A 911 call recorded a voice screaming for help just before George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin on February 26. Two voice identification experts have said that contrary to Zimmerman's narrative, the panicked voice was not his.
The voice was recorded when a woman called 911 and reported someone crying for help in a gated community at Sanford, Florida. Dispatchers heard the cries and the gunshot that killed Trayvon, and one thing was established: one of the two screamed for help before the gun was fired.
Orland Sentinel consulted Tom Owen, a forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC, and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence. According to Orlando Sentinel, Owen is a court-qualified expert witness and former chief engineer for the New York Public Library's Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound. He is an authority in biometric voice analysis. He used a software program called Easy Voice Biometrics to compare Zimmerman's voice to the 911 call screams.
Owen told the Orlando Sentinel that his biometric analysis ruled out the possibility that the screaming voice in the 911 recording was Zimmerman's. Huffington Post reported Owen said: "I took all of the screams and put those together, and cut out everything else."
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Owen said the analysis returned a 48 percent match. He explained that a positive match in the circumstances would require a higher than 90 percent match.
Owen concluded: "As a result of that, you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it's not Zimmerman." He explained that the quality of the call recording was high enough to come to scientifically reliable conclusion. He stressed, however, that he could not confirm that the voice wasTrayvon's, because he did not have a sample of his voice.
Orlando Sentinel reports that a second analyst consulted, using a different voice identification technique, also came to the same conclusion as Owen.
The second expert Ed Primeau, is a Michigan-based audio engineer who relies on a method involving "audio enhancement and human analysis based on forensic experience." He listened to the audio tape of the screams and concluded: "I believe that's Trayvon Martin in the background, without a doubt." He said emphatically: "That's a young man screaming." Orlando Sentinel reported Primeau said the tone of voice is a "give away."
The evidence the two experts have given is important because Zimmerman, claiming self-defense, told police he was the one screaming for help in the call. But the voice experts, according to Orlando Sentinel, say the evidence contradicts his claim.
Huffington Post reports that the voice analysis raises more questions about the story from Zimmerman and his family that 17-year-old Trayvon attacked the Neighborhood Watch Volunteer and slammed his head on the ground. Doubts first arose about Zimmerman's account when last week a police video showed no blood or bruises on Zimmerman. Huffington Post also reports that Trayvon's funeral director said he saw no signs of a struggle on the teen's body.
The Trayvon Martin shooting occurred on Feb. 26, when Zimmerman, a Hispanic, called 911 to report a "suspicious" person in the neighborhood. The dispatcher advised him not to follow the "suspicious" person, but he did.
After the shooting, Zimmerman told the police that Trayvon attacked him as he walked back to his vehicle and slammed his head against the ground. He claimed he shot in self defense. Police did not arrest Zimmerman because of a Florida law called "Stand Your Ground" which allows for use of lethal force in self-defense.
But the public perception that the police handled the case with levity led to protests across the country, including in Sanford where thousands of protesters marched to the police station.