(SANFORD, Fla.) — Trayvon Martin’s father told police he did not think the voice he heard screaming for help on a 911 tape was his son, two police officers testified Monday in the George Zimmerman murder trial.
“I believe my words were, ‘Is that your son’s voice in the background?'” said investigator Chris Serino.
“What was his response?” asked Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara.
“It was more of a verbal and non-verbal. He looked away and under his breath said, ‘No,'” responded Serino.
Serino, the lead investigator in Martin’s death, said he played the tapes for Tracy Martin two days after his son’s death on Feb. 26, 2012. He said the father was desperate for answers about his son’s death.
The investigator said he played five or six of the 911 calls for Tracy Martin in which the screams for help could be heard in the background.
Officer Doris Singleton said she was choked up as she watched the tapes being played for Tracy Martin, who was listening to the screams and the gunshot for the first time.
“I could feel for him because I have children,” said Singleton. “I could see him wiping tears from his eyes…You could see that he was upset.”
She, too, said that Tracy Martin said he did not believe the screams were made by his son.
Tracy Martin was in the courtroom as both officers testified.
Serino later said when cross examined by the prosecution that Zimmerman also said “that doesn’t even sound like me” when asked about the screams.
Their testimony came after five of Zimmerman’s friends and co-workers took the stand Monday in the first full day of Zimmerman’s defense and said it was Zimmerman’s voice screaming for help seconds before he shot the teenager.
Determining who is screaming on the tapes could be key to the trial. Martin’s mother and brother have testified that it was Trayvon Martin’s voice. When Zimmerman’s defense began Friday afternoon, Zimmerman’s mother told the court that it was her son screaming for help.
Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second degree murder for shooting Martin, 17, on Feb. 26, 2012. Prosecutors say the former neighborhood watch captain was profiling and following Martin. Zimmerman maintains that he shot the teenager in self-defense.
Zimmerman’s defense began the morning by trying to establish that it was Zimmerman screaming for help.
“It’s Georgie,” said family friend Sandra Osterman when asked about the screams. “I know it.”
John Donnelly, who called Zimmerman a “dear friend,” told the jury, “There is no doubt in my mind. That is George Zimmerman and I wish to God I did not have the ability to make the determination,” he said, wiping his eyes.
Donnelly, a former Army medic during the Vietnam war, reinforced his opinion under cross examination by the prosecution.
“The voice screaming in that video is absolutely George Zimmerman, sir,” he testified.
He rejected the suggestion that he would color his testimony to help his friend.
“This courtroom is about truth,” Donnelly said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Dan Merica and Sophie Tatum, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Steve Almasy, CNN
Herb Scribner, Deseret News