Photo: (AP Photo/Sanford Police Department)
The Orlando Sentinel got in touch with court-authorised biometric voice analyst, Tom Owen, to analyse the 911 tapes where either Zimmerman or Martin can be heard crying for help. (One unnamed witness has said it was Zimmerman crying for help.)His conclusion: It’s not Zimmerman.
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 per cent match. Owen said to reach a positive match with audio of this quality, he’d expect higher than 90 per cent.
“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 Justicecommittee report notes that federal interest in the technology “has a history of nearly 70 years.”
The case in the public mind hasn’t been going well for Zimmerman the past few days. Security video from the police station shortly after the shooting doesn’t show a Zimmerman who looked like he had just survived a near deadly fight. (Though it did look as if police looked at the back of his head).
The Sentinel noted that biometric voice analysis is often used in the prosecution of terrorists.
The report also contains the opinion of Ed Primeau, a Michigan-based audio engineer and forensics expert, who disagrees with some of the biometric analysis technology, but comes to the same conclusion:
“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.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.