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Official Student Media of Valencia College

Valencia Voice

Official Student Media of Valencia College

Valencia Voice

Confusion among witnesses to shooting of Trayvon Martin

Confusion among witnesses to shooting of Trayvon Martin

Evidence released to the media Thursday in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin reveal conflicting witness accounts in relation to what was heard and seen.

Federal voice analysts were unable to determine who was calling for help in the background of all six 911 calls placed by residents of the Twin Lake Apartment Complex, but statements from multiple witnesses claim that the voice belonged to a “young boy.”

“Voice comparison is not possible for the designated voices due to extreme stress and unsuitable audio quality,” the FBI digital evidence laboratory report reads.

Audio the 911 calls made my neighbors was compared to earlier calls made by Zimmerman and Martin, but several factors hindered an accurate comparison to be made, included the “extreme emotional state” of the person yelling for help, as well as the imposition of other voices.

Martin’s father, Tracy, listened to the tapes of the six emergency calls days after the death of his son. When asked if the voice yelling for help was that of his son, Trayvon, Martin replied, ‘No.’

Several witness statements describe hearing loud, argumentative voices that night, followed by cries for help and, eventually, a gunshot. One witness described the voice as belonging to a “young person,” and another said that the person screaming also sounded like a “young boy’s” voice.

The probable cause affidavit prepared by the state declares the voice to be Zimmerman’s, but also states that “the initial harmful event has no witnesses.”

Eyewitness statements describe a man in a red shirt, later identified as Zimmerman, being straddled by another man and repeatedly hit, as the person calling out for help. One witness statement described a person throwing punches “MMA style” while sitting on top of a person in a red shirt who was calling for help.

The witness then stated that as he went to call 911, he heard a “pop,” indicative of a gunshot. When he returned to the window to survey the scene, he saw the man in the red shirt (Zimmerman) standing over Martin, who was facedown in the grass.

Nearly every witness statement confirmed this version of events, and appear consistent with the physical injuries sustained by the two men. Hospital records show that Zimmerman suffered a fractured nose and an “open wound of the scalp,” indicative of assault.

Officer Timothy Smith, one of the first to respond to the scene, observed Zimmerman’s bloody nose and head, as well as evidence that indicated Zimmerman had been on the ground at some point.

“I could observe that his back appeared to be wet and was covered with grass, as if he had been laying on his back on the ground,” Smith’s report stated.

Martin, meanwhile, was found facedown on the ground with his hands under him by officer Ricardo Ayala. Officer Anthony Raimondo attempted CPR on Martin when Martin did not respond to verbal statements by Ayala.

Upon hearing “bubbling sounds” while conducting CPR, Raimondo lifted Martin’s shirt and noticed a gunshot wound to the chest. No exit wound was found on Martin’s back.

The autopsy performed on Martin indicated that he was shot from a close distance, between 1-18 inches away. It also revealed an abrasion on Martin’s finger, somewhat suggestive of a struggle. Toxicology reports from the autopsy found marijuana in Martin’s system at the time of the shooting.

Martin was in Sanford following a 10-day suspension from school for being caught with an empty plastic bag which had previously contained marijuana.

The probable cause affidavit also stated that “the encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party’s concern.”

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