontation in which screams can be heard.

The screams are crucial pieces of evidence since they could determine who the aggressor was in the confrontation. Martin's family contends it was the teen screaming, while Zimmerman's father has said it was his son.

Audio experts have reached mixed conclusions, and defense attorneys are arguing against allowing experts who say they can match the screaming to either voice.

A British audio expert testified for the defense Saturday that it would be extremely difficult to analyze voices by comparing screaming to a normal voice.

"I've never come across a case in my 13 years where anybody's tried to compare screaming to a normal voice," said audio expert Peter French.

In deciding whether to admit the voice-recognition technology, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson must determine whether it is too novel or whether it has been accepted by a community of experts.