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TMCNet:  O'Mara: State has unlocked a trove of info from Trayvon's cell phone

[January 31, 2013]

O'Mara: State has unlocked a trove of info from Trayvon's cell phone

Jan 31, 2013 (Orlando Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- New court paperwork reveals that prosecutors have unlocked a great deal more information from Trayvon Martin's cell phone, including satellite tracking information that shows where it was in the days leading up to his shooting.

But if it also lays out the teenager's movements the day of the killing -- Feb. 26 -- prosecutors have not released that to defense attorneys.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara disclosed that information Wednesday in a new court filing, one asking for more time to prepare for trial.

His client, George Zimmerman, is the 29-year-old Neighborhood Watch volunteer charged with second-degree murder in Trayvon's slaying. Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense when he shot the unarmed black 17-year-old. The trial is currently set for June 10.

One of O'Mara's frustrations, he wrote, has been getting Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda to fully disclose evidence in the case.

Information from Trayvon's phone is one example. The Android-powered smart phone was found near his body, its battery dead, the night of the shooting. It's a key piece of evidence because a young Miami woman says she was on the phone with him moments before the shooting and overheard their conversation when Trayvon and Zimmerman came face to face.

Sanford police and Florida Department of Law Enforcement employees had limited success finding out what was on the phone because they were "locked out," the consequence of someone trying repeatedly without the proper password or PIN to gain access its data.

The state then shipped it to a law enforcement agency in California for more analysis, O'Mara wrote in his new motion, then sent it to a New Jersey company, CelleBrite Forensics, which successfully unlocked the data in its flash memory, including GPS information that showed its changing locations.

What it found has not been made public.

"It shows you within 10 feet where the phone is," O'Mara told the Orlando Sentinel.

De la Rionda provided those new findings to defense attorneys Jan. 18, O'Mara wrote, but with a gaping hole.

"While the analysis includes GPS locating records for Mr. Martin's phone for all of the time he was in the Sanford area, specifically absent is any such data from February 26, 2012, the date of the event," O'Mara wrote.

"Maybe it's coincidence, but I'm way past (believing it's) coincidence," O'Mara said.

There also seem to be missing phone calls and text messages, he wrote.

De la Rionda was not immediately available for comment.

O'Mara's motion also complains about prosecutors not providing him information about the young woman who says she was on the phone with Trayvon, a Miami Gardens 17-year-old, in the moments just before the shooting.

She was 18 years old that day -- not 16 as Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump identified her -- O'Mara said, and prosecutors have not provided enough information about her to allow him to subpoena her Twitter and Facebook records.

The judge earlier authorized those subpoenas.

The state is within "the letter of the law" in the way it's handling the release of cell phone records and information about the young Miami woman, O'Mara wrote, but because it's being so adversarial, that's requiring hundreds of more hours of work for defense attorneys, making it harder for them to be prepared in time for a June 10 trial.

O'Mara also complained about a long battle to get cleaner and more easily understood audio from a recording of the young woman made by Crump and ABC News in March.

The phone conversation lasted 26 minutes, O'Mara wrote, but the recording is only 14 minutes. It also has "at least seven starts, stops and edits," he wrote.

Two weeks ago, he asked the judge to order ABC News and reporter Matt Gutman to surrender all recordings, notes and correspondence related to that recording.

rstutzman@tribune.com or 407-650-6394.

___ (c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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