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Trayvon Martin’s Father Called To Stand By Defense

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SANFORD, FL - JULY 8:  The Father of Trayvon Martin, Tracy Martin, testifies as a defense witness in George Zimmerman  trial in Seminole circuit court, July 8, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. Donnelly identified the screams as belonging to Zimmerman. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

SANFORD, FL – JULY 8: The Father of Trayvon Martin, Tracy Martin, testifies as a defense witness in George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court, July 8, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. Donnelly identified the screams as belonging to Zimmerman. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

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Trayvon Martin

SANFORD (CBSMiami/AP) –  Trayvon Martin’s father testified Monday that he never denied it was his son’s voice screaming for help on a 911 call, contradicting police officers’ earlier testimony at George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial.

Tracy Martin said that he merely told officers he couldn’t tell if it was his son after his first time listening to the call.

“I never said that wasn’t my son’s voice,” said Tracy Martin, who added that he concluded it was his son after listening to the call as many as 20 times.

Tracy Martin’s testimony came after the lead investigator probing Martin’s death testified that the father had answered “no” when the detective asked if the screams belonged to Trayvon Martin. Officer Chris Serino played the 911 call for Tracy Martin in the days immediately following Trayvon Martin’s death in February 2012.

“He looked away and under his breath he said ‘no’,” Serino said of Tracy Martin.

Officer Doris Singleton backed up Serino’s account.

Convincing the jury of whose voice is on the tape is important to both sides because it would help jurors decide who was the aggressor in the confrontation that left Martin dead. Relatives of Martin’s and George Zimmerman’s have offered conflicting opinions about who is heard screaming.

During cross examination of Serino, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda suggested that Tracy Martin may have been in denial about his son’s death and uttered, ‘no.”

“It could be perceived as denial,” Serino said.

The investigator’s testimony was just the latest effort to determine who was crying for help on the 911 calls.

Convincing the jury of whose voice is on the tapes is important because it would help them decide who was the aggressor in the confrontation. Relatives of Martin’s and Zimmerman’s have offered conflicting opinions about who is heard screaming.

Earlier in the day several friends of Zimmerman took the stand to testify that it was Zimmerman’s voice screaming for help on a 911 call and not that of Martin.

The three friends joined a series of witnesses called by the defense who have testified that Zimmerman is screaming for help on the 911 call moments before he fatally shot Martin.

After the call was played for Sondra Osterman in the courtroom, defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked who it was.

“Yes, definitely. It’s Georgie,” said Sondra Osterman, who testified she first met Zimmerman in 2006 while working with him at a mortgage company. Sondra Osterman and her husband, Mark, describe themselves as the best friends of Zimmerman and his wife.

The 911 call captured the confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin shortly before Zimmerman fatally shot the teen. Zimmerman’s mother and uncle testified last Friday it was Zimmerman screaming. Martin’s mother and brother also took the witness stand last Friday to say the voice belongs to Martin. The 911 call is a crucial bit of evidence and has been played for jurors repeatedly because it could determine who the aggressor was in the confrontation last year.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and says he shot Martin in self-defense during a scuffle in the townhome complex where he lived. Martin was there visiting his father and his father’s fiancee.

Prosecutors contend that Zimmerman was profiling Martin and perceived the teen as someone suspicious in the neighborhood, which had been the site of a series of break-ins.

Under cross-examination, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda implied that Sondra Osterman and her husband, Mark, had a stake in the outcome of the trial because they had written a book about Zimmerman’s case and were donating the proceeds to their friend.

Mark Osterman took the witness stand after his wife to testify about how Zimmerman had chosen and purchased his firearm. He testified that Zimmerman could shoot with both hands, and he also said he recommended keeping the gun loaded.

He said it was Zimmerman’s voice screaming when the 911 call was played for him in the courtroom.

Former co-worker Geri Russo also testified it was Zimmerman yelling on the call.

The prosecutor also played for Sondra Osterman a nonemergency police call Zimmerman made to report Martin walking through his neighborhood. In the call, Zimmerman uses the words, “F—— punks. These a——-. They always get away.” Sondra Osterman identified the voice as Zimmerman’s.

When asked by O’Mara if she detected ill will, spite or hatred in his voice, she answered no.

Also on Monday, prosecutors have asked a judge to prevent Zimmerman’s defense attorneys from showing jurors a computer-animated depiction of his fatal confrontation with Martin.  Their motion requests that the animation not be mentioned or played at the trial because it would only confuse jurors.   They add that the animation doesn’t show a murder weapon and only approximates positions based on witness accounts.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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