Trayvon Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel dropped a bombshell on the Zimmerman trial audience during Wednesday’s afternoon testimony, which was aired live on THV11.com June 26, 2013. The young woman admitted that she lied to Sybrina Fulton, the victim’s mother, about why she didn’t attend Trayvon Martin’s Wake, and she also explained that she thought Trayvon was just in a fight with someone when she lost phone contact with him the night he died.
The defense pounced on the news, as it helped support their position that George Zimmerman didn’t pull a gun on him without cause.
Jeantel’s testimony undermines that of the prosecution, since it shows that despite the comments the Martin family made following the altercation and death, that even the last person to speak with the victim felt he was not in imminent danger.
That disclosure, along with other admissions during the afternoon revelations, including how the witness had deceived the victim’s mother about why she did not attend Trayvon’s Wake, eventually led the prosecution to ask to approach the judge’s bench.
Court was recessed afterward for a short period, but the testimony resumed once all the attorneys were able to speak with the judge privately about the disclosures today.
Prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel first appeared indifferent to questioning by George Zimmerman’s attorney Don West initially, physically expressing frustration when he took his time in reading aloud the exact start and stop times of the phones calls made between her and the victim on the evening Martin was shot to death.
However, West appeared to be seeking information that would shed light on why it took Martin 45 minutes to travel a one-mile distance from the convenience store to the Retreat at Twin Lakes’ mailbox area, despite Jeantel’s insistence that he took a short cut to the property.
The defense attorney may have been hoping for some revelation that the victim may have been ambling about, which would support Zimmerman’s insistence that the youth acted suspiciously. But the witness was unable to offer any such explanations.
The witnesses frustration level eventually played out against the prosecution more than the defense attorney in her disclosures from the stand, but it wasn’t malicious, including her revelations about conversation with the Martin family attorney, which she said she didn’t want to have in the first place.
She also admitted that she had rushed through her earlier deposition, and had not thought about it carefully enough, which is why she had said that she could be contacted later, if needed.
In conflicting testimony, earlier in the day she had said she never watched television news, but by the 5:07 p.m. testimony she admitted that she had listened to a recording played on the news regarding the night in question.
As questioning continued, and the potential for her time on the stand appeared to be heading into Thursday morning, she made no bones about her displeasure and unwillingness to do so to Don West, telling him that, “I’m leaving today.”
He asked if she was refusing to return for testimony tomorrow, but the judge interceded and said she didn’t want questioning to be focused on that.
“Do you admit that you were asked who was screaming for help and your answer was, ‘It could be Trayvon?'” West asked her.
“Yes,” Jeantel said. But the prosecution spoke up and said the record needed to reflect her entire answer recorded previously, which West then proceeded to read to the court. But the transcript read reflected that the witness was unsure if it was Trayvon’s voice or not screaming for help when she was deposed in the past, and her exact words were as follows:
The dude sound kinda like Trayvon. Trayvon do got that soft voice and that baby voice sometimes. So it could be, I don’t know. You know it’s not.”
West asked her if she acknowledged that she made those comments during deposition and while under oath.
“Yes,” she said.
Day four of the Zimmerman murder trial will reconvene on Thursday at 9:00 a.m., and Rachel Jeantel will be returning to the stand as the witness. The judge cautioned her against discussing her testimony from today–or tomorrows testimony–with any on the prosecution’s team or otherwise.
At this stage, Trayvon Martin’s friend appears to have dropped so many bombshells on the jury and courtroom audience that were so important in nature that the case could be headed towards a plea deal unless the prosecution has some evidence they have not revealed yet.
The last person to talk with the dead youth, for hours that day, has now admitted even she couldn’t tell if it was Trayvon or someone else yelling for help. And she has supported the defense’s position that her friend was fighting with someone, and she didn’t think that the fight would be lost by him, or that he would be dead as a result of it.
She has also acknowledged that her concern for his safety was so minimal that she didn’t even call to check on him the next day, despite spending hours that day on the phone with him. And she lent support to the defense’s insistence that Martin turned to confront Zimmerman, not the other way around.
© Radell Smith
National Criminal Profiles Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics, as well as successful experience profiling unsolved homicide cases.