Judge to rule on George Zimmerman voice experts on Friday

Zimmerman charged with 2nd-degree murder in Trayvon Martin's death

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SANFORD, Fla. - Judge Debra Nelson says she will rule on Friday if the state audio expert testimony will be admissible during George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

The Frye hearing, which was focused on the audio experts testifying about the screams heard in the background of neighbors' 911 calls, was previously held on June 8 and earlier this week, but no decision was made.

Nelson said she will review her notes and come back with a ruling on Friday. Court will be in session at 9 a.m. to discuss other pretrial motions that still need to be heard before opening statements on Monday.

The state audio experts in question are Dr. Alan Reich, who says he hears Trayvon Martin saying "I'm begging you" in the background of the 911 calls, and New Jersey audio forensic expert Tom Owen, the expert who excluded Zimmerman as the source of the screams in the 911 calls.

Owen testified via video chat on Thursday, saying that he's testified opposite of the defense's expert several times, including one case in 1999.

Defense attorney Don West questioned Owen on if he used the same software in the 1999 case, to which Owen said he used one of the two software in the case.

Prosecutor Richard Mantei made closing arguments for the state, saying Owen and Reich are both experienced in their field and spent hours analyzing the audio tapes. He said that Reich's methodology was not "new or novel," which is what a Frye hearing determines.

Mantei also broke down each of the defense's witnesses--George Doddington, Peter French and Jim Wayman-- and compared their experience and studies to the state audio experts.

He said the judge should let the jury decide if the experts have credibility.

In West's closing arguments, he said the defense has been scrambling to get state audio experts' testimony in the case. West said Owen never prepared a report and was unable to get a deposition from him because of the price.

West said the defense learned of Reich in the last discovery order and received his report on May 10.

"We still don't know what his (Reich's) methods are and what his findings were," West said, adding that no other expert has heard what Reich reportedly heard.

West said analyzing the 911 audio calls was a "waste of time" and said Reich's report should begin "it was a dark and stormy night," because it lacks scientific evidence.

In rebuttal, Mantei said the hearing is not an "acronym contest" and that a Ph.D. is not needed to analyze audio samples.

Wayman was unable to testify for the defense at the June 8 hearing, prompting the hearing delay.He testified on Wednesday that he was baffled by Reich's methodology in his testing.

He also said looping audio for analysis, as Owen did, is not accurate. Wayman said software doesn't exist, calling it "breathtakingly new" when West asked if the methodology would be new and novel.

The six-person jury and 4-person alternate jury was seated earlier Thursday afternoon after nearly nine days of questioning.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a struggle in a gated community where he lived. He is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Martin's family claim the cries came from the teen while Zimmerman's father has testified they were those of his son.

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