Trayvon witness asked: Can you read?

Last updated 12:53 28/06/2013
Zimmerman trial
Reuters
Rachel Jeantel was forced to admit she couldn't read the letter she sent to Trayvon Martin's mother.
Zimmerman trial
Reuters
The letter describes Trayvon's last phone call.

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The star witness in the Trayvon Martin murder trial has come under intense pressure - inside and outside the courtroom.

Rachel Jeantel was the friend Trayyvon was speaking to on the phone before he was killed.

Ms Jeantel has told the court she thought the encounter between Trayvon and the man accused of murdering him, George Zimmerman, was racially charged.

She said Trayvon described Zimmerman as a "creepy-a** cracker".

Trayvon was killed on February 26, last year after he left his father's home in Sanford, Florida, to get snacks from a local store.

Zimmerman's lawyers claim that the neighbourhood watch guard was only defending himself when he shot Trayvon.

Prosecutors believe Zimmerman had racially profiled the 17-year-old African American.

During the second day of her testimony, Ms Jeantel, 19, was forced to admit in court she couldn't read a letter she allegedly wrote about Trayvon's shooting.

Defence lawyer Don West asked her: "Are you able to read at all?"

She mumbled: "Some but not all. I don't read cursive."

The letter, which she said a friend wrote for her, described the phone conversation she had with Trayvon as he walked home.

"He started walking then noticed someone was following him. Then he decided to find a shortcut cause the man wouldn't follow him. Then he said the man didn't follow him again.

"Then he looked back and saw the man again. The man started getting closer. Then Trevon [sic] turned around and said Why are you following me!! Then I heard him fall."

The letter was signed Diamond Eugene, a name Ms Jeantel said she sometimes used.

During the cross-examination, Mr West became increasingly angry with Ms Jeantel and the judge had to ask him to lower his voice at one point.

When he asked her if Trayvon could have been lying about his location on the night of his death, she answered:

"That's real retarded, sir. That's real retarded to do that, sir. Why on earth? Trayvon did not know [Zimmerman]."

Ms Jeantel came under attack outside the court too, over the contents of her Twitter account.

The Smoking Gun reported that she deleted posts about smoking pot and driving drunk after her first day on the stand.

Many of the deleted tweets contained foul language.

She also deleted a picture of her orange "court nails" that she posted on Facebook.

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