Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Excellent day for the prosecution with two eyewitnesses, Jane Syrdika (W-18) and Ms. Manalo (W-13’s wife) identifying the shooter as George Zimmerman and “the boy” as the person who uttered the death shriek.
Ramona Rumphy returned to the stand to complete her testimony about the defendant’s five 911 calls over a six-month period complaining about black males whom he described as suspicious.
The next witness in the box was Rachel Jeantel (AKA: Dee Dee), a badly wounded emotional tower of strength who was determined to speak the truth, no matter how painful that might be. She could not stop trembling when she took the stand. She continued to tremble for more than an hour before she settled down. She testified that she has known Trayvon since they were in elementary school. She described their relationship as close friends who have never dated each other.
No surprises in her testimony regarding the substance, if not the form, of what they said to each other regarding his contact with the defendant. For example, she said Trayvon referred to the defendant as “a creepy ass cracker” who had been staring at him during the conversation as he sheltered from the rain in the mailbox area adjacent to the clubhouse.
She said she told him to run because the guy “might be a rapist.”
Trayvon said, “Quit playing with me,” which she understood to be a request to stop freaking him out. Nevertheless, he told her he was going to try to lose the guy by “running to the back,” which appears to be the grassy area between the two buildings that contain the two-story townhomes. The call terminated unexpectedly and when she reestablished contact, he told her that the connection was broken because his headset detached from his phone while he was running. He said he thought he had gotten away from the man and he was going to proceed to Brandi Green’s townhome where he was staying.
Then he said, “the niggah is following me.” She explained that people in their age group use “niggah” when refering to another person and should not be confused with the N-word.
Then she heard Trayvon say, “Why you following me for?”
She heard a loud and authoritarian male voice demand to know, “What are you doing here?”
Then she heard some sounds that she described as “grassy noises,” followed by Trayvon yelling, “Get off, get off.”
She lost the connection at that point and was unable to reconnect with Trayvon.
She admitted that she did not attend the wake or the funeral and briefly lost her composure when she explained why she did not attend and why she lied to Sybrina about her reason for not attending. She choked up as the tears began to flow. She was unable to speak for a minute or so as she dabbed at the corners of her eyes with a tissue and struggled to regain control over her emotions. Finally, she said she could not bear to look at his dead body.
Bernie de la Rionda finished his direct examination by asking her if she could identify the person who uttered the terrified death shriek.
She said, it was Trayvon.
Don West cross examined her for about two hours with a series of tedious and forgettable questions that appeared to be designed to run out the clock so that she would have to return to court tomorrow. I say that because he did not ask a single question regarding what Trayvon said to her and we already know that the defendant admitted to the police that Trayvon asked why he was following him and the defendant responded by demanding to know why Trayvon was in the neighborhood.
The cross examination took a sadistic turn when West attempted to exploit an inconsistency between her in-court identification of Trayvon as the source of the shriek and her statement during her deposition when she said she thought it was Trayvon.
After she admitted the inconsistent statement, West asked Judge Nelson to recess the trial until tomorrow morning. When she asked him why he could not conclude his cross today, he said he had at least two more hours of questions.
When the witness heard him say that, she responded in a loud do-not-mess-with-me voice, “No, that is not going to happen.”
West laughed in her face.
Without addressing either of them, Judge Nelson declared court to be in recess until tomorrow at 9 am.
Several people in the thread have asked whether her response may have damaged her credibility.
I cannot speak for the jury, but as far as I am concerned, it did not because West deliberately exploited her emotional pain to play with her mind and provoke an angry response.
I think the jurors understand, or will understand by the end of the trial, that there is no functional difference between saying, “that sounds like Trayvon,” or “I think that’s Trayvon,” or” that is Trayvon.”
We are talking about a terrified shriek uttered by someone who has just realized that they are going to be executed. It is a protestation against the injustice and inhumanity of what is about to happen.
We have no word or phrase in our language that adequately expresses the horror Trayvon felt when he uttered that sound. Indeed, his awareness in that moment was incapable of definition or by resort to language.
Yet, he uttered a haunting and unforgettable shriek that a part of me understands leaving no uncertainty in my mind that he was protesting what was about to happen.
No one teaches others how to make that sound and there is no source we can consult to instruct us what it means or how to reproduce it.
I would call the shriek inhuman, except that I know a human made the sound.
Because the sound is unique, unambiguous, and easily understood by anyone, no matter their native language, I do not believe that anyone can positively identify a person who uttered such a shriek without considering the context of the situation that produced it.
In other words, a person must believe they are about to be executed in order to produce a sound like that. Total. Panic.
That is why people are identifying Trayvon as the source using language like “I think” or “I believe” that acknowledges the uniqueness of that sound while nevertheless knowing exactly what it means.
There is only one person who knew without doubt that death was but an instant away and it is not the person who had the gun.
There is a reason why that shriek ended with the gunshot.
The reason is the gunshot silenced the scream forever.
That is what we know, whether we knew Trayvon or not, and that is why this jury should convict the defendant of second degree murder regardless if Don West wins his sadistic little game with a grieving teenager who is avoiding the limelight while suffering through a difficult time coping with the loss of a life-long friend.