This update in the Martin case is devoted to analysis of the interview of “Dee Dee” by Assistant Special Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda—and several others—on April 12, 2012.  While I do know this young lady’s name, I choose not to publish it.  As one who believes in the rule of law, I believe there is no need to contribute to any intimidation or abuse of potential witnesses in any case.  I’m able to present this update because of the kind assistance of a reader who chooses to remain anonymous.  He prepared the initial transcript—which turned out to be a truly Herculean labor—to a level of 85% to 90% completeness and accuracy.  His efforts saved me a great many hours and I am grateful indeed.  I assume he is not a high school English teacher, and so I worry about brain damage from prolonged exposure to the speech of a teenager.  Over the years I’ve built up an immunity, though still suffer from the occasional light linguistic concussion.

Before preparing the battle space, so to speak, please allow me to call your attention to two interesting articles on the Martin case.  The first is available at The Conservative Treehouse.  In that article, you’ll learn a great deal more about “Dee Dee,” Trayvon Martin, and the seamier elements of those pushing the narrative.  The second article may be found in The American Thinker by Jack Cashill.

Cashill, for those not familiar with his work, is a fine writer and researcher with many books to his credit.  Since the advent of the Age of Obama, he has done the work the Lamestream media have refused to do, and among other services, has arguably proved that unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers wrote at least one of Mr. Obama’s two (?!) autobiographies.  I recommend this link to his one hour presentation on that matter.

Cashill’s article will seem quite familiar to readers of this scruffy little blog.  It is essentially a recitation of the substantial and convincing evidence that Trayvon Martin was not the child-like, candy-eating innocent of “the narrative.”  While Cashill does not present anything that I—and others–have not already presented (and in considerably more detail), his voice is indeed welcome in our efforts to inform the public about this case, and his article–and other work–is worth your time.

I’ve written, in Update 7 and in Update 8, that “Dee Dee” would be a very dangerous witness for the prosecution.  I based this on what I knew at the time.  Because she was on the telephone with Martin, and intermittently at that, she can testify only to what she heard, which not only substantially limits the scope of her testimony, but opens everything she says up to interpretation.  If she heard a “thumping” noise, what was it?  A car door or house door closing?  Martin coughing?  A fist connecting with flesh?  How can she say with certainty which of these three—or any number of other possible—explanations is accurate?  If Martin told her something was happening, how can she know that his interpretation was accurate or that he was telling her the complete truth?

Most dangerous for the prosecution, however, is the fact that teenagers constantly talk about their interests and themselves.  Dee Dee will certainly know Martin’s habits and normal behaviors, including many the prosecution absolutely does not want a jury to hear about, yet putting her on the stand will almost certainly open that door.  Until I spent hours listening to and transcribing her audio interview, I had no idea how Old Testament prophet right I was.  Dee Dee is not merely dangerous to the prosecution; she’s absolutely deadly.  Special Prosecutor Angela Corey would be foolish to allow this girl anywhere near a courtroom.  The interview is more than bad enough and will haunt the prosecution.

INTERVIEWS: PROTOCOL AND TECHNIQUE

Interviewing people is science and art.  It is a skill—or perhaps more accurately—a broad set of skills that the best police officers learn only through experience.  There is no doubt that some people, because of their unique genetic endowment, will naturally be better interviewers than others, but even they must spend many years working with people to maximize their skills.  Among the skills involved are a sharp and accurate understanding of human nature, and the ability to “read” non-verbal signs, signs that may be very subtle and differ from person to person.

Here, as with virtually everything else relating to law enforcement, TV and the movies have served us badly.  Virtually nothing they depict about interviews is accurate.  The Law and Order series is particularly bad in that interviews are completed within minutes, confessions are dramatic and tearful, and trials take only slightly longer than interviews.

One of the many remarkable things about interviews is that most criminal suspects will waive Miranda, which is a good thing, because if they invoke it—they “lawyer up”–the talking is over.  I always treated people with consideration and kindness, not only out of empathy, but because one really does catch more flies with sugar than vinegar.  Defense attorneys often shook their heads in wonder when they discovered that people I arrested actually called me from the jail and asked me to come by so they could confess to additional crimes.  They didn’t do that just because they thought I was a swell guy, but because of the careful groundwork I laid to help ensure those kinds of results and because I treated them like I’d want to be treated in their place.

Here are some of the considerations police officers must have before an interview takes place:

(1) They must be aware of every fact in the case or cases to be discussed.  They must know those cases intimately.

(2) They must have a complete list of questions and issues that must be discussed.

(3) They must know everything possible about the person they are going to interview, from age, interests, criminal record, relationships, phobias, to their favorite beverage, which might be provided at a particularly useful time.

(4) They must understand the difference in technique required when interviewing a burglar and when interviewing, for example, a stalker.  Stalkers, if they’ll speak with you at all, are among the easiest people to interview in the sense that once they start talking about the object of their desire, it’s almost impossible to get them to shut up.  With burglars, one usually has to convince them that confessing to a variety of felonies is in their best interest.  That sounds crazy, but it’s quite true, and if done correctly, not particularly difficult.

(5) They must understand the dynamics of non-verbal communication.  Good interviewers often promote talkativeness merely by looking at people and saying nothing at all.  This works because Americans are conditioned to avoid dead air.  When people aren’t talking, they become nervous and fill that space.  Silence often communicates best and encourages people to say more.  They way they look, sit, smile, nod, talk, and more will have a substantial influence on the outcome of an interview.

(6) They must be prepared to take as much time as possible and to follow the interview wherever it goes.  People often bring up unexpected things.  Interviewers can’t be surprised by this and must deal with it professionally and smoothly.

Once an interview is underway, an interviewer must not ask leading questions, but questions designed to allow a person the maximum freedom to speak their mind, questions that stimulate their memory.  It is all too easy to inadvertently suggest things that may not be entirely accurate and that can change the statement of a witness in ways small and great.  Instead of: “Did Billy Bob then hit Tommy in the eye?”  A better question would be: “what happened next?” or “What did you see then?”

Interviewing is so important that virtually all law enforcement agencies have written protocols governing how it is done.  Police officers attend lengthy schools that teach the necessary skills.  Interviews involving major cases are almost exclusively done by detectives–higher ranking specialists–and even in their ranks, some detectives are recognized as expert interviewers and are called in when the A Team is required.

One major issue is that—unlike TV and the movies would have us believe—prosecutors NEVER interview suspects.  They commonly meet witnesses only just before a trial begins, and then, only to introduce themselves and tell the witness when they can expect to testify and to put them at ease.  They do not discuss the details of testimony with witnesses.

This is so for two primary reasons:

(1) If a prosecutor interviews a suspect or witness, they have made themselves a witness.  The defense can call them to the stand to testify about their interview.  This is what those involved in the criminal justice system call: bad.

(2) It is important that the testimony of a witness be untainted.  No prosecutor wants to open themselves to the charge of tampering with a witness—which is a crime—or in any way trying to influence their testimony.  Defense lawyers routinely ask witnesses about this on the stand, and at the slightest hint of influence, raise a stink, which judges and juries tend to take very seriously.

Interviews are done by police officers.  If a prosecutor wants to clarify a given issue, or obtain additional information, they have this done by a detective who writes a supplementary report containing that information.  Prosecutors do not do it themselves.

THE INTERVIEW:

This is going to be a long update, but to avoid any charges of taking things out of context, I’ve decided to present the entire transcript.  I believe it may be worth your time and effort.  The words of those in the transcript are in normal type, and my analyses will be added in bold italics.  I recommend that after reading this update, you take the link and listen to the recording while referring to the update (it’s also present at the end of the article).  The printed word cannot communicate everything that speech so easily reveals.

In reading this transcript, you’ll notice that Dee Dee speaks in patterns common to some black people (and those of other races as well, including some of the white bread persuasion), particularly dropping portions—or all—of suffixes and prefixes.  She also entirely drops some prepositions, some verbs, and like a great many teenagers, speaks with lazy diction and often mumbles.  Many of her sentences are fragmentary, and she will often apparently change thoughts in the middle of a sentence.  All of this—and more—made preparing this transcript unusually difficult.  As a teacher of high school English, I am perhaps better prepared than most to understand this kind of “relaxed” speech, but I was often forced to listen to a given sentence many times before I understood—mostly–what Dee Dee was saying.

Early on I realized I had a choice: transcribe Dee Dee’s speech accurately and be called a racist, or clean it up into something resembling standard English.  I’ve chosen accuracy–which is the standard for anyone transcribing the speech of others–over political correctness.  All race cards are expired at this Internet ATM.  Call me racist all you like, but listen to the interview first; she really does speak precisely as I have transcribed.  And is it not ironic that some may be tempted to call me racist for accurately reflecting the speech of a black person?  Is there something inherently racist in the way some black people speak, or is accurately speaking about those speech patterns somehow racist?  I just can’t keep up with the ever-changing conventions of political correctness…

Assistant Special Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda (hereinafter known by the acronym: BDLR) is, in many ways, detrimental to the interview.  He is obviously not well prepared, and not only asks leading questions, he often tries to put words in Dee Dee’s mouth.  In addition, he talks too much and frequently interrupts Dee Dee, who reciprocates by frequently interrupting him.  BDLR does not control the flow of the interview–mandatory for a competent interviewer.  For that reason, it is possible that I missed an occasional “what…?”/”Uh…” exchange as BDLR and Dee Dee constantly “walked on” each other’s speech, but such matters are that kind of trivia and nothing of greater substance.

Before we begin, it is proper protocol for an interviewer–before saying anything else–to put on tape the place where the interview is being conducted, the date and time the interview begins, to introduce himself (I include the feminine here) and every other law enforcement officer present, including their proper title (it is always best to keep the number of cops present to an absolute minimum—usually no more than two), and to introduce the person being interviewed.  You’ll notice that BDLR misses some of this entirely, including failing to introduce several cops, even though he says they are present.  BDLR is the only person asking questions; the rest are potted plants.

BDLR: Uh, OK..could you state your name for the record, Ma’am.

Dee Dee: [Redacted]

BDLR: OK, my name is Bernie de la Rionda.  I’m an assistant state attorney.  I’m going to get you to raise your right hand, please.  Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Dee Dee: So help me God.

BDLR: OK, put your hand down.  As I told you, my name is Bernie de la Rionda.  I’ve been appointed by Miss Corey, who has been appointed by the governor of the State of Florida to handle this case that I’m going to be asking you questions about. Also to my right is Detective..uh..or Investigator  T.C. O’Steen with the State Attorney’s office.  We’ve come from Jacksonville, here along with some agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and we are at [redacted] because you have agreed to come here today, is that correct?

Dee Dee: Yes.

BDLR: Has anyone threatened you in any way to get you to make this statement?

Dee Dee: No.

BDLR:  Has anybody made you any promises in order to get you to make this statement?

Dee Dee:  No.

BDLR: OK..I can tell by looking at you that you appear to be under no medical conditions that would interfere with…

Dee Dee: No…

BDLR: …being able to understand what’s going on, right?

Dee Dee:  No.

BDLR: And you don’t appear to be under any kind of drugs or anything, is that correct?

Dee Dee:  Nuh…[mumbling]

         Many investigators don’t ask about threats or promises because they believe it to be unnecessary.  Why raise that issue in the minds of the defense?  If they’re not already thinking about it, they surely will if you raise it, and it may make them unnecessarily suspicious.  The same is true in asking about drugs, etc.  If someone is impaired, professionals don’t do the interview, so there is no need to ask about it.  Though “nuh” is a pretty (unintentionally) humorous–and ironic–response to that question.

BDLR: And for the record, today is April the 2nd, 2012, and it’s about 7:05 PM. Uh, what I wanna kinda do is ask you some background questions, and then I also want to ask you some questions about something that happened back on February 26th of this year. And for the record, you knew a person named Trayvon Martin, is that correct?

Dee Dee: Yes.

BDLR: OK…now, you live [Redacted]…

Dee Dee:  [Redacted]

BDLR: OK, how long have you lived there?

Dee Dee:  [Redacted]

BDLR: Your whole life?

Dee Dee:  Hmmm…[mumbling]

BDLR:  OK, where did you live before that?

Dee Dee:  [Redacted]

BDLR: OK, the reason I am asking you is because I am from Jacksonville, so I want to make sure the record’s clear…that we’re here in uh [redacted] Umm…

Dee Dee: A year or two…or eleven…[mumbling]

BDLR: What?

Dee Dee: Ten years…or 11.

BDLR: I’m sorry, what?

Dee Dee: Eleven…or 10 years

BDLR: OK, where do you go to school?

Dee Dee:  [Redacted]

BDLR:  And how did you know Trayvon?

Dee Dee:  I know him for a long time…we just…we started talking.

BDLR: How did you meet up with him…from school?  Or friends? Or…

Dee Dee:  By coming by my house…

BDLR: OK…

Dee Dee:  …with his best friend.

BDLR: Who was his best friend?

Dee Dee:  [Redacted] Yeah.

BDLR: OK, so you’ve known him for how long about? Approximately…

Dee Dee:  Kindergarten…?

BDLR: Kindergarten…wow, that long. So he was a good friend of yours…right?

Dee Dee:  Yeah, he was alright…

BDLR: OK, and he was a good guy, wasn’t he?

Dee Dee:  Yeah…sumpin’…

         Here BDLR begins the practice of asking leading questions and trying to put words in Dee Dee’s mouth.  In response to the suggestion that Martin was a “good guy,” Dee Dee replies “Yeah…sumpin’.”  A competent interviewer would ask what she meant, clarify that statement which would appear to indicate that Martin was not, in fact, a particularly good guy.  However, BDLR is plainly interested not in getting at the truth wherever it takes him, but in bolstering his case which is synonymous with the narrative.

BDLR: OK, and at…some later…later on…like in the last year or so, did you become closer friends?

Dee Dee:  Yes.

BDLR: OK…did you guys ever start dating at all?

Dee Dee:  Hmm mmm [unintelligible].

         Throughout the interview, Dee Dee’s speech often drops dramatically in volume at the ends of phrases or sentences, rending her impossible to understand.

BDLR: But would you guys talk on the phone all the time?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

         We have learned that Dee Dee knew Martin since kindergarten—about a decade—and that they apparently dated in some fashion–or maybe not.  BDLR doesn’t ask the logical questions relating to the exact nature of their relationship—a matter of real importance—and rather than asking how often they spoke by phone, suggests how often they did.  This is poor interviewing technique.

         More importantly, however, we now know that Dee Dee would surely know a great deal about Martin, which includes such matters as his drug habits, his criminal escapades, and similar things the prosecution very much wants to avoid.  Notice, however, that BDLR does not ask her about her Internet contacts with Martin.  Surely he knows that teenagers communicate this way as much or more than by cell phone.  Did he forget this, or is he avoiding what that kind of contact so clearly reveals about Martin?

BDLR: OK, what was your telephone number back in February of this year, 2012?

Dee Dee:  [Redacted]

BDLR: And is that a cell phone?

Dee Dee:  Yes.

BDLR: OK, and is that phone number under your name or under somebody else’s name?

Dee Dee:  Now, it should be now under my name.

BDLR: And do you know what the provider is…is it T-Mobile? Or do you know?

Dee Dee:  Yeah, T-Mobile…[mumbles]…I think.

BDLR: And did you know when you talked to Trayvon, what number you called him at?

Dee Dee:  I don’t…I know the last four digits

BDLR: You don’t remember, or you do?

Dee Dee:  I remember the last four…

BDLR: Is that automatically…like memorized in your phone?

Dee Dee:  Mmm Hmm [Yes].

BDLR: OK, Alright, and you would communicate with him off and on? It was almost on a daily basis, or how often would you talk on the phone?

Dee Dee:  Daily.

BDLR: Daily?  You were that close?

Dee Dee:  Daily.

BDLR: OK, were you kind of his girlfriend, or just kind of…I don’t mean to get personal, but I’m not going to ask you any more other than that. Were you guys…

Dee Dee: Yeah, we were getting there…

BDLR: OK, you’re getting there. And you knew he had gone up to Sanford, right?

Dee Dee:  Yes.

BDLR: OK, and even when he was in Sanford, you still talked to him on the phone?

Dee Dee:  Yes.

         “Daily?”  “…we were getting there…?”  Sorry, BDLR, it’s your job to “get personal.”  Again, BDLR does not ask the bare minimum questions necessary to properly understand the relationship.  Were those calls once a day, twice a day, five times a day?  For how long?  What about texting?  When did the calls or texts take place?  How long were the calls?  Who initiated them?  BDLR is conducting what will probably be the only interview the prosecution will ever get a chance to do with her, and he’s not doing the bare minimum.  I suspect he really doesn’t want to know the answers to these questions—or at the very least, doesn’t want them to appear in a transcript.

BDLR: OK.  Now uh…by the way, I neglected to ask you.  Do you live with yourself, or a family member, your mother, or any other…

Dee Dee:  My mother.

BDLR:  I’m sorry…

Dee Dee:  My mother.

BDLR:  OK, alright.  I want to focus on that day, February 26, when you know obviously he was unfortunately killed. And I’m sorry to ask you about this…

Dee Dee:  [Unintelligible]

BDLR: But did you have conversations with him that day?

Dee Dee:  Yes.

BDLR:  OK, and do you recall whether the conversations were in the morning, or in the afternoon, or all through the day until the final until the final [The tape sounds like the microphone is being moved or something is being drug across it]. In other words, did you talk to him earlier that day?

Dee Dee: In the morning.

BDLR:  OK…alright…

Dee Dee:  All day, it seem…

BDLR:  OK, you talked to him during the day?

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  OK, at some point did you find out that Trayvon was going to the store?

Dee Dee: Around six, sumpin’….

         Again, notice the complete lack of precision in questions.  Dee Dee says she essentially talked with Martin “all day,” and BDLR doesn’t clarify that!?  Was she continually talking to him, actually all day?  Did they speak once, twice, ten times?  When did they speak?  What did they speak about?  In a case where minutes—even seconds—count, and this particular witness has the potential to clarify some important time frames, BDLR has no interest in that at all.

BDLR:  OK, and did he tell you what store he was going to?

Dee Dee: No; he was sayin’ corner store.

BDLR:  Did he say why he was going to the store?

Dee Dee: Uh…yes.

BDLR:  Why did he say he was going to the store?

Dee Dee: Get his little brother, uh, some food and some drink.

         Consider this matter yourself, but Dee Dee’s answer here struck me as scripted, or as if she was remembering what she believed she was supposed to say in response to that question.  It is, of course, very difficult to read people if you’re not actually in the room with them, but that’s the way it struck me.  Take the link and see for yourself.

BDLR:  OK, and as he was walking to the store, were you conversing with him?

Dee Dee: Yes.

BDLR:  OK, you were talking to him.

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  How about when he got to the store? Did he talk to you about being at the store?

Dee Dee:  Yes.

BDLR:  OK, and did he talk to you once he left the store?

Dee Dee:  Yes.

         This is absolutely maddening.  We have a partial timeline of events.  We know when Zimmerman made his 911 call, and what happened, pretty much to the second during that call.  We have at least some idea when Martin left for the 7-Eleven and we know when Zimmerman saw him.  We also know that Martin took many times the amount of time necessary to walk to the 7-Eleven and back.  In this situation, with this witness, any competent investigator would have the time frame before him and would go over it, second by second, to see if Dee Dee could help to support or refute what was believed to be true.  But amazingly, BDLR has no interest in these details! 

       In addition, knowing the content of those calls is absolutely vital, particularly since BDLR has to know about the 7-Eleven tapes.  Any competent prosecutor would want to know if for no other reason that to avoid being surprised in court, yet BDLR has no interest at all.  Any detective showing so little interest in the basic details of a case would almost certainly be given the opportunity to return to the patrol force and less demanding, far less detail-oriented duties.

BDLR:  And now was this a continuous phone call, or were there times when you would stop and then call each other back?

Dee Dee: Yeah, but the phone was actin’ up.

BDLR:  OK, alright, OK, and we’ve got all the phone records that would establish that, so I’m not going to ask you details as to what specific times. But, what I wanted to cover with you is when he left the store, did he mention something about that at that time whether it was raining or not?

         Even if BDLR has those records, what, exactly does “actin’ up” mean?  Was it radio frequency interference?  Was her phone battery dying?  Was Martin’s phone the problem?  What was said during each of those calls?  Notice that BDLR does not ask questions that would encourage Dee Dee to talk—an important matter when we’re looking for answers relating to multiple telephone conversations.  He’s looking for specific answers, and is doing his best to get them and to ignore the rest.

         Even with the phone records, it would be vital to question her about each and every call and the time frames for no other reason than to assess the accuracy of her memory and to determine her reliability as a witness.  No competent investigator expects the memory of a witness to coincide with such records to the second.

Dee Dee: Like, when he come home, or..?

BDLR:  Yeah, tell what happened as he’s talking to you when he’s leaving the store…on his way back home.

Dee Dee: When he was leaving the store, he just told me that he bought drinks…and it about to rain.

BDLR:  OK, and then what?

Dee Dee:  It about to rain..he about to get to…inside a thing. It started raining.

BDLR:  It started raining, and did he go somewhere?

Dee Dee:  Yeah. He ran to the um…mail thing.

BDLR:  Like…I’m sorry…what?

Dee Dee:  Like the mail…like a shed…

BDLR:  Like a shed…like a mail area…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  Like a covered area…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  Because it was raining?

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  So, did he tell you that he was already inside, like the gated place?

Dee Dee:  Yeah, he ran in there.

BDLR:  OK…

         So Martin ran to the “mail thing,” he was in “like the gated place.”  Again, for a competent investigator, this is absolutely jaw dropping.  What does she mean by “mail thing?”  Where was this “thing?”  When did he arrive there?  How does she know each of these things?  Has she actually been there and if so, when?  Or did Martin tell her, and if so, precisely what did he say and when?  Did he step into the entryway of an unrelated apartment building on the way, an entryway with mailboxes, or merely some covered common mailboxes along the road on his way back to the neighborhood?  In this case, without accurate time frames, we know nothing, yet BDLR continues to show no interest at all in establishing an accurate time frame sequence.  Again, perhaps BDLR doesn’t want to get into time frames because then he’ll have to explain why it took Martin so long to cover such a short distance, and he’ll have to explain what must have been the lengthy–potentially embarrassing–conversations he and Dee Dee had.  In any case, this failure to gather the bare basic information does not support BDLR’s later claim to be seeking the truth and will only cause Mr. O’Mara to bring up this information under circumstances very unfavorable to the prosecution.  This is a neophyte mistake.

Dee Dee:  That’s when the phone hung up…

BDLR:  OK, I’m sorry..

Dee Dee:  The phone hung up, and I call him back again.

BDLR:  OK, and then what happened?  What did he tell you?

Dee Dee:  He under the shade.

BDLR:  OK..

Dee Dee: …the mail area.

BDLR:  Alright, OK, and you say shade, like a covered area…

Dee Dee: Yeah…

BDLR:  …so he wouldn’t get wet.

Dee Dee:   Mmm hmm [Yes].

         “The Shade?”  DETAILS! HOW DOES SHE KNOW THIS? WHEN DID IT HAPPEN?  WHAT, EXACTLY, DID MARTIN SAY?

BDLR:  OK, and what else did he …did Trayvon tell you?

Dee Dee:  And like…

BDLR:  And I know this is difficult for you, but just take your time and tell us what you remember happening.

Dee Dee:  A couple minutes later he come and tell me this man is watchin’ him.

         A couple?  How many minutes exactly?  How does Dee Dee know?  What did they talk about during that time?

BDLR:  OK…did he describe the man who was watching him?

Dee Dee:  Yeah, he said white.

BDLR:  OK, did he say whether the man was standing, sitting…

Dee Dee:  In a car.

BDLR:  In a car?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

         My impression here is that BDLR was a bit confused.  He knew Zimmerman was in a pickup truck, and he seems to want to ask Dee Dee about that, but drops it.

BDLR:  What did he say about the man who was watching him…

Dee Dee:  He was on the phone.

BDLR:  He was on the phone?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  OK, and what did Trayvon say after that?

Dee Dee:  He was telling me like…like he a man watching him, so he like started walking.

BDLR:  He, Trayvon, started walking?

Dee Dee:  He goin’ start walking.

BDLR:  OK.

         Again, obvious clarifying questions are ignored.  Walking where?  At this point, Dee Dee’s statement supports Zimmerman’s account in substance if not in time frame, which remains unstated.

Dee Dee:  And then…the phone hung up. And I call him back again.  And then, I say ‘What you doin’?’ and he say he walkin’ and he said this man still following him, behind the car.  And I’m like…or like, he told me…he tell me..he put his hoodie on, so I like…

BDLR:  He, Trayvon, put his hoodie on.

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  OK…

Dee Dee:  Cause, he said it was startin’ a little bit dripping water….

BDLR: Uh huh.

         This is where Dee Dee’s account becomes quite confused.  For example, she says “…this man still following him, behind the car.”  “Behind the car?”  What does that mean?  BDLR doesn’t ask.  We know that Martin approached Zimmerman’s truck and possibly even circled it, which might account for the “behind the car,” because we know that at this point, Zimmerman was still in his truck, watching Martin.  He only left it when Martin ran away–at that point, “behind the car” would mean nothing–but again, BDLR apparently isn’t interested in clarifying such things.

         The issue of the hoodie is also interesting.  Martin had the hood of his hoodie up while in the 7-Eleven and when leaving it. Zimmerman’s account suggests that when he saw Martin, he couldn’t be sure of his race because it was dark and his features were obscured by the hoodie.  Perhaps if he was under cover he removed it and replaced it again, but we don’t know, and again, BDLR isn’t interested.

Dee Dee: So he put his hoodie on. So I said, ‘What’s going on?’  He said this man is still watching him. Like in a car…so he about to run from the back. So then I told him, go to his dad house. Run to his Dad house.

         Now Zimmerman isn’t following Martin, or “behind the car,” but is still watching him, and still, BDLR isn’t interested.  Throughout the interview, I get the sense BDLR isn’t prepared.  He isn’t directing the flow of the interview, but trying to respond to unexpected and confusing information.  This is nowhere more obvious than near the end of the interview.

BDLR: Go to what?

Dee Dee: Run to his dad house.

BDLR:  To his dad’s house?

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  OK.

Dee Dee: So he say he about to run for the back cause its mo’ easier, he said.  So, next thing I hear, he gettin’ run. And I can hear that the wind blowin’…

BDLR:  So you could tell he was running at that time…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

         It makes sense that Martin would say he was running “for the back” of his father’s condo.  It would indeed have been easier.  The backs of the two rows of condos face the long sidewalk between them.  Martin has indicated that he knows where he is going, and that the shortest distance is to follow the sidewalk eastbound to the point of the “T,” and head directly south to the back door of his father’s home (take this link to Update 9 for photographs and an illustrative map).  This would seem to put to rest the idea that Martin was lost and therefore couldn’t find his way home.  Still, BDLR isn’t asking relevant questions.  What does she mean by “…wind blowin’?”  How could she tell he was running?  These are not difficult questions, and they’re the logical questions any competent investigator would ask.  BDLR doesn’t.

BDLR:  OK, and then what happened?

Dee Dee:  And then…he say he lost him.

BDLR:  He lost..like…the man?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

         Martin “lost him?”  What does that mean?  He ran so far the man was out of sight?  He was  hiding from him?  These are important issues in this case, but as usual, BDLR doesn’t seem to understand that or care.

         Again, I suggest you check this for yourself, but my impression was that BDLR didn’t like this answer, which Dee Dee repeated twice with some clarity.  Rather than following up on it, he went off on another direction…

BDLR:  So, was Trayvon at that time…you could tell he was like, out of breath, like excited…

Dee Dee:  Yeah. . .

BDLR:  …like, like…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  OK.

Dee Dee: Then…

         See what I mean by leading questions and walking all over each other’s sentences?

BDLR:  Take your time; I know this is difficult for you.

        Again, check for yourself, but I don’t detect any obvious indicators that this is difficult for Dee Dee, here or at any other point in the interview.  Of course, I’m not there to read her body language, but still, see what you think.

Dee Dee: He lost him; he was breathin’ hard.  An…by the sound his voice…voice kinda change…

BDLR:  Who?  Trayvon?

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  OK, what do you mean by that, his voice changed?

Dee Dee:  [unintelligible] I know he was scare.

BDLR:  I’m sorry?

Dee Dee: I know he was scare. He…

BDLR:  How..how…could …tell…and I know what you’re trying to tell me, but if you could, describe to me how you could tell he was scared.

Dee Dee:  Voice was getting kind of low…[unintelligible]…breathin’ har’…

BDLR:  So, you could tell he was emotional like somebody who was like in fear?

Dee Dee:  Yeah…he say he lost him…

BDLR: OK…he was breathing hard?

Dee Dee: He say he lost him…breathin’ har’, you know. And I like, he goin’…so he say he lost him.  And then a couple…and then he say he right by his ass…he ru’, he go’ keep ru’ ’til hi’ dad house.

BDLR:  OK, let me make sure I understand that he’s saying that he’s “right by his ass”…meaning the guy is right by Trayvon?

Dee Dee: No, he say he lost the guy…

BDLR: OK.

Dee Dee: And then he ran from the back…

BDLR:  Right.

Dee Dee: He say he lost him.

BDLR:  OK.

         BDLR certainly isn’t going to clarify this morass, so I’ll give it a try.  What it sounds like Dee Dee is saying is that Martin ran around the corner of the nearest –west–row of condos (the rows are oriented north/south), and stopped only a short distance from the top of the “T”—the meeting of the sidewalks—probably hiding and seeing what Zimmerman was going to do.  He did not run straight to his father’s home, for if he did, Zimmerman would have never seen him again.  If you’ve taken the link to Update 9, you’ll notice that the photos reveal a multitude of hiding places that would fit this scenario.

         Dee Dee keeps saying—to what I believe to be BDLR’s annoyance—that Martin lost Zimmerman, but then Zimmerman was “right by his ass,” which probably means Zimmerman came into view, walking eastbound on the sidewalk, trying to spot Martin.  BDLR doesn’t ask, but Martin was apparently far enough away from Zimmerman who likely continued to walk east while speaking with the dispatcher, so he didn’t have to lower his voice to speak to Dee Dee.  She continues:

Dee Dee: He started walking back again…and I told him ‘Keep runnin’.’

BDLR:  So Trayvon said he started walking because he thought he had lost the guy.

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  OK.

         Checkpoint: Didn’t you ask yourself “walking back where?”  Why doesn’t BDLR ask that?

Dee Dee: I say, ‘Keep runnin’.’

BDLR:  OK.

Dee Dee: He say he ain’t goin’ run, cause he say he right by his father house…

BDLR:  OK.

Dee Dee: So, and in a couple minutes…he say the man followin’ him again, behin’ him. And I say, ‘RUN!’  You goin’ to run?  He say he not goin’ run cause…I could have known he not going to run, cause he out of breath.  and then, he told me, he say this guy getting’ close to him. I told him ‘RUN!’ And then, and then… I tol’ him ‘Keep runnin’.’ He not goin’ run. And then he say…I told him, ‘Why you not runnin’?  He say, ‘I’m not go’ run,’ cause he tired, but I know he tired.

BDLR:  I’m sorry…Trayvon said he’s not running because…he’s not going to run he said…because you could tell he was tired?

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  Well, how could you tell he was tired?

Dee Dee: He was breathin’ hard.

BDLR:  OK, real hard?

Dee Dee:  Real hard.

         Once again, BDLR is not going to try to untangle this, so I’ll do it.  Martin told Dee Dee he lost Zimmerman (however that was done), and he’s now walking.  She encourages him to run, and he says he doesn’t have to run because he’s “right by his father house.”  And a couple of minutes later, Zimmerman is “following” him and is getting close to him, but Martin’s not going to run, despite the fact that he must have been at his father’s house for some time, because he’s out of breath, despite the fact that he’s had several minutes to catch his breath because he’s walking, not running, and Dee Dee knows this because Martin was breathing “real hard.”  And of course, if BDLR recognizes any contradiction in any of this, he does not act on it, but is concerned, instead, with the weather(?!).

         If we assume that any of this is accurate, what is most likely is that after actually losing Zimmerman by hiding–who reported that he lost Martin to the Dispatcher—Martin did not, in fact, go to his father’s house.  If he had, he could have easily been inside and would never again have seen Zimmerman.  The most probable scenario is that Martin remained in hiding near the top of the “T,” more or less continually speaking with Dee Dee.  Only if he did this could he have seen Zimmerman–and told Dee Dee Zimmerman was close to him–after Zimmerman told the Dispatcher he lost Martin for good and was returning to his truck to meet the responding police. 

         Martin would have seen him, and Zimmerman could have appeared to be coming closer to Martin because he was walking west on the sidewalk, back to where Zimmerman was “right by his ass” a few minutes earlier, on his way back to his vehicle, which was then between him and the mailboxes where the dispatcher expected him to meet the officers.  If Martin was at or near his father’s home, he would have been a considerable distance from Zimmerman, and while he could possibly have seen Zimmerman from that distance as he once more came into view, walking west, he certainly would have had nothing to fear from him, and no need to run from him.  Zimmerman would have been nowhere near Martin.

         Back to the weather report:

BDLR:  OK. Could you…and you may not have been able to…could you hear whether it was raining at that time or not?

Dee Dee:  It was not raining, cause I hear him OK.

         So cell phones perfectly amplify and transmit the sound of even a gentle rain?  It appears to have been continually raining throughout this incident, though lightly.  Despite being concerned about the weather, BDLR doesn’t pursue this matter either.

BDLR:  OK, and when you’re telling him “Run, Run, Run”, are you yelling at him, or…

Dee Dee:  I was not yelling at him…[stated emphatically and with some indignation]

BDLR:  I don’t mean yelling, I mean, but were you like, were you being emphatic like…

Dee Dee:  Shouting…shouting at him, yeah.

BDLR:  OK..um…and then what happened?

         Objection your Honor!  The Prosecutor is leading the witness.

Dee Dee:  And then he told me like the guy was getting close..like..and he told me the guy was getting real close to him.  The next I hear, “What are you following me for?”

BDLR:  OK, so let me make sure I understand this…so, Trayvon tells you the guy’s getting closer to him…

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  …and then you hear Trayvon saying something…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  And what do you hear Trayvon saying?

Dee Dee:  “Why you followin’ me for?”

BDLR:  “Why you following me for?”

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  And then what happened?

Dee Dee: I hear this, ya know, man… it wa’ like a ol’ man…

BDLR:  OK.

Dee Dee:  …say, ‘Wha’ you doin’ aroun’ here?’ [mimicking a man's voice—lowering the pitch of her voice]

         Zimmerman is 28.  Teenagers are notoriously bad at judging the age of adults standing in front of them.  Judging their age by their voice over a cell phone, particularly one that is in some way “acting up,” is another matter entirely.

BDLR:  OK, so you could definitely tell another voice that was not Trayvon’s.

Dee Dee: Yeah, yeah…

BDLR:  And you heard this other voice say what?

Dee Dee: Yeah: “What are you doin’ aroun’ here?”

BDLR:  “What are you doing around here?”  OK.

         To this point, BDLR has added absolutely nothing to our understanding of the case.  As Investigator Dale Gilbreath testified in the bond hearing, the prosecutor has nothing to contradict Zimmerman’s account, which was that shortly after completing his call with the dispatcher, while walking westbound back to his truck, he was surprised by Martin who asked why he was following him.  Zimmerman asked him what he was doing there, and was punched in the nose.

Dee Dee:  And I call Trayvon…’Trayvon, wha’s goin’ on, whas goin’ on?’

BDLR:  This is you saying that…

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR: OK.

Dee Dee: Then..I callin’ him…he didn’t answer.

BDLR:  No answer from Trayvon.

Dee Dee:   Yeah..and I hear, I hear a sound like “bump.”  You cou’ hear that Trayvon bump…somebody bumped Trayvon, ’cause I could hear the grass.

   UPDATE 06-15-12, 0830 CST: Notice the single word added–in bold italics–to this comment by Dee Dee.  I initially missed it because Dee Dee dropped in volume here more than usual, apparently as if she realized she was saying something she wasn’t supposed to say.  It’s subtle, that’s why I initially missed it, but it’s there and is important.  Dee Dee is actually saying that Martin “bumped” something or somebody, but quickly entirely changes the meaning. Thanks to reader Froggielegs for the heads up!  It’s at 11:26 in the transcript.

         One might be tempted to give BDLR the benefit of the doubt–perhaps he didn’t hear it–but actually, he was there, sitting close to her and watching her, so it’s far more likely he did and continued to turn the statement around (see the next block of analysis).

BDLR:  OK, so you could hear that there was something going on…

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  Like something hitting something?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  OK.

Dee Dee: You could hear..I could hear the grass thing.

BDLR:  Out of the…

Dee Dee:  Yeah…

BDLR:  …I guess out of the speaker…out of the…

Dee Dee: Yeah.

         Rather than asking her to describe what she heard, BDLR puts words in her mouth, turning her “bump” into “Like something hitting something.”

         Another checkpoint: didn’t you ask yourself “…I could hear the grass?”  “I could hear the grass thing?”  What does that mean?  Apparently BDLR knows, because he certainly doesn’t ask.  Here are a few more questions BDLR should have asked at this point: 

Please describe exactly what you heard…

How loud and clear was this? 

How long did it last?

Why do you think “somebody bumped Trayvon?”

What does grass have to do with this?

BDLR:  OK, and then what happened?

         Perhaps BDLR did not ask about the grass because he was afraid Dee Dee might tell him that was Zimmerman’s body hitting the grass after being “bumped” in the nose by Martin, which is part of the account the prosecutor’s investigator has testified he cannot refute.

Dee Dee:  And then…I was still screaming, I was saying, ‘Trayvon, ‘ ‘Trayvon’…

BDLR:  And there was no response?

Dee Dee: Yeah, and next thing I hear…and next thing, the phone just shut off.

BDLR: The phone shut off?

Dee Dee: It just shut off.

BDLR:  OK, did you hear any kind of screamings like ‘Help me’ or anything like that?

         Because we still don’t know the exact time frame of events—and BDLR still isn’t helping—we don’t know when Martin stopped speaking with Dee Dee.  If we can take her account at face value, the evidence suggests that by this time, Martin had already removed his earphones and put them in a pocket (that’s where they were found).  When he began the altercation, he dropped the phone, which was found on the ground.  Once again, BDLR is trying to lead Dee Dee, trying to put words in her mouth.  It doesn’t work.  No one is screaming at that point because Martin has just punched Zimmerman who is on his way to the ground, stunned.

Dee Dee: No.

BDLR:  OK. Did you hear any kind of shot?

Dee Dee: No.

BDLR:  OK. When the phone shut off, did you try calling back?

Dee Dee:  I try calling back like 3 or 2 times.

BDLR:  OK, did you ever get any response?

Dee Dee:  No, and text [unintelligible]…

   Notice she mentioned texting, which BDLR ignores. Here comes the fishing expedition:

BDLR:  OK, so the last thing you heard was some kind of noise, like something hitting somebody?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  OK, and uh…when you heard that noise…something hitting somebody…you didn’t…did you hear the man say anything, or did you hear Trayvon say anything?

Dee Dee:  I can hear a little bit…[inflected to emphasize "a little bit"]

BDLR:  OK, what could you hear?

Dee Dee:  I could just hear like…like, it’s like…the headphone…cause the headphones, he might got off. But I can still hear a little bit…like….

BDLR:  OK, what could you hear?

Dee Dee:  Like a little ‘get off’ some stuff…

BDLR: You heard ‘get off’?

Dee Dee:  Like a little ‘Get off’ [unintelligible—sounds like "now college"]…

BDLR:  Could you tell who was saying that?

Dee Dee:  I couldn’ know Trayvon.

BDLR:  I’m sorry.

Dee Dee:  I couldn’t hear Trayvon…Trayvon.

BDLR:  OK, let me make sure I understand…you could hear Trayvon saying that?

Dee Dee:  Yeah. That’s why I was calling his name.

BDLR:  And he was saying what now?

Dee Dee:  Like “get off.”

BDLR:  “Get off?” Is that clear that you were hearing that, or you think you heard that?

Dee Dee:  Yeah, I could hear it a little bit…”get off…get off,” then the phone just hung up.

         Are you, gentle readers, beginning to see why Dee Dee is so dangerous to the prosecution?  Not only is BDLR putting words in her mouth, she’s continually contradicting herself.  Any competent attorney would slaughter her testimony merely by calling attention to all of its contradictions and to BDLR’s pathetic and unethical attempts to shape Dee Dee’s answers.

         So we are now to believe that immediately after the “bump,” which had something to do with grass, the phone call ended and Dee Dee heard no more from Martin, nor did she hear any screaming or a gunshot.  But upon prompting by BDLR, Dee Dee now can hear—because of headphones or something—”a little bit,” like “get off some stuff.”  And Dee Dee could not hear Martin saying that—she said it twice—but BDLR turns it around and gets her to say that she could hear Martin saying it: “That’s why I was calling his name.”  It appears that she is answering some other question.

         Is this merely the product of incompetent questioning and general confusion, or are BDLR and Dee Dee trying to salvage something from this interview?  Are they trying to interject the idea that Martin was, in some way, defending himself?  There is reason to believe it’s a combination of both factors, but more on that shortly.

UPDATE, 03-12-13, 1740 CST:  Notice that Dee Dee essentially says that the phone went dead after the–bumping”–whatever that was–that she tried to call Martin back 2-3 times, but never again spoke with him.  Yet, she is saying that she heard Martin saying “get off”–possibly repeatedly–through a dead phone, or headphones attached to a dead phone.  BDLR, of course, does not follow up on this physics-defying contention.

BDLR:  OK, alright, now, uh…before all this started, when it…earlier in the day, had Trayvon been talking to you, right? So you recognized his voice, right?

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  And you heard him on prior occasions, so it was crystal clear it was Trayvon talking to you, right?

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  The other voice of the other person you heard, you had never heard before?

Dee Dee:  No.

BDLR:  OK. Could you tell it was a man versus a woman? The other voice.

Dee Dee: I thought it was a man.

         Notice how BDLR has almost tripped himself up.

BDLR:  You thought it was a man.

Dee Dee:  It is a man, ’cause it had a deep voice.

BDLR:  OK. And could you tell the man whether his voice was real loud… screaming at Trayvon, or was it just a normal conversation like you and I are having?  When you said Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me’..or something, whatever…and the guy replied something, ‘What are you doing here?’ Was it a normal conversation, or could you tell the man was like loud?

         Proper, non-leading question BDLR should have asked:  “How was this man speaking?”  

Dee Dee: Kinda angry.

BDLR:  Angry?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  Why do you say kind of angry?

Dee Dee:  ‘Cause he said it like so deep…”What are you doin’ ’round here?’” [mimicking a lower pitched voice] 

         Likely question from Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lawyer, in court: “So Dee Dee, anyone with a baritone or bass voice sounds ‘kinda angry’ to you?”

BDLR:  But you could clearly hear that…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

         Hear what?

BDLR:  OK…alright. Um….

         BDLR is about to get surprised again:

Dee Dee: And you could hear he was tired too.

BDLR: Who was tired?

         I’m with BDLR on this one; she’s confusing me too.

Dee Dee:  The old man.

BDLR:  How could you tell that?

Dee Dee:  He was like, ‘What are you doing ’round here?’  He breathin’ [mimicking a breathy tone], ‘What you doin’ ’round here?’

BDLR:  OK, in was a louder…

Dee Dee: Yeah.

         OK, so Zimmerman was “tired,” but “kind of angry,” because “he breathin’, “…in was a louder…?”  Of course.  Again, BDLR does not take the few seconds required to ask the questions necessary to clarify yet another linguistic tangle.

BDLR:  OK, let me go back a second, when you said Trayvon told you the guy was in some kind of car.

Dee Dee: Yeah…on the phone.

BDLR:  On the phone.  Did Trayvon ever expand on that?  Did he ever say something else about that , now he’s out like that…like, uh…whether the guy had gotten out of the car?  Did he ever describe, “Yeah, the guy, now he’s out of the car, he’s chasing me.”  I know you said the guy, he said the guy was following him.  But did he ever say the guy got out of the car?

Dee Dee: You want that too? [Obviously surprised tone]

         At this point in the tape I was actually amazed.  Did BDLR really try to get Dee Dee to say something he earlier told her to say?  Is he really trying to obtain invented testimony?  I say this because of Dee Dee’s reply.  She was genuinely surprised, and she obviously knew what “that”–which in this context can only be what BDLR clearly wants her to say—is.  They have apparently discussed it before so she can recognize “that” when it comes up again.  If this is the case, BDLR is possibly engaging in conduct that could lead to discipline or worse.  Do I know without doubt this is what is going on?  Of course not, but the exchange is suggestive, as is BDLR’s hurried attempt at a walk back.  Again, I encourage you to listen to the audiotape yourself; see what you think.  I have no doubt with Mr. O’Mara will think and do, and I’m pretty sure what a jury will think…

Notice that the transcript quickly degenerates into gibberish and farce as BDLR scrambles to recover:

BDLR:  I want to know the truth whether…did he say that or not? If he didn’t say that, that’s fine.  I mean, I don’t, I don’t need to know….

Dee Dee:  Like, when he like walking.

BDLR:  I know Trayvon is running, right? Or walking…

Dee Dee: Yeah.

BDLR:  My question is, did Trayvon ever describe to you, ‘Hey, you know like how if I see a football game, I say yeah, the guy is running fast…or you know, the guy ran to the left…did he ever…

Dee Dee:  When he was at the…um…the mail thing

BDLR:  Yeah.

Dee Dee:  The man was on the phone.

BDLR:  Alright.

Dee Dee:  That’s what he was telling me.

BDLR:  I’m sorry…what, what?

         If I didn’t suspect that he might be trying to tamper with a witness, I would almost feel sorry for BDLR at this point…

Dee Dee:  He was telling me the man was on the phone. He put his hoodie on.

BDLR:  Right.

Dee Dee: So, the man was still in the car, then Trayvon started walking, and then he said…I think the man got off by some reason…cause he said…

   The man “…got off by some reason?”  And BDLR seems to understand this?

BDLR:  That’s what you believe?

Dee Dee:  Yeah…cause he said the man was still following him.

BDLR:  OK, so he didn’t say like the man got out…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  You just believe that…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  …but Trayvon didn’t tell you the man got out…

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

         Do you see what I mean?  BDLR is just about to go down for the third time and Dee Dee isn’t throwing a life preserver.  It gets worse:

BDLR:  OK. Alright. Uh, did Trayvon ever say he hit the guy?

Dee Dee:  No.

BDLR:  Did he ever say he was going to go hit the guy?

Dee Dee:  No.

BDLR:  Did Trayvon ever say, ‘The guy’s coming at me…he’s going to hit me?”

Dee Dee:  …yeah…you could say that.

         I suspect that at this point, BDLR realizes he is in real trouble, and is suddenly rediscovering at least some legal ethics:

BDLR:  Now I don’t want you to guess.  Did he ever say that?

Dee Dee:  How he said it? He did say… [sounds confused as though seeking guidance]…

BDLR:  No, I want…do you understand? Did he say that or not? If he didn’t say it, that’s alright…I, I…

         Is this another bit of confusion, or is Dee Dee getting her signals crossed, signals she earlier worked out with BDLR?  Is she trying to figure out whether he really wants her to say what she thinks he wants her to say, or instead, actually tell the truth like he is currently suggesting?  I only wish I could have been in the room, invisible, during this exchange.

Dee Dee:  He got…the man got…

BDLR:  Do you understand, I’m not trying to get you to say anything…

Dee Dee:  He got problems…like he crazy.

BDLR:  Trayvon told you that…

Dee Dee:  Yeah, the man looking crazy.

BDLR:  OK.

         Notice how thrilled (i’m being ironic) BDLR is with this answer. Is this what it appears to be?  Dee Dee realized she couldn’t say what they agreed on earlier (wink, wink, nudge, nudge?) but settles for Zimmerman being “crazy,” perhaps thinking that’s somehow helping?  It only gets worse for BDLR from now on.  He really seems to be completely disheartened.  She won’t drop it and he has to follow up at least a little bit or look completely idiotic.

Dee Dee:  And look at him crazy.

BDLR:  When did Trayvon tell you that?

Dee Dee:  When he was walking.

BDLR:  OK, but you didn’t mention that earlier. That’s why I ask you that.

         No kidding.  Now BDLR is forced to raise the contradiction—something he has not done to this point—to protect himself.  Of course, again, all of this could be mere coincidence and confusion born of BDLR’s obvious ineptitude as an interviewer.

Dee Dee: Yeah…walking home…

BDLR:  OK.

Dee Dee:  …to that house.

         What house?

BDLR:  Right…

Dee Dee:  And right before he say he’s going to run.

         WHAT?!

BDLR:  And he’s saying the guy looks what?

Dee Dee:  Crazy…

BDLR:  And did you say “what do you mean…”

Dee Dee:  …and creepy.

         I can just hear BDLR thinking “Stop it! Please God, make her stop!”  Unfortunately, she keeps adding odd things—now Zimmerman is “creepy” too–and he has to play along or abruptly cut her off and risk savaging his own witness, a witness the narrative claims to be pivotal.

BDLR:  And did you say, “What do you mean by that?”

Dee Dee:  I said….because he said this dude is like watching him…like watch…

BDLR:  OK, so that’s what he meant, the guy keeps watching him.

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

         Oh.  Well.  Now that you put it that way…  I am almost feeling sorry for BDLR.  I can only imagine what the real cops—if they’re competent at all—were thinking during this debacle.  I know what I’d be thinking, and that I’d desperately be struggling to keep from laughing out loud.  It would have been most interesting to be able to hear their conversation in the car on the way back.

BDLR:  OK, OK. Alright. Now you previously, you were called by Mr. Crump, Mr. Benjamin Crump that was here earlier, and some attorneys called you up, right?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  You remember talking to them on the phone?

Dee Dee:  Yes.

BDLR:  And did you attempt as best you could to tell them the truth too…about what happened? Do you remember talking to them at all?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  OK, did they make you any promises or trick you in any way?

Dee Dee: No.

         Additional relevant questions BDLR should have asked:

And did they threaten you, even subtly? 

Did they appeal to your racial pride?

Did they suggest what you might say or how you might say it?

Did they express their opinion of the case?  Forcibly?

Did they express their opinion of what should happen to George Zimmerman?

VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION: With who else have you talked about this case (followed by all the details of those conversations)?

         This is a very, very dangerous matter for the prosecution.  Mr. Crump clearly falls into the category of what I’ve come to call a “black attorney.”  I think of this in the same way that I think of a person that calls them self a “defense attorney.”  What I mean is there is a substantial difference in mind- set, motivation and behavior between an attorney who happens to handle defense cases, and a defense attorney, and the same is true for an attorney who happens to be black, as opposed to a “black attorney.”  I’d be equally concerned about anyone calling them self a “white attorney.”  Mr. Crump is one of the primary purveyors of the narrative, which requires keep racial strife and division alive and boiling.  He makes no bones about his beliefs in this matter.

         In fact, Mr. Crump asserted that Dee Dee’s statement:  “‘completely blows Zimmerman’s absurd self-defense claim out of the water,’ lawyer Benjamin Crump told reporters.

         The girl — who he said does not wish to be identified – ‘connects the dots” about what happened that day when she lays out what she overheard while on the phone with him, he said.’”

         Crump continued: “The girl said Martin was ‘his regular self,’ Crump said, arguing that any suggestions that the boy was ‘high’ are ‘preposterous.’

         ‘It’s what Zimmerman wants you to believe so he can justify killing this kid in cold blood.’”

         As you can see, Dee Dee says no such things, and the only thing her testimony will blow out of the water is her own credibility, that of BDLR—I suspect he’s beginning to realize that by the end of the interview—and the prosecution’s case.

         If the prosecution puts Dee Dee on the stand, they’ll have to enter her transcript into evidence (they already have to provide a copy to the defense).  That alone opens the door to putting Mr. Crump on the stand.  Imagine what Dee Dee might say about her conversation with him as opposed to what he might say about that conversation.

BDLR:  OK.  I’m not saying that they did.  I’m just making sure the records’ clear on that….Um…you obviously found out about what happened to Trayvon, right?  And at some point you ended up knowing that he was killed, right?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  Were you able to go to the funeral or to the wake?

Dee Dee:  I was goin’ to go, but…

BDLR:  OK, what happened?

Dee Dee:  I didn’ feel good.

BDLR:  OK, did you end up going to the hospital or somewhere?

Dee Dee:  Mmmm…Yeah, I had high blood pressure.

         This would seem to be BDLR trying to defuse what he suspects the defense might bring up (it would have to be done carefully).  Her failure to attend the funeral might not look good in some quarters.

BDLR:  Again, I’m sorry to have to ask you this. Um…did..when this was going on…I’m talking about that day, February 26, did Trayvon send you any text messages?

         Finally!  Now he gets around to texts; but why?

Dee Dee:  I..one…like…

BDLR:  You know, like, ‘I’m going to the store, or did he ever text you and say, like, this guy’s following me, or did he just tell you that?

Dee Dee: He just tell me.

BDLR:  OK, then he never texted you that..this all that you’ve told me.

Dee Dee: Mmm…mmm [No].

BDLR:  Did you ever text him….during this time?

Dee Dee: Like when the phone just hung up?

BDLR:  Yeah.

Dee Dee: Yeah.

And what did you write?”  Isn’t that a relevant question?

BDLR:  OK, but prior to that did you text him at all in terms of communicating what you’ve told me here?

Dee Dee:  Mmm-mmm…[No]…actual…

BDLR:  Do you understand what I’m saying?

Dee Dee: Like…

BDLR:  what I’m asking you..while this was going on, let’s say when he left the store [??], did you text him? You were talking to him the whole time, right?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  Was he texting you at all?

Dee Dee:  Mmm-mmm [No].

BDLR:  OK.  I’m just saying…people text these days. I just want to know if he texted you…and if by chance…you had a text still on your phone.

Dee Dee:  Mmm-mmm [No].

BDLR:  You don’t?

Dee Dee:  Mmm-mmm…

BDLR:  OK, is that a “No.”

Dee Dee:  No.

         This is nothing more than a guess based on experience, but why is BDLR bringing this texting issue up now, and why is he so doggedly pursuing it?  He certainly hasn’t shown such persistence earlier in this interview.  I suspect they have evidence that she did text Martin and perhaps vice-versa, but for some reason, she believes she shouldn’t admit to that.  Instead of answering with a clear yes or no, she’s resorting to essentially mumbling, which is what people often do when lying as though not clearly stating an answer isn’t really a lie.  Is this more confusion, or is BDLR trying to trip her up and set her up for perjury later, or just desperately trying to communicate to her that he really wants her to answer this as they’ve earlier discussed?  Hard to tell.

BDLR:  OK, thank you. Um…I think I already asked you, but let me make sure…he did tell you what he was at the store…the store where he had gotten candy or something, and you said iced tea, right?

         BDLR knows it wasn’t iced tea and he hasn’t asked her before, at least not during the recorded portion of this interview.

Dee Dee: Yes.

BDLR:  OK, alright. earlier that day, when he was talking, he being Trayvon, was he talking about his mom at all?

Dee Dee: Like, what you mean? When he went to the store?

BDLR:  Was he talking about his family earlier that day, talking about his mom

Dee Dee: Yeah, and he told me he ready to go home and watch…finish watching the game.

BDLR:  The game?

Dee Dee:  Yeah, he left his little brother, so he trying to rush and…

BDLR:  Rushing to go back home and watch the game?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  Did you know what he was talking about when he was talking about a game?

Dee Dee:  Yeah…he talking..

BDLR:  What was he talking about?

Dee Dee:  Oh, I think the…basket, basket…basketball…

BDLR:  Basketball?

Dee Dee:  Yeah.

BDLR:  I think that was like the All-Star Game?

Dee Dee:  Yeah. That one.  I didn’t really care, but…

         What was that all about?  Iced tea?  BDLR knows Martin did not buy iced tea.  Martin’s parents and anything he said to them or about them have no bearing on this case.  BDLR knows Martin wasn’t rushing to return home to his little brother, and what he or anyone in his family was watching on TV also has no bearing on this case.  Has BDLR simply lost track of where he is and what he is doing, or does he have some motive in asking such trivial, off the point questions?  I have no real idea where he was going with this line of questioning unless he’s trying to bolster the narrative by portraying Martin as positively as possible.

BDLR:  If you could describe Trayvon, how would you describe him?

Dee Dee:  Uh, funny…

BDLR:  Is that it?

Dee Dee:  A Momma boy.

BDLR:  Huh?

         BDLR also appears to be genuinely surprised by this answer.  It’s hard to know what he’s trying to accomplish here.  Perhaps he’s trying to get Dee Dee to say that Martin was akin to Mother Teresa in terms of religiously pursuing a life of self-sacrifice, non-violence and inner peace, but he succeeds only in getting her to say that he is a “funny” “Momma boy” “baby.”  That’s going to go over badly in court, and BDLR seems to realize that.

Dee Dee: A Momma boy.

BDLR:  OK, a Momma’s boy. OK…OK…

Dee Dee:  A baby.

BDLR:  A baby?  OK. How else would you describe him? Sheltered in other words? You mean, like a momma’s boy?

Dee Dee:  Yeah, like I said, a Momma boy.

BDLR:  OK…OK…

         “Make her stop…”

Dee Dee:  He love his family.  He love his family.

BDLR:  OK…

Please, PLEASE make her stop…”

Dee Dee:  Love to play on, love to ride his bike.

         “Hey!  Maybe I can do something with this…”

BDLR:  What kind of bike did he have?

Dee Dee:  I don’t know.  I din’ pay attention his bike.

         “Damn! I’ve got to end this before it completely blows up in my face!”

BDLR:  Alright, listen, I know this has been very hard for you. But I do appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today, and obviously you know we record all this, because we’ve had a recorder right in front of you.  But I do thank you from the bottom of my heart that you’ve come forward, and you’ve agreed to give this statement today. OK?  I know this is very hard I can tell by looking at you, that you’re very emotional about this.  It’s very understandable…

Dee Dee:  [Makes a kind of "uh-uh" sound].

BDLR: …because you cared about him. But all we’re trying to do right now is seek the truth here.  That’s why I’m taking this statement.

         “KABOOM!!!”

Dee Dee: I got guilt.

BDLR:  Huh? [Obviously surprised]

Dee Dee:  I got guilt.

BDLR:  You’ve got guilt?

         I actually do feel sorry for BDLR here.  She just dropped this bomb on him and he has no choice but to ask the obvious question and try to at least contain this explosion.  He knows he probably can’t defuse the bomb.

Dee Dee: Mmm-hmm [Yes].

BDLR:  Why do you feel guilt?

Dee Dee:  Real guilty.

BDLR:  Huh?

Dee Dee:  Real guilty.

BDLR:  Why do you feel real guilty?

Dee Dee: Real guilty.

         “Oh please, please…save me…I’ll try this…”

BDLR:  Because you were talking onto the phone and you couldn’t do anything about it?

Dee Dee: I ain’t know about it.

BDLR:  Huh?

         “Oh my God…”

Dee Dee:  I ain’t know about it.

BDLR:  You didn’t know what had happened to him?

Dee Dee:  Nuh…

BDLR: You’re saying, right?  In terms of you were on the phone…

Dee Dee:  ‘Cuz I know him.

BDLR:  OK. Alright.

Dee Dee: [Unintelligible]

BDLR: OK… 

         By this time, BDLR is probably grateful that he might be able to leave the room alive.  And then Dee Dee throws him a bone that he might have tried to chew a bit earlier in the interview, but he is too disheartened to even nibble it.  Clearly, BDLR just wants to get out of there.

Dee Dee:  He would never fight, that’s the problem.

BDLR:  He was not one of those people?

Dee Dee:  Hmm-mmm [No].

BDLR:  OK…

         BDLR knows Martin’s school record.  If Martin did try to assault a bus driver—which resulted in a ten-day suspension (that’s why he was in Sanford)—BDLR knows it.  He also knows about Martin’s thuggish Internet activities, and he knows about the videos on the Internet that supposedly show Martin not only refereeing a street fight, but engaging in at least one.

Dee Dee:  He would never fight [almost whispered].

BDLR:  OK. Thank you very much.

         At the end of all competent interviews, the interviewer notes the ending time.  BDLR did not.  The poor guy was obviously anxious to get out of there.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

In my police career, I’ve seen many bad interviews.  In recent years, I’ve analyzed bad interviews in a number of cases, such as the Erik Scott case (SMM archive here) and the Jose Guerena case (SMM archive here).  In all of those interviews, when the police are trying to cover up things, when they aren’t seeking the truth, but trying to fulfill a narrative, certain characteristics are always—always—present:

(1) The interview is short, far shorter than necessary to complete a competent, complete interview.

(2) The interviewer fails to ask logical follow up questions.  Details, particularly those that don’t conform to the preferred narrative, are ignored.

(3) Time frames become unimportant and are often completely ignored.

(4) Witnesses are allowed to ramble or make irrelevant statements.

(5) The interviewer seems ill at ease and unprepared and seems surprised by answers.

(6) Obvious questions any competent investigator would ask are ignored and trivial, unrelated questions take their place.

There are other warning signs, but these will suffice.  The Special Prosecutor erred from the start by having Mr. DeLa Rionda (I’m not certain I’m spelling his name correctly) handle this interview for the reasons I’ve already mentioned.  Some might imagine that an experienced prosecutor would be adept at such things, but as Mr. DeLa Rionda has proved, that is not the case.  And that is to be expected; that’s simply not a prosecutor’s job.  Asking well prepared questions in court, questions to which one knows the likely answer, is a very different thing.  The SP has now set Mr. DeLa Rionda up for a brutal grilling on the witness stand, a grilling that will seriously damage his credibility, and if he did, in fact, in any way try to tamper with Dee Dee’s testimony, damaged credibility is the least of his worries.  Again, I do not know this to be true, but it is a possibility suggested by the interview.  If Ms. Corey has any legal acumen, she will remove Mr. DeLa Rionda from any active role in prosecuting this case.

In many cases, and particularly this case, an accurate time frame is vital.  There still are—as far as I am able to determine with only about half of the information about this case available—stretches of time not strictly accounted for.  One of the highest priorities of any competent investigator interviewing Dee Dee should have been to nail down every phone call, every word spoken, to the second.  Even if Dee Dee wasn’t able to be accurate, or made statements that obviously couldn’t be reconciled with what is known to be true, every investigator knows that will be true in almost every case.  At the very least, it would help to understand Dee Dee’s memory and to assess her effectiveness as a witness.  If one is actually seeking the truth, there will always be apparent contradictions and conflicts between the statements of witnesses and other evidence.  This does not stop the progress of actual justice.  Yet Mr. DeLa Rionda utterly ignored this absolutely critical factor.  This interview, if done properly, should have taken at least an hour.  It was completed in a bit over 20 minutes.

Obviously nonsensical statements were never clarified.  Obvious questions were never asked.  The interview is revealing primarily for where it does not go: into Martin’s actual behavior and drug use. Considering the fact that he was under the influence of Marijuana (and possible other drugs—we’ll have to see what the urine results reveal) at the time of the incident, and considering the prosecutor had the 7-Eleven tapes that reveal Martin obtained blunts, anyone seeking the truth would have to have pursued that line of questioning.  And who better to provide that kind of information than Martin’s girlfriend (possibly and in some way—BDLR didn’t clarify this either), a girl who has known him since kindergarten and who speaks–and texts–with him daily?  Yet this too was never raised.

What we do know is that this interview changes nothing.  When Investigator Gilbreath testified on April 20, 2012 that the prosecution had no information to refute Zimmerman’s account, he was speaking knowing the content of this interview, which was conducted eight days earlier.   Dee Dee’s statement does not in any material way refute Zimmerman’s account of the incident.  Nothing she said makes impossible—or even unlikely—any action Zimmerman is reported to have made.

Remember that the most recent witness list provided by the prosecutor includes two private audio experts and two FBI audio examiners who have admitted that their final word on their work in this case will be “we have no idea whose voice was screaming for help.”  In other words, they have nothing at all to contribute to the evidence in this case.  And now Ms. Corey has Dee Dee: a prize witness, whose testimony only confirms the case of the defense.

As I’ve frequently observed, we have only about 50% of the evidence in this case.  It’s possible that evidence will eventually be released that could cause reasonable people to change their minds about various issues in this case and potentially even Zimmerman’s legal culpability.  But considering everything I’ve seen to date, the Sanford Police Department and the local prosecutor made the right call. Florida law does not support prosecution, rather, it actually prevents it.  In pursuing this case, Ms. Corey may not be behaving lawfully or ethically.

Dee Dee isn’t dangerous to the prosecution’s case.  She’s unstable nuclear device deadly. If Ms. Corey doesn’t understand that, no wonder she’s doggedly pursuing this unjustifiable prosecution.

NOTE:  For your convenience, once again, here’s the link to Dee Dee’s interview.

FINAL NOTE:  George Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie Zimmerman, has been arrested for perjury and released on $1000.00 bond.  This development was expected.  I’ll be reporting on this in the near future when more information is available.  For the moment, I remain confused by this entire matter and suspect this charge will not stand.

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