Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trayvon Martin Case: Several Witnesses Change Their Stories

As more evidence is released by prosecution in the Trayvon Martin shooting, a peculiar thing is happening. The initial accounts made to the police back when the details were fresh in the witnesses' minds have changed somewhat in followup interviews...and mostly from definitive statements to 'well, it was dark and I'm not sure' kind of statements.

I wonder if the death threats, charges of racism, wide spread public protests in the city where the shooting took place, the initial media characterization of Zimmerman as a racist thug and even the comments of a certain president just might have had something to do with that? Along with the quite justified fear that their personal information is likely to become public?:

A young woman who lives in the Retreat at Twin Lakes community, where Trayvon was shot, was interviewed twice by Sanford police and once by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

She told authorities that she had taken out her contact lenses just before the incident. In her first recorded interview with Sanford police four days after the shooting, she told lead Investigator Chris Serino, "I saw two guys running. Couldn't tell you who was in front, who was behind."

She stepped away from her window, and when she looked again, she "saw a fistfight. Just fists. I don't know who was hitting who."

A week later, she added a detail when talking again to Serino: During the chase, the two figures had been 10 feet apart.

That all changed when she was reinterviewed March 20 by an FDLE agent. That time, she recalled catching a glimpse of just one running figure, she told FDLE Investigator John Batchelor, and she heard the person more than saw him.

"I couldn't tell you if it was a man, a woman, a kid, black or white. I couldn't tell you because it was dark and because I didn't have my contacts on or glasses. … I just know I saw a person out there."

A young mother who is also a neighbor in the town-home community never gave a recorded interview to Sanford police, according to prosecution records released last week. She first sat down for an audio-recorded interview with an FDLE agent March 20, more than three weeks after the shooting.

During that session, she said she saw two people on the ground immediately after the shooting and was not sure who was on top, Zimmerman or Trayvon.

"I don't know which one. … All I saw when they were on the ground was dark colors," she said.

Six days later, however, she was sure: It was Zimmerman on top, she told trial prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda during a 21/2-minute recorded session.

"I know after seeing the TV of what's happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman was definitely on top because of his size," she said. ( actually, Martin, a football player is larger than Zimmerman)


This witness lived a few feet from where Trayvon and Zimmerman had their fight. On the night of the shooting, he told Serino he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style," a reference to mixed martial arts.

He also said the one calling for help was "the one being beat up," a reference to Zimmerman.

But three weeks later, when he was interviewed by an FDLE agent, the man said he was no longer sure which one called for help.

"I truly can't tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk," he said.

He also said he was no longer sure Trayvon was throwing punches. The teenager may have simply been keeping Zimmerman pinned to the ground, he said.

He did not equivocate, though, about who was on top.

"The black guy was on top," he said.


After this neighbor heard gunfire, he went outside and spotted Zimmerman standing there with"blood on the back of his head," he told Sanford police the night of the shooting.

Zimmerman told him that Trayvon "was beating up on me, so I had to shoot him," the witness told Serino. The Neighborhood Watch captain then asked the witness to call his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, and tell her what happened.

In two subsequent interviews about a month later — one with an FDLE investigator and one with de la Rionda — the witness described Zimmerman's demeanor in greater detail, adding that he spoke as if the shooting were no big deal.

Zimmerman's tone, the witness said, was "not like 'I can't believe I just shot someone!' — it was more like, 'Just tell my wife I shot somebody …,' like it was nothing."


That last witness is especially hilarious. A month after the incident, he's quizzed on his subjective impression of Zimmerman's demeanor! Now there's a sustained objection from Zimmerman's lawyer waiting to happen.

More important, remember that the prosecution needs to prove murder two beyond a reasonable doubt. Now that key witnesses have doubts and conflicting accounts after their 'reinterviews' during the hoopla surrounding the case, you have to wonder exactly how the prosecution does that.

The only way I see Zimmerman getting convicted is if the prosecution manages to seat a majority black jury,play the race card and push for race based jury nullification the way the defense successfully did in the OJ Simpson criminal trial.

Another thought..speaking of race based, isn't it odd that every time President Obama sticks his two cents into a matter that involves a conflict between a black person and a white person, he invariably comes down defending the black person? One might almost think he had a problem with race. Or something.


Anonymous said...

There's so much to disagree with I don't know where to start. As you say, "That last witness is especially hilarious."
I do think it'll proceed to trial eventually.
And a not guilty verdict.

I'd prefer to see those that were so certain of Zimmermans guilt, and suggested he be hunted down, be charged with something.

Mob rule, uff.

louielouie said...

not to worry, after about the fifth or sixth interview, they will all be on the same page............