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Brother: He & Trayvon Had Separate Friends; Trayvon Martin's Mother Testifies; Medical Examiner Testifies
Aired July 5, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: -- at that house?
JAHVARIS FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S BROTHER: Yes.
O'MARA: And did trayvon martin spend time there?
O'MARA: He was more living there in the last few years, wasn't he?
FULTON: Not really.
O'MARA: What do you mean by that?
FULTON: Well, when? Let me see, I guess growing up we usually spent the weekends over there or whenever we wanted, I guess, we could go over. Towards the end, it was about the same.
O'MARA: Thank you. I have nothing further.
JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: Redirect?
RICHARD MANTEI, PROSECUTOR: Thanks, Judge. Mr. Fulton, you were asked about listening to that 911 call with your brother's screams on it for the first time at the mayor's office. Was that emotionally difficult for you to hear?
MANTEI: Were you still in denial about your brother's death at that point?
MANTEI: You don't recall listening to the tape again between the time you heard it at the mayor's office and the interview that you were asked about. Is that what you're saying?
MANTEI: But you did tell the interviewer that you would like to think it's your brother's voice, but you weren't completely positive. Is that what you told him?
FULTON: Yes. O'MARA: Object, your honor.
MANTEI: Since that time of the interview you had an opportunity. You said possibly eight more times to listen to it?
MANTEI: Do you now believe it is Trayvon Martin's voice yelling for help on the tape?
MANTEI: You were asked about growing up. How old were you approximately when your mother Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin divorced?
FULTON: About 9.
MANTEI: As I understood what you said after that point you primarily lived with your mother, but you would visit Tracy Martin on the weekends.
MANTEI: Would Trayvon Martin go with you to Tracy Martin's house to visit?
MANTEI: You now go to FIU, correct?
MANTEI: Where did you go before that? Did you go to a different college?
MANTEI: And where was that located?
MANTEI: All right, when you were at FAMU in Tallahassee, would you come home and stay with your mother and Trayvon Martin?
MANTEI: Were there occasions that Trayvon Martin, your brother, went to visit you in Tallahassee, when you're in school there?
MANTEI: But back in the fall of '11 and the first months of 2012 you were actually at FIU back in Miami.
FULTON: Yes. MANTEI: Thank you, sir.
JUDGE NELSON: Can Mr. Fulton be excused?
MANTEI: Yes, ma'am.
JUDGE NELSON: Thank you very much, sir. You may be excused. The state, please call your next witness.
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, LEAD PROSECUTOR: State will recall Sybrina Fulton.
JUDGE NELSON: Yes. You are still under oath. Please approach.
(END LIVE FEED)
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, while the lawyers do the sidebar, let's talk about the testimony. It seems to me that on cross they were trying to get Trayvon Martin's brother to say, well, I didn't really spend that much time with my brother. Maybe I don't really know what he sounds like.
PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I didn't understand the point of the cross-examination. I don't think it was very effective. This is one of the first times I think Mr. O'Mara has fallen short. There was no reason to confront him that way and ask him these questions. He didn't really care about him, didn't spend much time with him. I don't think the jury responded well to that.
COSTELLO: He's so much older than Trayvon Martin, five or six years older. In a normal, usual family relationship when you're college age you're really not as connected to your high school aged brother.
PATE: It's still your brother. My brother is four years younger than I am, but that doesn't mean we're not close. Even though we're not always going out together, I'm still going to recognize his voice if I hear it on a tape.
COSTELLO: So Courtney, Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton is back on the stand. There was that big, long break while attorneys talked about whether certain evidence could be introduced at trial and -- do you think the jury -- they didn't forget what she says. I didn't want to say that. The emotion of it was it lessened in any way do you think?
COURTNEY PILCHMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. It might be good for the prosecution because they get to see her again. I'm really curious what the evidence is because if you heard in the beginning, when they started, they stipulated that the body was Trayvon Martin's. So they don't need Mrs. Fulton to describe the clothing that this was Trayvon's sweatshirt, that these were Trayvon's sneakers. They don't really need her for that. So I'm curious to see what it is that they want her to present.
COSTELLO: Let's to Sanford now and check in with CNN's George Howell. You have been inside the courtroom. Tell us what the mood is like in there.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this morning I have been doing a lot of live reporting, monitoring the feed from the courtroom. I can tell you certainly the mood of Sybrina Fulton this morning is one that she's very composed. She's answered the questions, very short answers but has never really wavered in what she said.
All along she's been saying that, you know, the voice that she heard that day was the voice of her son. Also you see defense attorneys doing their best, you know, to find bias, to suggest that there is bias in what she says. Her testimony in court, also looking for inconsistencies and doubt really in what Jahvaris Fulton says. It will be interesting to see what they ask her as they bring her back to the stand.
COSTELLO: And of course, you know, since her son died she's been very vocal. She's done a lot of public speaking, right. She's been on television shows. She has addressed town halls on violence and racial healing. She's campaigned against Florida's stand your ground law and she's used to being in the public eye, right.
HOWELL: She is. You know, Carol, I want to read something to you. She sent out a tweet earlier basically asking for strength to move forward today. You can tell that this is something she's been getting ready for, preparing for, sent out this tweet earlier this morning. This is something that she's been trying to prepare herself for to testify, really speaking on behalf of her son.
COSTELLO: She actually -- the "New York Times" interviewed her before trial. I just want to read a quote out of the "New York Times" article. She was asked if she could ever forgive George Zimmerman. This is how she answered the question.
Quote, "The spiritual side of me knows that eventually I'll have to forgive him so that I don't block my blessings. I know that. Am I ready to do that now? I am not. I pray for my forgiveness. Because just like I want God to forgive me, I want to forgive others. But I'm just not at that point now where I can say that I want to forgive him." That says something about her, doesn't it, Page?
PATE: Well, absolutely. She's a mother. I think to a certain extent you would expect that. I think she's trying. I think she's a spiritual person. Ultimately maybe the trial will give her some closure and I'm thinking having to be called back there up on the stand is difficult, but it should be ending soon.
COSTELLO: George, she has said in the past she wanted her day in court. Then whatever the decision is she will live with it. She said it many times.
HOWELL: Absolutely. Today you can tell that when she delivered those answers it's something she had no doubt about. When she heard the audio on the tape she said that's the voice of her son. You will remember though that Tracy Martin had a different response when he first heard this, Carol. He said initially that was not the voice of his son. Then hearing it more decided that in fact, it was the voice of Trayvon Martin. So you do see her today getting to say publically what she said all along and now on the record in this trial.
COSTELLO: So Courtney, in light of what George said is it likely that Tracy Martin will be called to the stand today, too?
PILCHMAN: I don't think so because I think they are going to belabour the point, the defense will. To talk for a second about Sybrina Fulton, when I was prosecuting murder cases and we talk about the closure that Page talked about. It's true. The fact that a criminal case is pending, it gives the family a sense their loved one is alive, still with them.
This will be a very, very impactful day for Ms. Fulton because in a sense this trial will be over shortly and she will have testified on his behalf. There will be a sense of loss after this trial regardless of what the verdict is for her.
COSTELLO: Most assuredly. The attorneys are in sidebar, I think. I see one of the -- OK, the sidebar is over. I did see one of the prosecuting attorneys return to the seat. So let's listen.
They haven't turned the audio in the courtroom back up, but I just can't imagine sitting there and waiting if I'm Sybrina Fulton. That would be agonizing, Page.
PATE: She's very well composed. I think her lawyer and other folks have probably prepared her for this. She certainly has prayed about it. I know she's asked for strength. She seems very composed and she's doing a great job.
COSTELLO: All right, we're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back and hopefully court will resume. We'll be right back.
COSTELLO: OK. So it's been a frustrating day in court. They have taken a 5-minute recess. You see George Zimmerman standing as the jury exits the courtroom. While we wait for court to resume, I want to check in with Michael Skolnick. He is with the Martin Foundation. Michael, are you there?
MICHAEL SKOLNICK, MARTIN FOUNDATION (via telephone): I am here. How are you? Good morning.
COSTELLO: First of all, just tell people briefly what the Martin Foundation is.
SKOLNICK: Sure. I'm on the Board of Directors of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which is a foundation started by Trayvon's parents Sybrina and Tracy.
COSTELLO: So you know Trayvon Martin's parents very well.
SKOLNICK: Very well.
COSTELLO: So as you are watching the proceedings this morning, what's going through your mind? SKOLNICK: It's a tough day. I spoke to Sybrina, Tracy and Jahvaris last night. This is a very emotional day for the family, a very tough day for the family, a day they've never wanted to have in their lives to testify at the murder trial of their child and brother.
I think Sybrina was remarkable this morning, a woman of grace, an amazing parent. I think Jahvaris's testimony shows these two young men had incredible parents who were always present. As Jahvaris stated he's a college student. Trayvon was on his way to college when he turned 18.
She was incredible. I think the questioning from Mr. O'Mara about whether you hoped the voice was your son no mother in this world would hope to hear their child's voice being beaten, a gun to him, ultimately killed.
So no mother ever wants to have this day in their lives. Sybrina certainly today was remarkable on the stand. I know she is about to take the stand again. All of our prayers are with her from the Trayvon Martin Foundation and those who have supported her.
COSTELLO: I think what the defense was getting at is that if you're a mother and you know your child has been shot and killed, you have this preconceived notion, even if you've never heard the tape, when you hear the screams on the tape, your mind would go there that that's my son. You wouldn't think it was the other guy.
SKOLNICK: I think we have to remember those first two weeks after Trayvon was killed, the police department of Sanford wasn't going to charge George Zimmerman. There was a lot of conversation about what evidence they had about George Zimmerman. We didn't know at that time anything about this case. There wasn't any communication really between the family and the police department.
In fact, Trayvon Martin, let us not forget was a John Doe for 24 hours. They didn't even know who he was. They put him in the morgue as a John Doe because they didn't think he lived in the neighborhood. I think that Sybrina at that point in the middle of March had no idea what happened.
Had no idea that there was an altercation, had no idea that this guy was following her son who was a, quote/unquote, "neighborhood watchmen." So in her mind I don't think she had any idea what she was going to hear. Any mother in this country could identify their child's voice whether it's screaming, yelling, happy, laughing or what have you.
She immediately and defiantly said it was her son. I don't think she was trying to prove a point to the police at that time and certainly not now. She knew it was her son's voice.
COSTELLO: Stay with me, Michael. I want to play for the audience and you that Sybrina Fulton was the state's first witness. We were kind of surprised by that. Maybe they wanted to get it out of the way although she's on the stand again. I want to play for our viewers her testimony this morning as to the screams on the 911 call. Do we have the tape? We're getting it. It was very emotional. George Zimmerman is standing up. We'll play that tape later. Michael, how did Sybrina prepare before court today.
SKOLNICK: She prayed. She is a woman of God. This is a very religious family. They pray every day before they walk to the courtroom. I will be there on Monday with them. They pray before they walk in the courtroom and every time they leave. She's certainly a woman of faith and a believer in God. She prayed a lot this morning and continues to pray.
COSTELLO: All right, let's listen now, Michael. Thank you.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
DE LA RIONDA: This button here.
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: Yes.
DE LA RIONDA: Is this a button your son always wore, Mr. Trayvon Martin always wore?
DE LA RIONDA: Thank you. No further questions.
JUDGE NELSON: Any cross?
O'MARA: No, thank you, your honor.
JUDGE NELSON: OK, thank you. May Ms. Fulton be excused?
DE LA RIONDA: Yes, your honor.
JUDGE NELSON: Thank you very much, ma'am. Call your next witness, please.
DE LA RIONDA: I would call Dr. Bao.
(END LIVE FEED)
COSTELLO: That was a very short cross. I guess it was a redirect. Trayvon Martin's mother identified a button coming from her son's clothing that day.
On the stand next we believe is the medical examiner. As we wait for the medical examiner to take the oath, to come into the courtroom, that was strange, Page. They couldn't get the evidence locker open this morning. They were trying to get the button out. That's why Sybrina had to leave the stand and come back later, the significance of this?
PATE: I don't understand it at all. If the issue is to get that piece of evidence in court I'm sure the defense would stipulate to it. It seemed awkward. I'm sure the jury wondering the same. (BEGIN LIVE FEED)
JUDGE NELSON: You may proceed.
DE LA RIONDA: Thank you, your honor. I will give you a minute to get your file. You can state your name for the record, sir.
SHIPING BAO, ASSOCIATE MEDICAL EXAMINER, SIMINOLE COUNTY: Good morning. My name is Shiping Bao.
DE LA RIONDA: What is your occupation, sir?
BAO: I am the associate medical examiner in Seminole County.
DE LA RIONDA: If you could briefly tell us about your specialty, what area of practice you have and your education background, training.
BAO: I received my medical degree in China, came to the United States in 1992 when I was 29 years old to pursue the American dream. I did my pathology training in Birmingham, Alabama, and I finished my forensic pathology fellowship in the Terant County Medical Examiner's Office.
After that, I was deputy medical examiner in Terant County Texas for two years before coming to Florida. I am certified by American Board of Pathology in clinical and forensic pathology. I have medical licenses in the states of Florida and Texas. I am a fellow member of the National Association of Medical Examiners.
DE LA RIONDA: Dr. Bao, if you could, please explain to the jury when you talk about forensic pathology what it means.
BAO: As a med examiner in forensic pathology, I review medical records and the reports from our investigators and the police department. I do autopsies to determine the cause and the manner of death. Also, I serve as the fact witness and expert witness in court such as today.
DE LA RIONDA: How long have you been with your current position of the medical examiner's office in the 7th Circuit -- is it -- and Seminole counties?
BAO: Yes. Our office covers both counties.
DE LA RIONDA: Can you explain to the jury what an autopsy is?
BAO: Autopsy means to see for yourself. It is the post mortem examination of the human body to determine the cause and manner of death. The cause of death is either injury or disease. Injuries such as gunshot wound to the head, stab wound to the chest or blunt force trauma due to motor vehicle accident, diseases such as heart disease, cancer or stroke. The manner of death is classified in five categories -- homicide --
(END LIVE FEED) COSTELLO: All right, while Dr. Bao goes through his credentials, we'll take a break. We'll be right back with more testimony from Sanford.
COSTELLO: All right, on the stand right now is the medical examiner, Dr. Bao. He performed the autopsy on Trayvon Martin. He just said in testimony that Trayvon Martin died of a gunshot wound to the chest, and he ruled his death a homicide. Let's listen.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
BAO: As unidentified human body. He was not identified at the time. All we know is he was a black boy. He was shot. He is dead. There is no name. No age. First thing in the morning, we did an x-ray, tried to locate the bullets or fragments of bullet. We found out he had some fragments in the lower chest. His body was sealed in a plastic bag with number 00517.
After we looked at x-ray, so we opened the bag. We saw a black boy, 71 inches long, 158 pounds. He had a defect, a hole, on the ante anterior, sweatshirt with blood. Under the sweatshirt there was another t-shirt. Again there was blood, the defect and soot -- s-o-o- t, soot.
After we removed the clothes, we saw a defect on his left lower chest, 3/8 inch diameter, round, with soot with green aberration around wound with stippling also called powder tattooing. After we removed the skin there was a defect between the left anterior number five and number six ribs.
So the bullet went directly from anterior to posterior through anterior pericardial sac, which is the tissue around the heart, through the right ventricle of the heart, anterior right ventricle of the heart through posterior right ventricle of the heart, through posterior pericardial sac.
At that point the bullet was found behind the right ventricle. Two fragments of the jacket went right through his right lower lobe of the lung. We have three lobes on the right, two lobes on the right. The bullet went through the right lower lobe of the lung. Two fragments were recovered in the right lower cavity.
At that point, Trayvon Martin, I believe was still alive. His heart was still beating. Every time his heart was beating some of the blood would go to the front right ventricle, to the pulmonary artery to the lung and supply his brain. I believe, it is my opinion, that he was still alive. He was still in pain. He was still in suffering --
O'MARA: Objection, your honor. That's not a relevant issue at this time --
DE LA RIONDA: It's relevant.
JUDGE NELSON: Just a second. I'm sorry. Your objection is relevant? Overruled.
BAO: He is in suffering. He is in pain.
O'MARA: I would object to speculation then.
JUDGE NELSON: Wait, wait. If there is an objection, I have to rule on it. Please, just wait. Counsel, please approach.
(END LIVE FEED)
COSTELLO: All right, so the attorneys are conducting a sidebar right now with the judge. Talk about powerful testimony because the medical examiner just testified that Trayvon Martin's heart was still beating, which means he could still have been talking after he was shot. Is that the significance of this, Page?
PATE: Perhaps that's part of it. They also want to show though that he was suffering. He was in pain. He didn't die instantly. So the defense got up and said, wait a minute. That's not relevant. We know that he died. The judge overruled the objection and did so strongly. The defense said, maybe we'll try something else. It's speculation. That's the issue they are taking up now.
COSTELLO: We also heard the term "stippling" around the bullet wound. What does that mean?
PATE: That basically means that the gun must have been fairly close to the person who was shot. Once a gun is fired you will get all kinds of residue and particulate matter that could embed into the skin. It has to do with the distance of the shot.
COSTELLO: OK, we are looking at a graphic we had on screen. The doctor described how the bullet went into, I think, the right side of Trayvon Martin's chest. Is that correct?
PATE: I believe that was the testimony.
COSTELLO: That was the testimony and also punctured a lung, I know that.
We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back with much more from inside that Sanford courtroom after this.