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The Preppy Killer video reenactment

The Preppy Killer video reenactment

I posted videos of George Zimmerman’s reenactment and lie detector test Thursday.

That video reenactment is considered pretty helpful to Zimmerman, as it is consistent with other known evidence.   Jeralyn at TalkLeft (h/t Instapundit) makes the distinction between variations and differences:

There may be many variations in George Zimmerman’s multiple accounts, but which, if any, amount to a significant dissimilarity that rises to a difference over a variation, and warrants someone concluding the essential elements of his version are not true?

My opinion: This is self-defense. Zimmerman was not the aggressor, he did nothing to provoke Trayvon Martin’s beating him, breaking his nose and slamming his head into concrete. He had every right to respond with deadly force to stop Trayvon’s physical attack on him and to prevent Trayvon from getting control of his weapon.

Zimmerman likely can use the reenactment to tell his story to the jury without every having to take the stand either because the prosecution needs to use it or by moving the tape into evidence through one of the police witnesses.

This reminded me of the so-called Preppy Murder committed by Robert Chambers against Jennifer Levin in Central Park in Manhattan in 1986.  It was a sensational case, and I remember it particularly well because my parents knew Levin’s grandparents.

Chambers claimed he accidentally strangled Levin during rough sex play in which she was so aggressive he needed to use force to get her off him.  The story was ridiculous on its face, yet during a videotaped police interrogation Chambers reenacted his version of events in a way which might be persuasive to a jury.

I haven’t been able to find a free-standing video of the reenactment, but it starts at 4:15 of this 48 Hours segment:

The video reenactment was played during the trial, and it had an effect. The jury took nine days to deliberate, at which point the prosecutors allowed him to plea to manslaughter.  He was sentenced to 5-15 years, and ended up serving the maximum because of other criminal problems he had after goint to prison.

He’s now in prison on a lengthy drug charge, for which he will serve more time than for killing Levin.

I thought of the cases not because I think Zimmerman and Chambers share an equal culpability.  It just shows how a video statement to police, if done right, can help the defendant tell his story without ever taking the stand.


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BannedbytheGuardian | June 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm

It is Saturday night & rags is out Line Dancing. The coast is clear folks.

yellow rose of texas | June 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Very concise and I very much appreciate that! Such a sad tale for all involved. May justice and justice alone be served. I am a little worried about this one.

On a side note… Professor Jacobson, you have a wicked sense of humor. Not on this post of course. I lurk more than I write, so I am reading pretty much everything. You are so funny in a very serious sort of way. You are very good for a “stuffed suit.”. I do not mean that as an insult. Nope, that is a compliment. You are a talented and gifted (not to mention educated) writer. Please keep it up! You have me hooked.

I sometimes wonder why Jeralyn Merritt posts at something called TalkLeft. Her posts are largely restricted to court cases and her opinions have always been based on the known facts of the case. She is by far the blogger most dedicated to the research and analysis of facts surrounding the GZ trial – although Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute is right behind her (and just ahead of the Professor).

Having just written about my unswerving admiration for Jeralyn, I have to backtrack based upon her over-the-top comment related to Obama’s executive privilege action regarding General Holder and “Fast & Furious”:

“My view: Republican political grandstanding.”

    G Joubert in reply to gad-fly. | June 24, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I dunno. When Jeralyn Merritt ventures away from criminal defense stuff and into politics, a more hard-left progressive governmentalist you’ll never find.

“That video reenactment is considered pretty helpful to Zimmerman, as it is consistent with other known evidence.”

If I’m reading this right, it is *more* helpful to Zimmerman’s defense due to the fact that it was consistent with other evidence/testimony that Zimmerman could not have known about at the time of the recording.

Let’s hope a court and jury knows the difference between a thug and a neighborhood patrol captain and which is right and which is wrong.

“Zimmerman likely can use the reenactment to tell his story to the jury without every having to take the stand either because the prosecution needs to use it or by moving the tape into evidence through one of the police witnesses.”

Walk us through that, Prof. Especially the part where the prosecution does NOT use the tape, and O’Mara tries to introduce it, and the State rises to object to hearsay.

Is it proximate enough in time to be a “present sense impression” under Florida case law, in your opinion?

Zimmerman was credible in the tape. He was also not under oath. Since then, he has managed to gut his own credibility pretty thoroughly, and it remains an open question as to whether it can be rehabilitated.

    OcTEApi in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 9:58 am

    You have a unique brand of moonbattery, ask the Prof to argue your standpoint -that’s spesh.

    Then you state in near certitude “he has managed to gut his own credibility pretty thoroughly” without ever making or expressing the standpoint how “Since then” refutes facts presented in the video -before then.

      Ragspierre in reply to OcTEApi. | June 24, 2012 at 10:46 am

      I know legal questions…or anything rational…makes your head hurt. Apparently you butt, too.

      But my question to the Prof. was a legal question, and not a challenge. He has access to legal research tools I don’t have, and he likely knows somebody in the Florida criminal legal community he can draw on for answers. I don’t.

      You allude to “facts” related by Mr. Zimmerman. I guess I have a higher definition of “facts” than a one-sided, self-serving statement by a guy who just shot and killed someone. Not to say he will not be vindicated, but, being objective, I don’t just swallow any load.


        OcTEApi in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

        two police statements in their report, and a witness account, and the autopsy report ALL support statements made by GZ in the police interview as FACTS

        Which leads any rational person to summarize that the prosecution will inevitably insert these videos as evidence “either because the prosecution needs to use it or by moving the tape into evidence through one of the police witnesses.”

        You ask Prof to walk you through, to argue your standpoint ya know…”where the prosecution does NOT use the tape.” where your assertion the prosecution objects to it as hearsay.

        You are asking Prof to argue the prosecution and your assertion:

        Crump said Zimmerman’s credibility is the issue.
        “Everybody’s going to have to look at this for what it is,” Crump said. “You’ve got objective evidence, and then you’ve got George Zimmerman’s versions.

        Where you argue that Since then, (since the video’s have surfaced) he has managed to gut his own credibility pretty thoroughly … to a point where something GZ has said refutes his account in the video.
        A standpoint you NEVER supported in any manner.

        b b b “But my (legal) question to the Prof. was”

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

        He also has access to a brain you don’t have.

        Give it up and quit polluting the GZ threads with your obnoxious, phony pontifications.

        You’re not even a lawyer.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to OcTEApi. | June 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      You’re wasting your time trying to argue substance with him. It’s all been done many times. His final fallback is always, “You’ll see, I’m right.” But he never is.

      If you read his posts carefully and just look at the overall tone and content of his posts, it’s clear he’s not really a lawyer. He also spends vastly more time on the GZ threads when they come out than any real lawyer would have to spare, especially when you consider the frequency of his return visits to the threads. He’s just an agitator who loves government and has an axe to grind with those who don’t. On this subject, he has ZDS – Zimmerman Derangement Syndrome. But it’s not Zimmerman himself nor even any concern for Martin – it’s just part of his leftist, gun-grabbing, anti-conservative political philosophy. He’s a cross between a jackass and a gnat, and his objective here appears to be to disrupt the revelation and discussion of the ever-growing font of evidence in GZ’s favor.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    You’re too dumb to realize it, but the prof. spoke to all the arguments you’ve presented as to why the statements won’t come in or shouldn’t come in, why they don’t help, blah, blah, blah ad nauseam. The prof explains where you’re wrong even though he doesn’t appear to be addressing his response directly to your lamebrain theories expounded on other threads.

    You and your idiotic babblings and hilarious pontifications have been resoundingly put to rest. If you weren’t too stupid to realize that, you’d know it’s time to shut up. But no, not Rags. You insist on making an ass of yourself.

    So be it.

these guys have a lot of follow up on this
there is a lengthy talk on the drug use and reasons for martins purchases to make “lean” a way to get high.

    Ragspierre in reply to dmacleo. | June 24, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Beware of BS. And the treehouse “expose” is full of it.

      retire05 in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 10:25 am

      How so, Rag? Because the Treehouse has linked the multiple players in this case and shown their agenda when it comes to playing the “race” card in this case?

      Perhaps you would like to point out how many other parents of killed teens hire not just a lawyer, but a PR firm; go on European tours pandering for dollars; demand the firing of not only the police chief but the county prosecutor, as well, because they were not getting the results they wanted? Or how many parents of killed teens put up photos of that kid on a memorial website (that also panders for dollars) that is years old, so America won’t see what the kid actually looked like the night he died with his grill and tats?

        Ragspierre in reply to retire05. | June 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

        Yeah, no.

        I’ll be responsible for what I say, thank you. Not your red herrings.

        That is replete with BS…meaning in this instance “demonstrable falsehoods”. Also meaning, “unsupportable conjecture”.

        But, to your points…which really have nothing to do with this thread…isn’t what Mr. Zimmerman did in respect to the Sanford police and the homeless victim very like a “…demand [for the] firing of not only the police chief but the county prosecutor, as well, because they were not getting the results they wanted?”

          retire05 in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 11:38 am

          Thanks for bringing up the fact that the “George Zimmerman is a racist who profiled poor Trayvon Martin and shot him down like a dog in the street” meme is simply a concoction of race baiting bottom feeders like Benjamin Crump and his partner in spin, Raul Julian of Julian PR firm, the same firm responsible for the PR put out about how wonderful the Pigford payoff was. But you seemed to willingly leave out one fact: the homeless man was BLACK.

          Unfortunately, drug use is often a percusor to violent action. How many kids have been arrested for violent crimes and don’t have drug histories? A lot has been made about Trayvon Martin’s marijuana use and how the levels in his chest blood were NOT that bad. Care to give us the legal limits in Florida for a DUI, Rags?

          And how predictable that you would call my points, which I notice you did not respond to, red herrings.

          Which brings us back to the Ward case: how many Sanford PD were called on the carpet due to the actions of George Zimmerman trying to obtain fair treatment for a homeless black man? Remember, the man who did the beating was the son of a Sanford cop, in a high position. Does the Sanford PD, or some of its officers, have an axe to grind with George Zimmerman? Did Zimmerman have the audacity to challange that thin blue line?

          This case is one that should have remained local. But thanks to the bottom feeding lawyers, the PR firm looking for clients and the power to control the narrative, and the poverty pimps who were called by the bottom feeding lawyer to rally the troops against a white Hispanic, it has gone national. Will we see the same demand for “Justice for Zen Bo Liu?”

          It is a tragedy that Trayvon Martin was shot, but the greater tragedy happened long before that fateful night. The tragedy of a kid headed down the wrong track with his adoption of the drug/gansta culture; the tragedy of his parents who did not seem to accept that the kid was headed for disaster when he was suspended from school, not once, but three times. The tragedy of a father who was so out of tune with his son that he was not even aware of when his son left his girl friend’s house, or even what his son was wearing the night of the shooting; the tragedy of leaving a 17 year old kid with a history of unacceptable behavior unsupervised that night. And the tragedy of lax parents who have now used their son’s death to scapegoat others to hide their own failures. That, Rags, is the real tragedy and it is a story that goes unreported waaaaaay too often.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

          Look up red herrings. You are a fishmonger of the form.

          Next, look up straw man. You are arguing with someone who isn’t there.

          Try to stay on topic, which, I admit, is a boat that sailed a while ago.

          In this instance it is the citation I posted above.

          retire05 in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

          “You are arguing with someone who isn’t [all] there.”

          Fixed that for you, Rags. And how dare I point out that there is more to the story of that night on Feb. 26, 2012 than meets the eye. I must certain be chastized by someone who seems to have hanging on their wall their diploma from the Costa Rica University of Mail Order Law Degrees.

          You actual talent lies in your ability to continually insult others that have the audacity to question your wisdom in all things.

          The truth of this case is that no one, not even you, knows what really happened that night in Sanford. And even the lead investigator stated, on the stand during the initial bond hearing, that there was no evidence to dispute the events as relayed by George Zimmerman, yet, you seem to have bought a new rope.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm

          When you speak of mail-order law degrees, you give Rags too much credit. I’ll give you an example, a funny one: The other day, on a different thread, Rags undertook to argue with poster/lawyer Chuck Skinner If you’ve read a few of Chuck’s posts, it’s evident that they are written by a real lawyer. The topic, or tangent, was the subject of “lean”, a drug made from cough syrup and other ingredients. It is recognized by the DEA as a narcotic-family street drug. At any rate, Rags pontificated to Chuck that such a discussion of “lean” would not survive a Daubert motion, which is a legal adventure conducted as an attempt by one party to prevent the admissibility of the other party’s evidence with a claim that the evidence or witness is not sufficiently qualified.

          The trouble with Rags’ assertion is that Florida doesn’t use the Daubert standard – it still uses the Frye standard.

          No real lawyer would have NOT known that some states use the Frye standard and some use Daubert and, if unsure or unfamiliar with FL law, would have checked first (takes less than a minute) before running off at the mouth about Daubert, lol. 🙂

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

          I think that discussion of “lean” survives a Daubert challenge if you get the right expert in the hip-hop/thug movement and drug sub-culture. Enough rappers have died from “lean” use to make it known, and it is prevalent enough to get attention. The DEA stuff, while not dispositive on its own, defines it enough to probably allow it to survive a prosecution challenge against bringing up the discussion of if Martin’s behavior was consistent with either current intoxication or long-term abuse.
          –Chuck (the real lawyer) Skinner

          JackedRatTerrier also has declaimed that O’Mara is not a good lawyer.

          Nobody but her, I guess…

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm

          “…a Daubert motion, which is a legal adventure conducted as an attempt by one party to prevent the admissibility of the other party’s evidence with a claim that the evidence or witness is not sufficiently qualified.”

          “A legal adventure…”!!!??? THAT was impressive.

          And, no, poster girl for CDS. Neither motion is about “qualified”.

          Both test reliability of the science involved.

        caambers in reply to retire05. | June 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

        I would also like to mention that this past week Ms. Fulton took CNN/Mark Nejame to task for daring to speculate that GZ may be innocent based on information, tox screens and other medical reports then this video. Crump, et all have to realize their narrative is falling apart otherwise why would she lash out at any pundit who has a differing opinion? The truth is not on their side. A few more months of this pathetic side show and we should be done.
        As for the Zimmerman’s credibility…the money issue is a side issue and only related to the events of February because of GZ. I’m sure Crump and friends were delighted that this happened so they could do some more spinning but it in no way means GZ didn’t legally defend himself against TM.

Phillep Harding | June 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

IMO, George Zimmerman needs some serious legal advice regarding his personal life. He is doing things that a consciousless DA can use to cloud the issue, and, perhaps, get a conviction. He and his wife are amateurs playing a game that the prosecuter has much experience playing.

Another subject, Rags reminds me of some of the posters in the news group, talk.politics.guns back in the early 90’s who were working for the gun control crowd. They taunted people into giving away info on how we were going to fight gun control and to see what accusations or whatever we did not have an answer for. (To me, a reasonable compromise on gc would be to repeal half the laws, but that’s me.)

Why brainstorm what the opposition could do when they can listen in on the planning?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Phillep Harding. | June 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    “…consciousless DA ..”

    Freudian slip, redundancy, or both? (lol, j/k).


    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Phillep Harding. | June 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Phillep -GZ does not have a personal life -he is a prisoner of the state. It is not as if he is laying by a bubbling brook in the autumn sunshine calling his paramour .

    These prison calls are sphincter clenching affairs wherein conversations are twisted & condensed. to a series of directives -not always successfully interpreted by receiver & interlopers.

    Away from TV dramas I wonder how much any of these are used in courts . What ambitious state employees in the DA office hear is not how the jurors might hear it or give it credence.

90.801 Hearsay; definitions; exceptions.

(1) The following definitions apply under this chapter:

(a) A “statement” is:

1. An oral or written assertion; or

2. Nonverbal conduct of a person if it is intended by the person as an assertion.

(b) A “declarant” is a person who makes a statement.

(c) “Hearsay” is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

(2) A statement is not hearsay if the declarant testifies at the trial or hearing and is subject to cross-examination concerning the statement and the statement is:

(a) Inconsistent with the declarant’s testimony and was given under oath subject to the penalty of perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding or in a deposition;

(b) Consistent with the declarant’s testimony and is offered to rebut an express or implied charge against the declarant of improper influence, motive, or recent fabrication; or

(c) One of identification of a person made after perceiving the person.


90.802 Hearsay rule.
Except as provided by statute, hearsay evidence is inadmissible.

The Florida rule is more restrictive than is our Texas rule…

90.803 Hearsay exceptions; availability of declarant immaterial.
The provision of s. 90.802 to the contrary notwithstanding, the following are not inadmissible as evidence, even though the declarant is available as a witness:

(1) SPONTANEOUS STATEMENT.–A spontaneous statement describing or explaining an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition, or immediately thereafter, except when such statement is made under circumstances that indicate its lack of trustworthiness.

Of course, the cutting edge for case law being what “immediately thereafter” means in Florida jurisprudence.

That’s the question I was asking the Prof.

If the State does not choose to use the video, and Zimmerman does not testify, I see no means of O’Mara introducing it UNLESS there is case law that would permit it under the facts of the video’s production.