A pivotal witness in the Trayvon Martin shooting case took the stand in a Florida courtroom for the second straight day on Thursday. George Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Don West, attacked the testimony of prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel and tried to show that her account of what she heard before the shooting has changed during the last year.
In the weeks after Martin was shot by Zimmerman, Jeantel had a friend write a letter for Martin's parents about a phone conversation she had with Martin as he walked from a convenience store back toward his father’s fiancé’s home in a gated community. West harped on the fact that although Jeantel recently revealed that Martin told her he was being followed by a "creepy-a--cracker," that detail was left out of the letter.
"Why wasn't 'creepy-a-- cracker' in prior interviews?" West asked.
"Nobody asked me," Jeantel replied.
"He started walking then noticed someone was following him," read the letter. "Then he decided to find a shortcut cause the man wouldn't follow him. Then he said the man didn't follow him again. Then he looked back and saw the man again. The man started getting closer. Then Trevon turned around and said, 'Why are you following me!!' Then I heard him fall. Then the phone hung up. I called back and got no response. In my mind I thought it was just a fight. Then I found out this tragic story. Thank you."
The letter, which misspells Trayvon’s name, was written in cursive so Jeantel has never actually been able to read it. That fact became evident during an embarrassing moment when Jeantel was asked to read the letter out loud in court. Jeantel had not previously made it known that it was a friend who wrote the letter.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder in Martin’s death.
West’s questioning of the confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman is key because the defense plans to show that Zimmeran acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Martin, Fox News reported.
When Jeantel was asked by West if she had previously said that she heard someone being hit during the end of her call with Martin, she responded, "Trayvon got hit."
"You don't know that? Do you? You don't know that Trayvon got hit," West answered back. "You don't know that Trayvon didn't at that moment take his fists and drive them into George Zimmerman's face."
Zimmerman, 29, could get life in prison if he is convicted.