On the second day of the George Zimmerman trial, prosecutors attempted to paint Zimmerman as an increasingly overzealous neighborhood watch participant who finally snapped after law enforcement did not respond to his calls. Meanwhile, defense got a prosecution witness to admit that Zimmerman’s call to police about alleged victim Trayvon Martin was justified based on Zimmerman’s description of events.
On Tuesday, Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei argued that the jury should hear prior phone calls from Zimmerman to demonstrate a pattern of “growing frustration,” according to local reports. Zimmerman’s attorney argued that this was actually a character argument, not an evidentiary one. The judge has yet to give judgment on that issue.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Mark O’Mara cross-examined Wendy Dorival, who served as volunteer program coordinator for the Sanford Police Department. Dorival stated that neighborhood watch volunteers were not supposed to follow suspects, but added that she thought Zimmerman was a professional person, and had tried to recruit him to a citizens patrol program. She said that it was suspicious that a person – Trayvon Martin – was walking in the rain between houses without a particular purpose.
According to another witness, a 911 operator, it is not within the purview of 911 operators to give orders to callers.
The government’s star witness in the George Zimmerman prosecution is a 19-year-old Miami woman who has used her Twitter account to occasionally comment about the murder case and this week tweeted followers a photo of her new manicure with the caption “Court nails.”
Rachel Jeantel is expected to soon testify about a phone conversation she had with Trayvon Martin moments before the unarmed teenager was shot to death by Zimmerman on February 26, 2012. Pictured at right, Jeantel, who has been referred to as Martin’s girlfriend, has not been fully identified in advance of her testimony. She has only been referred to in court and legal pleadings as “Rachel,” or, more commonly, “Witness #8.”
This afternoon, after TSG sent messages to several of Jeantel’s Facebook friends and Twitter followers, 14 tweets (and 13 linked Twitpic photos) were deleted from Jeantel’s "@MsRachel_94" account. Included in the deleted material were recent posts mentioning her “Court nails” and the time that had passed since Martin’s death (“16months later wowww I need a drink”). One deleted tweet linked to a sexually suggestive series of photos, while another posting included a link to a photo of liquor bottles and the message “Wat will happen I mix everything uhmmmm.”
In an April 2012 interview with Florida investigators, Jeantel recalled that a “scared” Martin told her he was being followed by a white man as he walked through a gated community in Sanford, Jeantel contends that she heard Martin ask the man, “Why you following me for?” The “old man,” she added, replied “What you doing around here?”
Thereafter, Jeantel claimed, she heard someone “bump” Martin, and “next thing I hear…the phone is shut off.”
Prosecutors handling the second-degree murder case want to use Jeantel’s testimony to portray Zimmerman as the aggressor in the confrontation which left the 17-year-old Martin dead from a single gunshot to the chest.
Before even taking the stand, Jeantel has caused problems for prosecutors. Earlier this year, government lawyers had to acknowledge that Jeantel lied under oath when she claimed that the reason she did not attend Martin’s funeral was due to a hospitalization. On March 5, when Jeantel’s lie was disclosed during a court hearing, the teenager made a pair of Twitter posts apparently referring to the revelation. “Jus got home n hear wat was going and I’m angry,” she wrote. In her next tweet, Jeantel--who uses the handle "@MsRachel_94"--wrote “remember who cause the funeral to happen keep it 100% Mr. ass hoe.” She added, “damn they p*ssed me off… and I’m sick too “HELL NAW.”
In a February 24 tweet, Jeantel appears to reference Martin’s killing nearly a year earlier. “In church wit friends n im jus think bout last year sunday wow I should have been in church the whole day and night omg made lord be with me.” A following tweet noted that “they black ass laugh bout last year…they ass goin to hell for laugh bout that shit.” In other posts that Sunday, Jeantel referred to smoking, drinking, and getting high. “Lol we going to hell for smoke on Sunday I need some more drink,” one tweet noted. A follow-up tweet read, “I hope I dnt hit no one tonight lord plz watch my driving.”
On February 26, the one-year anniversary of Martin’s death, Jeantel tweeted, “Omg people calling n praying n shit lol I need a drink smoke and a pray my head killing me right now cannot wait when this day end.”
In mid-April, Jeantel--whose Twitter profile photo is captioned “Ms. Diamond”--noted, “Shit always happen when u doin Gud wit life .last year I had to deal wit people dyin n I’m tired of all those shits makin me not think right.”
On April 21, she wrote, “I do not know if I want to be a homicide detective u got to tell the family they love one died n shit they crying n shit oh lord I dnt kno.”
In posts over the past ten days, Jeantel seems to be preparing for her turn on the witness stand at the Zimmerman trial. On June 16, a list of seven items she posted included the notations “3.get ready for count” and “4.deal with the bull come with it.” It appears that she misspelled “court” in the first item. She also wrote, “7.I’m going need a lot of drinks for dis summer oh lord.”
Last Thursday, Jeantel tweeted, “Plz plz lord dnt make me start next week.” On Friday, she linked to a photo of numerous liquor bottles from a tweet that reported, “16 months later wowww I need a drink.” Later that day she wrote, "CNN and HLN is killing me bro.” Both cable networks have been offering extensive coverage of the Zimmerman case, which concluded jury selection last week.
In a post Sunday, Jeantel wrote “Court nails” and included a link to a photo (seen at right) showing fingernails with fresh orange polish.
On her Facebook page, Jeantel uploaded a photo Sunday showing an empty bottle of Hennessy cognac, along with the caption, “Last drink for the week long ass week too.” According to her Facebook profile, Jeantel attended Miami Norland Senior High School and has “studied criminal justice at Miami University.” As for where she works, Jeantel reported, “My mama n daddy do all the work I just spend it.”