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Sunday, April 1, 2012

UPDATE Forensic Evidence Against Justifiable Homicide Claim

We have claims of serious injuries that put Zimmerman in fear of his life......except that even enhanced, the video footage of Zimmerman in the police department and the fact that he did not appear to make any hospital ER visit for care indicates otherwise.  The lack of bruising indicates otherwise.  The fact that the one injury that does show up on enhanced video is quite small, and is not on the back of his head, where it would be expected to be if his head were hitting the concrete of the sidewalk, but rather appears to be on the upper surface of his head.  Unless it is argues that Trayvon Martin, reported to be 140 lbs., slammed Zimmerman in a wrestling move called the pile driver by Martin lifting him by the ankles and slamming the TOP of his head against concrete sidewalk - which no one asserts - the injuries from what we have seen so far does not support Zimmerman's version of events.



It has been my impression that George Zimmerman and his family and his attorney are increasingly NOT credible sources of information.  We had Zimmerman's father insisting his son had not pursued Trayvon Martin, except that the 911 tapes show otherwise, and the location of the shooting clearly show otherwise, and the testimony of the person on the phone when the altercation between Zimmerman and Martin occurred indicate otherwise.  Testimony of witnesses who made 911 calls show otherwise.
Now we have the testimony of not one, but two forensic experts who attest in their professional capacities that Zimmerman was NOT the person calling for help on the audio in the 911 recordings, as his family and attorney has claimed. 
Not a big surprise there.  Just a hunch, but I'm betting his medical records are not going to show injuries to the extent claimed either, and quite possibly not consistent - from the evidence available so far - with Zimmerman's version of events EITHER.   

UPDATE: Zimmerman's father, so far a thoroughly UNreliable source of information responded to the New York Times for their article:
They were not huge gashes,” the father said. “When he went to the doctor the next day, he said he could stitch it, but that he would have to re-cut it since it had started to heal. He may not have gone to the hospital earlier than that because he was in police custody for a while, and was very shaken up afterwards.”
When it comes to having stitches in my own hide, I have admittedly limited experience, but I have had stitches days after a bad cut, where there was no debridement, where healing had begun, and where stitches were put in easily.  It doesn't seem plausible to me that too much healing could take place in a matter of hours to allow for easy and straightforward suturing.  I do know something about how wounds heal, and about when there is a need for debridement - the trimming of a wound to create a fresh and healthy edge to stitch because the skin has dried out or is contaminated or infected.  Here is a good description from Wikipedia about when such a procedure as described by George Zimmerman's father would be necessary; it doesn't mention wounds that are healed or healing: 
           Debridement (play /dɨˈbridmənt/)
is the medical removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue.  Removal may be surgical, mechanical, chemical, autolytic (self-digestion), and by maggot therapy, where certain species of live maggots selectively eat only necrotic tissue.
I was struck by the absence of any bandage as well as the absence of the telltale yellow signs of wound cleaning with betadine that I would have expected if the wound in the photo had been cleaned by a paramedic.  That the wound is also identified as having healed too much for any stitches without debridement, the technical term for cutting the edges of a wound prior to stitching, then I have to wonder if that wound preceded the entire series of events described.  That would explain why there were no evident bruises and significant swelling (if any) to Zimmerman's face, especially his nose, that could be expected from such an intensely violent conflict as he described.  I don't particularly believe that Zimmerman had time to self-inflict his injuries, but I'm also less than persuaded that they are fresh and from the encounter with Trayvon Martin.  Supposedly, the gated neighborhood of town homes was secured with video cameras.  It would be useful to know if there is any other footage from those cameras in addition to the police footage of Zimmerman that shows if that wound in the photos existed PRIOR to Zimmerman encountering Martin.  Like Reagan's example, VERIFY.

This is particularly significant as Zimmeman claims that Martin decked him with a single blow......yet the mortician who was responsible for preparing the body did not find any bruising on Martin, including a complete absence of bruising or scrapes on his hands.  I have a hard time believing that Trayvon Martin could hit someone like George Zimmerman SO HARD without a mark on his hands, or a scrape or some other mark, considering Zimmerman was larger and heavier, or that Zimmerman as the older, larger and presumably stronger man was unable to land a punch on Martin.

From From MSNBC.com:
Trayvon Martin case audio: Screams were not George Zimmerman's, 2 experts say


The 911 call mentioned in this story can be heard approximately six minutes into this clip. By msnbc.com staff
The voice heard crying for help on a 911 call just before Trayvon Martin was shot to death was not that of George Zimmerman, according to two forensic voice identification experts, the Orlando Sentinel reported Saturday. Tom Owen, forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, told the Sentinel that he used voice identification software to rule out Zimmerman. Zimmerman told police that he screamed for help during his confrontation with Martin, 17. He claims the shooting was self-defense. The 911 call, reposted in this YouTube clip, came on the night of Feb. 26 from a woman who reported someone crying out for help in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. In the recording of her phone call, panicked cries and a gunshot are heard. The Sentinel said it contacted Owen, who it described as a court-qualified expert witness and former chief engineer for the New York Public Library's Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound. He told the newspaper he used software called Easy Voice Biometrics to compare Zimmerman's voice to the 911 call screams. Owen told the newspaper that the software compared the screams to Zimmerman's voice and returned a 48 percent match. He said he would expect a match of higher than 90 percent, considering the quality of the audio. "As a result of that, you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it's not Zimmerman," Owen told the Sentinel. But he also said he could not confirm the voice as Trayvon's, because he didn't have a sample of the teen's voice. The Sentinel said that Ed Primeau, a Michigan-based audio engineer and forensics expert, used audio enhancement and human analysis and came to the same conclusion. Thousands of Trayvon supporters march to police station "I believe that's Trayvon Martin in the background, without a doubt," Primeau told the newspaper. "That's a young man screaming." On Feb. 26, Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, had called 911 to report a "suspicious" person and followed Martin against the dispatcher's advice. Martin and Zimmerman grappled, and Martin was shot in the chest. Zimmerman told police that he was walking back to his vehicle when Martin attacked him and slammed his head against the ground and that he shot in self defense. Police declined to arrest Zimmerman citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which gives wide latitude to use deadly force when a threat is perceived. The lack of an arrest in the case has brought protests across the country. In Sanford on Saturday, thousands of protesters marched to the police station. From the Orlando Sentine, the article referenced in the first paragraph above: In the post 9-11 world, Owen says, voice identification is "the main biometric tool" used to track international criminals, as well as terrorists. "These people don't leave fingerprints, but they do still need to talk to one another," he says. 'The home run' Though the term "biometric analysis" may sound futuristic, it basically just means using personal characteristics for identification. A fingerprint scanner is an example of a biometric device. Much as the ridges of a human hand produce a fingerprint, each human voice has unique, distinguishable traits, Owen says. "They're all particular to the individual." Another benefit of modern biometric analysis, Owen said, is it doesn't require an "in context" comparison. In other words, Owen didn't need a sample of Zimmerman screaming in order to compare his voice to the call. The technology Owen used to analyze the Zimmerman tape has a wide range of applications, including national security and international policing, he said. A recently as January, Owen used the same technology to identify accused murderer Sheila Davalloo in a 911 call made almost a decade ago. Owen testified that it was Davalloo, accused of stabbing another woman nine times in a condo in Shippan, Conn., who reported the killing to police from a pay phone in November 2002. Davalloo was convicted, according to news reports. Owen says the audio from Zimmerman's call is much better quality than the 911 call in the Davalloo case. Voice identification experts judge the quality based on a signal-to-noise ratio; in other words, comparing the usable audio in a clip to the environmental noises that make a match difficult. And the call on which the screams are heard is better quality than is necessary, Owen says. "In our world, that's the home run," he says. Not all experts rely on biometrics. Ed Primeau, a Michigan-based audio engineer and forensics expert, is not a believer in the technology's use in courtroom settings. He relies instead on audio enhancement and human analysis based on forensic experience. After listening closely to the 911 tape on which the screams are heard, Primeau also has a strong opinion. "I believe that's Trayvon Martin in the background, without a doubt," Primeau says, stressing that the tone of the voice is a giveaway. "That's a young man screaming."
From the Orlando Sentinel article referenced above:

Trayvon Martin shooting: It's not George Zimmerman crying for help on 911 recording, 2 experts say

5:38 p.m. EST, March 31, 2012|
By Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel
As the Trayvon Martin controversy splinters into a debate about self-defense, a central question remains: Who was heard crying for help on a 911 call in the moments before the teen was shot?
A leading expert in the field of forensic voice identification sought to answer that question by analyzing the recordings for the Orlando Sentinel.
His result: It was not George Zimmerman who called for help.
Tom Owen, forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, used voice identification software to rule out Zimmerman. Another expert contacted by the Sentinel, utilizing different techniques, came to the same conclusion.
Zimmerman claims self-defense in the shooting and told police he was the one screaming for help. But these experts say the evidence tells a different story.
'Scientific certainty'
On a rainy night in late February, a woman called 911 to report someone crying out for help in her gated Sanford community, Retreat at Twin Lakes.
Though several of her neighbors eventually called authorities, she phoned early enough for dispatchers to hear the panicked cries and the gunshot that took Trayvon Martin's life.
George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, shot Trayvon, an unarmed 17-year-old, during a one-on-one confrontation Feb. 26.
Before the shot, one of them can be heard screaming for help.
Owen, a court-qualified expert witness and former chief engineer for the New York Public Library's Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, is an authority on biometric voice analysis — a computerized process comparing attributes of voices to determine whether they match.
After the Sentinel contacted Owen, he used software called Easy Voice Biometrics to compare Zimmerman's voice to the 911 call screams.
"I took all of the screams and put those together, and cut out everything else," Owen says.
The software compared that audio to Zimmerman's voice. It returned a 48 percent match. Owen said to reach a positive match with audio of this quality, he'd expect higher than 90 percent.
"As a result of that, you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it's not Zimmerman," Owen says, stressing that he cannot confirm the voice as Trayvon's, because he didn't have a sample of the teen's voice to compare.
Forensic voice identification is not a new or novel concept; in fact, a recent U.S. Department of Justice committee report notes that federal interest in the technology "has a history of nearly 70 years."
In the post 9-11 world, Owen says, voice identification is "the main biometric tool" used to track international criminals, as well as terrorists.
"These people don't leave fingerprints, but they do still need to talk to one another," he says.
'The home run'
Though the term "biometric analysis" may sound futuristic, it basically just means using personal characteristics for identification. A fingerprint scanner is an example of a biometric device.
Much as the ridges of a human hand produce a fingerprint, each human voice has unique, distinguishable traits, Owen says. "They're all particular to the individual."
Another benefit of modern biometric analysis, Owen said, is it doesn't require an "in context" comparison. In other words, Owen didn't need a sample of Zimmerman screaming in order to compare his voice to the call.
The technology Owen used to analyze the Zimmerman tape has a wide range of applications, including national security and international policing, he said. A recently as January, Owen used the same technology to identify accused murderer Sheila Davalloo in a 911 call made almost a decade ago.
Owen testified that it was Davalloo, accused of stabbing another woman nine times in a condo in Shippan, Conn., who reported the killing to police from a pay phone in November 2002.
Davalloo was convicted, according to news reports.
Owen says the audio from Zimmerman's call is much better quality than the 911 call in the Davalloo case. Voice identification experts judge the quality based on a signal-to-noise ratio; in other words, comparing the usable audio in a clip to the environmental noises that make a match difficult.
And the call on which the screams are heard is better quality than is necessary, Owen says.
"In our world, that's the home run," he says.
Not all experts rely on biometrics. Ed Primeau, a Michigan-based audio engineer and forensics expert, is not a believer in the technology's use in courtroom settings.
He relies instead on audio enhancement and human analysis based on forensic experience. After listening closely to the 911 tape on which the screams are heard, Primeau also has a strong opinion.
"I believe that's Trayvon Martin in the background, without a doubt," Primeau says, stressing that the tone of the voice is a giveaway. "That's a young man screaming."

3 comments:

  1. Yeah, it musta been a pile driver.

    Thanks for a good post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you have not done so already, read the police report ... as I recall it describes Mr. Martin as being 6 foot 160 pounds. Of the number of officers who provided statements only one mentioned Mr. Zimmerman's injuries and his shirt being wet on the back ... in fact, one of them described Mr. Martin as wearing a sweater (which suggests that the "hood" was not up)

    I have not read police reports before, but I was surprised by a number of things.
    #1. No one took Mr. Zimmerman's gun immediately ... it may have not been taken until they took him to the squad car to evaluate his injuries.
    #2. Mr. Martin was lying face down. The police had to turn him over to attempt CPR. How does someone get shot at close range in the chest and end up face down ... was he turning when Zimmerman pulled the gun out? ...was he jerking in pain trying to crawl away and finally died faced down? Was there any wetness or grass stains on Mr. Martin's back indicating that he had initially fallen backwards? What was the distance that the bullet traveled ... and when, and how, did Mr. Zimmerman pull his gun?
    #3. How long does it take a person to die from this type of gun shot wound ? The police arrived at 9:17 and Mr. Martin was dead (although a number of police tried to revive him, he was declared dead at 9:30) ... what time was the phone calls of someone screaming? Was there sufficient time that Mr. Zimmerman should have called 911 again to request an ambulance and report the shooting? What time did the dispatcher tell Mr. Zimmerman to not follow Mr. Martin?

    Yep, a lot of questions ... besides the obvious - are Mr. Zimmerman's injuries self-inflicted.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know if Zimmerman would have had time to self-inflict his injuries. I do know that if he's clamiing a broken nose, no amount of first aid by paramedics would remove bruising and swelling. Trayvon Martin's family have several problems with the police report. Apparently he was closer to somewhere between 140 and 150 lbs, not 150, and more like 6'3" tall. Zimmernan has been reported at somewhere between 170 and 250. He is also reported (not verified, probably can't be easily verified) as having been fired for aggressive and violent conduct while working for a security company, where he caused injuries to at least one young woman by picking her up and throwing her down.

    I would not be surprised to find that there was some conflict between the two, but imho, since Martin had a perfect right to be where he was, and Zimmerman exceeded his authority to interfere with Martin in any way - which he did when he started following and chasing him, as well as being wrong about Martin being either drunk or high - then it seems be Zimmerman who has more explaining to do about his actoins. At least the new attorney investigating admits that people are getting off who should be prosecuted and convicted under stand your ground.

    I am disgusted at the right wing attempts to disparage the victim here, including putting up photos of a gangster-looking guy, with tattooes, who are not in fact Martin at all.

    Zimmerman was not a person who did a good job of making the decisions when he was carrying a gun. Florida, aka the Gunshine state, is far too lax; and other states require no permit - any one can carry, anywhere anytime, including felons, illegal immigrants, and violent individuals who have restraining orders against them.

    Worse, the law gives greater latitude to civilians to shoot people, depriving them of their right to due process, than it give law enforcement. People are routinely using their guns not to stop violent shootings, but to shoot kids on their lawn. The worst instance I've ever heard so far of someone getting off on stand your ground was a guy who shot someone who was unarmed in the back AS HE WAS LEAVING THE FRONT STEPS with a shot gun - THROUGH A LOCKED DOOR. "Because he might come back later if he didn't kill him now." The shooter and victim were acquaintances, and the shooter didn't like a friend of the victim.

    NO ONE should be excused shooting someone they cannot see throgh a locked door; it is never safe to shoot when you cannot see anyone and everyone in the path of the bullet, including beyond the front steps in this case.

    But the guy got off, by claiming he felt afraid, even though he was clearly not in reasonable fear for his life. There are a LOT of cases like that.

    ReplyDelete