As I noted in Update 8, there are some things about the Martin case that have never “smelled right” to me. For example, the assertion that Martin walked—in the rain—to get tea and Skittles. I know kids sometimes have odd tastes, but tea and Skittles? But because I do not have access to all of the investigative files, I had to let that go, until, that is, recently. But more on that shortly.
On May 28, the Orlando Sentinel posted a series of 65 photos relating to the case. Those photos have allowed me to update some things at which I previously had to guess, including the exact location of the “scuffle.” Observe these photos of the crime scene:
Notice the following:
(1) It was unquestionably raining, and raining heavily that night. Fresh raindrops are visible on the camera lens.
(2) The yellow blanket behind the tree, apparently covering Martin.
(3) The elevation. The condos on the left (east) are higher than those on the right (west), and the terrain slopes downward toward the north.
(4) If Martin intended to run home, it would have been easy. All he needed to do was run straight down the sidewalk. On the other hand, if he intended to hide, there are a bewildering variety of places he could have done just that.
Here’s a photo apparently taken the following morning. The original from which I took the screenshot was somewhat darker. Notice:
(1) The tree on the right, which was in the first photograph.
(2) The red “X” marks the approximate area of the scuffle/and where Martin fell.
(3) The cement sidewalk squares appear to be from 3″ to 4″ in size, therefore, the scuffle, which apparently began at the top of the sidewalk “T,” ended some 12′ to 16′ south, also on the sidewalk. This is a much shorter distance than previously known, less in fact, than walking across many people’s living rooms.
(4) Again, the straight sidewalk to the condo where Martin was staying, near the end of the sidewalk on the left (east) in the photo. A fit teenager could easily have covered that distance at a run in less than 30 seconds.
(5) The large number of convenient places to hide, stash contraband and/or lay in wait. Losing Zimmerman would have been easy indeed. All Martin needed to do was remain concealed–wherever he was–and Zimmerman almost certainly would returned to his vehicle to wait for the police.
Here is an addition to the last photo that will help to orient readers:
Notice the position where the scuffle ended, and also the indicator of the location of Zimmerman’s truck. Having lost Martin minutes, earlier, Zimmerman was apparently walking back to his truck when he was intercepted and attacked by Martin at or near the top of the “T.”
Here is an updated version of the map I included in Update 4.
Notice the yellow circle originally suggesting where the scuffle ended. We now know that it ended just a few feet south of the tree, which can be seen in this map primarily by its shadow on the ground. I’ve again marked the location with a red “X.” Notice too how relatively short the distance to Martin’s temporary residence is: less than a city block.
We can now correct the earlier misconception that Zimmerman must have somehow turned south and moved some distance down the sidewalk between the condos, perhaps looking for—or as some have suggested—chasing Martin.
Considering witness statements and physical evidence, Merritt concludes that the scuffle began at the top of the “T,” but moved slightly south:
George Zimmerman was walking back to his truck along this path, right about the T, when Trayvon popped out from somewhere and asked why he was following him. Within a minute, the encounter turned physical. The first sounds heard were scuffles and “arghs.” Not screams or cries for help. GZ was then on the ground with a broken nose. They were off the T, on the grass at the top of the path between the shared backyards. They continued grappling as they moved down the path to the back of John’s house, where they rolled onto the concrete, and GZ started crying out for help even louder, since now it was not just his nose, but the back of his head getting smacked. Trayvon was still on top of him.
The account of another witness suggests:
The only thing credible about the Teacher’s account is what she said first: She heard voices outside her home, which would be on the T, not down the T on the row of shared houses. Her reference to 10 feet outside her window is either the T, where GZ was walking back to his car, or she’s grossly misstated the distance. The voices grew louder and there was a wrestling but it was too dark for her to make out the individuals. They were probably still at the T or just off it, right where W-11 and W-20 heard the same thing. Both describe the first part of the struggle which was on grass. Neither saw what happened next when the struggle reached the back of John’s house — that it had moved from the grass to the concrete. Neither can refute what John saw, that Trayvon continued to be on top once it moved from the grass to the concrete.
Merritt concludes that lacking evidence, the special prosecutor may be trying to build a case based on motive, which is a ridiculous exercise when the evidence doesn’t support it. Where she and I part company (just a bit) is in her assessment of the value of “DeeDee’s” testimony:
The state isn’t dumb enough to rely on phone friend Dee Dee other than in a minor, supporting role. The roommates and the Teacher would be demolished on cross-examination by what they said on their 911 calls. If these witnesses are not credible, and don’t fill in the blanks as to what immediately preceded the shooting, it won’t matter much that they contradict Zimmerman in other particulars. It needs more, and it doesn’t seem to have it.
I suspect the special prosecutor is indeed that dumb. Perhaps Merritt is correct; time will tell. But we both agree about what will happen to weak and unsure witnesses on the stand and on the fact that the case of the state is pitifully weak. I would say non-existent. It is only the social/political climate that has allowed this travesty to continue to this point.
Additional Picture Information: The pictures are interesting in what they reveal about Zimmerman (these photos were taken at the Sanford Police Department shortly after the shooting).
(1) Photos 14-23 are of Zimmerman’s head and face. Despite having his injuries somewhat cleaned up, the injuries on the back of his head and face are clear and obvious, including abrasions on the bridge and end of his nose, on his forehead (multiple places), on the outside of his eyes, particularly the left eye, on the right cheekbone and on the right side of the mouth and lower on the right side of the face, at the jawline. Though people who have little experience with soft tissue injuries may find it hard to see, I have no doubt that Zimmerman has puffiness around the eyes, and the clear beginning of black eyes which will not manifest themselves in all of their glory until the following day (black eyes do not pop up immediately after blows, and bruises take time to develop as well.
(2) Photos 24-28 are of Zimmerman’s hands. These photos clearly support his statements: they are unmarked, as one might expect if he wasn’t able to land any effective blows on Martin.
(3) Photo 29 is a head to toe frontal image of Zimmerman, which reveals him to be 5′ 8″ and about 170-180 pounds at most. He is far from the huge, hulking monster depicted in the narrative.
(4) Photo 35 is most interesting. In this black and white image, Zimmerman is apparently sitting, handcuffed in the back of a SPD vehicle shortly after the officers arrived. His nose appears obviously damaged/broken, and fresh blood is apparent on the end of his nose and in his mustache and beard.
Analysis: As with every bit of new evidence that has, to date, come to light, all of this evidence supports Zimmerman’s account. If there is anything unusual about this case it is the remarkable uniformity of the evidence–as it is currently known. In most cases, things are not quite so clear. This would seem to indicate that Zimmerman has been telling the truth from the beginning.
This is a legal term much studied and used by the police. It is as much misunderstood by the public. A police officer has reasonable suspicion when his experience and observed circumstances lead him to believe that someone might be about to commit a crime or might be in the process of committing a crime. In this case, the officer may conduct what’s known as a “stop and frisk.” In other words, he may stop and detain that person, and pat down their outer clothing to assure himself they aren’t carrying weapons that could be used to hurt him, and may keep that person there for a brief, reasonable time—say 15 minutes—for the purpose of identifying them, finding out what they’re doing, and running warrant checks.
Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause, which is facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonable police officer to believe that a specific crime has been committed and that a specific person has committed it. Reasonable suspicion gives an officer cause to investigate and to restrict the movements of a citizen for a short time. Probable cause gives an officer the power to arrest that citizen.
Keep in mind these legal terms are applied to the police acting in their role as police officers. The term “a reasonable police officer” is meaningful because the courts assume police officers, because of their training and experience, are far more likely to be able to identify criminal behavior than Joe Average Citizen. Joe AC may see two men talking while Reasonable Police Officer, watching the same two people, sees a drug transaction underway.
As a neighborhood watch captain in a high crime neighborhood (as noted in Update 8), George Zimmerman may have arguably been more capable than the average citizen at identifying potentially criminal behavior, but because he was not a police officer, he has no power to stop and frisk anyone. However, any citizen can watch and/or follow any other citizen and may approach and speak with them whenever they like. When he met Trayvon Martin, he believed—with far more justification than one might have imagined—that Martin was acting suspiciously. Zimmerman told the police dispatcher:
We’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy. . .This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something.
As I reported in Update 7, Martin was in fact on drugs, more specifically marijuana. There is also more than sufficient reason to believe that Martin’s drug use was of long standing and preceded his visit to Sanford. The Conservative Treehouse has done an exceptional job explaining one of the things that previously bothered me about this case: the combination of tea and Skittles.
Before going further, I encourage you to take this link and view the 7-11 security camera footage of Martin. It is essentially the same footage shown from two different camera viewpoints and in two run modes. The first view is from Martin’s right side as he stands at the counter and is run in real time. The second appears to be the same footage, but from the viewpoint of a security camera over the clerk’s right shoulder. This sequence is unusual in that it is in stop action slow motion, essentially leaping from frame to frame.
As you watch, pay attention to these factors:
(1) Martin is wearing loose-fitting tan pants and an over-sized, dark gray hoodie with the hood up. He is also wearing a large button of some kind on his hoodie. Apart from a few seconds when he turns directly toward the first camera, it is difficult or impossible to see his face.
(2) According to the coroner’s report, Martin was 5’11″ tall. The baggy hoodie makes him appear to be much taller and heavier than he actually was. This might have served to confuse anyone viewing him.
(3) Martin is constantly swaying back and forth as he stands at the counter. Notice that he frequently unsteadily sways into the front of the counter and rests there, apparently steadying himself. At one point, he rests his right hand on the counter, also apparently steadying himself and keeping himself from toppling onto the counter—his upper body simultaneously leans far forward. His movements—even in real time—appear show and halting. Had I encountered Martin during my police days, I would immediately have suspected him of being under the influence of something. This certainly makes Zimmerman’s observation that Martin was under the influence of drugs entirely reasonable.
(4) The reddish beverage can and Skittles Martin are purchasing are clearly visible, particularly in the second sequence.
(5) At one point, Martin points to something behind the counter (cheap cigars), but the clerk apparently refuses to sell it to him. Their conversation and Martin’s intent are obvious.
We now return to the work of The Conservative Treehouse. Their update 26, part 1 is available here, and their update 26, part 2 is available here. I recommend you take the time to read both articles completely.
One of the great advantages of the internet is that no one blogger need do everything. There are always others with differing interests, fields of expertise and focus who can help to provide a much more complete picture of events that one might otherwise find, particularly with the Lamestream media and their focus on a given narrative rather than the truth.
For those who prefer to keep reading here before venturing elsewhere, both of the articles provide information about Trayvon Martin you won’t see elsewhere, including photos, an interview with his mother, specific and relevant information such as Martin’s U-Tube account, as well as his postings on Twitter and Facebook, his interest in MMA-type street fighting, and his many and specific drug use references.
As I mentioned in Update 8, Martin did not, in fact, purchase tea, though the SPD evidence form—which appears to have been done by Officer Ricardo Ayala (it’s hard to determine) mentioning the beverage found on Martin indicates otherwise:
The officer placing the beverage in evidence listed it as:
One (1) Arizona brand name tea can located and collected from a top [sic] the medical blanket lying over the victim.
Here’s a photo of the can on that yellow blanket. It is not tea, but Arizona brand
watermelon fruit juice cocktail. As a police supervisor I would always demand the highest degree of accuracy from my officers, particularly in handling evidence of any kind, however, it is likely that at the time, the officers involved did not put two and two together and saw it only as a generic “tea” drink of some kind. There is no evidence of any attempt to conceal its true nature.
While I was current with all of the contemporary drug substitute concoctions when I was patrolling the street more than a decade ago, such things change quickly and there are regional differences as well. I too did not immediately put two and two together.
Why is this significant? According to TCT’s Update 26, part 1, as early as July, 2011, Martin was interested in and inquiring about the ingredients of “Purple Lean,” which is a concoction of:
Purple Lean (Drank) is an intoxicating beverage also known by the names lean, sizzurp, and liquid codeine. It is commonly abused by southern rappers and wannabe suburban teenagers. It is a mixture of Promethazine/Codeine cough syrup and sprite, with a few jolly ranchers and/or skittles thrown in.
Promethazine with codeine, consumed in such large amounts as is popular with such southern rappers as lil wayne, slim thug, and Big Moe, produces an opiate-like high that is potentiated by the Promethazine.
Promethazine by itself will not produce a high. The beverage must be sipped slowly, and not guzzled, in order to avoid unconsciousness and/or life threatening overdose.
Why Jolly Ranchers or Skittles? Pure sugar;added “kick.” TCT Update 26, part two reveals the one essential, and two most common ingredients in the mixture:
(1) Robitussin cough syrup (DXM cough suppressant),
(2) Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail, and,
On the night he was killed, Trayvon Martin went to the 7-11 and purchased two of the three ingredients necessary to make “Lean,” a dangerous and much abused drug concoction about which he and those he knew often spoke. As I wrote in previous articles, all that I’ve learned about Martin indicates a young man on a steep and rapid downward slide toward jail or worse. The work of The Conservative Treehouse paints a very convincing portrait of a young man on an even more steep and rapid slide than I was at first able to detect, and what is most damning and convincing is that the evidence is in Martin’s own words and actions–and those of his associates:
To the contrary, it’s likely that a young man like Trayvon would consider Robitussin an easily obtained standby for times when marijuana was unavailable. In his own words he has already expressed his opinion that it gives him ‘the same vibe‘ – and he is in fact likely to PREFER the DXM as it’s less likely to get him ‘roped‘ (busted).
TCT suggests that Martin was a drug dealer, and Martin’s communications suggest that possibility, however, it is certain that marijuana was not his only personal drug interest.
In a followup article, TCT provides fascinating video footage from the 7-11 that indicates that Martin did not leave the 7-11 at 6:24 PM, but hung around outside and was caught on camera interacting with three other young males. As you’ll see in the videos, they likely should not be expecting MIT scholarship offers anytime soon. A bit more than a minute later, they enter the store, apparently with money given them by Martin. One of them purchases several “blunts” (cheap cigars drug users often hollow out and fill with marijuana—Martin apparently tried to buy these earlier and was turned down), and they again interact with Martin outside the 7-11 before all leave. TCT provides evidence that Martin’s blunt use was well known to his associates; it would appear that the hoodie was not the only symbol by which Martin was known.
It took Martin 40 minutes to walk ½ mile—in the rain—from the 7-11 until the point where Zimmerman saw him. An average adult, walking at a brisk pace, can easily cover a mile in around 15 minutes. A relatively slow jogging pace would be around 9 minutes for a mile. What was he doing? TCT proposes a compelling, likely scenario that encompasses many elements I’ve previously suggested.
Again, I recommend reading The Conservative Treehouse’s three articles completely.
This information raises even more troubling questions in a case overflowing with them:
(1) Did Martin have Robitussin or another source of Codeine or DXM—none was apparently found on him–waiting for him at home?
(2) In past articles, I raised the possibility that Martin may have been carrying marijuana and ran from Zimmerman to hide it. Remember that he was carrying a cigarette lighter, but no cigarettes (it’s not known if he was a smoker). There is no doubt that teenage drug users putting together concoctions like “Lean,” often steal some or all of the ingredients and go to some lengths to conceal them from adults. Is it possible that Martin may have had Robitussin or a similar cough syrup and hid that as well?
(3) The Martin family attorney and the special prosecutor had the evidence forms and the photographs. Were they aware that Martin did not purchase tea? If the special prosecutor was aware of this, they told yet another lie on the affidavit, where they wrote:
That evening Martin walked to a nearby 7-11 store where he purchased a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles.
It is possible they didn’t realize this, or if they did, didn’t put two and two together. Juvenile drug trends are often fast-changing and adults can be slow to keep track. However, if they did know this, as Alan Dershowitz wrote, special prosecutor Corey would be wise indeed to hire a very good attorney.
(4) The media also had the evidence forms and photographs before releasing them to the public. Did they fail to put two and two together, or did they know what was up, and maintain the “tea and Skittles” charade to prop up the rapidly deteriorating narrative?
(5) Why did it take Martin so long to walk, in a soaking rain, back home? What was he doing? The blunts provided him by the three young men and the marijuana markers in his blood and urine suggest an obvious answer: He was smoking pot.
(6) Most importantly, the police and special prosecutor had all of the 7-11 video. They—and particularly the special prosecutor—must have known about Martin’s interactions with the three others at the 7-11 and what it meant. That, or they are amazingly incompetent. Did they purposely withhold this information too from the affidavit? From the defense? Remember that as much as 50% of the evidence in this case has not yet been released, even to the defense who, under the law, is entitled to every scrap. Perhaps this is a large part of the reason why it has not been released.
As with every new revelation in this case, Zimmerman’s account remains not only undamaged, but is in many ways, strengthened. While George Zimmerman will not be in the running for Pope at anytime in the near future, the more we learn about his character, the more he seems to be a young man who had the kinds of minor failings many young men experience at one time or another in early adulthood, but a young man who was very much together for a 28 year-old. Trayvon Martin’s character does not, in contrast, hold up well at all.
Some will no doubt scream that I am blaming the victim, am a racist, etc. To them I can only suggest that it is Martin’s record, and most meaningfully, his own words and actions that effectively indict his character. And in this case, since we know he was under the influence of at least marijuana before he encountered Zimmerman, his history of drug use, and his drug use that day and/or night, are material factors and will be allowed at trial. This is particularly true since Zimmerman’s first words to the police dispatcher indicated his suspicion that Martin was affected by drugs, a suspicion that has been proved to be fact. Even though Zimmerman only suspected drug involvement—he could not know with certainty—Martin’s drug involvement is a significant factor in this case and can only contribute to Zimmerman’s self-defense argument. In other words, it’s not a matter of character assassination, but law, and Martin himself has made it so.
As I’ve repeatedly said, this case is about—must be about–Florida law, not “social justice,” or any other social or political concern.
We know (from Update 7) that Martin had marijuana in his bloodstream and urine, and that the levels in his blood were high enough to indicate intoxication in some states (Florida has a no tolerance law—any amount is sufficient). However, the levels in his urine have not been released. I’ve suggested that this is so because those levels are likely so high as to make it painfully obvious that Martin was smoking marijuana—and a considerable quantity of it—in the hour before he met Zimmerman. This might account for the fact that he had none on him. Perhaps he didn’t need to hide any as he had already smoked what he had. If so, this not only blows the prosecution’s case out of the water, it reduces it to tragic farce.
The Duke Lacrosse Connection: As I’ve mentioned before, a number of bloggers have suggested that there is a connection between this case and the Duke Lacrosse Case. Until now, I’ve not significantly pursued that line of thought, however, the more I learn, the more likely it is that the Martin case will follow the tragic path of that prosecutorial debacle. For those needing to refresh their memory, I recommend this “Overall Case Narrative,” from K.C. Johnson’s Durham-In-Wonderland blog. Johnson, a history professor, is the most authoritative voice on the net (anywhere, actually) on this case, and his book—Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case–is the definitive account.
While the Martin case is still developing, many significant and disturbing parallels are already present:
(1) Both cases involved black “victims” under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
(2) In both cases, the accused willingly cooperated with the police (and passed “iie detector” tests).
(3) In both cases, race was a fundamental factor in pushing prosecution.
(4) In both cases, powerful political and social forces were brought to bear in the service of the narrative.
(5) In both cases, the media relentlessly pursued the narrative, ignoring any evidence that would conflict with it and demonizing any who disagreed.
(6) In both cases, evidence and/or the law would have prevented an ethical prosecutor from pursuing charges.
(7) In both cases, the prosecutors, knowing this, pursued charges anyway and reaped political benefit from their malfeasance.
(8) In both cases, the prosecutors lied to the courts.
We know that in the Martin case, the prosecution’s lies are, for the moment primarily those of omission. For example, they knew Martin had been using marijuana, yet claimed in the affidavit that when he met Zimmerman, he was not breaking the law. However, the case is yet young and there are many troubling possibilities, such as those mentioned in this article. In the Duke case, the prosecutor, Mike Nifong, knew that the defendants were innocent, yet he hid evidence, and relentlessly persecuted them anyway. He ended up disbarred, lost his pension, and was convicted of lying to the courts, though he spent only a single day in jail.
It remains possible that there is some amazing and previously unfathomable body of evidence that will completely reverse what we know about this case, but that seems most unlikely. As I’ve previously noted, if Angela Corey is wise, she will drop this case. If she does not, it is likely not to end well for her and those that follow her.
I’ll continue to report on this case as more information becomes available. Thanks for your attention and great comments.
UPDATE, 06-01-12, 1430 CST. I’m seeing some early indications on the net that George Zimmerman has apparently had his bond revoked. This supposedly has something to do with money received for his defense via the Internet prior to his arrest, but I’m not getting any confirmed details at the moment. I’ll research it and likely end up with another full update in the near future. I’ll reserve additional comment about this latest development—which some will no doubt tout as more significant than the development of electricity—until I have something informed and worthwhile to say. Stay tuned!