Lawyers: Zimmerman Whispered ‘Punks’ Before Shooting Trayvon Martin

by | April 5, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Crime, General

(AP Photo/Orange County Jail via Miami Herald)

Some people believe the police recording of George Zimmerman’s 911 call included a garbled word that suggested the shooting of Trayvon Martin was racially motivated. However, Zimmerman’s attorneys say his client told them he whispered “punks,” not a racial slur, in the moments before shooting Martin, according to CNN.

Zimmerman told his attorneys that he said, “[Expletive] punks,” according to attorneys Hal Ulrig and Craig Sonner.

Forensic audio expert Tom Owen analyzed the 911 recordings, and agreed the word that raised controversy was “punks,” not the racial slur some people said they heard.

Several members of CNN’s editorial staff repeatedly reviewed the tape that Owen provided but could not agree on whether Zimmerman used a slur.

On Feb. 26 in Sanford Florida, 28-year-old Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, allegedly profiled 17-year-old Martin, who was black, as “suspicious,” according to Martin’s supporters. Zimmerman reportedly ignored a police dispatcher’s request not to follow him.

The case has since triggered widespread outrage about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, along with race and racial profiling.

Zimmerman’s attorneys, however, do not agree with Owen’s conclusions on what is heard during another 911 recording, in which Zimmerman claims he was yelling for help.

Trayvon Martin’s relatives, including his cousin Ronquavis Fulton, are certain the voice heard on the 911 call was Martin’s, not Zimmerman’s.

“There’s a huge chance that this is not Zimmerman’s voice,” said Ed Primeau, a longtime audio engineer who is listed as an expert in recorded evidence by the American College of Forensic Examiners International.

“After 28 years of doing this, I would put my reputation on the line and say this is not George Zimmerman screaming.”

Owen also believes the call for help is not Zimmerman’s. However, since they do not have a voice sample for Trayvon Martin, both experts stress that while they doubt the voice is Zimmerman’s, they do not have enough evidence to support the verdict that the voice is Martin’s.

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