Who keeps the gate in the gated community?
A recent comment on the Leatherman blog (http://frederickleatherman.wordpress.com/) about how Mark Osterman would have gotten through the gate at The Retreat got me thinking about the gate.
Back in the days when there were functioning discussions of the Martin case on wagist.com, someone inquired when The Retreat closes its gate. Someone who lived in the area, and had actually gone to The Retreat to look into renting a townhome there before the shooting reported that the gates close at 7PM. After that, guests arriving have to call a resident to let them in.
I’m not sure exactly how the gates work. There’s no guard shack at the entrance, so they’re not controlled manually. I would guess they’re motorized, so that when a resident arrives after they close, the resident puts a key or keycard into a box, and the gates swing open. There is a box before the gate that looks like it might contain a phone panel for guests to call residents to be let in.
So, I have two questions:
1. Would calls from this phone system show up on any telephone records? Of course, guests might call their hosts via cell phone as well, and not use whatever system is in place, but of course that would leave a record in the cell phone call logs. Since I’m guessing The Retreat’s system interconnects with the land-line phone system, I’m thinking it might generate records of calls as well.
2. When the gates close at 7PM, is that just an automatic event triggered by some kind of clock, or does some human being actually go out and make sure the gates close and are working properly? Does someone act as a gatekeeper and walk to the gate area at 7PM?
Why these questions are relevant:
1. If you can’t get into The Retreat after 7PM without a.) someone who’s already at the gate opening it for you, or b.) making some kind of phone call that would be logged by some telecom provider, then it’s almost certain Mark Osterman would have to have made such a call if, as he said, he arrived at The Retreat after the shooting, having been contacted by Shellie Zimmerman. If there is no record of Osterman making some kind of call to request entry, that would indicate he arrived at The Retreat before 7PM. This would add support to the ‘tip-off’ hypothesis: Osterman saw Trayvon taking the Northwest shortcut as he drove down Oregon Ave., saw the young man walking as he drove counterclockwise on Retreat View, and mentioned to George Zimmerman that he had seen a stranger on the grounds when he got to his friends home.
2. DeeDee’s statement places TM under the mailbox awning at 6:54. If the State could prove that was the case beyond a reasonable doubt, then they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that GZ did not spot TM by Taaffe’s while driving to Target, and that will have to make an impact on a jury (or a judge in an immunity hearing). But DeeDee alone doesn’t get them beyond reasonable doubt. If they have just one corroborating witness that saw TM under the mailbox awning, and could verify that the time was before 7PM, then that solidifies DeeDee’s timing, and the whole first chunk of GZ’s story is gone. If someone actually goes out to close or check the gate at 7PM, there’s a good chance they would have seen Trayvon under the awning, had he been there, and of course they would remember the time. Establishing that Trayvon was at the mailboxes before 7Pm, thus before GZ could have left his home, shows GZ to be fabricating major elements of his account, beyond a reasonable doubt, and in a simple, easily comprehensible way that doesn’t involve anything as esoteric as parsing light patterns in the security videos, or doing the math to show that GZ’s account of events in the ‘re-enactment’ don’t match the times it would have taken tose events to occur.
Of course, even if there isn’t a human gatekeeper, someone else could have noticed TM in passing. If i were the prosecutor, I would have investigators canvassing the whole complex for anyone who might have seen TM at the mailboxes, or anywhere inside The Retreat for that matter, BEFORE 7PM…