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Did Rachel Jeantel’s Testimony Obliterate Zimmerman Defense?

rachel jeantel zimmerman trial

Rachel Jeantel — If you’re watching George Zimmerman’s trial, you already know who she is and have probably formed an opinion as to her credibility, and if web chatter is any indicator, it probably isn’t favorable.

The internet was not kind to Rachel Jeantel, and at first glance, it really looked as if her frustration and reluctance on the stand could harm what is probably the most direct first person account of the night Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford in February of 2012.

At first, Jeantel read to many as unprepared and uncomfortably direct. Her casual manner of speaking and tendency to get rapidly annoyed with questioning led many on social media sites like Twitter to judge her harshly or, less frequently, plead with her to take the trial seriously and secure a conviction in her friend’s shooting death.

But the longer we thought about Rachel Jeantel the more it seemed that however she came off initially, this was not a stupid female, nor a woman unable to understand and respond to the defense’s insinuations and intentions.

Yesterday, The Inquisitr covered one particularly standout moment involving Rachel Jeantel’s testimony, one during which (despite an overall reduction in visible annoyance on the part of Jeantel in day two) it seemed this was not only ever plainer, but more pointed.

During the exchange, the defense suggests to Jeantel that Martin had planned to attack George Zimmerman, and that Trayvon may have been plotting to jump the man from whom he’d been running — per accounts by all involved, including Zimmerman.

This is important, because no one denies Martin was fleeing at every turn, attempting to evade the person unknown to him, tailing him through the night for reasons that were not clear to the teen.

But the back and forth also is an example of Jeantel’s ability to reason on the spot, and reason she does — in a way that may have obliterated the defense’s case in a terse and to the point reply.

George Zimmerman trial

West asks Jeantel if Martin could have lied about his proximity to his father’s home in order to conceal the fact he’d intended to attack Zimmerman — a man with whom he’d had no contact and did not even realize was the person following him, i.e., a total stranger. She replies calmly:

“Why he need to lie about that, sir?”

West suggests:

“Maybe if he decided to assault George Zimmerman, he didn’t want you to know about it.”

Jeantel, quietly but visibly not having it, says:

“That’s real retarded, sir… That’s real retarded to do that, sir.”

West asks why, and it’s in this moment she asks a question the jury might to well to consider when the idea of an aggressive Martin jumping a placid Zimmerman inevitably surfaces:

That’s real retarded, sir… If you don’t know the person, why a person — Trayvon did not know him.

West quickly changes course and pursues a different line of questioning with Rachel Jeantel at this point, but it seems in that brief moment, the real question of the self-defense claim is addressed and essentially put to rest.

So much is made of what we imagine Trayvon Martin was thinking, but Rachel Jeantel — the last person to speak with him before George Zimmerman — lays it bare for us. Trayvon Martin didn’t know George Zimmerman, and as he ran for his life, had no real reason to attack his assailant, and in her brief retort, Jeantel drives this home. Why would Martin turn and attack the “creepy ass cracker” from whom he’d been running? In what universe does that make any sense whatsover?

But Rachel Jeantel’s single-sentence takedown of George Zimmerman’s defense is much like her testimony — straight, to the point, and easy to miss if you’re simply seeing a confused, scared, and frustrated teenager.

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5 Responses to “Did Rachel Jeantel’s Testimony Obliterate Zimmerman Defense?”

  1. Eno Tramz

    The problem is Ms Jeantels testimony does not seem to jive with the physical evidence and several other witnesses. I will continue to watch but will not be surprised if it is proven that she knows more than she is telling. What was her true reason she did not try to get help or speak to mom to begin with. . . What lead her to believe it was JUST a fight. She Everyone must watch the trial and be informed before giving opinions. The media reports are not enough. I have found how interesting the news reports are. Most just sensationalize the story with the intent to touch/connect with their audience. They need to be mindful that their choice of words can create an understanding of the process and each other for the good of the community or incite hatred.

  2. Amy Bown

    Rachel Jeantel was credible where it counts. Her testimony is corroborated by the timing of the 911 call, the phone records and where the calls dropped, and Zimmerman's own words that Trayvon was running. That's fact.

  3. James Miramar

    I was really embarrassed for Don West. He is a seasoned attorney and this young lady, irregardless of what anyone says about her personality, she stood her ground. she was more than credible. as a reluctant witness, she spoke to the point and did not waiver from the truth no matter how the attorney tried to trick her in any way.

  4. Richard Stillman

    As I am researching the case, I came across this howler of an article. As it turns out, juror E54 would later tell us that Rachel Jeantal's testimony was the key to the not guilty verdict. She placed Martin safely at home with Zimmerman nowhere in sight. Four minutes later, Martin is back across the neighborhood getting shot while committing assault and battery. No reasonable explanation for that, but Martin was clearly not a frightened little boy running around fearing for his life from the bogeyman in hot pursuit. Obvious to anybody (but you) paying attention to the testimony. Case closed. Not guilty.
    GIRLFRIEND: …He said, this man is still watching from a car. So he about to run from the back. I told him, go to his dad’s house. Run to his dad’s house.

    GIRLFRIEND: Yeah. So he said he was about to run from the back, so the next that I hear, he just run. I can hear that the wind blowing.
    PROSECUTOR: So you could tell he was running at that time? OK. And then what happened?
    GIRLFRIEND: Then he said, he lost him.

    GIRLFRIEND: So he lost him. He was breathing hard. And by the sound of his voice, his voice kind of changed.

    GIRLFRIEND: He said he had lost him and he was breathing hard and I told him ‘Keep running.’
    PROSECUTOR: So Trayvon said he started walking because he thought he had lost the guy?
    GIRLFRIEND: I said, ‘Keep running.’ He said he ain’t gonna run. ‘Cause he said he is right by his father’s house.

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