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Live Coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 5, 2013 - 09:00   ET



MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did you have any thought in mind how you would react if you believed (ph) or didn't hear your son's voice?

SYBRINA FULTON: I didn't really know what the tape was all about.

DE LA RIONDA: And everybody else in the room, when they listened to the tape, who was the first one to react?


O'MARA: And everybody else then reacted similarly to you, correct?

SYBRINA FULTON: Well, they also heard the tape themselves.

O'MARA: Correct. And every one of them then told you that they agree with your opinion that it was Trayvon Martin's voice, correct?

SYBRINA FULTON: They didn't tell me anything.

O'MARA: When you mentioned a moment ago that you didn't know what the tape was about, nobody spoke to you to tell you that you would soon be listening to screams from the event that led to your son's death?


O'MARA: Mayor Triplett never said anything like that to you?


O'MARA: Nor any of your other family members?

SYBRINA FULTON: They hadn't heard the tape at that time.

O'MARA: The question is whether or not anyone told you to prepare yourself for the event of the trauma of having to listen to somebody scream moments before your son was shot.


O'MARA: Nobody mentioned that to you?


O'MARA: Tracy Martin never told you about that? SYBRINA FULTON: No.

O'MARA: And you just need to listen to it one time, correct?


O'MARA: Thank you, your honor. And then obviously based upon potential recall.


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: You were asked about hope. Did you hope your son wouldn't be dead, Trayvon Martin? You were asked by defense counsel about hope. Were you still hoping he would still be alive?

SYBRINA FULTON: I was hoping he was still alive.

DE LA RIONDA: And I don't how else to ask this but I'm going to ask it. Did you enjoy listening to that recording?

SYBRINA FULTON: Absolutely not.

DE LA RIONDA: Thank you, no further questions.

NELSON: OK, Ms. Fulton - yes.

O'MARA: (INAUDIBLE). Ma'am, I don't mean to put you through this any more than necessary and we need to. But you certainly would hope that your son, Trayvon Martin, did nothing that could have led to his own death?

SYBRINA FULTON: What was your question, again?

O'MARA: You certainly hope, as a mom, you certainly hope that your son, Trayvon Martin, would not have done anything that would have led to his own death, correct?

SYBRINA FULTON: What I hoped for is that this would have never happened and he would still be here. That's my hope.

O'MARA: Absolutely. Now, dealing with the reality that he's no longer here, it's certainly your hope as a mom -- hold out hope as long as you can -- that Trayvon Martin was in no way responsible for his own death, correct?

SYBRINA FULTON: I don't believe he was.

O'MARA: I know. And that's the hope that you continue, correct?

SYBRINA FULTON: I don't understand what you're trying to ask me.

O'MARA: Again, I don't mean to put you through more than we need to. No other questions.

NELSON: OK, thank you. Ms. Fulton, you may step down. You're subject to being recalled. Just so we know, we're having an issue with the evidence locker door and as soon as that gets resolved you'll be more than likely be recalled. OK, thank you.

State, want to call your next witness please?

DE LA RIONDA: Jahvaris Fulton, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raise your right hand, please. Do you solemnly swear and affirm that the testimony you shall give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?


NELSON: You may proceed.

JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: Thank you, your honor. Good morning, sir. If could you please tell the members of the jury your name.

JAHVARIS FULTON: Jahvaris Fulton.

GUY: Mr. Fulton, how old are you?


GUY: In what city do you currently live?


GUY: Can I ask you to scoot up just a little bit so we can get you into that microphone? How long have you lived in the Miami area?


GUY: Are you in school?


GUY: Where is it that you attend school?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Florida International University.

GUY: What year will you be at FIU this coming fall?

JAHVARIS FULTON: This will be my senior year.

GUY: Do you have a major?


GUY: And what is that?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Information technology.

GUY: And are you a full-time student?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Yes. GUY: Are you related to Trayvon Martin?


GUY: How so?

JAHVARIS FULTON: That's my brother.

GUY: Are you older or younger than Trayvon Martin?


GUY: How much older?

JAHVARIS FULTON: About four and a half years.

GUY: What is your mother's name?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Sybrina Fulton.

GUY: And what is your -- are you related to Tracy Martin?


GUY: How are you related to Tracy Martin?

JAHVARIS FULTON: That's my dad.

GUY: Is he your biological father?


GUY: Why do you call him your dad?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Well, he's the only dad I know. I grew up with him.

GUY: Did you and Trayvon Martin grow up together?


GUY: And how would you describe your relationship with Trayvon Martin growing up? Were you all close or what?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Yes, we were very close.

GUY: Despite the four years' age difference, did the two of you, you and Trayvon Martin, do things together when you were growing up?


GUY: Let me turn your attention to the month of February 2012. Were you and Trayvon Martin living together at that time?


GUY: And who did you live with? JAHVARIS FULTON: My mom, Sybrina Fulton, my brother, and my uncle.

GUY: Let me turn your attention to Sunday, February 26th. Were you aware that Trayvon Martin was with his father, Tracy Martin, in Sanford, Florida, that day?


GUY: Did you go to Sanford that weekend?


GUY: At some point, were you notified that Trayvon had been killed in Sanford?


GUY: And when were you told?


GUY: And who told you?


GUY: Since your brother's death, have you had an opportunity to hear a tape that contains screaming and a gunshot?


GUY: Can you estimate for the members of the jury approximately how many times you've heard that tape?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Anywhere between 10 to 15 times.

GUY: And how have you heard it? Have you heard it on a computer, on TV, on the Internet, or what?

JAHVARIS FULTON: I've heard it from a computer and from TV.

GUY: And do you recognize any voices on that tape?


GUY: Whose voice do you recognize?


GUY: Trayvon's?


GUY: What parts of the recording do you recognize as your brother's voice?

JAHVARIS FULTON: The yelling and the screaming. GUY: Have you ever heard Trayvon Martin yell or scream as the two of you were growing up?

JAHVARIS FULTON: I've heard him yell, but not like that, but yes.

GUY: Your honor, that's all I have. Thank you.

NELSON: Thank you. (Inaudible) cross?

O'MARA: Yes, your honor.

Morning, sir.

JAHVARIS FULTON: Good morning.

O'MARA: You actually were not as certain that it was your brother's voice when you first heard it though, correct?


O'MARA: Matter of fact, you had talked to a reporter about whose voice it may have been, correct?


O'MARA: And you told that reporter on March 31st of 2012 that you weren't sure, correct?


O'MARA: You said that, "Honestly, really haven't listened to it. I've heard it. I think it was my brother, but I'm not completely positive," correct?


O'MARA: So, having listened to the tape, the first time you listened to it was in the mayor's office in Sanford, correct?


O'MARA: And your mom was there, correct?


O'MARA: And other family members, and at least these two attorneys, correct?


O'MARA: And during that time, you listened to it along with everybody else, correct?


O'MARA: And from having listened to it, it was your thought that it might be Trayvon, correct?

JAHVARIS FULTON: When we heard it in the mayor's office -- how do I explain -- I wasn't. I guess I didn't want to believe that it was him. So that's why during that interview, I said I wasn't sure. I guess it was -- listening to it was clouded by shock and denial and sadness. I didn't really want to believe that was him.

O'MARA: Sure. But you recall the date thereabouts when you listened to that? Middle of march, March 16th of 2012? Would that be about right?

JAHVARIS FULTON: I don't remember.

O'MARA: Let me ask it this way. It was a full two weeks before you had your sit down interview with the reporter, wasn't it?

JAHVARIS FULTON: I'm not sure.

O'MARA: OK. If I were to -- I mentioned a moment ago that the interview was on CBS Miami Channel 4 on March 31st. Do you have any reason to contest that?

JAHVARIS FULTON: No, I'm not sure of the dates.

O'MARA: OK, and I mentioned also that the tape, and we'll find this out from other witnesses, but the tape was played for the family on March 16th or thereabouts. Would you have any reason to contest to that?


O'MARA: So, that was about two weeks. Did you listen to the tape in between?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Probably not.

O'MARA: In the two weeks, I'm sorry.

JAHVARIS FULTON: I'm guessing no.

O'MARA: Well, the reporter actually played the tape, didn't he, when you were there?

JAHVARIS FULTON: I'm not sure. Actually, could you -- I'm not sure of the time you're talking about.

O'MARA: OK. Let me ask you this way then, do you recall sitting down with Gio Benitez, a reporter for CBS Channel 4, and talking to them about who you thought may or may not have been on the tape?


O'MARA: Do you remember that event?


O'MARA: I'm sorry?

JAHVARIS FULTON: Yes, I remember.

O'MARA: And that was the event I talked about earlier where your first answer to him, his question was "Who did you hear crying for help?" You remember that question?

JAHVARIS FULTON: I don't remember the question.

O'MARA: OK. Then, what I'd like to do with the court's indulgence, is to play that recording for you and ask if you remember the call at that point -- the TV program at that point.

GUY: Judge, I object to that as being improper impeachment.

NELSON: We would need to do that first outside the presence of the jury.

O'MARA: I understand.

NELSON: So, ladies and gentlemen, if you'll please put your notepads face down, follow Deputy Jarvis (ph) back into the jury room.

Please be seated.

O'MARA: (INAUDIBLE) that we have previously suggested that it needs to be played outside the jury. I think he now denied the question and answer, and I think it's proper impeachment to play his own words for them.

NELSON: I think he said he wasn't sure. And if the rules of impeachment require that you show the witness the statement or let them listen to the statement, and that's done to themselves. Since it's going to be played in open court, the jury needed to be removed. So you can play it for him and we'll go from there.

O'MARA: Yes, your honor.

GUY: And, Judge, just for the record, I believe the witness's answer was that he told the reporter that he wasn't positive it was his brother's voice. So I think this is not going to be proper impeachment because I think it's consistent with what he said in court.

NELSON: Well, let him listen to it.


GIO BENITEZ, CBS MIAMI REPORTER: Obviously, you heard those calls.


O'MARA: It has video. I don't know it's necessary for the witness to see the video. So rather than go through warming up the projector -

NELSON: Just go ahead and play it. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, you heard those calls. I know, you mentioned the cries for help. When you heard those calls and those cries for help, who did you hear crying for help?

JAHVARIS FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S BROTHER: I'm not sure. Honestly, I don't -- I haven't really even listened to them that good. But like I've heard it, but -- I mean, I would think it is my brother. But I'm not completely positive that that's him.


O'MARA: For these purposes, does that assist you in remembering the conversation you had with Gio Benitez?


O'MARA: That was your voice, correct?


O'MARA: You said the words, I'm not sure?


O'MARA: I think that for the purpose of impeachment, but I am going to review my request that based upon concerning his answers to --

NELSON: I need to hear his answer to the original question because the state is saying that he answered similarly. So, if the court reporter could take a moment to read it back.

O'MARA: As she's doing that, I think when I said to him his words, he said, yes. But then when I asked him again later, the later question is the more relevant one. He said I really don't remember. It was for that reason that I want to remind him.

So, yes, the first question, he did. But then he equivocated towards the end of his testimony.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think his answer of "I don't know" was do you remember the reporter asking you question, that particular question. But he did not equivocate about what his answer was. He said he wasn't sure at the time, which is what he said today.

NELSON: Thank you. We all just won't say anything so the court reporter can look back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question you're referring to is, obviously, this question. Good morning, sir.

O'MARA: Not to interrupt you, but I think it was not that question. It was the first question I asked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Asked question, you asked, "You were not certain that it was your brother's voice when you first heard it, though, correct?" Answer, "Correct." Question, "As a matter of fact, you have talked to talk to a reporter about whose voice it may have been, correct?" Answer, "Yes."

You want me to keep going?

O'MARA: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Question, "When you told that reporter Gio Benitez on March 31, 2012 that you weren't sure, correct?" Answer, "Yes."

Question, "You said that, honestly, you haven't listened to it, I heard it, I would think it was my brother, but I'm not completely positive, correct?" Answer, "Uh-huh." Question, "You have to answer out loud." Answer, "Yes."

NELSON: OK. This would -- this would be impeachment of a collateral matter whether or not the question was asked but the answer is the same.

O'MARA: I want to ask the court, my concern was that he equivocated when I asked him just at the end of the examination before he took a break. So, maybe, if we had the last three or four questions just so it's or four questions just so it's in context.


REPORTER: I'll just read this.

"OK, let me ask it this way. When do you recall sitting down with Gio Benitez, a reporter for CBS Miami Channel 4, and talking to him about who you thought may or may not have been on the tape?" Answer, "Yes."

Question, "Do you remember the event? Answer, "I remember it." Question, "I'm sorry?" Answer, "Yes, I remember it."

Question, "That was the event I talked about earlier where your first answer -- where your first answer to him, his question was, who did you hear crying for help? Do you remember that question?" Answer, "I don't remember the question." And then, you wanted to play the tape.

NELSON: So, whether he remembered the question is a collateral matter. His answer was the same. That he told the reporter that he wasn't sure, whatever words were used.

So, that's not necessarily -- that's not impeachment, a collateral matter of what the reporter may have asked. His answer did not differ.

O'MARA: And I renew my request that it be played for the jury for a couple of reasons. One, his equivocation just now. And two, that the best evidence is his own words that he spoke to the reporter. It shows his inflection, it shows his hesitation rather than having just the --

NELSON: What is the purpose? Is it for impeachment? Because the court's finding, it's not impeachment? Is there another legal basis for playing that recording?

O'MARA: It's the best evidence of the event that happened back then, Your Honor. Even if he testifies to it now, he's testifying, quite honestly, in a very different attitude and inquiry.

NELSON: That's not a legal basis.

O'MARA: I understand the court's concern.

NELSON: OK. So, for impeachment purposes, no, it may not be played because his answer is the same today as it was then. So, that's not impeachment. His not remembering the reporter's question is a collateral matter because it's not the question that matters, it's the answer that's given. So, your request is that objection is sustained.

O'MARA: For record purposes, I would like to have this clip, which we just played to be marked as --

NELSON: Of course, it would come in as -- is it JJ? Not come in, but it be marked JJ.

OK. Any -- I hear the locksmiths are here and the jury is already out. So, let's take a brief recess so we can try to get that door open.

I'm going to remind you, you're still on the stand while we take our recess. You can walk around. Go back to where you were, but you cannot discuss your testimony with anybody, OK?

All right. Court will be in recess until further notice.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, the court is in recess now.

And good morning to you, I'm Carol Costello. You're in THE NEWSROOM right now. It's 23 minutes past the hour.

Emotional testimony from Trayvon Martin's mother this morning.

Didn't last very long, but I think points were made, maybe on both sides. But I'll leave that up to our experts.

With me today, as always, Page Pate, a defense attorney.



COSTELLO: Glad you're here.

I'm going to direct the first question to you. Sybrina Fulton, she said on the stand, and it was really short on direct from the prosecution. She described the tattoos on her son's body, which was actually moving in itself because they were praying hands. He had a tattoo of praying hands and he had a tattoo of his mother's name.

And then she was asked if that was, if the screams on the 911 tape were that of her son's and she said, yes. Then the defense started the cross and that's where I think that it would be easy to veer into insensitivity.

PATE: Sure.

COSTELLO: What did you think?

PATE: Well, I think Mr. O'Mara is treading very carefully. He obviously wants to suggest to the jury that Ms. Fulton knows the importance of who was screaming. And that as Trayvon's mother, she is necessarily going to hear Trayvon's voice in that recording.

He was very careful. I don't think he confronted her too much. But I think we've heard the last of Ms. Fulton. Her testimony was short because there's a piece of evidence in that locker they're trying to get to that the state is going to get to reintroduce and they're going to recall her.

So, she's not finish yet, I don't think.

COSTELLO: Which must to be so painful for her. I know these things happen, but come on.

PATE: She has been well-prepared for this testimony. She's calm. She's very clear. She, I think, has been told not to be combative with the lawyers no matter how much he may try to insult you and or shake your testimony. Be cool, be clear, state your point.

And she is doing very well as a witness.

COSTELLO: Also with us is Courtney Pilchman. She's a criminal defense attorney. She is in Irvine, California.

Courtney, hi.


COSTELLO: Good morning.

Trayvon Martin's brother is currently on the stand and he also testified that he did, indeed, think the screaming on the tape was his brother. But when he first heard the tape, he wasn't sure. Good for the defense?

PILCHMAN: It could go both ways, really. I mean, you can make the argument that, you know, it took him some time to get used to the quality of the tape, the emotions may have subsided and that he was able to understand that -- yes, this is my brother.

On the other hand, the defense made some really interesting points which is initially when asked by a reporter, you didn't know and you weren't sure. And I think that it's right with some reasonable doubt.

COSTELLO: All right, we're going to take a quick break and be back to discuss more. Recess is still in effect in the court.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: And good morning to you, once again. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. This is a special edition of NEWSROOM. It is now 30 minutes past the hour.

Of course, we'll continue our gavel-to-gavel coverage of the George Zimmerman murder trial. As soon as the key testimony resumes once again. Of course, this is a pivotal day. It opened with the stirring, emotional testimony from Trayvon Martin's mother and his older brother.

Prosecutors are supposed to rest their case as the second week of the trial winds down. Joining me this morning, CNN's George Howell who was in Sanford, Florida, the site of the trial.

Courtney Pilchman, a criminal defense attorney. She's in Irvine, California.

And here with me in Atlanta, Page Pate, also a criminal defense attorney.

Jason Johnson will be along any moment. He's been with us throughout this trial.

But I want to go first live to Sanford.

George, I want to start with you. Did you see the Martin family enter the courtroom this morning?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We did see them enter the courtroom and, you know, obviously, this is the first time for Sybrina Fulton to, you know, to give her side on what she heard on that 911 audio and don't (ph) want to talk about, though, what they said in court when asked if she heard that tape before this meeting -- the meeting that happened with Mayor Jeff Triplett in the mayor's office and also with the city manager.

She said that she never had heard the tape before, Carol. That she had not been warmed about what could be on that tape.