This Wednesday and Thursday 19 year old, Rachel Jeantel friend of Trayvon Martin testified in trial. Many individuals are unsure if Jeantel is a reliable witness since she was caught telling several lies over the past year. Many see a hard working class teen trying to do her best to retell the story of her close friend. Since Zimmerman’s arrest, legal analysts knew that Martin’s “girlfriend” who was talking to him on the phone when he encountered Zimmerman last February would be a crucial witness for both teams.
For the prosecution, Jeantel portrayed Martin as a scared teen who was trying to run away from Zimmerman on his way back home from a 7-eleven. The defense team, Benjamin Crump used Jeantel’s interviews with the press to point holes in the various version of events told in order to bring down a story that had started off strong. It is unsure how the jury made up of mostly of white women will respond to young Jeantel. All the information given to the jury comes from his friends and family. Her story was discovered to been inconsistent and many have commented of how she has behaved during the trial when being questioned. Twitter followers quickly reacted as she began to testify on Wednesday. Followers poke fun of and complained of the way she looked and spoke.
Jeantel is dark-skinned and a plus sized girl who comes from a low-income neighborhood making many believe she is non-credible and uneducated. During her testimony she struggled to articulate what she was thinking. When defense attorney, Don West handed her a transcript of her own testimony and asked her to read part of it back, there was a silence but never recited the words. On Thursday morning, she confessed to literacy difficulties. When Jeantel re-told the story of the night Martin was killed she described him as fearful of the man following him and his concern grew when he thought he momentarily lost Zimmerman when minutes later Martin said “nigger is still following me”. Jeantel also mentioned Martin described the man as a “creepy-ass cracker” which implied Martin was being followed by the white man because of his race. The last words she heard from Martin before his phone went silent was “Get off! Get off!”
Many are concerned that she lied about why she did not attend Martin’s funeral, saying that she was in the hospital at the time. However, it was reveled that she had lied on both accounts. Under questioning from the defense team she admitted that she felt upset and could not bare attending the funeral knowing she was the last person who spoke to Martin before his death.
There is also a number of people who found Jeantel to be a great witness, and sympathized with the young girl who is uncomfortable in the environment she is finding herself in. Jeantel has properly presented her side of the story in the trial, it is unsure how the public will be split on Jeantel.
According to Zimmerman he opened fire only after the teenager jumped him and began slamming his head against the concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman has denied the confrontation had anything to do with race. Zimmerman faces a possible sentence of life in prison if he is convicted.