Trayvon Martin’s mother testified Friday that it was her son screaming for help in a hotly-contested 911 call at the center of the George Zimmerman murder trial.
“Trayvon Benjamin Martin,” Sybrina Fulton replied when asked by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda who was screaming in the audio.
She reiterated that it was her son during cross-examination by defense attorney Mark O’Mara.
“I heard my son screaming,” Fulton said. “I would hope for this to never have happened and he would still be here.”
Both sides have fought over the screaming captured on the 911 audio. If was Martin, it could indicate Zimmerman was the aggressor, but if it’s Zimmerman, it could mean he was fighting for his life, as he has claimed.
Martin’s brother Jahvaris Fulton also testified that the screaming voice was that of the deceased 17-year-old, but in a less direct way.
“My brother,” he said when asked whose voice it was. “I’ve heard him yell, not like that, but yeah.”
Asked by O’Mara why he told a reporter last year he wasn’t sure whether it was his brother’s voice, Fulton said he was “shocked” when he first heard the recording.
“I didn’t want to believe it was him,” Jahvaris Fulton said.
Gladys Zimmerman listened to the same recording later in the day and answered, “My son” when asked whose voice it was. Asked how she could be certain, she said: “Because it’s my son.”
The conflicting testimony over the potentially critical piece of evidence came on a dramatic, action-packed day in which the prosecution rested its case and the judge rejected a defense request to acquit Zimmerman on the second-degree murder charge.
The question of whose voice is on the recording could be crucial to the jury in deciding who was the aggressor in the confrontation that ended with Zimmerman killing the 17-year-old.
The question sharply divided the two families: Martin’s half brother, 22-year-old Jahvaris Fulton, testified that the cries came from the 17-year-old. And Zimmerman’s uncle, Jose Meza, said he knew it was Zimmerman’s voice from “the moment I heard it. … I thought, that is George.”
In asking the judge to acquit Zimmerman, defense attorney Mark O’Mara argued that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.
He said an “enormous” amount of evidence showed that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, and he argued that Zimmerman had reasonable grounds to believe he was in danger, and acted without the “ill will, hatred and spite” necessary to prove second-degree murder.
But prosecutor Richard Mantei countered: “There are two people involved here. One of them is dead, and one of them is a liar.”
Mantei told the judge that Zimmerman had changed his story, that his account of how he shot Martin was “a physical impossibility,” and that he exaggerated his wounds.
After listening to an hour and a half of arguments from both sides, Judge Debra Nelson refused to throw out the murder charge, saying the prosecution had presented sufficient evidence for the case to go on.
The prosecution rested late in the afternoon after calling 38 witnesses over two weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This post has been updated.