Cell phone GPS data possible key in Trayvon Martin case
In Trayvon Martin case news, a couple of questions have been answered by a recent affidavit filed by Trayvon Martin’s family attorney Benjamin Crump:
[Crump] Inquired if Witness 8 had spoken to any investigators or other individuals affiliated with law enforcement, learned that she had not and, after encouraging Witness 8 to come forward to the authorities further learned that Witness 8 and her family were fearful of coming forward and wanted Witness 8′s identity kept private.
I’d been perplexed by one bit of reporting saying that DeeDee’s [Witness 8] parents had attempted to no avail to arrange a sit-down interview with Sanford PD. But Crump indicates that DeeDee and her family most likely did not approach Sanford PD.
This series of events is important to the case because if Sanford Police were trying to access Trayvon’s phone records then that indicates that they were trying to do investigative work. They weren’t sitting on their hands. Without evidence that Martin was talking to DeeDee right before he was killed – without access to what Crump et al are calling the prosecution’s key witness – charges against Zimmerman would have been even more specious than they currently are even with DeeDee’s statements. Sanford PD asked Trayvon’s father, Tracy, for his son’s PIN, but Mr. Martin stated in a news conference that he wasn’t going to give that information to police. A Martin family attorney later characterized Sanford’s requests for the PIN as harassment.
Martin’s family and Crump complained that Sanford PD dropped the ball, but it seems instead that there was no ball to be dropped.
Crump recorded the conversation with DeeDee using a tape recorder placed near a phone which was on speakerphone. We already knew, and Crump finally did acknowledge, that ABC’s Matt Gutman was sitting in on the interview.
While I believe Mr. Gutman and his assistant also may have had a recording device of their own present with them in the room during some or all of the Interview, I have no knowledge as to whether that device was ever successfully used to record any portion of the Interview.
I can only speculate that Crump had to have known that Gutman was recording the interview. Crump gained permission from DeeDee and her family (though it has now been confirmed that DeeDee wasn’t a minor and that she really didn’t need any permission to be granted from a guardian to speak to anyone) to conduct the interview and to allow Gutman to sit in on the interview. Why would he not ask permission to allow Gutman to record the conversation as well?
And then there’s the question of why Gutman would have been needed to sit in on the interview in the first place. Clearly in order to take the story to the next level of media exposure. Insiders bend the ear of the media all the time, but in this case it was clear that Gutman was not even looking for material to support Zimmerman’s side. He wanted the story as provided by Crump/DeeDee/Martin’s family and would maybe clean up afterwards. That’s how media works, I guess. You get attention for the initial story, and even if that story is wrong you get the attention for the clean up work. Gutman would have to craft the story that Zimmerman was guilty and Trayvon an innocent victim for any story to exist in the first place. If Zimmerman is exonerated right up front, there’s no story.
By the way, here’s a thought: perhaps DeeDee lied during the interview and said she was only 16 years old even though it’s been confirmed that she was actually 18. Crump continued saying that DeeDee was a minor even after his interview with her. Gutman also reported the same. DeeDee did tell prosecutors on April 2 that she was indeed 18 years old at the time she was interviewed by Crump. This discredits all three players but it discredits DeeDee the most.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, is also seeking a very key piece of evidence:
Information from Trayvon’s phone is one example. The Android-powered smartphone was found near his body, its battery dead, the night of the shooting. It’s a key piece of evidence because a young Miami woman says she was on the phone with him moments before the shooting and overheard the conversation between Trayvon and Zimmerman.
Sanford police and Florida Department of Law Enforcement employees had limited success finding out what was on the phone because they were “locked out,” the consequence of someone trying repeatedly without the proper password or PIN to gain access to its data.
The state then shipped the phone to a law-enforcement agency in California for more analysis, O’Mara wrote in his new motion, then sent it to a New Jersey company, which successfully unlocked the data in its flash memory, including GPS information that showed its changing locations.
What it found has not been made public.
“It shows you within 10 feet where the phone is,” O’Mara told the Orlando Sentinel.
De la Rionda provided those new findings to defense attorneys Jan. 18, O’Mara wrote, but with a gaping hole.
“While the analysis includes GPS locating records for Mr. Martin’s phone for all of the time he was in the Sanford area, specifically absent is any such data from February 26, 2012, the date of the event,” O’Mara wrote.
“Maybe it’s coincidence, but I’m way past [believing it's] coincidence,” O’Mara said.
There also seem to be missing phone calls and text messages, he wrote.
De la Rionda’s office did not respond to an email asking for comment.
O’Mara’s motion also complains about prosecutors not providing him information about the young woman who says she was on the phone with Trayvon in the moments just before the shooting.
She was 18 years old that day — not 16 as Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump identified her — O’Mara said, and prosecutors have not provided enough information about her to allow him to subpoena her Twitter and Facebook records.
The fact that Zimmerman’s attorney is earnestly pursuing this information indicates that he has faith in his client’s story and that this new information will bolster his case.