It Doesn’t Add Up, Mr. Kirschner (Updated)
We’re 10 days away from the April 24 status conference in front of Judge Frederick Weisberg. And there may be no better time to begin a microscopic examination of the many inconsistencies, anomalies and possible errors in the affidavit and charging document, both by the prosecution and the Defendants.
Let’s start with giving the US Attorney’s office a simple lesson in arithmetic and broadcast schedules.
The Swann Street neighbor (W-3 in the affidavit) heard Victor Zaborsky’s scream occurring during the WJLA-TV newscast, anchored by Maureen Bunyan on the night of August 2, 2006. That newscast preceeds ABC’s Nightline. It was also stated that Victor called 9-1-1 at 11:49pm.
Based on the newscast’s length of 30 minutes, on page 12 the prosecution’s conclusion states that the roommates “…delayed their call to the authorities for an extended period of time… from as little as 19 minutes or as many as 49…” Well, not so fast.
The WJLA 11:00pm newscast does not end at 11:30pm, it runs until 11:35pm. Years ago the broadcast networks shifted their late night programming by 5 minutes or so to allow affiliates an additional station break to sell advertising, giving them 10 and 11pm newscasts.
Meaning Bunyan may have signed off as late as 11:35pm. We hope to hear from WJLA’s traffic department to confirm. Another possible discrepancy may be in the Vanderbilt University TV news archive which shows the August 2, 2006 Nightline like many other of the show’s broadcasts did not air until 11:38pm.
There’s now a possible 8 minutes of wiggle room in the affidavit’s facts. These few minutes might not seem like much, but when you look at the compressed time line of the night of August 2, whether using the Defendant’s statements or the prosecution’s, those precious moments may matter for both sides.
Perhaps the Defendant’s didn’t wait as long to dial 9-1-1 (now 14 minutes, possibly 11, but we don’t think it’s 19 minutes) as the affidavit states. Or perhaps the time line of events as given to police by the roommates lacks the same “non-fanciful” evidence as their intruder theory (page 13).
This of couse also begs the question of just how long it takes to dial 3 digits on a phone: 9-1-1. On your marks, get set… cover up?
UPDATE: A call from Nightline offices confirms the 11:35pm program start for at least the last 10 years. Nashville ABC affilate WKRN may delay their start time of Nighline until 11:38pm, explaining that small (3 minute) discrepancy in the Vanderbilt database. Let’s call it 14 minutes not 19.