Wrapping up their chief case against George Zimmerman,
prosecutors on Friday morning called Trayvon Martin's mother and brother to the
Sybrina Fulton, who over the past 17 months has been highly visible in pushing for justice for her slain teenage son, identified his voice as the one screaming out for help on a 911 call that captured sounds of the shooting.
"I heard my son screaming," Fulton said.
Fulton started out her testimony with an emotional, if frank, description of her son: "My youngest son is Trayvon Benjamin Martin. He's in heaven."
She also told Zimmerman's defense attorney, during a short cross-examination, that she wished "that this would have never happened and he would still be here."
Trayvon's older brother, Jahvaris Fulton, also took the stand and identified his sibling's voice on the 911 call -- although the defense pointed out that Jahvaris Fulton once told a Miami television reporter that he wasn't sure.
Jahvaris Fulton acknowledged he hadn't always been certain, saying his first listening of the tape "was clouded by shock and sadness and denial."
The testimony of Trayvon's family was the emotional capstone in the state's initial case against Zimmerman in the closely watched second-degree murder trial.
For prosecutors, their testimony is key because it suggests that Zimmerman was the aggressor in the violent scuffle that led to Trayvon's death. Their words were more important because a Seminole circuit judge refused to allow testimony from state audio experts who suggested the cries belonged to Trayvon.
Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting death of Trayvon, 17, of Miami Gardens. He shot and killed the unarmed Trayvon during a violent confrontation inside a gated Sanford community.
A neighborhood watch volunteer with a penchant for calling 911, Zimmerman claimed he fired in self-defense after Trayvon beat his head into the concrete and appeared to reach for his weapon. The initial delay in arresting Zimmerman sparked racially tinged outrage from Trayvon's family and civil rights leaders, who staged rallies in Sanford and other U.S. cities.
Gov. Rick Scott appointed prosecutors from Duval County to oversee the case, and Zimmerman was arrested 44 days after the shooting.
During the trial, prosecutors have sought to portray Zimmerman as a frustrated cop wannabe who took out his frustration over neighborhood security by profiling and chasing Trayvon, who was visiting his father in the town just north of Orlando.
On Friday, prosecutors called what is expected to be their final witness: Seminole Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Shiping Bao.
Bao described Martin's fatal injury -- one bullet to his lower left chest that pierced his heart. He said Martin likely remained alive for one to 10 minutes after being shot, "still in pain, still in suffering."
Jurors' eyes were glued to the projector as autopsy photos were shown of Martin's body and his bloodied sweatshirt. They passed around a bag containing bullet fragments taken from Martin's chest.
During cross examination, Bao repeatedly emphasized that he did not remember specifics from the autopsy on Feb. 27, 2012, saying he only knew what was contained in his notes and the official autopsy.
Before the lunch break, Bao also revealed that he was reading from private notes he had prepared in anticipation of his cross examination.
Defense attorney Don West requested to see the notes, and Bao refused before the judge announced both legal teams could review the notes during lunch.
(c)2013 The Miami Herald
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