I believe Tracy Martin.
In an emotional testimony Monday, Martin took the witness stand in the trial of George Zimmerman, the self-proclaimed neighborhood watch captain accused of murdering Martin’s unarmed son, Travyon, on a rainy night in Sanford, Florida last year.
Zimmerman’s attorneys called Martin to the stand after a law enforcement officer testified Monday that Martin told him that while listening to 911 tapes of Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin a year ago, Tracy Martin said the voice screaming “help” on the recording was not Trayvon.
But under oath on Monday, Tracy Martin, a grieving father, was firm in his testimony that the cop was mistaken, delivering a blow to the callous defense strategy.
The 911 tape has emerged as a critical piece of evidence in the three-week long trail. Trayon Martin’s mother, Sybrina, and Travyon’s brother, Jahvaris, testified that the screaming voice on the tape was Trayvon. Zimmerman’s mother, Gladys, and several friends of Zimmerman testified that it’s actually Zimmerman screaming for help.
The testimony of the witnesses, called by the defense, could be crucial as Zimmerman’s lawyers try to show that Trayvon, 17, was the aggressor and that Zimmerman shot him in self-defense.
So who will the jury believe? I hope the jury takes into account that Zimmerman’s attorney called Tracy Martin to the stand and forced him to relive the final moments of Travyon’s Martin’s life.
It seemed mean-spirited and pointless.
But Tracy Martin was not shaken by Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, who tried to prove that Martin was lying about what he initially told police.
“As best as I recall, after he played the tape he basically just said, ‘Do you recognize the voice?’” Martin said of the police officer.
“And what was your response?” asked O’Mara.
“My response was that I didn’t tell him, ‘No, that wasn’t Trayvon.’ I think I kind of pushed away from the table and kind of shook my head and said, ‘I can’t tell,” said Martin. He said he has no knowledge of an enhanced version of the call and he didn’t tell anyone he had listened to one.
“After listening to the tape maybe 20 times, I said I knew it was Trayvon’s voice. I didn’t direct that towards any family members,” Martin said. “Matter of fact, I think the family members had started leaving out the room. It was too much for them, they couldn’t take it.”
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He claims he shot Martin in self-defense, but Martin’s family called the killing cold-blooded. Trayvon was unarmed. He was only carrying a bag of Skittles.
On Monday, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked Tracy Martin about his state of mind while listening to the 911 tapes last year.
“Basically what I was listening to, I was listening to my son’s last cry for help. I was listening to his life being taken and I was trying to come to grips with that, that Trayvon was here no more. It was just tough,” said Martin.
“Yes,” said Martin. “I was just trying to figure out… why did the defendant get out of his vehicle and chase my son?” said Martin.
“My world has just been turned upside down,” said Martin.
“I have no doubt in mind that’s his voice,” said Geri Russo, a former co-worker of Zimmerman, echoing testimony of several other defense witnesses.
Later Monday, the Martin family issued a statement saying that Zimmerman, just days after the shooting, told investigators that it was not his voice crying for help on the 911 recording.
But for me, it all comes down to this: One witness has already testified that the voice she heard screaming for help outside her apartment was the voice of a younger man. Trayvon was 17 years old. And then she heard a gunshot – and the screaming stopped.
Tracy Martin said he knows the screams on the 911 tape came from Trayvon. A father knows his son’s voice whether it’s laughter — or screams from distress.
“It’s very difficult to believe that Trayvon isn’t living,” Martin testified Monday. “He was my best friend in life.”
Martin, I believe, was telling jurors the truth.