When we first examined Trinastich’s surveillance video, most of us focused on the television. There wasn’t much to see, was there? Even the original video is fuzzy in depicting the goings-on in that all-important top left corner.
It didn’t take long though for folks to pick up on something else in the bodycam footage: Watts’ oddball behavior beside the flat screen. He seems at turns nervous, restless, distracted and even seems to be daydreaming at times.
On a few occasions he reaches for his phone and seems to be simply checking messages. Now we know he was responding to messages, including one – it looks like – to his mistress.
Although a reader brought this information to my attention, it’s been surprisingly difficult to confirm, and to be honest, it still may not be. This is because Detective Dave Baumhover and the other cops are somewhat vague in describing 1) at what time Officer Scott Coonrod entered the neighbor’s house to view the surveillance footage and 2) detective Baumhover’s exact time of arrival at the scene.
What we do know is that Coonrod was dispatched at 13:40 to 2825 Saratoga Trail on a check well-being call. Coonrod arrived roughly ten minutes later at 13:49.
According to the Discovery Documents, Coonrod entered the Watts residence at 14:19:49, but that can’t be right because if Watts arrived at 14:07, everyone entered the residence no more than two minutes later. So the correct entry time must be closer to 14:09.
And a check of bodycam footage at the moment Coonrod enters the house for the first time confirms this.
In any event, Coonrod was on the scene for approximately twenty minutes before Watts showed up.
Detective Baumhover arrived on the scene sixteen minutes later [subsequent to Coonrod entering the home] at “approximately” 14:35 according to the arrest affidavit.
So we see, Coonrod was inside the scene with Watts for just a few minutes when he reckoned uh-oh, something is badly out of whack here. And then he summoned resources.
Coonrod and Watts were heading over to Trinastich’s house when detective Baumhover arrived at
about exactly 14:35.
We know Watts remained at the neighbor’s house for seven more minutes after Coonrod made Watts aware of the detective’s arrival at the scene. That pushes the clock close to 14:42.
Now let me show you how and why we make these inferences.
At 02:04 in the video clip above, while Watts is doing his lip-curl thing, has both hands cupped against the back of his head, and sways from side to side [henceforth known as the Watts Bullshit Dance] Coonrod says: “My detective just showed up.” The bodycam records the time as 20:40:42Z.
If we assume the 14:35 arrival time is fairly accurate [but it may not be], and we advance 9 minutes forward through the timeline of the bodycam video [to the time of the text message to Kessinger] we get this at approximately 14:44 [20:49:35Z on the bodycam clock].
At this point in the bodycam footage, Watts has just exited Trisnatich’s home and returned to his own home to be questioned by Baumhover. It’s possible during this interlude, Watts sent this text to Kessinger:
As mentioned above, the bodycam clock shows the time when Watts exits as 20:49:35Z. I’ll explain the “Z” in a moment. For the time being, bear with me.
If the detective’s arrival time has a five-minute margin of error, and if we add a minute or two for the detective to arrive on scene and for dispatch to convey that to Coonrod, then it’s possible Watts sent the message to Kessinger while standing beside the cops. And we know that he was texting because on at least two occasions we can see he is texting beside the television.
His last text is at 20:42:53Z.
What does the “Z” mean?
The bodycam seems to be configured to Zulu time, which is a military metric based on Greenwich Mean Time [GMT]. 20:42 Zulu converts to 15:42 Mountain Standard Time [MTS]. So it appears Officer Coonrod’s bodycam clock is fast by one hour or the arrest affidavit is inaccurate by an hour. It seems unlikely detective Baumhover would mistake his ETA by more than a few minutes.
The Discovery Documents do show Watts texted Cristima Meacham at 14:26, which is nine minutes prior to Baumhover’s estimated arrival. Watts’ text to Cristina read:
Police are here, call you when I know.
Unfortunately the Discovery Documents are silent on further activity from Watts, or the cops – there is nothing between 14:26 and 15:46.
It’s frustrating that on so simple an issue as when the cops arrived there’s so little clarity or consistency.
Incredibly, in the Amanda Knox case, there’s also confusion around a critical part of the timeline; when the cops arrived at the Villa crime scene in Perugia.
In that case CCTV footage from across the road partially but indistinctly recorded vehicles passing in the road, but that CCTV footage was also said to be inaccurate. Knox’s defenders claim the CCTV footage from the garage was ten minutes behind real time. Meanwhile other grainy CCTV footage appeared to contradict Knox’s alibi.
In future one hopes the timekeeping of the cops and the settings of CCTV cameras [and bodycams] will make timelines easier to decipher, not harder.