Lawyer: Zimmerman Said 'Punks,' Not Slur
Audio expert backs him up on 911 tape
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 6, 2012 3:02 AM CDT
Updated Apr 6, 2012 5:30 AM CDT
FILE - This 2005 file police photo provided by the Orange County Jail via The Miami Herald shows George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin on...   (AP Photo/Orange County Jail via The Miami Herald, File)

(Newser) – Trayvon Martin's killer has told his attorney he said "punks"—not a racist slur—seconds before shooting the black teenager—and an audio expert backs him up, reports CNN. Much has been made of the 911 call gunman George Zimmerman dialed just before the shooting, with many listeners convinced a garbled word on the tape of the call is a racist slur. But forensic audio expert Tom Owen, who used a computer to remove cell phone noise from the tape, is convinced the word Zimmerman used was "punks." The "enhanced" tape, however, played several times by CNN, is still extremely difficult to understand. The word could be key in determining Zimmerman's culpability in the shooting, and an important indication of whether he was motivated by racism or fear.