How I time stamped the 911 calls
Some time ago, I created 2 YouTube videos that attempted to place a time-of-day clock stamp on all the 911 calls made to report the Zimmerman/Martin confrontation. The various calls had not been identified with start times in any official report I could find, so I made my assignments via deduction. As the case develops, these times are taking on some importance, and I have seen stories in the MSM as well as on several blogs that appear to use my timings, in some instances without noting that I qualified them as “PROBABLE.”
The primary significance of my calculations, it seems, is that it places John’s 911 call (W6) fairly late in the timeline, posing the potential question ‘If he was the first person to see the fight, why was he among the last to call? Why did he wait so long?’
Given this, it seems I should explain how I arrived at my conclusions, especially regarding John.
WKMG-TV reported the 911 calls were received at, “7:16:11, 7:16:41, 7:17:06, 7:17:15, 7:17:54, 7:18:00 and 7:19:04”. These times have not been corroborated by official documents, but they have not been refuted, and they seem to be internally consistent.
The first two times are easy to match to the call recordings, as the gunshot occurs during both. (It’s during the redaction silence in the second call.)
I’m quite sure the last call (7:19:04) is the one placed by Austin Brown’s sister, since it would have taken Austin some time to return home and talk about what happened with his sister. I did not even include it in the video of the post-gunshot calls.
When I made that video, I initially placed Mary Cutcher’s call at 7:17:54 and John’s at 7:18:00. I eventually concluded that this order should be reversed, since Mary and Selma were at their door for awhile after the gunshot, trying to speak to George Zimmerman. Of course, the difference between 7:17:54 and 7:18:00 isn’t all that significant. But for the record, I have adjusted my initial conclusion, and now place John’s call at 7:17:54.
Anyway, with the first two calls clearly identified, Austin’s sister placed last and Mary Cutcher placed next to last, that left the middle three calls to place. These are “The Teacher” John, and the other older woman worried that an elderly neighbor may have had a heart attack. I ordered them based on the callers’ references to the appearance of flashlights on the scene — not just according to WHEN they mention the flashlight, but HOW. The Teacher was the easiest to place, since she is clearly describing things to the 911 operator as she sees them occur. The other woman first mentions the flashlight with a quickening of speech that interrupts her previous train of thought, strongly indicating that she has just seen the flashlight when she speaks of it. These spontaneous references to the flashlight line up more or less exactly when placed with the 7:17:06 and 7:17:15 start times.
The outlier (surprise, surprise) is John. I placed him at 7:17:54 in part because that’s the only option left. This does, however, place his first reference to the flashlight well after all the others. In fact, if you line up the first references to the flashlights in the three ‘middle’ calls, they all occur at about the same duration into the call. Which could be taken as a sign they were all placed around the same time. But if the WKMG report is correct, that’s just not possible. One of those calls had to have come in at 7:17:54.
Moreover, if you listen to the way John speaks about the flashlight, it is not with any surprise. It also follows a 22 second long redacted section which seems to result from the 911 operator’s difficulty in understanding John’s name and address, and entering it into the computer correctly. So he can’t be describing events-as-they-happen if he’s trying to get the operator to understand that he is saying “Twin Trees Lane” and “Twin Trees” is two words. So, by the time he is able to return to discussing the scene, he’s talking about things that have already happened.
Furthermore, we know know that a neighbor arrived on the scene with a flashlight well before Ofc.Smith got there. And indeed in most of the 911 calls there is a gap of several minutes between the time they first report a FLASHLIGHT, and the time when they are able to verify that a POLICEMAN has arrived. The first mentions of the police also line up well using my timing assignments, again except for John’s, but this time his reference is off in the other direction. John identifies a policeman as being on scene about 20 seconds after he first mentions a flashlight. Thus, with John’s call starting at either 7:17:54 or 7:18:00, he is the FIRST 911 caller to spot the police.
And, lo, (TA-DA!) if John’s call began at 7:17:54, then his first mention of the police (~7:19:04) corresponds quite closely to what we know about when Ofc. Smith actually got to the spot of the shooting. Placing the start time of John’s call any earlier than 7:17:54 would have him seeing police before police could possibly have arrived, as well as making one of the other callers sudden recognition of the flashlight delayed until well after the flashlight bearing neighbor arrived.
Here are all the calls graphed out in a timeline, ordered as per my decutions. The red markers on top show the start times as reported by WKMG. The yellow markers show the point within each call where a flashlight is first mentioned. the blue markers show the point within each call where a policeman at the shooting site is first mentioned. (Click on the image to enlarge.)