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Voice experts testify in Zimmerman hearing

SANFORD, Fla. -- An expert hired by an Orlando newspaper testified yesterday that screams for help on 911 calls don't match neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman's voice.

Tom Owen testified on the second day of a hearing that will determine whether voice identification experts can be used at Zimmerman's second-degree trial for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The trial starts Monday, and Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Testimony for the hearing was to continue today before Circuit Judge Debra Nelson makes a decision.

Owen was hired by the Orlando Sentinel last year to compare a voice sample of Zimmerman with screams for help captured on 911 calls made by neighbors. He only compared Zimmerman's voice to the 911 calls because he didn't have a voice sample for Martin at the time.

"The screams don't match at all," Owen said. "That's what tells me the screams aren't George Zimmerman."

Under questioning from Zimmerman's attorney, Owens conceded that the sample wasn't long enough to run a proper test according to the specifications of the software. He said he "looped" -- or repeated the sample -- in order to run the analysis.

The screams captured on the 911 calls are crucial pieces of evidence since they could determine who the aggressor was in the confrontation.

Martin's family contends it was the teen screaming, while Zimmerman's father has said it was his son.

An audio expert also gave testimony yesterday by telephone. Alan Reich has said in a report for prosecutors that the screams on the 911 tapes were from Martin and the defense does not want him to testify at trial. But Reich also said it wasn't possible to reach absolute conclusions based on the quality of the audio.

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