SANFORD, Fla. -- The judge in the murder trial of George Zimmerman said Saturday that prosecution audio experts who identified Trayvon Martin as the person screaming on a 911 call moments before he was killed won't be allowed to testify at trial.
The screams are crucial pieces of evidence because they could determine who the aggressor was in the confrontation before Zimmerman fatally shot the unarmed teenager. Martin's family contends it was the teen screaming, while Zimmerman's father has said it was his son.
Judge Debra Nelson ruled that the methods used by the experts aren't reliable. Her ruling doesn't prevent the 911 calls from being played at trial. She reached the decision after hearing arguments that stretched over several days this month on whether to allow testimony from two prosecution experts.
One expert ruled out Zimmerman as the screamer and another said it was Martin. Defense experts argued there was not enough audio to determine who the screams are coming from. Zimmerman's attorneys also argued that the state experts' analysis is flawed.
Opening statements are set for Monday in the second-degree murder trial for the former neighborhood watch volunteer who says he fired on the black teenager in self-defense last year.
The elimination of the audio experts will likely shorten the trial by a week. Before the ruling, attorneys had predicted the trial could last two to four weeks after opening statements. -- AP