Home > Uncategorized > Who keeps the gate in the gated community?

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…

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. onlyiamunitron
    August 13, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Isn’t there some speculation that it might have been mailboxes in one of the other neighborhoods on the way to TRaTL at which he was sheltering?

    You’d think the presence, that night, of the Skittles and still cold-ish beverage can, and the 7-11 bag, would have gotten them out rounding up video from between the nearest 7-11 and TRaTL, but we’ve only heard about them sending someone out to canvass in the other direction, the direction of that bank.

    I wonder how soon they went to that 7-11 for that video.

    Was it before or after the “he stole the Skittles” lies started flying?


    • August 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      “Isn’t there some speculation that it might have been mailboxes in one of the other neighborhoods on the way to TRaTL at which he was sheltering?”
      There was, and I think I started it. News reports of DeeDee’s interview Benjamin Crump indicated she said Trayvon had sought shelter from the rain under an ‘apartment awning.” I wondered if people had assumed this meant the mailbox awning when it might have actually meant an apartment awning — i.e. not in The Retreat (where there no apartments, only townhomes). And lo, Google satellite view shows that just West of The Retreat, and thus along Trayvon’s path back from the 7-11, there is an apartment complex with several buildings that have large awnings over their entrances. And in many apartment buildings, the mailboxes are in the entryways…

      HOWEVER, as unintelligible as that awful recording of the Crump interview that was released with the discovery is, I can make out enough of it that it now clear to me DeeDee was only ever describing Trayvon as being under the mailbox awning inside The Retreat. But as far as this placing TM there definitively at 6:54: well even if DeeDee is positive about his description of the location, she still didn’t see it herself, and she could be mistaken about when the call-drops and re-calls documented in the cell records occured in terms of the timing of the conversation. So DeeDee might be pretty darn sure TM was by the mailboxes at 6:54, but not beyond reasonable doubt in the mind of a jury sure.

      But if she’s right, then Trayvon was by the mailboxes from 6:54 until he walked out toward George Zimmeman’s truck at 7:10, over 15 minutes. I would guess that if a black male teen in a hoodie was standing in one place in a gated community for over 15 minutes, the odds would be pretty good that somebody besides the trigger-happy NW guy would have noticed him there, not necessarily with suspicion, but even just “well there’s something you don’t see every day!” Just a guess on my part, but I keep coming up with questions it seems to me professional criminal investigators ought to be thinking about and asking, but AFAIK aren’t even on their radar…

  2. mataharley
    August 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    whonoze, I left your answers over at Leatherman’s blog, but I’ll repeat them here for you.

    The May doc dump ends with the complex newsletters. The first one of the bunch, pg 150, alert residents that Lennar, the builder of the complex, completed their construction (Nov 2011, I believe I’ve seen on real estate records/listings), and that the gates would be closed at all times.

    I also provided a link to the R@TL HOA gate code form.

    You’ll see that the residents program their own remote transponders with their chosen codes, that they can also program four digit keypad entry gate codes (found at the complex entry for both car and pedestrian gates) to provide to friends, or that visitors can press a directory button which calls the resident’s home phone. They can open the gate via “9” on their telephone. The gate will be programmed to stay open a set length of time, and close automatically.

    No one has to physically go open or close a gate. Police, fire and ambulance services are likely to have an override code for emergency purposes. It may be possible that a directory request may show up on the phone bill for the residents… dunno. But it won’t show you who requested entry via the directory selection, since that phone number would belong to the HOA’s gate system.

    If Osterman was a friend and regular visitor, he likely knew one of the Zimmerman’s personalized keypad entry codes to use.

    • August 13, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      “The May doc dump ends with the complex newsletters. The first one of the bunch, pg 150, alert residents that Lennar, the builder of the complex, completed their construction (Nov 2011, I believe I’ve seen on real estate records/listings), and that the gates would be closed at all times.”

      Hmmm. But all the Google street view pics, and all the news footage shots of the gate in daylight that I can recall, show the gate as being open…

      If the calls are logged at the receiving end by the phone company, those would still be worth a look. If any resident took a call from the gate number around 7PM, and recalled who that visitor was, that would be a potential witness to TM’s or GZ’s position/movements around the clubhouse.

      On a similar line of inquiry, I wonder how GZ’s former neighbors on RVC feel about him these days. Might someone down in that corner have noticed when Mark Osterman’s vehicle arrived at the Zimmerman’s, or just noticed it’s presence at any particular time? Have the investigators canvassed for that?

      And if there is a call to the Zimmermans that corresponds to when Osterman says he arrived, and if a neighbor noticed another vehicle on street about then but not before, that might be one less thing for us all to speculate about…

      • mataharley
        August 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        whonoze, the Google Earth street view of the gate is dated April 2011. The Google Earth aerial of the complex is dated Jan 3, 2012. Image dates are located in the bottom left of the two different photos (aerial and street view).

        Both predate the newsletter notice that the gates would be closed at all times, and the completion of Lennar’s construction… plus the murder.

  3. 2dogsonly
    August 14, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Hi whonoze,
    What you saw at lennar was sales pitch. I live in gated community in jax. . Very easy, until recently, to get in. Probably still is easy here. And RT was in dire financial conditions so fixing the gate or manning the gate was not even on their radar.
    Now, if someone’s at home,a visitor can call their home number ( doesn’t have to be landline…says needs to have local area code is all )) and homeowner punches #9 on their keypad to open gate.
    However, gates were open on google maps so if timer breaks, they wouldn’t have cash to repair timing switch…remember gate cameras were broken also. They were under water as most HOA’s in Fl. were and many still are.

    A good friend, like MO, might have the pass code to punch just in case gate was actually closed at 7pm ….if so nothing would probably show anywhere, unless there is a readout on punch thingy or , hoping, GZ didn’t give him the pass code. In which case,he called their home to be punched in. That would show on GZ’s cell log. That would be so sweet for us.

    This is just a funny aside from my over 55 HOA…the gates are manned until 6pm. Which makes perfect sense as everyone knows the bad people are home, where they belong, after nightfall. 🙂

    Thank you for all your dedication and congratulations! I’m thinking you’re retired, right? Might be fun to write a blogging for retired dummies book. You’ver been cited out of thousands of blogs, and that my friend is as rare as your Maine Coon kitty killing a prey. Lots of retired folks have stories they want to tell but also would like a following-outside of their lying through their teeth grandchildren (sure grandparent I read it, it was great ) but need guidance given in very basic language. How to set up, how to make it flow, tech stuff, how to make people want to read it, and a great deal of handholding. This last is available only through small subscription price—for only 1.00/per entry, I’ll proof for errors and entertainment value & offer suggestions.

    • August 14, 2012 at 7:33 PM

      Thanks for the kind words. And Polly the cat would probably appreciate the shout out if, you know, she wasn’t asleeep.

      I’m kinda forced-early-retired… officially I’m ‘disabled’. But I’m ‘retired’ in the sense that I’m older (58) no longer working after a 30+ year career, have the option of obsessing over this kinda stuff instead of doing the dishes, or vacuuming, or laundry, or brushing my teeth, or mowing the lawn, or… well, you know.

  4. August 27, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    “DeeDee’s statement places TM under the mailbox awning at 6:54.”

    Tracy Martin submitted phone records for Trayvon’s phone. It provides that Trayvon received a call on 2/26/12 at 6:53 p.m. that lasted 1 minute; another at 6:54 p.m. that lasted 1 minute; and another at 6:54 p.m. that lasted 18 minutes. That’s rather odd that the call would last 18 minutes because the next call comes in at 7:04 that lasted 1 minute, so there is some overlapping. Maybe T-Mobile can explain it. The last call Trayvon received that day was at 7:12 p.m., and it lasted 4 minutes.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that being on the phone with Trayvon determines his physical location, but it does lend credibility to DeeDee’s statement, IMO.

  5. September 17, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    I have to wonder if the “overlap” could be due to call waiting?

  6. September 17, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Whonoze, I have a question. Do you, or have you documented when GZ left home?

    I’m also searching for the time TM left home, if anyone knows. Just reply to this I’ll get it.

    • September 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      No. AFAIK the only source for this would be inferences from GZ’s statements, and those would be unreliable IMHO.

      • September 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM

        Thanks. That just may have been the reason I didn’t record those times when I read them. But, instead hoped I’d come across a better source.

        I see remarks that ” if it can be proved that TM was at the mailboxes at 6:54, then GZ could not have seen him by FT’s”. Can GZ’s whereabouts be established for 6:54?

        • September 18, 2012 at 8:50 AM

          Not definitively, but nothing suggests he was out and about early enough to have spotted TM earlier in TM’s path home before the mailboxes, if indeed TM was at the mailboxes by 6:54. Most concretely, tchoipi’s security vid analysis shows GZ’s truck driving back and forth on RVC after 7:05 as if he is looking for something or someone, then spot’s it/them, then turns into TTL to take a closer look, then parks and waits.

          It just now occurs to me that other scenarios besides “GZ was tipped” could explain this, though they are less likely. For example, GZ could have seen TM by Taffe’s at ~ 6:45 – 6:50, but been unarmed at the time, and returned home to fetch his gun and flashlight. But I doubt it. It’s too illogical even for GZ.

        • September 18, 2012 at 9:38 AM

          Hmmm… so it looks like sometime around 7pm is a good approximate fit. Probably 7pm + a minute or three. Because it doesn’t take him long to drive to the front and start patrolling.
          But I keep thinking, since he’s fixated on miscreants leaving by the back gate, I’d rather think he’d drive that way to cover RVC east, the back gate, the dog path, then come down TTL, to see anyone trying to move towards the back gate by covering all routes.

          I’ve been reading DD’s statements in the FDLE. It occurred to me:

          Q: How would DD know about the mail shed at the complex west of RATL?
          A: She was told by TM.

          Q: Why would he tell her if he didn’t stop there?
          A: He wouldn’t so he must have stopped there.

          Q: So how does he get to RATL mailboxes by 6:54?

          A: Note that DD says that, almost as soon as TM left 711 it started to rain heavy, so TM, very likely ran to the mail shed in the western community and sheltered there for a while.
          When the rain abated enough, TM started moving again, Now note that he’d start running again, because the rain got heavy again.

          So, it looks like in two runs/sprints he gets to the RATL mailboxes. He isn’t seen running by GZ, Or GZ would have noted that he was running. Instead GZ is seen “patrolling” back and forth in front of the club house, but finds nothing of interest to focus on, until he spots TM already sheltering under the mail box awning.

          GZ made up the story about picking up TM at FT’s, to cover up any notification. Because whoever did it, didn’t want to be identified as part of the story. And GZ would agree to keep them secret, because he might need their help later on as a witness etc. He wouldn’t want them to be questioned by the arriving police, after he made the call. So he already had that part of the story fixed in his head. Also they, the NW’ers all tend to keep themselves secret.

          I’m pretty sure that the timeline of the trip back from the store, using two shelterings and two sprints, will easily fit in there, and still leave him plenty of time to shelter in both places and until a few minutes after GZ starts his NEN call.

          Do you think you can work up this leg of it? Time line distance and speeds?
          I think if we overlay it on Tchoupi’s cctv work with times, it might make an incredibly interesting fit.

          DD is confused, she knows about two different mail places, but she thinks they’re the same place, just being described differently, one as the apartment mail thing, and the other as the mailboxes. She can’t have a clue that the apartment mailbox shed is a different place. Meanwhile we know where GZ found him at the RATL mailboxes, and think she’s confused when she says “apartments” mail thing. If TM ran twice there’s enough time for him to shelter twice as well.

          Keep me posted.

        • September 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

          There isn’t a mail shed at the apartments West of The Retreat. There are large awnings over the entranceways, and I just assume the mailboxes would be in there. After parsing what I can of the recording of DeeDee’s interview with Crump, I have concluded that her reference to ‘an apartment’ is simply an error, and in this first interview she is indeed describing the mail gazebo at The Retreat and only that spot as the place where Trayvon took refuge from the rain. Of course, she was not there to see it, so she could be mistaken, but he seems to have told her he was inside the gated community when he took shelter. The rainfall that night:
          6:32 0.00
          6:37 0.02
          6:42 0.03
          6:47 0.04
          6:52 0.04
          6:57 0.04
          7:02 0.04
          7:07 0.05
          7:13 0.07
          7:18 0.08
          7:23 0.09
          7:28 0.09
          7:33 0.09
          This is a fairly light rain, and I doubt TM would have sought shelter in the early stages of drizzling. Since it steadied off for awhile at 6:47, I would guess that around that time TM was getting wet enough, and it looked like it things weren’t going to clear, that this was when he looked for cover to pass the time chatting with his friend. That seems consistent to me with him being at the Retreat mailboxes at 6:54.

        • September 19, 2012 at 8:17 AM

          Thanks for the rainfall. I’m not doing what I did in the OJ case, instead I’m letting questions lead me around.

          Okay. Of course we know that at any point there can be heavier or lighter rain at a location than the reports show, so we have to be careful how much we take from them.

          Total distance to home: 3696 ft. @ 4.4/ft/sec = 14 minutes travel time.
          From the looks of it, the rain only gets increasingly heavier, so he’d be walking in
          rain, just about as heavy as the rain he was sheltering from. But that’s only the
          appearance. In actuality there may have been gaps that gave the impression it
          was time to move out. Only to be caught again. After all, he does have a bit of
          a schedule, he wants to make the game. So that would get him moving until he
          got closer to home.

          6:32 0.00 Travyon leaves store? No rain.

          6:37 0.02 Five minutes walking @4.4/ft/sec. 1320 feet. DD mentions that almost as
          soon as he leaves store it starts raining. Seems like he’d be close enough
          to sprint for the apartment awnings. I’d rather think that DD is trying her
          level best to represent what she heard and that she heard the word
          “apartments” being used, even if she’s not clear about it, I don’t think she
          inserted this word on her own, but that she heard TM use it.

          Okay, that’s as far as I get without consulting the maps. So I’ll save this and work on it later.
          But I’ll post it in case anyone want to work with it themselves. But remember, just because the chart shows rain escalating, it doesn’t do that evenly everywhere, so it’s just a guide/approximation. My guess is that only the .04 extended rain is what he really wants to avoid being in. He’d attempt to shelter if he thought it was going to get heavy, if it doesn’t, he’d probably try to move out, even if it was just a little heavier than it was before.

          So, I think he did mention the apartment awnings, even if he didn’t stay there very long, or, even if he decided not to stop there, he tried to hurry to them. Then, perhaps arriving there, decided to keep moving. DD would hear mention of “apartments” then “mailboxes” a bit later on. She could think they were the same thing.

          I’m not at all familiar with how to use the google map thing for distances, so I’ll have to do a little poking around to get this info onto the map so everyone can see it. If you can beat me to it, please do.

          6:42 0.03

          6:47 0.04

          6:52 0.04

          6:57 0.04

          7:02 0.04

          7:07 0.05

          7:13 0.07

          7:18 0.08

          7:23 0.09

          7:28 0.09

          7:33 0.09

          By the way, you do great work! It’s a big help to everyone.

  7. September 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    To save time here’s the composit of DD’s statements:

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