Archive for June, 2012

Another techno-fail by Zimmerman case investigators?

June 28, 2012 2 comments

In John W6’s long interview with Investigator Batchelor on March 20, he states that his porch light was on, but that it only illuminates his patio as it is encased in a glass globe. As such, he was unable to clearly see what was happening closer to the sidewalk, where he says  Zimmerman and Martin were struggling.

Now, if it was me interviewing this guy, I wouldn’t just take his word for it. I’d go out on the porch, take the globe off the fixture, and check the wattage of the lamp (‘lamp’ is professional lighting talk for what regular people call a ‘bulb’, and ‘instrument’ is  professional lighting talk for what regular people call a ‘lamp’). Then I’d come back after dark, make sure the same lamp and globe fixture are in place, and actually check the illumination at various distances, both by naked eye and with an incident light meter.

And, then, I’d also double check with the number of other witnesses who appear to have reported that John’s porch light was NOT on during the struggle…

Categories: Uncategorized

My nose, Mr. Zimmerman’s, and Witness 6

June 28, 2012 3 comments

I experienced an odd shop accident yesterday, in which an object got caught in the teeth of a spinning table saw and propelled at a high speed into my face. I got quite lucky in that it didn’t put my eye out (though I’m now having some vision anomalies and will probably have to go see the Doctor about that…). The thing hit me first and hardest on the bridge of my nose about an inch below my eyeline, and made a narrow cut about 1/2″ long. The cut bled pretty well, but the blow was high enough up the bridge that I didn’t suffer any injury inside the old schnozola, so no bleeding from the nose.

Anyway, it hurt like hell, but it also started me thinking about blows on the nose, and my own personal history with same — in relation to George Zimmerman’s account of receiving a blow in the nose from Trayvon Martin that knocked him to the ground. Because, reeling from this sharp and painful blow, I realized that I had not gone down, not been close to going down… did not get knocked off balance at all. And I thought back to my youth when I took a shot in the shnoz that did break my nose (inadvertent head-butt taking a charge in a pick-up b-ball game). Not only did that one hurt a lot more, my nose bled like a stuck pig. A real gusher. But I didn’t go down then either. I staggered back a couple steps, grabbed my wounded honker and yelped in pain, but again, all under balance and control. This is anecdotal evidence of the purest kind, but the thing is, dear readers, I am not at all a tough guy. I am much closer to the ‘wimp’ end of the spectrum.  If even I can take a hard shot in the nose without getting knocked off my feet then I’m thinking so must it be for most folks.

I have no personal experience in pugilism. (I took a beating from a bully in junior high and was too awkward to land even one punch in return, so I’m not going to count that.) I’m not a fight fan, though I watched some of the classic Ali Frazier era fights in my youth, and I’ve watched boxing coverage in the Olympics. (And, of course, I’ve watched the infamous Anthony vs. Curtis bout witnessed by Taryvon Martin…). But thinking back on the boxing I’ve seen, I can’t say I recall anyone being knocked off their feet by getting tagged in the nose. A shot to the jaw will rattle the recipient’s cage, as will a clean blow to the cheekbone or temple, and down the contender will go. But the nose is relatively soft tissue, absorbs to much of the force to force one to lose their balance.

Not that a blow to the nose is nothing. In both my accident today, and that hard-court accident 40 years ago, I was bent over and vulnerable and had some aggressor been there waiting to hit me again, they certainly would have been able to floor me with a second blow (all my vulnerable spots being exposed and undefended).

But George Zimmerman has claimed that one punch to the nose from Trayvon Martin knocked him off his feet. And if I had questions about that before today, as of this afternoon I’m just simply not buying that at all. Especially since the blow he took was not powerful enough to cause profuse bleeding from the interior of the nose or significant wounds on its exterior. Especially because on Feb 26th he was a well-built 28 year old, and today I’m an atrophied 59 year old. Especially since Trayvon Martin had only one small wound on his hands.

So, of the different versions GZ has given of his physical altercation, the one that makes the most sense to me from a physiological perspective is the account from his re-anactment video: where he alleges Martin confronted him on the East-West sidewalk, hit him in the nose, causing Zimmerman to stagger back to the South where he somehow went to the ground on the North-South sidewlak two doors down as Martin continued to come after him.

Except there’s the not-so-small matter that Zimmerman says Martin approached him from the SouthEast. So unless the two men were circling each other before blows were leveled, a punch by Martin would have pushed Zimmerman back toward the NorthWest, exactly the opposite direction he claims to have travelled.

So, my best guess is still that this fight started the way I imagined a couple months ago in my speculative animated timeline: one man turned to confront the other, harsh words were exchanged, one of them felt the other had ‘gotten into his face,’ and shoved the perceived aggressor away. This essentially defensive response was taken as aggression, and the shove-ee grabbed the shove-er. Both men had a hold of one another, struggling for control or escape in an unstable (non)-equilibrium that caused them both to fall to the ground. There were, in fact, ‘wrestling’ as W6 described it in his 911 call. Any blows that were landed on Zimmerman occurred after both men had gone to the ground.

GZ had only the one minor documented wound to the front of his head, and his face looks pretty good the next day in the re-enactment video. (Per the post below, I would guess a higher res picture here would show more remaining presence of the nose wound documented by the photos from the evening before…)

So I’m guessing the blow to his nose is the only significant strike GZ took to his face. Supporting this hypothesis: 1) investigators did not find any sign of defensive wounds on GZ’s hands or arms — as he would have received had been fending off blows from Martin, 2) Zimmerman claims his arms were pinned under Martin’s legs, 3) his written statement only mentions the single initial blow to the front of the face, followed only by alleged head bashing.

So now we have Team Zimmerman’s favorite witness, W6, a.k.a. ‘John.’ In his written statement given to Ofc. Ricardo Ayala on the evening of the shooting, John uses the words “hit” or “hitting” six times. In his recorded statement, given to investigator Chris Serino later that evening, that Martin was “Throwing down blows… MMA style,” and Zimmerman was “getting beat up.” But by March 20th, John is telling quite  different story to Investigator Batchelor of the SAO. He has completely backed-off from assertions that he saw anyone “throwing down blows MMA style,” or that anyone was “getting beat up.” He says, “I don’t know if there are punches being thrown, or he’s just trying to hold him down.”  He repeats this formula several times, telling the investigator it was too dark to tell the difference. Finally he adds, trying to explain his earlier MMA remark: “It looked like he had been hitting him from on top, but, you know, I can’t truly see how close they were to each other, if he was hitting him, or if he was trying to hold him down in that position unti the cops got there.” On March 26th FSA de la Rionda re-interviews John to ask him what he heard, and John is emphatic in stating that he did NOT hear anything thoat sounded like fist blows against a head, “No, did not hear a punch sound.”

John’s statements in late March return to the language of his 911 call, where he described what he had seen as “They’re wrestling right in the back of my porch.” With Batchelor and de la Rionda, he uses the word “wrestling” so often to describe the conflict it sticks out as point of emphasis. De la Rionda frames the distinction as “the man on the top either hitting or struggling with the man on the bottom” and when he asks John to expnad on the ‘no punch’ comment, John says that he heard no sound of ANY kind of blow, “just a struggle sound.” (Specifically dlR had also asked about a head-against-conrete sound…)

My speculative analysis of John’s changing account: On the evening of Feb 26th, before he made any statement, someone, somehow told him ‘what had happened’ in a way that favored Zimmerman’s account. John absorbed the details he was told, and embellished his statements to fit more closely with what, at that point, he believed must have happened. As the days passed, more information about the case was revealed, everything became called into question, and John realized that he was in the middle of ‘the shit’ as the key witness used to justify Zimmerman’s release. He realized also that his willingness to say what he thought the cops wanted to hear back on Feb 26th had the potential to put him into deep doodoo in terms of possible charges of obstrcution, giving false statements and what not. So now he’s gone all ‘well I didn’t really see anything, and I didn’t hear any fight sounds, and I don’t know who was screaming’ to cover his own butt. Is he telling the truth now? Beats me.


Categories: Uncategorized

Redaction by reduction

June 26, 2012 1 comment

Pictures never tell the whole truth. Whatever truth they do offer is limited by technical qualities the general public, and most people in the legal community, simply do not understand. Most people think ‘a picture is a picture.’ Not so.

With the release of George Zimmerman’s video ‘re-enactment’ of the events leading to the shooting, and the recordings of his statements to police investigators, the people still paying attention to this case (i.e. not the mainstream media) are generally moving on to the contradictions between the GZ’s police call and his various statements, the changing details from one statement to the next, and so on. There’s plenty of interesting material here, to be sure, but the evidence from the first discovery dump remains quite relevant to the case, and there’s plenty there yet to be analyzed.

My argument here is similar to my umbrage over the release of poor quality audio of DeeDee’s interview with Attny. Crump when a clearer version must exist, since several sound bites from it were played on numerous national newscasts. AFAIK, no one besides me has made a point of this, and whonoze is probably one of the most obscure and least-read blogs on Martin/Zimmerman. (Help me out here folks! Spread the word!). The issue in this post is even more subtle, but yeah it really matters.

The still photographs from the first discovery dump have been posted on a few websites, usually in the form of web slideshows. In making these slideshows the photos have been greatly reduced in size to conserve bandwidth. For example, the photo of George Zimmerman’s jacket and shirt I included in the earlier post on Frank Taaffe is only 600 pixels wide.

I don’t know what camera was used to take this photo, or what settings, but even the cheapest ($80) brand-name digital camera available at Best Buy right now has a 10 megapixel sensor, meaning it can take pictures at 3648 x 2736 pixels. $100 gets you 16 megapixels, or 4608 x 3456 pixels. So I feel quite confident in assuming the original of the image above is a LOT wider than 600 pixels. As I said in the earlier post, this resolution seems high enough to confirm that GZ did not have any large bloodstains on the front of his clothing – no sign of a gusher-type bloody nose. But what about little drops of blood? Especially against that red jacket fabric.  People are going to look at a photo like this and say, “See, there’s no blood on Zimmerman’s front!” But this photo doesn’t show that at all. It’s inconclusive.

Lets look at the difference in another photo. I found this 8 megapixel image of Google guy posing with a University President on the left and NYC Mayor Bloomberg on the right. I reduced it to 600 pixelswide, which is what WordPress likes.

Now lets look at Bloomberg’s pins, blown up from this 600 pixel version so that the detail is also 600 pixels wide.

We still know it’s a flag pin, since the general shape is so distinctive, but if there’s a small spot on his suit jacket of some sort, you couldn’t see it. Now lets look at the same area at the original resolution:

Note that in the first pic, you can’t even tell the flag pin is next to a button hole.

But it’s not just a question of resolution, there’s also the amount of compression applied by the .jpg algorithm which is scalable in quality. All .jpg files are significantly compressed, but at the higher quality end (less compressed) the difference is so slight as to be unnoticeable. At higher compression/lower quality, you get a lot of artifacts. That pic of GZ looks fine at native res, but blow it up and you’ll see the artifacts. Here’s a blowup of the pic of GZ above.

See all those weird shadows, and the streaks of orange to the left of the zipper. Those are compression artifacts.

The resolution situation is even worse with the stills of the crime scene taken in daylight on a rainy day. One example here:

These photos were shot with a 35mm film still camera, which captures much more detail than even the best digital cameras. It certainly doesn’t look like this photo, taken a good number of days after the shooting, would have any secrets to reveal if we could view it in more detail… OK everybody, go rent the DVD of Antonioni’s Blow Up and watch it right now! The point is we can’t know if there’s something important in the detail unless we can see the detail.

I don’t think there’s any attempt by anyone to hide anything here. I think people just don’t get how media technologies work. I wonder if the State gave the defense original quality copies, or maybe intermediate quality copies. I remember seeing a post on some site (I forget where alas) where someone with a bit of legal background noted the reduced resolution of the photos with some annoyance but said they were “good enough for discovery.”

SAY WHAT? If I’m on trial for a felony, I want my attorney to have access to every bit of detail in the State’s evidence file. If someone mugs me and goes on trial for assault, i want the State to work with the most detailed evidence they can gather. I don’t want blurry, artifact filled lo-res .jpgs of photos. To attempt an analogy: if this is ‘OK for discovery’ then saying you ought to be  able to can submit abstracts or Reader’s Digest abridgments of written statements – you know, just give us the topic sentences in outline form, and whack out the rest of the content of each paragraph.

I wonder if the quality of AV materials released in discovery has ever been raised in a criminal trial, and how the court might have ruled on the issue.

Of course, I save the biggest joke for last: The release of a crime scene photo in the form of a Xerox:

The thing is, they don’t it’s a joke, and neither do most of the people commenting about the case.

Uff da! and Oy Vey!

Categories: Uncategorized

DeeDee’s account: summary and discussion.

June 16, 2012 2 comments


Trayvon Martin’s friend “DeeDee” is the only witness (other than GZ, of course) who has anything concrete to report about how the confrontation between the two men began. Her audio interview with SA de la Rionda is difficult to follow, because she speaks softly, is frequently vague, and generally woefully inarticulate.  The recording released of her earlier interview with Benjamin Crump is largely (but not completely) worthless, since many of her words are unintelligible, and the person making the recording pauses, then forgets to turn the recorder back on until after she is well into her account.

There are two points of emphasis, though, that are clear and consistent between the two recordings. That does not mean they are true, but that she has no confusion about them.

1. Trayvon took refuge from the rain under the awning covering the mailboxes, next to the clubhouse at The Retreat. While at the mailboxes he noticed George Zimmerman, in his car, observing him and talking on the phone. Trayvon was made uneasy by the way Zimmerman was looking at him, and was fully aware of Zimmerman’s presence as he left the mailbox area.

2. Just before the physical confrontation began, Trayvon was walking, ignoring DeeDee’s pleas to run. Zimmerman was following from behind, and caught up to him. At this point Trayvon turned to him and said “What [are] you following me for?” and Zimmerman replied “What [are] you doing around here?” Then the scuffle broke out. She mentions Zimmerman’s reply several times in both interviews, always in the exact same words, even correcting the interviewer’s paraphrase of them at one point.

I have compiled an edited rendition of the relevant sections of DeeDee’s interview with de la Rionda to make it easier to review. While not a verbatim transcript, I have used DeeDee’s words where possible, and done my best to be faithful to the gist of the conversation. Where I found it important to include de la Rionda’s questions, I have done so in parnetheses. Editorial notes are in brackets.

It started raining. He ran to the mail thing  Like a shed. (He was inside the gated area?) Yeah. The phone hung up and I called him back again. he was under the shade of the mail area. A couple minutes later he said a man was watching him. The man was in a car, on the phone. The man was watching him so he started walking, The phone hung up and I called him back again, and I said what you doing and he said he walking and this man was still following him behind the car. He said this man is still watching him, like on a car so he about to run from the back. I told him to go to his dads house, run to his dad’s house, so he said he about to run from the back because it’s more easier, then I hear him running, then he say he lost him, he was breathing hard. his voice changed, he was scared. he said he lost him and he was right by his dad’s house (the man was by his dad’s?) No he say he lost the guy, he ran from the back, he say he lost him, he started walking back again, I told him keep running (So Trayvon started walking because he thought he had lost the guy?) Yeah. I say keep running. He say he ain’t gonna run. Cause he say he right by his father house. And then a couple minutes, he said the man following him again. I say run. He say he not going to run. I know he ain’t gonna run because he out of breath. He tell me the guy getting closer, real close the next thing I hear “Why you following for?” Old man say “What you doin’ around here” in a deep voice. I calling him, “Trayvon Trayvon what’s going on”, what’s going on? he ain’t answer. i hear a sudden like “bump”. You hear that somebody bumped Trayvon. Cause I could hear the grass. (So you could hear there was something going on, like something hitting something?) Yeah. I could hear the grass thing. I was still screaming ‘Trayvon, Trayvon!’ and the next thing [she claps] the phone just shut off. (Could you hear anything else before the phone cut off?) I could hear a little “Get off. Get off.” (It was Trayvon saying that?) Yeah (Is that clear you could hear that or you just think you heard that?) Yeah I could hear it…  (When the man talked to Trayvon, how did he sound?) Kinda angry, cause he said it so deep “What you doin’ around here?” You could hear he was tired too, [She indicates he was winded while speaking].

At this point, de la Rionda begins to ask some follow up questions. He ascertains that Trayvon did not tell DeeDee that the man got out of his car, though she was able to infer that eventually. He ascertains that Trayvon did not tell DeeDee he was going to hit the man or confront him. Then he asks [~15:51 into the interview, referencing file W8_SA04 04022012.WAV] if Trayvon said the man was coming to hit him. At this point, DeeDee would appear to drastically undermine her credibility:

DeeDee: [very quietly] Yeah. You could say that.
SA d l R: I don’t want you to guess. Did he ever say that?
DeeDee: [after long pause, still quietly] How he said it, he just…
SA d l R: [interrupting] No, no. Do you understand?  Did he say that or not? If he didn’t, that’s alright…
DeeDee: The man, he got problems. Like he crazy.
SA d l R: Trayvon told you that?
DeeDee: Yeah the man lookin crazy. Looking at him crazy.
SA d l R: When did Trayvon tell you that?
DeeDee: …He was walkin, before he say he was gonna run….
SA d l R: He said the guy looks what?
DeeDee: Crazy. And creepy.
[Overall, it’s clear that DeeDee means Trayvon made this remark while GZ was still in his vehicle.]

From the defense point of you, it would seem that DeeDee is on the verge of perjuring herself here, indicating to de la Rionda that she is willing to go on the record as saying Trayvon reported GZ was preparing to attack him. De la Rionda gets quite energized in getting her not to do this, but she still doesn’t provide a simple answer to his question — ‘No Trayvon didn’t say the guy was coming to hit him.’ She insists on saying something disparaging of Zimmerman, going back in time to a remark Trayvon made quite some time earlier in the conversation.

Another point that is sure to come up: back at 11:28 in the recording, when DeeDee says “somebody bumped Trayvon,” she actually stumbles over her words first. More precisely she says, “You could hear that Trayvon b…, somebody bumped Trayvon.” No doubt, Zimmerman’s advocates will claim this is a Freudian slip, that the “truth” that Trayvon bumped Zimmerman almost escaped DeeDee’s lips before she ‘corrected’ herself. However, listening to this young woman struggle to express herself clearly, it’s certainly possible that she just got tongue-tied here….

Except that she also stumbles at this point in her interview with Crump. This is one of the clear soundbites included in the ABC interview. “Somebody pushed… Then somebody pushed Trayvon cause the headset just fell.” So it’s unclear whether she’s talking about one push or two. Put this together with “You could hear that Trayvon b…, somebody bumped Trayvon” and it’s reasonable to suspect that she actually interpreted what she heard as Trayvon making the first physical contact, and is now trying to cover that up.

The previous exchange with de la Rionda is certainly more disturbing. In DeeDee’s ‘defense’ I’d note that she is not at all sophisticated, and this part of the interview sticks out like a sore thumb. She goes all sotto voce and a little coy with “Yeah. You could say that.” which is a marked departure from her tone in the rest of the conversation. If the pauses and tone of voice in this passage are indicative of a willingness to lie, the bulk of the conversation shows no similar calculation or wariness.

But there is one other oddity. In my little summary above, I did not include DeeDee’s mentions of “He said he put his hoodie on,” because they just seem so irrelavant.  But she does mention this more than once in each interview, and the more I think about it, the more odd it seems. Why would Trayvon mention this, and why would DeeDee remember it? It was a drizzly day. We see trayvon in the 7-11 with the hoodie on and the hood up. Why would he take the hoodie off? Or if this refers to merely putting the hood down or up without removing or puttin-on the sweatshirt itself, why would it take so prominent a place in DeeDee’s narrative, which leaves out so much other key detail?

One significant difference between her interview with de la Rionda and her interview with Crump is that she tells de la Rionda about hearing Trayvon say “Get off, Get off,” something she did not mention to Crump. But she doesn’t volunteer this detail to de la Rionda, either. He has to ask her specifically, “what did you hear” between the bump and phone cutting off, more than once, before DeeDee mentions hearing “Get off.” This would seem to be why de la Rionda asks the follow up questions as to whether she’s sure she heard it and sure it was Trayvon, to which she replies with a firm affirmative. [This is at ~12:39, well before the “Yeah. You could say that,” part.

So, putting these potential controversies aside for the moment, what can we glean from DeeDee statement, beyond the two main points noted well above? Alas, not much. Her wording is vague, and de la Rionda either fails to press her for details, or is unable to get clarification. It is abundantly clear that she has no sense of time passing, and relates some things out of order. She would appear to place Trayvon putting his hoodie on at at least three different times. But that’s typical of all the witness ataments and 911 calls. People do not recall and relate things in strict chronological order. It’s also clear that she uses the phrase ‘a couple minutes’ to indicate any passage of time, which could have in fact been a few seconds or half an hour. At the beginning of her interview with Crump, he asks her to pick up the story as Trayvon left the 7-11, and to report on what they talked about as he walked home. She replies, in effect ‘it was raining and he went under the awning’ basically skipping over the 15 to 20 minutes it would have taken Trayvon to walk back, enter The Retreat and get to the mailboxes. Likewise, then her references to Trayvon saying he was near his father’s home at some point offer no clear temporal markers.

Nor does her account give us any reliable indication of position or direction of either TM or GZ at any point. The most confounding element of her statetment is the ambiguity of her repeated references to “from the back”, a term she also used with Crump though I cannot make out the context from the poor recording.  We do not know if this was Trayvon’s term, or DeeDee’s term for some other way Trayvon would have put things. Shockingly to me, de la Rionda does not ask her what she means by this term. It could mean any number of things, but the two most likely would seem to me, “Trayvon is not going to run until he gets behind the man’s vehicle.” or “Trayvon is going to run down the sidewalk between the backs of the townhomes.” I am leaning toward the former because she also says, “I called him back again, and I said what you doing and he said he walking and this man was still following him behind the car.” The use of “behind the car” here is clearly non-standard English. We know that Zimmerman left his vehicle at 7:11:48, told the operator he was following TM at 7:11:59, and that he had lost sight of Martin by 7:12;12. Martin’s cell log indicates he received the cal from DeeDee at 7:12, which, it is my understanding could indicate any time between 7:12:00 and 7:12;59. So, “following him behind the car” must mean “following him on foot away from the car.” So, on one hand DeeDee is clearly using the language of ‘back and behind’ in relation to the vehicle at one point. But on the other hand, she’s not using the language of ‘back and behind’ in a precise directionally descriptive way.

I have long held that one of the important facts that remains a mystery is whether Trayvon fled from Zimmerman down Twin Trees Lane, or down the sidewalk between TTL and Retreat View Circle. the reference to “from the back” as a “more easier” route home would seem to support the sidewalk hypothesis. However, by her account Trayvon never reaches home, and is still out of breath when Zimmerman re-engages him. Had TM run down the sidewalk, he would have reached the Green’s back porch in between 19-32 seconds, depending on where he started from and how fast he was running. That would put him next to home no later than 7:12:22. That’s a minute and 10 seconds before Zimmerman hangs up with the SPD, which ought to be enough time for a football player to recover his wind after a short sprint, and GZ probably didn’t re-engage TM for at least another minute or so after that anyway. Thus, for TM to have been too winded to run at the point DeeDee reports he says GZ is closing on him, it would be highly probable he had to have been running farther and for a longer time than an escape down the sidewalk would have required.

Of course, I have no idea what actually accounts for this discrepancy. TM could have been lying to DeeDee, mixing bits of truth with bits of BS (perhaps ‘white lies’ to keep her from freaking out), or not telling her the complete truth. DeeDee could be confused about the time and place details. DeeDee could be making stuff-up, mixing bits of truth with bits of BS. Or she could be unable to separate here memories from things she had heard via the media.

There has been a lot of speculation from Team George that Benjamin Crump coached DeeDee, or that the Crump firm and the Martin family somehow poisoned her testimony. As crappy as the audio is, the recording of Crump’s interview pretty effectively dispels that hypothesis. (Though much of DeeDee’s end of the interview is unintelligible, Crump’s words are easily recognizable.) It is, as I noted in the earlier post, a telephone interview. Crump had not met DeeDee in person. He had spoken to her earlier in the day by phone to find out what she had to say, and to arrange a time to call back for the official interview to be recorded. He has considerable difficulty communicating with her, they seem to be quite unfamiliar with one another, and Crump seems to be on pins and needles most of the time. Crump breaks off the interview to switch to another phone because he has difficulty hearing DeeDee. At that point the recording continues for awhile, picking up the conversation in the room. Several voices offer opinion on the poor sound and what to do about it. A voice that appears to be Matt Gutman of ABC News says: “Maybe she’s got a land line.” Crump replies: “No we can’t do that. We strugglin to get this now… [indistinct words] which I got to get recorded. And god bless for doing what we could do so far to get.” I interpret this to mean it took Crump considerable time and effort to locate DeeDee, and to convince her parents to allow her give a statement, and that he is quite fearful that consent will be withdrawn and he will lose DeeDee as a witness altogether. Again, to the limited extent that DeeDee’s words can be made out in the Crump interview, there is no indication of substantial changes between what she told Crump and what she later told de la Rionda, which would indicate that she was not ‘coached’ by any of the parties prior to that interview as well, and that if any non-accidental distortions exist in her remarks they are either of her own design, or due to the influence of her own circle of family and friends, or possibly impressions she absorbed from media accounts.

While I certainly do not have enough information to conclude that DeeDee’s account is distorted, 1) the repeated stumbles on who pushed first, 2) the “Yeah, You could say that.” 3) and the odd emphasis on the hoodie certainly open up a reasonable possibility that she is twisting things. We have to remember that the hoodie was THE meme for the Martin case at one point. ‘The kid got shot because he was wearing a hoodie!’ There was the ‘million hoodie march’ and all the ‘I wear a hoodie’ protests. No criminal investigator, or experienced attorney on any side, would consider Trayvon’s hoodie, however symbolic, to be a significant piece of evidence. But a (frankly not all that bright) 16 year old who’s been watching a lot of TV and reading lots of stuff on the web might think it’s the most important thing in the world.

So, my revised conclusion is that DeeDee will not make a good witness for the prosecution. Not only is she too vague, but she is far too exposed to impeachment. Perhaps the prosecutors can find a way to negotiate around the vulnerabilities I have noted, though I would imagine that would be difficult and very risky. If DeeDee testifies, and the defense effectively undermines her credibility, that will hurt the prosecution case more than her testimony would help it. But if Corey does not call DeeDee to testify, the press will certainly be screaming, “WHERE’S DEEDEE?” though perhaps this would not reach the jury.

I expect that whatever distortions DeeDee may have incorporated into her account will pale before the likely falsehoods and distortions that will be included in George Zimmerman’s statements to the police, once those are revealed. But this is real life, not an episode of House, and we cannot just make the cynical observation that ‘everybody lies’ and go about our business.

On TV and in the movies, especially in CSI-type police procedurals, the more you dig, the more clarity you obtain. But in real life, digging often just makes something you (foolishly) thought was crystal clear just get muddier. If you want clean narrative resolution, you change the channel. If you really do want truth, you hang in there.

Categories: Uncategorized

I just realized: The cell logs are Trayvon’s, not DeeDee’s

June 16, 2012 Leave a comment

For some reason, perhaps the way Matt Gutman originally reported the story on ABC, I had assumed that the cell-phone logs documenting TM’s conversations with DeeDee were from her account. They’re not. In DeeDee’s interview with SA de la Rionda, she mentions losing the connection and calling Trayvon back during the moments when GZ would have been observing or following TM. The logs show these as INCOMING, as Trayvon’s would. DeeDee’s logs would identify calls she made by their destination. Here’s the log page:

And, lo and behold, the folks redacting the personal info missed this:

Showing the account belongs to Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father.

So if anybody besides me was confused out the logs, I hope this adds a bit of clarity. And for everybody who already knew this, feel free to have a laugh at whonoze for being so clueless on the matter for so long.

“Coons” or “Punks” redux

June 15, 2012 2 comments

The argument in my earlier post on why whether GZ said “coons” or “punks” doesn’t matter has been somewhat superceded by the audio recording of Witness 9 accusing GZ and his family of open expressions of racism. It is beyond my ken to assess W9’s veracity, but with this issue now out on the table, I feel it improper to continue withholding the phonetic comparison I discussed in the earlier post. So here it is:

And here is the description I posted along with it on YouTube:

I did this break-down several weeks ago, but I wasn’t going to put it up because I honestly believe the common practice of making judgements about someone’s character on the basis of that person having uttered a single word or phrase a single time (especially in private) is ludicrous, unethical, and damaging to any proper civil discourse.

I post it now only because of the release of the phone call Witness 9 in the Zimmemrnan case made to the Sanford Police. ( This witness, who claims to know Zimmerman and his family intimately, said “I know he doesn’t like Black people, and he would start something.” She adds, “I know his mother. I know everybody and they’re all the same way… They’re just mean and open about it.” Other parts of the conversation indicate that caller may be Zimmerman’s former fiance, who filed a domestic violence complaint against him in 2005.

Her statements, which are certain to be attacked IMHO, place questions about George Zimmerman’s attitudes and beliefs about race back into the forefront of his case. So we’re no longer just talking about one word, but a possible pattern. As such, I offer the above video FWIW. Draw your own conclusions.

Tech notes: I did this in a video editing program, which is kind of a crude tool for this sort of thing. The construction of ‘punks’ came out pretty well. The construction of ‘coons’ is less satisfactory. Zimmerman’s police call did not offer an ‘oo’ phoneme that is as drawn out as it would be in ‘coons’, so the construction sounds a little abrupt. The edit between the ‘c’ and the ‘oo’ could also be cleaner. But I hope it offers a reasonable comparison regardless.

AFAIK, none of the ‘audio forensics experts’ who have weighed in this question have used this method or anything similar. They have their spectrographs to compare things visually, and their ‘enhancement’ techniques that are as likely to mutate sounds into something else as make them clearer. This may be less ‘cutting-edge,’ but it’s technically ‘honest’ and yields a result you can actually hear, FWIW. (BTW, making sub-word edits by phoneme to reconstruct words or make new words is standard practice for Hollywood dialogue editors…)

Categories: Uncategorized

Click-clack conspiracy theory

June 14, 2012 Leave a comment

I posted a new version of my annotated YouTube video of GZ’s police call, with more notes on the background sounds, including my hypothesis that the loud clicking noise at 7:12:16 is NOT GZ messing with his pistol.

I’m more interested in the sounds from before GZ leaves his vehicle, and whether they indicate that he is driving and then parks during the call. But the clicking seems to interest people more. One commenter assures me that this is the sound a Kel-Tec K9 would make, and I can imagine a possible scenario in which GZ might have held the gun close enough to the mic to get that loud and crisp sound.

Another commenter is just as adamant that the loud click is the opening of a screen door, and the series of more subdued taps that follow are GZ knocking on someone’s glass patio door. I remain extremely doubtful that a screen door could have made a sound that would have recorded with the clarity of those clicks. (My guess is that they are result of GZ handling his headset.) But I remember seeing somewhere on the Interwebs (I forget where) a site or YouTube vid that came to the same conclusion: that this part of GZ’s police call records him seeking entrance to some friendly home in the vicinity of the shooting.

So lets look at that hypothesis, and see where it would go if we could somehow confirm that those noises are a screen opening and tapping on a glass door. There are only three units along the sidewalk between TTL and RVC that have screened in rear porches. On all the others, one would not need to open a screen to tap on the glass door. The screened units are all end units on TTL: 1211, 1251, and 1311.

If GZ enters a screened porch and knocks on a rear door, there is no sonic evidence of a door opening or GZ stepping inside an enclosed space during his call. That is, we can say those things probably did not happen. But this scenario could account for GZ’s sudden change of plan with the police operator at 7:13:21, “Actually could you have them call me and I’ll tell them where I’m at?” This could perhaps be a response to GZ’s friend belatedly appearing to check out the knocks. GZ could have held up his hand, and indicated that he was on the phone, keeping the friend from opening the door and admitting him until he hung up his police call.

The call ends at 7:13:38, which would put GZ inside the friend’s unit  at about 7:14:00. But why would GZ seek entry? Maybe he just wanted to get out of the rain and have a vantage point from which he could watch to see if TM reappeared. With no lighting behind it, a screen would act as a scrim in the dark, allowing someone on the porch to look out without being able to be seen from the outside. So perhaps GZ is inside a dark screened-in porch, and a minute or so after his call ends TM does stroll up the sidewalk. Perhaps TM’s thinking the strange man is gone, and he wants to continue his conversation with DeeDee for awhile without having to deliver the Tea and Skittles to Chad Martin and engage the younger boy in conversation. So he just wanders North up the sidewalk. Zimmerman exits the porch as Martin passes, surprising TM by seeming to come out of nowhere following him again… which would seem to fit with DeeDee’s account (occuring in the “couple minutes later” that FSA de la Rionda gob-smackingly fails to ask DeeDee to detail).

So, again IF something like this happened, there are only three possible locations. 1211 is the residence of witnesses W20 (Jeremy) and W11, the woman who placed the first 911 call, logged at 7:16:11, which contains the sounds of screaming and the gunshot. Their unit being North of the shooting, it’s hard to see how GZ entering their unit could lead to an encounter that Trayvon would describe to DeeDee as being followed again. It would also mean W11 and W2o are so in the bag for GZ that they have exposed themselves to serious jail time for aiding and abetting, obstruction etc.  I doubt it. So that leaves the units at 1251 and 1311. As far as I know, the residents of those units have not been interviewed by investigators. Only the officers who canvassed the neighborhood would know if there were signs of anyone home at the time, whether anyone answered the door, whether anyone said “No, sorry, I didn’t see or hear anything.”

So, the next question is, could GZ have reached either of those units in the time between the closing of his car door and the clicking noise. That’s 28 seconds. 1251 is between 80-100 yards from where GZ’s truck was parked (exact location still unknown). 1311 is 90-110 yards. I figure walking speed as 1.5 yds/sec, jogging speed as 3 yds/sec, and running speed as 5-7 yds/sec for a non-athelete. So jogging GZ would cover about 80 yards in 28 seconds, and running he could cover at least 140 yards. He’s not that winded when he stops his accelerated pursuit, so his pace was probably closer to a jog. But it’s not at all unreasonable to imagine he could have reached 1251, and also plausible he could have reached 1311.

I still don’t think that’s the sound of a screen door, unless GZ was squatting so his head was inches from the latch when he opened it. Even then, it strikes me as unlikely that opening the latch would be so loud, but sliding the door open would make no sound captured by the recording. However, if you think it is a screen door, followed by knocks on glass, there’s your conspiracy theory. GZ hid out at 1251 Twin Trees or 1311 Twin Trees.

I should note, though, that a conspiracy theory is not necessary. Maybe the clicking is a screen door, but the following taps are not knocking on a glass door. Since we’re getting all hypothetical here, GZ could have noticed that no one was home at 1251 or 1311, tried the screen door in search of a ‘blind’ to watch for the “asshole,” and found it unlocked. He then could have waited inside, alone, for a short while before seeing TM walking North up the walk.

Is this extremely conjectural? Yes. Do I think this happened? No. But it’s not impossible. It’s less improbable than, say, suffering no concussion and only two small cuts that healed without sutures after having someone slam your head into concrete for over 45 seconds.