George Zimmerman Trial: I Saw What She Saw

Selene Bahaddor testified today in the George Zimmerman trial. She has previously been known as witness 1 while her sister, who lives with her, has been known as Witness 2. Sister/Witness 2 has previously said in interviews that that she saw shadows running from left to right . Today, for the first time, Selene Bahadoor said she heard figures moving from left to right. She never mentioned movement before.

On March 1, when she gave her first statement to Detective Chris Serino, Selene Bahadoor didn't see anything moving from left to right or moving in any direction. She said she only saw flailing arms. Even after Serino told her that her sister saw someone chasing someone else, she said she didn't see that.

On March 20, when Selene Bahadoor was interviewed by FDLE Agent John Batchelor, she didn't mention a direction of movement, either one she heard or one she saw. Nor did she mention it when deposed by the defense. Why? [More...]

Because she probably didn't hear or see it. She likely heard it from her sister, Serino or the FDLE, and consciously or not, it became part of her memory.

Prior to today, according to Selene Bahadoor, she was in the kitchen when she heard garbled sounds. She couldn't see anything looking out the kitchen window. She moved to the screened in porch and all she saw was what looked like arms flailing. She couldn't make out the figures. She couldn't make out what was being said. She only looked out through the sliding glass doors once before the shooting and John Good (witness 6) came out at that time and said what's going on (twice) and then said he's going to call the police. According to Good, at that moment, Zimmerman and Martin were tussling on the ground, with Martin on top of Zimmerman. No one was standing or running at that moment.

The audio of the interviews are much more revealing than the written reports. She also provided a drawing. (Note that it's flipped. She has her house on the bottom left and house with the screened porch and John's house on the top right.)

It sounds like the Bahadoor sisters "pooled" their recollections with each other, and as a result, neither memory is reliable. It doesn't mean either one is lying. More likely they are just mistaken.

An added problem is the inherent weaknesses in Sister W-2's statements. On March 1, Bahadoor's sister told Chris Serino she was upstairs and saw two guys running and saw fists. The blinds were just partially open and it was dark and raining. She walked to another room and heard the shot.

She couldn't provide any identifying details because she only got a quick glance and she had removed her contact lenses.

In a second, follow-up interview on March 1, Serino questioned her about distances. She clearly had no idea of distances, accepting whatever Investigator Serino suggested to her. He asked her how far apart the two guys were she saw running:

Serino: I’m going to step away from you.
About here? [He motions]
A car length? 8 to 10 feet?
About 10 would you say?
10 feet. Ok thank you so much

In another interview on March 9, Bahadoor's sister(W-2) told Serino she was just glancing, and she had just taken her contacts out. It was very dark and she couldn't really see. As to the running, she says she more heard it than saw it. Serino tried to get a direction out of her, but they clearly weren't understanding each other. W-2 either had trouble explaining or Serino didn't understand where her house was.

Serino: Were they running towards your house or away from your house and towards the T or towards the street?
W-2: Towards the T
Serino: So away from our house
W-2: No
Serino: You live in that row on Retreat View, right? If they kept on running, would they have passed your house?
W-2:(Pauses, then agrees.)

Sister W-2 can't answer how far she was from the men she thought she saw. She reminds Serino again she didn't have her contact lenses in. She says they were downstairs, she was upstairs.

On March 20, sister W-2 told FDLE agent Batchelor she more heard than saw anything. She doesn't know what she saw, she didn't have her contacts in or glasses on. But she agrees the figures were moving from left to right.

On March 26, 2012, W-2 is again interviewed by Batchelor. We have no audio, only a cryptic report in which Batchelor says W-2 said the shadowy figures were moving from left to right.

Both sisters were deposed. Selene Bahadoor acknowledged today that this was the first time she mentioned movement "left to right" to anyone but her sister. She also acknowledged that the state had jointly interviewed her and her sister. The prosecutor tried to get her to say no one had ever asked.

Faux pas by the state's attorney: Did he forget to read his own reports? On redirect, he tried to portray Selene Bahadoor as someone who had never been interviewed or gone on TV about the shooting and had no interest in TV fame. Whoops. On re-cross, O"Mara brought out she had been interviewed by Matt Guttman in early March. How did O'Mara know? Selene Bahadoor described the interview to FDLE agent John Bachelor on March 20. While the interview never aired, she told O'Mara she agreed to do it because she wanted more attention to be focused on the shooting.

Selene Bahadoor told Batchelor she talked to Matt of World News. Matt asked her if she knows GZ. She told him she knows George and had spoken to him a few times . Matt asked her if she thought GZ would have done this and she said no, he's always been okay with her.

She tells Batchelor she didn't know Zimmerman personally but remembers him coming around when he was telling neighbors about the Neighborhood Watch. He introduced himself to her and invited her to come to a homeowners meeting about it.

Other items from Selene Bahadoor's 3/20 interview:

She says there was only about 60 seconds between when she saw the arms and heard the shot.

After the shot, she saw the body face down. A cop was there shining a flashlight. More cops came and started doing CPR. It looked like his legs were in a running position (apparently meaning one up, one down.) She remembers a jacket and sweatpants and black sneakers on the body. She thinks the pants were gray. The jacket was reddish color. She didn't see a second person, only the body and the cops. She thinks the hands were "in this kind of position" but she's not sure. (She doesn't say they were underneath him.)

She says her niece and her niece's little girlfriend were in the house but they wouldn't have seen anything in the back at all because they were looking out the front the whole time.

So on 3/1 and 3/20 Selene Bahadoor didn't mention seeing or hearing movement in any direction, either when she looked out the kitchen window or through the sliding glass doors and screened in porch. When she looked outside from the kitchen window, she only heard garbled sounds and saw nothing. If she couldn't make out anything but garbled words, how did she hear movement that sounded like running from left to right? She couldn't have heard it seconds later when she looked out through the sliding doors and porch because John Good came out then, and he says the two males were struggling on the ground. No one was running at that time.

Also, look at the back of her house. There is a screened in porch between the the sliding glass doors and backyard. When she saw flailing arms, she didn't go outside, she just glanced from inside, through the sliding glass doors and porch. What could she possibly see in the dark and the rain, one to two houses down and across the backyard? Yet she thinks she saw the figures with arms standing, while at the same moment, John came out of his house, and says they were on the ground in a stuggle. John was much closer than she was to the figures. And then of course there is Jenna Lauer and Jeremy Weinberg, Witnesses 11 and 20, who were right next to John's house, and they are sure they heard movement coming from the T down past their house towards John's house.

As to Selena Bahadoor's bias, in addition to her saying that she gave Gutman an interview because she wanted more attention focused on the shooting of Trayon Martin, the Facebook curse has struck again. On March 20,2012, just hours before her interview with Batchelor, Selene Bahadoor posted this on her Facebook page.

Shorter version: The state today presented a biased witness who told a brand new version of events. She adopted a version told by her sister, who readily admits she can't see anything without her contacts in, and she had already taken them out. On top of which, Selena Bahadoor couldn't correctly describe Travyon Martin's clothing or its colors just days after the shooting, which she had observed while the cops were shining flashlights on the body. But now she is sure in the pitch dark and rain, in addition to the garbled words she heard that she couldn't make out, she heard running movement from left to right, from the direction of Brandy Green's house up to the T.

This won't be lost on the jury is because Don West did such a thorough job in opening statement. Between his detailed explanation and use of graphic maps, photos and charts, the jury is likely quite familiar with the layout of the backyard area and how dark it was that night. It knows what Witness 6 said, even though he hasn't testified yet.

Shortest version: The state was left standing in the shadows with Selena Bahadoor today.

< Monday Open Thread | Witness 8 Is Ready For Her Close-Up >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Cross post (4.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Cylinder on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 11:34:51 PM EST
    "Did your sister [W2] tell you that she didn't see anything, but that she was going to say that she did?"

    Did W2 lose her nerve when she was deposed? Why would O'Mara ask that question if he couldn't back it up or am I off-track here?

    The prosecution case is falling apart (4.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Payaso on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 11:40:33 PM EST
    I hope Backdoor wasn't their star witness.  Even on direct they have yet to present a compelling case.

    watching the testimony on youtube (none / 0) (#1)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 11:30:25 PM EST
    there is youtube with the testimony . . . I am now hearing dlr on redirect and he seems upset with having to ask if anyone had asked her about direction of the movement.

    Mom seems calm on the cross and on the recross . . .

    Now she is saying she never said that Zimmerman acted improperly and should be prosecuted . . .
    Mom asked if she signed the petition again, and she shrugs and shakes her head, but doesn't say anything . . .

    saw or heard... (none / 0) (#3)
    by ZucchiTadre on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 11:35:38 PM EST
    But now she is sure in the pitch dark and rain, she saw bodies moving from left to right, from the direction of Brandy Green's house up to the T.

    Maybe I'm wrong here but I thought that it was that she heard the voices/sounds moving left to right. Maybe I'm misremembering her what she said.

    you are correct and I just (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 01:48:10 AM EST
    fixed my post as to that. Thank you.

    Does a sound heard through a window (none / 0) (#12)
    by f2000 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 02:57:10 AM EST
    usually retain its directionality? I am admittedly thinking out loud, but it seems to me that it's unlikely you could accurately tell where the sound was coming from beyond "outside". The physics of sound propagation through an opening/or across a barrier such as a closed window would reduce the ear's ability to fix a location/direction.

    The directional element of a ... (none / 0) (#14)
    by heidelja on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 06:55:59 AM EST
    ...loud or disturbing close sound outside might typically be discernable from inside a home. Hearing stomping feet of someone running comes to mind.

    Of course, it all depends... (none / 0) (#16)
    by heidelja on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 07:09:53 AM EST
    ...on the structure and one's position inside the home. Note that the testimony of the 15 yr-old kid 100+ ft away was that he did not hear the gunshot because he had headphones on. But oddly he heard nothing of the shooting the next morning, even if waiting for a bus to take him to school, until the afternoon when got home.

    testimony helps the defense in part . . . (none / 0) (#4)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 11:37:54 PM EST
    Bahadoor says that she saw arms flailing, but as she makes the motions she says she saw, she is making motions that would fit one person using his fists to hit or attack another person.

    The state seems almost to be denying or refusing to admit that there was fighting.  However, the "flailing" of the arms as described would be the motions of a boxer hitting an opponent.

    Either GZ was attempting to hit or hitting TM,
    or TM was hitting or attempting to hit GZ.

    However, since TM was not injured, and GZ was, the flailing of the arms helps substantiate that TM was hitting and beating GZ, and that this went on for about a minute before the gunshot.

    Didn't the prosecution say in opening argument/statement that they were not fighting?

    the state's open statement (none / 0) (#8)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 12:27:13 AM EST
    I have listened to the open statement again and parts of it again . . . the state doesn't seem to have said directly they were not fighting.  What Guy says is that GZ's injuries were slight and minor, not requiring stitches and the nose not broken, and that dna and blood of Zimmerman was not found on TM's hands.

    I am listening again to the state opening statement.  Guy is saying GZ says he was knocked down, but a witness will testify to seeing them struggling while standing.  However, this is presumably the witness we have heard today Bahadoor, and her testimony is suspect, and moreover, on cross exam, I thought she said she couldn't be sure if it was one or two that she saw being upright . . .  I suppose I could go lookng for that again.  

    In the opening statement, Guy says that the witness who is presumably John Good will not testify to "arms flailing," but now, that has been done by Bahadoor.

    zait your user name is too long (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 12:12:26 AM EST
    it is breaking our margins. Can you go into your account and shorten it please? Thanks.

    Buuuut... (none / 0) (#17)
    by heidelja on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 07:21:06 AM EST
    ...W1 testified Tuesday that W2 (her sister) was upstairs and heard/saw nothing! (Did I hear this correctly?) How can she (W2) come on the stand (Wednesday?) and say what it is said here she said before without now impeaching W1 AND herself?

    More importantly why did the trial recess for the day without W2 testifying?


    If someone is prompting the witnesses (none / 0) (#19)
    by f2000 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 07:39:05 AM EST
    then the break gives them hours to fix any damage. Thought that the defense should have asked to go straight to W2, but no idea if that would have been granted. I'm guessing MOM would have had to plainly allege some level of illegal or unethical act in order to argue for it.

    pre judgement (none / 0) (#10)
    by Tov on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 02:24:36 AM EST
    Some say that only Mr. Zimmerman truly knows what what happened that sad night. I humbly suggest that even he does not know. For the final judgment is not what the jury decides but what Mr. Zimmerman chooses to do after the verdict.

    Your meaning? (none / 0) (#15)
    by rickroberts on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 06:57:13 AM EST
    What are you trying to say here?

    Her answer (none / 0) (#11)
    by f2000 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 02:52:27 AM EST
    that she saw the two "erect" seemed unnatural to me as well.  It wasn't the type of word she used anywhere else in her testimony and seemed like a lawyer/cop word that was suggested to her as helpful if mentioned. The she backed off from it after further questioning was even more suspicious to me.

    Change of pace question (none / 0) (#13)
    by f2000 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 05:17:51 AM EST
    What is the prosecution's most effective moment of the trial, considering the effect of following cross?

    This is not what you mean... (none / 0) (#18)
    by heidelja on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 07:32:52 AM EST
    ...but the greatest effect so far to me is that it is a trial closely orchestrated by Crump for the "benefit" of the family and their supporters. For this be a foregone conclusion if mihe for many months, seeing it play out us a tragedy.

    Because prosecutors in FLorida have such (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 07:56:49 AM EST
    a predilection for action at the behest of the African American community? Right.

    You can believe there is not enough evidence for convicting GZ without making that huge leap.


    You don't think there are places (none / 0) (#25)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:17:58 AM EST
    in Florida where local government can be swayed by an uproar from the African American community and their brother/sisters in arms the guilty white liberal set? You must be kidding. Have you ever met Florida?

    Lived here for 7 years. (none / 0) (#27)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:37:47 AM EST
    If this is true, it is the only example i have seen.

    Gulty white liberals in pretty short supply (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:38:43 AM EST
    in this area where I live, Central Florida, 20 miles from Sanford.

    In my normal circle of acquaintances (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:47:30 AM EST
    Work, friends, dog park....the general view is support for a prosecution of some sort, even among people who believe self defense was justified.  Not out of being swayed by protestors, but out of a feeling that justice is served in this case by a jury sorting out the facts, rather than police making the determination that the killing was justified.

    I respect Jeralyn's and others legal opinions (none / 0) (#30)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:50:00 AM EST
    here when they say that murder 2 was overcharging. The prosecutors will have to prove that charge - if they can't, I think the jury will acquit. No one around here is afraid of protestors or anyone else not liking the verdict.  

    IMO the most effective part is whenever (none / 0) (#31)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:53:32 AM EST
    either side plays GZ's own words on the 911 tapes. To me he is clearly agitated towards Martin - punk and ahole being his description of Martin. I think that must have an effect on the jury.

    Hard to figure why the state thought this (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 07:58:36 AM EST
    witness was useful at all. I missed their direct examination of her, so I guess I missed what they were trying to get out of her that they could not get out of witnesses with closer, clearer views of the scene.

    The state promised (none / 0) (#22)
    by f2000 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 08:07:37 AM EST
    a witness that would testify that the two were fighting while upright.  This was, I think, that witness. It was really weak since she backed down from it on cross. Said could be someone on top of another, was dark, and couldn't really tell.

    Thanks, that makes sense (none / 0) (#24)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 08:38:02 AM EST
    As far as the directional stuff, if she did not mention that is her deposition, it definitely seems suspicious that they would expect her to testify to it.

    Evidence of Zimmerman location (none / 0) (#23)
    by cboldt on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 08:08:04 AM EST
    The state would use the left to right motion as evidence that Zimmerman had gone down the dog path, past this townhouse, and later action (witnessed by sound) reversed that direction, proceeding northward to the "T".

    It's evidence that Zimmerman pursued Martin.


    zimmerman (none / 0) (#26)
    by morphic on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:20:37 AM EST
      ir's difficult to accept that any juror wouldn't see that in the minutes allotted, they shouldn't have been anywhere near where the body was located. IF George is pursuing Trayvon back and foerth along that path, it certainly opens up the timeframe, but there's no real evidence for it.

    We know have evidence of it with today's testimony (none / 0) (#32)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 01:05:47 PM EST

    Of what? (none / 0) (#33)
    by chaking on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 07:14:43 PM EST
    Of what?