Rachel Jeantel, 19, the last person to speak with 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, 5 minutes before he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman took the stand Wednesday and her testimony has led to questions of credibility and whether she helped or hurt the prosecution’s case.
Jeantel initially lied about her age, as well as why she didn’t attend Martin’s funeral. She also changed her story between the time of her interview with Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump and her deposition. These facts were all used by Zimmerman’s defense team, including Don West — who told a knock knock joke to open the trial — who relentlessly badgered Jeantel until her demeanor began to show how insulted she was by their line of questioning.
See Jeantel’s complete testimony below:
Once again sharing the details of that last phone call, Jeantel claimed that Martin said a “creepy a** cracker” was following him. When it became apparent that Zimmerman was not stopping in his pursuit of the unarmed teen, Jeantel alleges that Martin then said, “The ni**a still following me.”
As race has been such a combustible issue in this trial, legal talking heads have pondered the significance – or lack thereof — of Martin’s use of racial slurs.
What has remained clear is the heart of Jeantel’s story:
- George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin.
- Trayvon Martin was afraid of George Zimmerman.
- Trayvon Martin was close to home, so he didn’t feel the need to run.
- George Zimmerman approached Trayvon Martin in a threatening manner.
- Trayvon Martin was killed within 5 minutes of their phone call.
Jeantel will take the stand again at 9:00 a.m. ET.