Zimmerman Trial: A Mother Speaks

Emotional testimony from Trayvon's mom caps a dramatic day as state rests its case and defense begins.

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Fulton said she didn't understand the question and after a brief exchange, said, "I heard my son screaming."

O'Mara got Trayvon's older brother, Jahvaris Fulton, to concede that he told a reporter that he initially wasn't sure that Trayvon was screaming on the call. Jahvaris Fulton said he'd been in a "cloud of denial" and had hoped it wasn't his brother's voice before deciding that it was. He said he has listened to the tape about 10 times.  

The screams arguably are the most penetrating evidence in the case, but the voice hasn't been identified with technological certainty. The judge barred expert testimony about the voice's identity. Zimmerman has told police he screamed for help as Trayvon slammed his head against the concrete. But when investigators played the screams for him, Zimmerman said the voice "doesn't even sound like me."

After the state rested, the defense opened its case by calling Zimmerman's mother and uncle to counter the testimony of Trayvon's relatives.

"Whose voice was it?" O'Mara asked Gladys Zimmerman, after playing the 911 call.

"My son, George," she said. Asked why she's certain, she replied, "Because he's my son."

Zimmerman's uncle, Jorge Meza, said he heard the screams on a television news report and immediately recognized the voice. "I not only heard the scream, I felt the scream in my heart," Meza said, "like my nephew is screaming for his life. It's a moment that lives with me."

Zimmerman fought back tears as he looked on from the defendant's table, in a rare expression of emotion for him during the trial.

Their testimony appeared to be a clear attempt to cancel out the emotional impact of the Fultons' testimony. Both sets of testimony being heard on the same day prevented jurors from having at least one night to absorb only the statements of Trayvon's relatives, as prosecutors had hoped.

"I'm happy the way it worked out," O'Mara told reporters after court recessed. He said he called Zimmerman's mother and uncle first because "I wanted to get out of the way that everyone in George's family knows it's his voice."