They passed around a box of tissues before the tape was played.
About a dozen of Kathleen Weinstein's family members sat quietly yesterday in a Toms River courtroom as they heard the 45-year-old mother and teacher's last words played aloud publicly for the first time.
Paul Weinstein, the victim's husband, dabbed his eyes with a tissue when he heard his wife tell the young man who abducted her 11 years ago of their only son and their desire for more children.
"Do you know my husband and I are set up to be foster parents?" Kathleen Weinstein said in a level, mature voice, heard for the first time by reporters. "We're signed up to take classes.
"Because, um . . . my son's 6 and I had four miscarriages. I tried to have kids and it didn't work so . . . maybe help some foster kids, give them a home," Weinstein continued softly.
The prosecution contends that on March 14, 1996, then 16-year-old Michael LaSane abducted Weinstein at the Toms River Center on Route 37 because he wanted her gold Toyota Camry for his 17th birthday the next day. LaSane then allegedly drove Weinstein to a wooded area in Berkeley Township, where he smothered her.
During the ordeal, Weinstein secretly recorded 46 minutes of conversation with her abductor. Police discovered the tape in her jacket pocket when they found her body three days later.
Yesterday, Weinstein's son, Daniel, now 17, sat amid family members while the tape was played in the courtroom. He betrayed little emotion, chewing a piece of gum.
At one point, he bit his lips - when his mother spoke of him.
"I'm thinking about my little 6-year-old and I want to go home to him," Weinstein said.
On the tape, Weinstein's voice was mostly calm as she tried to reason with her abductor to think of his future and to let her go. She tried connecting with him through music and asking him about his schooling. She talked with him about building self-esteem.
At times, her voice became more urgent and high-pitched.
"Just drive anywhere; this is like so depressing out here in the woods," she said more loudly. "It's scary to me."
The tape ends with Weinstein pleading for her abductor to drive away from the woods.
Before hearing Weinstein's tape, jurors heard another tape yesterday - that of LaSane's interview with detectives in the early morning of March 18, 1996. LaSane was questioned at the Berkeley Township Police Department about Weinstein's Camry, found in front of his Berkeley Township apartment.
In that tape, LaSane, now 27, in a low, sometimes mumbling, voice told Lt. Thomas Hayes of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and then-detective Sgt. David Hardie of the Police Department that he had bought the used Camry from a guy named Boz.
Hayes testified yesterday that LaSane's story did not add up. When asked by Executive Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor William Heisler who the male voice was on Weinstein's tape, Hayes identified it as LaSane's.