Determining screams on 911 tape dominate Zimmerman trial

Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, says he never denied it was his son’s voice on a 911 recording.
Joe Burbank/EPA/Pool Photo
Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, says he never denied it was his son’s voice on a 911 recording.

SANFORD, Fla. — Trayvon Martin’s father testified Monday that he never denied it was his son’s voice screaming for help on a 911 call, contradicting police officers’ earlier testimony at George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial.

Tracy Martin was the latest witness called by lawyers on both sides who are seeking to convince jurors of who was the aggressor in the confrontation that left Trayvon Martin dead.

Later in the day, the judge ruled defense attorneys may present evidence that Trayvon Martin had marijuana in his system when he died.


The teen’s father testified that he merely told officers he could not tell if it was his son after his first time listening to the call, which captured the audio of a fight between Martin and Zimmerman.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

‘‘I never said that wasn’t my son’s voice,’’ said Tracy Martin, who added that he concluded it was his son after listening to the call as many as 20 times.

Before Tracy Martin took the stand, the lead investigator testified the father had answered ‘‘no’’ when asked if the screams belonged to Trayvon Martin.

Officer Chris Serino played the 911 call for Tracy Martin in the days immediately following Trayvon Martin’s death in February 2012. ‘‘He looked away and under his breath he said ‘no’,’’ Serino said. Officer Doris Singleton backed up Serino.

Who was screaming for help on the tape is important because it would help jurors evaluate Zimmerman’s self-defense claim. Relatives of Martin and George Zimmerman have offered conflicting opinions about who is heard screaming.


Late in the day, Judge Debra Nelson denied a prosecution request to keep out parts of a toxicology report that shows Trayvon Martin had small amounts of marijuana in his system.

Prosecutors argued the information would be prejudicial. But defense attorneys said it was relevant, since Zimmerman believed Martin was under the influence.

Most of the day was taken up by Zimmerman’s friends called to testify that the screams on the recording were his. A gym owner who trained Zimmerman described him as soft and an inferior fighter.

The emergency call captured the confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin shortly before Zimmerman fatally shot the teen. Zimmerman’s mother and uncle testified Friday that it was Zimmerman screaming. Martin’s mother and brother testified the voice is Martin’s.

Zimmerman once said during a police interview that the screams didn’t sound like him, though he and his family later said the screams were his.


Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and says he shot Martin in self-defense during a scuffle in the complex where he lived. Martin was there visiting his father.

Prosecutors contend Zimmerman was profiling Martin as someone suspicious.