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Tempting as it is to start with the revelation by Trayvon Martin’s phone friend Rachel Jeantel that Martin called George Zimmerman upon first seeing him “a creepy a– cracker,” there was a larger story embedded in the witness testimony.
Two eyewitnesses to the shooting of Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, testified in a Sanford, Fla., courtroom on Wednesday in the second-degree murder trial of Zimmerman.
The testimony of both witnesses showed the effects of months and months of conscious media disinformation in the reporting on this case.
The two witnesses in question, Jayne Surdyka and Jeannee Manalao, lived in townhouses that overlooked the scene of the fatal shooting of Martin.
Although neither saw much of anything that rainy night, the media managed to convince both of them in defiance of the evidence that George Zimmerman was the aggressor and Trayvon Martin was the boy calling for help.
Surdyka told the court that she initially heard a confrontation between two males, one with a dominant, aggressive voice and the other softer.
Then Surdyka saw the two on the ground, one on top of the other, but could identify neither in the darkness. She heard one of them yelling “help, help,” and she believed that the one yelling was the one with the “boy’s voice.”
At the time of the shooting, Surdyka knew nothing about either Martin or Zimmerman and had not talked to either one of them. From what she gleaned in the media, she presumed that Martin was the non-aggressor, the one with the boy’s voice.
She confessed to never having seen any photos of a bloody Zimmerman, a testament in itself to media bias, and this helped preserve her in her misperceptions.
Defense attorney Don West had Surdyka confirm that the cries were so “desperate” and “life threatening” that they left Sudyka almost too hysterical to call 911.
West also forced Surdyka, a former school teacher, to concede that 17-year-old boys often have deep and mature voices.
Given the restriction on Martin’s social media pages, he was likely unable to use this citation from a girlfriend on a Martin memorial page, “I loved his deep voice.”
Despite not even wanting to give her name to the 911 dispatcher on the night of the shooting, Surdyka was soon appearing on Anderson Cooper’s show, her face screened and voice disguised, complaining about the lack of police follow through.
The media’s effect on the second of the morning’s eyewitnesses, Jeannee Manalo, was even more dramatic. She looked out from her townhouse and saw one shadowy figure “on top of the other.” The one on top was “just hitting down.”
Although she could not distinguish either of the combatants that evening, she convinced herself that Zimmerman had been the aggressor because “the top was bigger than the bottom.”
Manalo admitted to having concluded that Zimmerman was the taller of the two men because of the pictures she had seen of Martin.
Manalo confirmed for defense attorney Mark O’Mara what those photos were. They included the iconic photo of a youthful Martin in his red Hollister shirt, two photos of a pre-teen football player and the photo of Martin in his hoodie.
In reality, Martin was at least four inches taller than Zimmerman, and at 158 pounds he was all but fully developed.
Often during the testimony of both of these women, the defense attorneys led them to discuss their neighbor across the way who actually came out to see what was happening.
The action was closest to his door. He was the one with the light on. His name is John Good. When he testifies, the case will be all but closed.
Jack Cashill’s book on this case, “If I Had A Son,” will be available soon after the trial is over. His investigative-reporting skills shine in his many books – see them now in WND’s Superstore