Rachel Jeantel, a key witness in the George Zimmerman trial for the prosecution, testified today regarding the last conversation Trayvon Martin had before he was shot to death on February 12, 2012.
Rachel Jeantel was widely reported to be the girlfriend of Martin when word got out that the teen had been on a cell phone call at the time of the shooting, but one of the things she confirmed today was that the pair had been just friends.
A visibly distraught Jeantel discussed how she had believed given the nearness of Martin to his father’s home that he’d returned safe, and was horrified to learn three days later that the teen had been shot dead during the confrontation she’d heard over the phone.
The Miami woman, who is now 19, also addressed why she’d claimed to be in the hospital at the time of Martin’s funeral, saying she was apprehensive about seeing Trayvon Martin’s body and that she felt guilt over having been the last person to speak to him before his death.
I felt guilty … I was the last person who talked to their son and I didn’t go to the wake.
Also known as Witness Eight in court papers, Jeantel has long been deemed a key person for the prosecution’s case.
Describing a “creepy” man following Martin relentlessly (through his own description), she indicated Trayvon “told me he was going to try to lose him,” and recalled advising him to run.
Jeantel testified that Martin believed he’d finally evaded Zimmerman when the teen realized the stranger was right behind him. She recalls she “heard a hard breathing man say ‘what are you doing around here?’ “
After that, she said Martin was knocked to the ground, and was heard saying “get off, get off.”
Jeantel also testified that the call was cut off, and subsequent calls made to Trayvon Martin were not answered.