Voice Screaming for Help Was Not Zimmerman

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criminal justice, Trayvon Martin

Orlando Sentinel:

As the Trayvon Martin controversy splinters into a debate about self-defense, a central question remains: Who was heard crying for help on a 911 call in the moments before the teen was shot?

A leading expert in the field of forensic voice identification sought to answer that question by analyzing the recordings for the Orlando Sentinel.

His result: It was not George Zimmerman who called for help.

Tom Owen, forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, used voice identification software to rule out Zimmerman. Another expert contacted by the Sentinel, utilizing different techniques, came to the same conclusion.

Zimmerman claims self-defense in the shooting and told police he was the one screaming for help. But these experts say the evidence tells a different story.

Anyone want to review?

Counting down the nanoseconds before the right wing noise machine finds some excuse to dismiss the science …

Y’know, I can remember when conservatives screamed perpetually about how liberals made the criminal justice system soft on crime. We coddled criminals. We allowed bad guys to walk because of silly legal technicalities. Of course, there always was some selectivity about which criminals were to be coddled and which ones not.

But now we may look on in wonder — or derision, or anger, or whatever — at the turning of tables. Now liberals are asking the criminal justice system to get tough on the “doer,” and conservatives are making excuses for the shooter.

Funny how that works.

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Ed  •  Mar 31, 2012 @11:38 pm

    Many thanks for this information! I have been ranting (or at least talking heatedly) for a couple of weeks about the urgency of exactly this kind of analysis. I am sort of assuming that an analysis has been done by the Justice Dept and that they are keeping it under wraps until they are ready to present it to a grand jury. This story deserves close follow-up.

  2. Swami  •  Apr 1, 2012 @2:32 am

    A high tech lynching?

    Instead of the Florida crowd yelling their traditional, “Give us the Niggra, Sheriff,” now they are yelling, “Give us the Hispanic, Sheriff”.

    I wonder if they can clarify the recording where Zimmerman supposedly made a coon comment?

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @6:55 am

    IOKIYAR.

    And now, we appear to have confirmation that Zimmerman was not only a gutless, sociopathic weasel, but that he’s a LYING, gutless, sociopathic weasel.
    That’s actually not unexpected – lying is part of their MO.

    I want this sociopath put away for good.
    It was bad enough that he did what he did.
    But to then take Martins cries for help, cries out begging for for his life, and claim them as his own cries to cover his sorry own ass, is really beyond contempt.

    Zimmerman’s actions prove that he is a sociopath.
    I’d make sure that when he goes to prison, he’s in the general population, where he can hang out with others of his own ilk – white, brown, yellow, red, and yes, black.
    Something tells me that if a jury finds him guilty, and a Judge sentences him to life in the general population, we’ll find out what Zimmerman sounds like when he really IS crying for help, crying out begging for his life.
    All I can say is – he’s earned it.

  4. myiq2xu  •  Apr 1, 2012 @9:49 am

    Let’s forget about the eyewitness who SAW Zimmerman screaming.

    If this goes to trial, and assuming the court allows voice recognition evidence to be admitted, the defense will bring in equally impressive experts to testify that it WAS Zimmerman.

  5. joanr16  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:01 am

    Let’s forget about the eyewitness who SAW Zimmerman screaming.

    You’re very confused. The first person on the scene was a female neighbor who saw Zimmerman straddling Martin’s body. Zimmerman was so silent, in fact, that the witness had to call out to him three or four times– even though he was looking right at her– to get a response. Prior to that, through her open kitchen window the witness heard a voice whining as if in distress, and then a gunshot which immediately silenced the voice. The witness admits she is only speculating, but her reasonable conclusion was that the sounds of distress came from Trayvon Martin.

    It’s funny, but every time a stranger “visits” these comments to cite some pro-Zimmerman evidence, it runs counter to the widely-reported facts of the incident. I’ve now read about non-existence police officers and witnesses. I’m just waiting for “Spiderman saw the whole thing.”

  6. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:07 am

    Let’s forget about the eyewitness who SAW Zimmerman screaming.

    Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable. People often imagine they saw things that didn’t really happen. I would be particularly wary of witnesses who don’t come forward for several days. If science contradicts an eyewitness, always go with science and other hard forensic evidence.

    the defense will bring in equally impressive experts to testify that it WAS Zimmerman.

    I’m sure they’ll try.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:12 am

    joan,
    It was “The Invisible Man.”

    But myiq1/2ur’s is right about one thing:
    I’m sure the defense will bring in some (paid) “expert” who would testify it was the voice of James Earl Jones, if that’s what it took – and the money was right.

  8. myiq2xu  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:30 am

    What is the reliability of forensic voice recognition?

    There was an eyewitness named “John” who saw two men fighting. He said that Trayvon was on top and was beating Zimmerman who was screaming for help. There was another witness who made a similar statement but he couldn’t tell who was on top or who was screaming.

    There was a women who reported hearing someone whining but didn’t see anything until after the fight had ended. Her “reasonable conclusion” is a guess. If “eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable” then so are earwitness accounts.

    The defense does not have to prove anything to prevail. If the evidence leads to two or more reasonable conclusions and one of those conclusions points towards innocence, the jury MUST acquit.

  9. joanr16  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:34 am

    I think I see what’s happening. The police report has been filtered through a politically-slanted game of “Telephone” to create nonexistent witnesses.

    In the actual report, the first officer on the scene notes that Zimmerman’s clothes are wet and grassy on the back, giving the appearance that Zimmerman had been lying on his back; comment troll from the other day transmutated this into “A police officer saw Zimmerman lying on his back,” which is completely false.

    The police report also notes that an officer overheard Zimmerman saying that he, Zimmerman, had been calling for help, so comment troll transmutates this into a third party seeing Zimmerman call for help. What the actual nearest witnesses have said is completely different.

    And then there’s the fact that straining for gnats makes us overlook camels. A strange man armed with a handgun follows an unarmed teenaged boy through a suburban neighborhood. The boy, not the man, would be the one to feel threatened by a potential predator.

  10. joanr16  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:37 am

    There was an eyewitness named “John” who saw two men fighting. He said that Trayvon was on top and was beating Zimmerman who was screaming for help.

    Link to your source, as this person is not being reported in any summaries of the eyewitness evidence I have read anywhere.

    (And it still wouldn’t give Zimmerman the right to shoot to kill.)

  11. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:41 am

    The ultimate “witness” movie, and how reliable/unreliable they can be – “Roshomon,” by the GREAT Kurosawa.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon_%28film%29

    An eyewitness, found on the scene at the time of the crime/incident, can be very valuable and fairly reliable.
    Those who come forward later, uhm – not so much…

  12. joanr16  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:42 am

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/30/justice/florida-teen-shooting-witnesses/index.html

    No mention of this “John”… just witnesses who tend to contradict Zimmerman.

  13. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:54 am

    Regarding eyewitness “John,” see Jesse Singal.

  14. joanr16  •  Apr 1, 2012 @10:56 am

    OK, here we are, from the Miami Herald:

    One man interviewed by a local Fox news station, who asked to be identified only as John, said he saw the man wearing a red jacket — Zimmerman — on the ground, being beaten by someone on top of him — Trayvon.
    “The guy on the bottom, who I believe had a red sweater on, was yelling to me ‘Help, help,’ and I told him to stop and I was calling 911. I got upstairs and looked down, the person that was on top beating up the other guy was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point,” he said.
    But last week another unidentified man told CNN that he saw a larger man on top and a boy underneath. There wasn’t much movement, he said.
    Zimmerman’s father told the Orlando TV station that as his son was being beaten he tried to move from the concrete onto the grass. In doing so, he said, the gun his son kept in a holster on his waist was exposed.
    “Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of ‘You’re going to die now’ or ‘You’re gonna die tonight’ — something to that effect,” Robert Zimmerman said. “He continued to beat George. At some point, George pulled his pistol and did what he did.”
    Seven calls came in to 911.
    “They’re wrestling right in the back of my porch,” one caller said. “A guy is yelling, ‘Help.’…. I’m pretty sure the guy is dead.”
    “I saw a man lying on the ground and he needed help, screaming,” one 13-year-old boy told 911. “I heard a loud sound, and the screaming stopped.”
    Selma Mora Lamilla heard no fighting, only what she says was the wail of a child and the distinct crack of gunfire that silenced it. She ran outside her back porch, where she said she saw Zimmerman standing above Trayvon, apparently holding him down.
    “I asked him, “What’s happening here? What’s going on?” Mora said. “The third time, I was indignant, and he said, ‘Just call the police.’ Then I saw him with his hands over his head in the universal sign of: ‘Oh man, I messed up.’ ”

    Not sure why anyone would believe latecomer “John” over every other witness, but sure, good luck with that.

  15. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:11 am

    What is the reliability of forensic voice recognition?

    I suspect it’s a hell of a lot higher than the reliability of eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, although it impresses juries.

  16. myiq2xu  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:15 am

    “John” was first interviewed by the police the night of the shooting. He was then interviewed by the media the day afterward (February 27th). It’s amusing that his statement is the only one being dismissed as unreliable.

  17. myiq2xu  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:16 am

    I suspect it’s a hell of a lot higher than the reliability of eyewitness testimony.

    Is it reliable enough to be admissible in court?

  18. myiq2xu  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:17 am

    No mention of this “John”… just witnesses who tend to contradict Zimmerman.

    Coincidence?

  19. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:23 am

    Is it reliable enough to be admissible in court?

    Of course. Voice recognition has been used in criminal trials for years now. Google “reliability of forensic voice recognition” and you get links to many studies.

  20. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:24 am

    It’s amusing that his statement is the only one being dismissed as unreliable.

    It’s even more amusing that you wingnuts assume only “John” is right and everyone else is wrong.

  21. myiq2xu  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:31 am

    Sorry, but I’m not a wingnut. I am a liberal and a former criminal defense attorney.

  22. Swami  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:33 am

    The eyewitness John Doe reported to “Fox news”.. OK, there’s no question of reliability in that report. It must be rock solid.

  23. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:35 am

    Sorry, but I’m not a wingnut. I am a liberal and a former criminal defense attorney.

    Yes, and I’m Brad Pitt.

    Good bye.

  24. faketony  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:44 am

    I just watch a promotional youtube video for the Easy Voice Biometrics software. The software compares 2 known samples of Richard Nixon talking and concludes there is a 86% chance they are the same person (14% chance they are not the same person).

    I`ve listened to the GZ, TM 911 call and wondered the information value of comparing yelling and screaming to spoken word?

    Under the conditions to me a 48% match to GW is starting to sound gosh-diddily okely- dokely good.

  25. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:55 am

    Bye, myiq1/2others!

    We hardly knew ye…

    And, to be sure – no great loss.

  26. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @12:28 pm

    I just watch a promotional youtube video for the Easy Voice Biometrics software.

    Wow, that must make you an expert.

    Good bye.

  27. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @12:33 pm

    Wait!
    Not so fast, maha – faketony might be just the expert voice analyst Zimmerman’s defense team is looking for!

  28. Swami  •  Apr 1, 2012 @12:43 pm

    My voice recognition software concluded that there was a 14% possiblity that Nixon was not a crook. Ya think I should scrap it for a program that is more dependable?

  29. jeffhas  •  Apr 1, 2012 @12:54 pm

    WOW – you banned someone for denying they were a ‘wingnut’?

    So much for tolerance (and relying on facts when it comes to a person’s guilt, innocent until proven guilty, judged by a jury of your peers, etc).

    So long as you can keep your narrative going, the end justifies the means.

    No biggie – his blog is bigger and better than yours anyways.

  30. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @12:58 pm

    you banned someone for denying they were a ‘wingnut’?

    I banned him for being an obvious liar. I’m banning you for being an obvious fool.

    Good bye.

  31. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @1:08 pm

    WAAAAAAY OT – but something worth SCREAMING about:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/opinion/sunday/kristof-financers-and-sex-trafficking.html?_r=1&ref=business

    It appears as if Goldman Sachs owned a 16% stake in a company named Village Voice Media, which has been involved in the sex-trafficking of women for years – including under-aged ones.

    Someone from Goldman Sachs sat on that companies board for years, but said Goldman knew nothing about it.
    Oh… yeah… ok… if you say so…
    (Were you THAT bored sitting on that board that you didn’t listen, or look at where the money was coming from? What the hell were you doing there then? Besides picking-up another pay check, I mean?).
    On Friday, after this was discovered, Goldman frantically dumped their shares.

    Something tells me that these sex-trafficking allegations won’t help the 1%ers, who demand our respect and admiration for them as they rape our wallets.

    Just further proof that our corporate masters don’t care a bit about how, when, where, why, and off of whom, their money’s being made – as long as there’s money to be made – or at least not until it starts to make them look bad. Then, these financial geniuses, who claim they never miss anything in any corporate report, run away and claim total ignorance. So, kids, which is it? Genius, or f’in idiocy?

    I wonder if it was his daughter being sold into sexual slavery, whether Lloyd Blankenfein, the CEO of Goldman, might care?
    But, then, I wouldn’t be surprised that it didn’t bother him a bit – as long as he got back a nice ROI on his investment in her over the years.
    Would you be surprised?

  32. Lynne  •  Apr 1, 2012 @2:11 pm

    Wow. There was a real infestation here for a bit.

  33. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @2:48 pm

    There was a real infestation here for a bit.

    They do tend to come in swarms.

  34. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 1, 2012 @2:54 pm

    More like herd’s.
    Conservative tend to have a herd mentality.

  35. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:19 pm

    The defense does not have to prove anything to prevail. If the evidence leads to two or more reasonable conclusions and one of those conclusions points towards innocence, the jury MUST acquit.

    Oh, for *fuck’s* sake. Are you really that stupid?

    A young man is *dead*. Dead. Get that? He was killed, and the would-be defendant has admitted to killing him.

    At this point, the defendant sure as hell should have something to prove, even under a license to murder like the Florida statutes. In any rational, just society, there should be a very high burden of proof, and it should go far beyond a few questions asked, a few witnesses coached, and an attempt to sweep everything under the rug.

    As for thinking you can tell a jury what they *must* do, lots of luck. They can decide what to do, and can’t be compelled. If they were able to be compelled, there’d be no point in having them.

  36. maha  •  Apr 1, 2012 @6:12 pm

    Well, strictly speaking, my understanding is that in a criminal case the defendant has no burden to prove himself innocent. All the burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt. If the jury has a “reasonable doubt” in the prosecution’s case they’re supposed to acquit. But, yeah, juries are not likely to acquit a defendant who has no defense.

  37. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Apr 2, 2012 @12:27 am

    Well, strictly speaking, my understanding is that in a criminal case the defendant has no burden to prove himself innocent.

    Nod. If Trayvon Martin was shot by “person or persons unknown,” the prosecution would first have to prove that the shooter was Zimmerman. And, if they couldn’t prove that, the jury should acquit. (And if there wasn’t strong evidence that it was true, it shouldn’t even justify an indictment.)

    But this is a different situation. We know who the shooter was (and there will be more than sufficient evidence to establish that).

    Once we have it granted that he did the shooting, the prosecutor’s job is done, and the jury should convict – unless Zimmerman’s defense can show that while he did kill Trayvon Martin, it wasn’t a crime because of a some other issue (in this case, self defense). At this point, the burden is on Zimmerman to convince the jury that it was self defense, and this is an affirmative defense (unless the Stand Your Ground nonsense messes with that too!).

    I don’t know about burden of proof in these circumstances… (Per Wikipedia, it depends on the jurisdiction). But there is a burden, and it belongs to the defendant. And it should; otherwise, we’d never be able to convict. People would always just say “Oh, it was self defense; prove that it wasn’t.”

  38. Swami  •  Apr 2, 2012 @12:47 am

    If a big over stuffed bag of shit could talk..here’s what it would say.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/30/opinion/bennett-trayvon-martin/index.html?iref=obnetwork



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