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Experts Weigh in After Four Witnesses in Trayvon Martin Case Change Story
The New American ^ | 28 May, 2012 | Alex Newman

Posted on 05/29/2012 4:15:16 AM PDT by marktwain

Several key witnesses in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman have changed their original stories since first being interviewed by law enforcement, according to news reports about recently released evidence in the case. Some analysts cited in the media speculated that three of those revised accounts might hurt the shooter’s claims of self-defense as the second-degree murder prosecution goes through the Florida court system.

Experts in the field, however, have noted that later recollections — which could be impacted by external factors such as publicity, for example — are thought to be less reliable than earlier memories. And the addition of post-event information into the memory reconstruction process, normally unbeknownst to the person, is one reason why psychologists believe that eyewitness testimony can often be unreliable.

“To fill in gaps in memory, the eyewitness relies upon his or her expectation, attitudes, prejudices, bias, and prior knowledge,” explained University of North Dakota forensic psychologist Richard Wise. “Furthermore, information supplied to an eyewitness after a crime ... by the police, prosecutor, other eyewitnesses, media, etc., can alter an eyewitness's memory of the crime."

Once that happens, Wise told the site Life's Little Mysteries, those witnesses generally do not even realize that their memories of the event have been changed. Not only do they feel confident that they are remembering the incident accurately, it also becomes very hard or even impossible to restore their original memories about it, he explained.

Thus far, according to legal experts, much of the information released publicly — photos, witness accounts, medical reports, and more — has largely tended to support Zimmerman’s version of events. Essentially, he claimed to have fired his gun in self-defense after Martin attacked him, bashed his head on the ground, and broke his nose. Authorities originally declined to arrest him or press charges, at least until a national frenzy of misleading media reports and race-hate agitators sparked an outcry.

But since the mass coverage of the incident began — much of it, such as an NBC report carefully edited to make Zimmerman appear racist, demonstrably deceitful — at least four of the witnesses have altered their accounts in ways that could impact the prosecution. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, which first picked up the story, one woman abandoned her initial story completely, while three others’ recollections changed in “ways that may damage Zimmerman.”

One young woman who lives in the gated community where the shooting happened, known publicly only as “Witness 2,” originally told law enforcement that she had seen two men running. The pair eventually got into a fist fight, she said, but because she had just removed her contact lenses prior to witnessing the scene, she did not know who was hitting whom. The woman told similar versions of that story in at least three official interviews with local and state authorities.

But during follow-up questioning in late March by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — after the shooting had garnered explosive national attention — she only remembered one person running. And she had no idea who it was. "I couldn't tell you if it was a man, a woman, a kid, black or white. I couldn't tell you because it was dark and because I didn't have my contacts on or glasses,” the woman was quoted as saying. “I just know I saw a person out there."

Another woman, known as “Witness 12,” first told investigators in late March that she saw two people on the ground after the fatal shot was fired, but did not know who had been on top. Other witnesses who spoke to the press about the incident said they were sure Martin had been on top. And the well-documented grass stains on the back of Zimmerman’s sweater, as well as the wounds on the back of his head, would tend to support that, according to analysts.

About a week after her first interview, however, “Witness 12” told prosecutors that she was sure Zimmerman had been on top. "I know after seeing the TV of what's happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman was definitely on top because of his size," she was quoted as saying in a recorded interview.

A man who reportedly lives just a few feet from where Martin was shot, “Witness 6,” largely corroborated Zimmerman’s story. He told police on the night of the incident that a black man was on top of Zimmerman "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA[Mixed Martial Arts]-style," and that the man being pummeled — Zimmerman — had been calling for help.

Three weeks later, however, the same man told investigators that while Martin was definitely on top, he was no longer sure whether the black teenager was actually punching Zimmerman or not. "I truly can't tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk," the man added in his later interview.

The fourth man to have changed his original story, “Witness 13,” spoke with Zimmerman right after the shooting. At the time, the man told police that a bloodied Zimmerman had asked him to call Zimmerman’s wife and explain that he had been forced to shoot Martin because the 17-year-old football player had been beating him up. About a month later, the witness told investigators that Zimmerman had acted like the shooting “was nothing.”

According to analysts, much of the eyewitness testimony is contradictory. Some people, for example, claimed to have heard a second gun shot — in reality, Zimmerman fired only one shot. Other witnesses said they saw shirts that nobody was wearing, the Miami Herald reported. And taken together, the inaccurate accounts show how unreliable witness statements can be — especially in situations like this.

“Memory does not function like a videotape that records everything and can be replayed at will,” Innocence Project eyewitness identification litigation fellow Karen Newirth told the Herald. “People remember pieces of events, and then fill in the blanks with what makes sense.”

Other experts have noted that the earliest accounts are probably also the most reliable. "All other things equal, earlier recountings are more likely to be accurate than later ones,” Stanford University psychology Professor Barbara Tversky was quoted as saying by the Scientific American. “The longer the delay, the more likely that subsequent information will get confused with the target memory."

The defense and the prosecution are both seeking to keep evidence under wraps for now, according to news reports. Zimmerman is currently out on bail and maintains that he is innocent. The next court date is scheduled for August.

Some legal experts such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz have blasted prosecutors and called for the murder charges to be dropped, but others say that there is presumably still some evidence that has not yet been released. Race profiteers who have staked their reputations on the case, political opportunists, and Martin supporters, however, are all insisting that Zimmerman is a murderer and should be convicted.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: banglist; fl; georgezimmerman; martin; trayvonmartin; zimmerman
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To: silverleaf

“forensics will tell who was on top when the shooting occurred

forensics will reconstruct the struggle, and how Zimmerman’s head was battered

forensics will tell if lil’ Tray’s brain was damaged by robo-tripping on “lean”, accounting for his aggression”

Who controls “forensics”? The state. What is the outcome the state desires?

21 posted on 05/29/2012 7:23:02 AM PDT by Soul of the South
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To: MrEdd

I hope that you are correct, for Zimmerman’s sake. The reality of the situation is that Zimmerman should never have been charged and if we had politicians with any principles and political courage, he would not have been. But since this is a trial for purely political and appeasement purposes, expect a political and appeasement verdict. To wit: Guilty. It will have the lynch Zimmerman mob on this forum orgasming estacticaly.

22 posted on 05/29/2012 7:40:38 AM PDT by sport
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To: Venturer
How can a witness who changes their story 180* be considered a credible witness.? Only to an OJ jury.

And that's exactly the type of jury both the state and Federal prosecutor will hope to impanel.

23 posted on 05/29/2012 7:45:29 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Julia: another casualty of the "War on Poverty")
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To: HerrBlucher
Its “Marichal Law”, enforced with fastballs to the head.

Where Johnny Roseboro was involved Marichal was a dual threat, enforcing his law with a Louisville Slugger as well. Lest we forget.

24 posted on 05/29/2012 7:54:28 AM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: Soul of the South; silverleaf

The autopsy report said that Trayvon had liver damage which is consistent with use of lean and related drugs. If Trayvon didn’t have diabetes or any underlying medical condition that might cause liver damage it seems Trayvon had a habit going - in addition to his marijuana habit.

25 posted on 05/29/2012 8:06:33 AM PDT by ladyjane
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To: Chainmail; knarf; MinuteGal
>>Um, that’s “martial law”...

Perhaps he plays Tekken?

marshall law Pictures, Images and Photos


26 posted on 05/29/2012 8:07:13 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: ladyjane

several threads posted lats week, look for keyword “lean”
It was an eye opener
It seems Trayvon's face book pages alluded to his enjoyment of DMX concoctions aka “lean” and discussed his search for codeine as an ingredient

(Arizona) watermelon juice (NOT ICE TEA) and skittles being 2 ingredients....just add cough syrup

The blunts he apparently bought at 7-11 (another thread) t would make him mellow, but the “purple drank” has a side effect of aggression ...

bad choices by this kid, all around

Zimmerman may have shot him but the violent black hip hop street culture doomed him ... the same culture celebrated by the obamas

More people need to read up on this to protect their kids

27 posted on 05/29/2012 8:38:09 AM PDT by silverleaf (Funny how all the people who are for abortion are already born)
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To: Soul of the South
well, hopefully the defense controls the forensics, if they are committed to acquittal

On the other hand, I would not be surprised if EVERYONE in the system is not working on Zimmerman's guilt and concern for his family to cop a plea, take a dive, and never go to trial

This would give a “bad guy” to the howling rasist mobs and their pimps like Sharpton

and confer perpetual martyr status on the sadly seriously culturally damaged probably robo-tripping dead teenager

28 posted on 05/29/2012 8:43:29 AM PDT by silverleaf (Funny how all the people who are for abortion are already born)
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To: sport
But since this is a trial for purely political and appeasement purposes,............

This trial is a back door attempt to have the self defense law changed!!!

29 posted on 05/29/2012 8:49:47 AM PDT by varon (The Patriots stand watch!)
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To: silverleaf
The blunts he apparently bought at 7-11

Martin didn't buy the blunts.

While Martin's in the 7-11 there's an exchange in which Martin apparently asked the clerk for something behind the counter and the clerk asks if Martin has ID. Those who have worked with the audio claim the clerk give some kind of apology about how it's policy.

Anyway, Martin is denied the purchase of something he wants behind the counter.

As Martin carefully works to get money out of his pants pocket, he palms two dollar bills. He continues to hold those two dollars as he leaves the store in the different surveillance camera views.

There's a pause of, say, 90 seconds. During that time, Martin does not leave the 7-11 . . . or at least is not seen walking back past the window by which he arrived. Then three odd characters (whom you'll see referred to as the "Three Stooges" enter). They make some purchases that are paid for by one of them with a debit card. However, one of them comes in holding . . . two dollars. Some people speculate that Trayvon met them in the parking lot or at the door and asked if they had ID to buy him a blunt or two and he gave one of them money. The guy with money buys two blunts, then hesitates and orders a third, then leaves the counter and leaves the store as the other two stay at the checkout area. Then the other stooges leave after completing the purchase.

Shortly after this, you see Trayvon finally leave the 7-11 area, walking back past the window.

I think that's a fairly accurate description.

But Martin doesn't buy blunts - one guy out of three buys them immediately after Martin, walking in holding two bills, which Trayvon just walked out holding, and once he's bought the blunts, he walks out.

Another note: After Trayvon makes his purchase, he starts to leave, then comes back for a white bag left on the floor of the 7-11. One of my kids saw that and said - that must be the bag containing the cough syrup, purchased from another store, ditched when Martin ran back to Brandi's place.

30 posted on 05/29/2012 9:04:38 AM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: varon

And that, My FRiend, borders on politics.

31 posted on 05/29/2012 9:13:00 AM PDT by sport
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To: knarf

Pet peeve of mine. ;) It’s martial law, not Marshall.

32 posted on 05/29/2012 9:24:57 AM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: Scoutmaster
I feel like a voyeur of this kid's sad train wreck of a life
Yeah he was almost 6 ft tall but he was a kid

and so impressed by all that rapper hiphop crap that obama and moochelle celebrate at our WH

Not a werd from the community about how that crap culture is killing, just killing, their kids. The boys with drugs and violence in place of bonding, the girls with violence, promiscuous sex and lack of respect for and from men

yeah would the obamas want their girls up on stage gyrating and hip grinding and simulating sex with male dancers like their pal “Beyonce”? Would they want them dating guys like Trayvon?

33 posted on 05/29/2012 10:04:03 AM PDT by silverleaf (Funny how all the people who are for abortion are already born)
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To: ladyjane

Do you have a source for liver damage?

34 posted on 05/29/2012 11:19:08 AM PDT by freedomrings69
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To: freedomrings69; ladyjane
The autopsy report contains that information.
35 posted on 05/29/2012 11:25:03 AM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: freedomrings69

36 posted on 05/29/2012 11:25:22 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Are those observations unusual? Are they indicative of drug use? I have no idea.

37 posted on 05/29/2012 1:38:24 PM PDT by freedomrings69
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To: freedomrings69

No idea. I plan on wrecking my liver in the traditional manner and not with cough syrup. ;)

38 posted on 05/29/2012 1:45:49 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: marktwain

>> “Race profiteers” may take off as a new appellation <<

Just a new hat for the Poverty Pimps.

39 posted on 05/29/2012 1:51:45 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they were.)
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To: HerrBlucher

>> Its “Marichal Law”, enforced with fastballs to the head. <<

Thass a goood Juan!

40 posted on 05/29/2012 1:54:19 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they were.)
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