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Observations from the released Winston investigation documents


Like many of you, I read every page of documents released (as far as I know) from the TPD and the SAO. They answered many questions I had and prompted many more. On the tails of the notice that the accuser's family would be making another statement on the eve of the Heisman presentation and the comments made to that news, I thought there might still be interest in discussing this. These are some of the things that stood out to me.


1. Between the statements made by her three female friends about her explanation of what happened and what she reported to FSUPD, then TPD, there are three different versions. There are some consistencies between them, but some significant (and several minor) differences as well.

2. Two friends were told that she thought she was hit over the head hard enough to render her unconscious/incapacitated. The friend who was with her and called the FSUPD said the accuser was holding her head and complaining about the pain, but she never took a look at it. Doesn't that seem strange? Then when the accuser was being examined by the nurse at the hospital and noted where the accuser was complaining about pain there was no mention about her head. An injury of that magnitude would still have been painful at the time of the examination and surely the nurse would have examined it and mentioned it in the report if she was told about it. Also, the head injury was never mentioned to the other friend (Monique) or either police officer.

3. The only injuries noted by the nurse were bruising/redness on her knees, top of one foot, back of one forearm. These locations seem logical considering the witness statements that she was on her knees giving oral sex and may have also been having intercourse "doggy-style." There is no notation of visible bruising/injury to the places you might expect to see them if she was being sexually assaulted against her will on a (presumably tile) bathroom floor per her statements: her back, buttocks, neck, shoulders, back of thighs, palm of hands, fingernails (apparently no perp skin under her nails), vaginal/cervical area.

4. For someone who was claiming to be either drugged or concussed and had crucial gaps in memory about who assaulted her, where the assault took place, and why/how she was there, she had some recollections of detail that I would be surprised a sober, fully conscious person would have remembered: She claimed to not know how she got to/in the cab, but she remembered the seating arrangement of the passengers (though the number of occupants was different depending on who she told). She remembered an FSU card was used for the discount and that the ride was paid for with a credit card because someone signed for it. She remembered the front seat passenger prodding her to call her friend, but didn't notice it was the freshman football player Chris whom she met inside Pot's. She also remembered he had wide spaces between his teeth. She couldn't remember how/why she took a cab with these guys or where they went, but she was aware enough to be surprised how cheap the fare was for the distance they traveled. She doesn't remember making the call attempts to her friend, but knows she would have asked for help if Monique had answered. No mention of asking for help from the cab driver. She didn't remember the name of the apt. complex, but noticed two scooters parked on some rocks and what colors they were. She remembered the colors of the bed sheets down to the polka dots and she knew the bedroom door lock was broken, but she couldn't give a name or an accurate description of the person she had talked with and been assaulted by over a 2+ hr period.

5. Some other strange/incredible things she said: She was just lying there unable to resist, but she tried to push/kick him away. He was raping an incapacitated person against her will, but he rolled her over on top of him, expecting her to take the lead? She didn't yell out because she she was feeling sick. What? Be sick! Throw-up all over yourself and him. Maybe that would make him stop. When the roommate comes in and tells him to stop, yell. Plead for help. She did neither. The claim from her and Monique that she received a text message telling her to come outside seems like an attempt to explain why she would go outside and leave with three strangers. Explaining the absence of said text message on her phone by insinuating it was deleted by the perp who also either drugged her or hit her over the head seems to be an attempt to imply some sinister premeditation not just a horny college guy who went too far. The awkward, out-of-place shot she took was from an unknown person in one statement, then was from a white male friend of Marcus in another. If the perp was this devious and used a condom, would he be so dumb as to allow his semen to be deposited on her underwear and then put those back on her? He sat next to her in a cab, took her into his bedroom and began raping her without attempting to conceal his face, but once in the bathroom he simply turned her head to the side to prevent her from seeing him then voluntarily gave her a personal ride home, but wouldn't look directly at her on the scooter ride? These are her statements for why she didn't get a good look at him? She's not capable of getting herself dressed, but he puts her on the back of a scooter, trusting she won't fall off? She's mentally impaired, but has the where-with-all to not tell him where she lives and gives him a false location, but then he drops her off on the side of the road?

6. Other interesting information from other statements/evidence: Her statement and her witness's statements say they shared five vodka drinks. The accuser says she had one shot. Marcus said he bought 3 shots (assumption that he, her, and Monique each had one). They all say she is not much of a drinker. They all say she did not seem inebriated. Monique said at two different times the accuser paused and sought Monique's approval. First before giving her number to Casher. Second before responding to the text to come outside. This seems like the behavior of someone exhibiting logical hesitation and in control of her decision-making. There is no evidence anecdotally or forensically that the accuser was mentally impaired, should have difficulty remembering crucial details of the events of the evening, or should have given differing accounts of the evening with apparent falsehoods. If Casher had video evidence of the sexual acts between JW5 and the accuser, did he tell Jansen? If Jansen knew, did he see it/collect a copy of it? If not, why? Did it clearly indicate consensual sex? If he did have a copy of it, was it offered as evidence to the police at the time or the SAO later? If not, why? Why didn't Jansen get sworn affidavits from Casher and Darby in January? Knowledge that there was partial video of what was happening in Winston's room, but it was destroyed looks bad for Winston and Jansen. Getting witness affidavits 10 months after knowing about the accusation instead of at the time looks bad for Jansen. Even if Jansen was told that the investigation was closed, he should have known better and gotten his ducks in a row at that time, just in case.

7. Carroll's statements and actions seemed to undermine any desire to have a thorough, fair investigation conducted by the SAO resulting in a charge against JW5 and a conviction in court. Releasing a statement calling Winston a rapist and accusing TPD of an incomplete, unfair investigation taints a potential jury pool. As does jumping the gun and criticizing Winston's potential defense strategy after the leak (partially) of the DNA results. The insistence that the accuser was not intoxicated, referring to the toxicology results as proof, seems to be a bizarre move. While it may have been an attempt to squash any insinuations that she was a drunken floozy, her reputation may have been defended at the expense of the best explanation for her actions and claims of memory loss that night. While not unexpected or necessarily unethical, at least two (and possibly all) of her friends felt compelled to meet with Patricia Carroll before making statements to the SAO investigator. The meeting Georgia Cappelman had with Carroll, mentioned by one of the TPD detectives that they were not allowed to sit in on, probably was to address this. The friends wanting to meet with Carroll prior to being interviewed looks fishy even if there was no collusion. Publicly stating that the girl would not recant, with no prompting, after meeting with the ASA seems telling.

8. The accuser first said she had no explanation for the 2nd set of male DNA on her pants only to later admit it was from her boyfriend, but refused to identify him. She or at least Carroll had to know this would look bad for them. Having unidentified, unexplained DNA (assuming semen) undermines the accuser's credibility. Why the noncooperation? Have to assume that either the girl didn't want her parents to know she had sex, didn't want them to know who he was, or/and didn't want it to be publicly known that he was also a collegiate athlete. Interesting that he admits to dating her and knowing about the accusation, but refused to talk to the investigator even though it could have helped her cause. Maybe because it could have hurt her cause? Carroll attempted to explain the DNA on the pants or/and muddy the waters by suggesting it may have gotten there when Monique was wearing them because the accuser says Monique wore her clothes all the time. Was Carroll trying to protect the accuser's virtue? Did Carroll believe the SAO would not identify the DNA or was she suggesting Monique had sex with the accuser's boyfriend? Respect for Monique for being honest with the investigator about never wearing the accuser's clothes and admitting she had a conversation with the accuser about that only a couple days earlier. Apparently Carroll's last play was to question the proper collection, identification, and testing of the blood sample. Was Carroll orchestrating all these strange, contradictory, damaging actions for some other purpose or was she reacting and responding as someone who believes the untrue explanations given to her by the girl without question as most family and close family friends would?

9. What I concluded from the records of electronic devices and social media (without making any judgements) was that the accuser did go out and drink. Even drank in the dorm before going out, but did decline several times to going out, so maybe not a big drinker. No direct evidence, but indications that she was promiscuous as were her friends and that they had secret social media pages dedicated to discussing their promiscuity. She participated in academic cheating with others. She supposedly did not want to notify the police about the assault. She supposedly did not want her parents to find out about it. She supposedly didn't want a lot of people to know about it. What she did was text someone to call her and talk about it and she supposedly posted a pleading call for help on her facebook page. The first two friends who responded to these prompts notified the police and got word to her parents. Her parents found out and raced up to Tallahassee in the middle of the night like good, loving parents would. In the middle of the initial contact with the police about a sexual assault allegation, she was thinking about cheating on a test the next day and believed she would actually go and take it.

10. No damning evidence of a police cover-up, but some disappointing and questionable lapses in the investigation of a potential sexual assault. I suspect that the investigating officers had concerns and questions about the inconsistencies in the accusers statements and behavior and realized they weren't getting the whole truth or complete cooperation. That does not excuse them from not following the leads they were given with proper and full effort. The weak effort to locate the possible cab driver was disappointing to read. If the police investigator would have made the same inquiries in December 2012 that the SAO investigator made in November 2013, the driver would almost certainly have been identified and the information they could have provided might have been crucial. The TPD summary of the investigation makes no mention of contacting Potbelly's, trying to talk to the staff working Dec. 7th, or trying to review surveillance camera footage of that night. Again, an inexcusable failing that could have cleared up a lot of questions. These lapses in investigative procedure certainly look suspicious to those who believe the narrative that the local yokels were protecting the star football player. Perhaps lost on them is the great value these could have been to Winston's defense and his reputation. Either way, the TPD did not properly serve either party or the public with these mistakes.

It would be very illuminating to see/hear any video/audio recordings of the interviews or at least be able to read complete transcripts. The summaries of the interviews don't give us the line of questioning or how the answers were delivered, just the resulting statements made. Does anyone know if any of these have been released or will be available in the future?

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