Friday, March 23, 2018

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 24th and 25th

Saturday March 24, 2015
9:30 AM to 5 PM. $7. 25th Annual Battle at Narcoossee Mill. Ralph V. Chisholm Regional Park, 4700 Chisholm Park Trail, St Cloud, FL 34771. See infantry, cavalry, artillery, medical and civilian reenactors. See the Traveling Florida Confederate Memorial Wall. Listen to period music by "7 lbs of Bacon" string band. Visit authentic Union and Confederate camps. Stroll “Sutler Row” with over 20 sutlers, vendors and historical displays. Try the BBQ pork sandwiches. Get a great view of the "battle" from ample bleacher seating. "school day" on Friday. Admission on Saturday & Sunday: Adults $7.00, Children (ages 5 to 12) $5.00, under age 5 are free with adult.

1 PM to 4 PM. $10. Ven a Comer Festival. Gaston Edwards Park, 1236 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804. Bringing a little piece of Mexico to the heart of Orlando! 
The festival will feature Mexican restaurants from all over Orlando. Come dance, eat and shop!
VIP bartender competition, free tequila tasting and bars offering fresh cocktails featuring Maestro Doble, Jose Cuervo, 1800 Tequila and more!
Visit a Mexican Mercadito featuring everything from aquas frescas, to chicharrones with hot sauce, fresh Mexican fruits, traditional Mexican candies, Mexican jewelry, art and more!

  • Food and beverage tastings
  • vendors - shopping
  • Bartender battle de tequila!
  • silent auctions
  • music and art
  • Family zone
  • Chance drawing ticket with each ticket purchase 21+ 
  • 4PM to 11PM Free. Doveland Gallery Spring Reception. The opening of a very small gallery which might be the smallest in Orlando (I don't have measurements for comparison)! 9"x79" One artist, (Thomas Thorspecken of Analog Artist Digital World!) One seventh of a wall! Way too many people in our house! Enjoy wine! The drawing will be transferred to the wall in the morning and then the guests at the opening are invited to finish the painting using acrylic paints. It is Orlando's smallest gallery and the largest coloring project.

    Sunday March 25, 2016
    9:30 AM to 5 PM. $7 25th Annual Battle at Narcoossee Mill. Ralph V. Chisholm Regional Park, 4700 Chisholm Park Trail, St Cloud, FL 34771. Did you miss the battle Saturday? Here is your second chance. See infantry, cavalry, artillery, medical and civilian reenactors. See the Traveling Florida Confederate Memorial Wall. Listen to period music by "7 lbs of Bacon" string band. Visit authentic Union and Confederate camps. Stroll “Sutler Row” with over 20 sutlers, vendors and historical displays. Try the BBQ pork sandwiches. Get a great view of the "battle" from ample bleacher seating. "school day" on Friday. Admission on Saturday & Sunday: Adults $7.00, Children (ages 5 to 12) $5.00, under age 5 are free with adult.

     Noon to 3 PM Donation based. Music at the Casa. Alborea Flamenco Dancers. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Alborea Dances is a multicultural Entertainment Dance Company, created and directed by Jenny and Ernesto Caballero, who have been dedicated to the world of dance for more than 20 years. They have combined their experiences as dance educators, performers, choreographers and events coordinators, to present dances from Spain, Bolivia and Middle Eastern countries. After many years of performing in International festivals and important venues around South America, Europe and the United States, life brought them to Florida to delight their audiences on the stages of Universal Studios, Sea World, Walt Disney World, Resorts, Hotels and Conventions. Also, they have been featured on The Travel Channel's Great Hotels Series and Orange County TV's "Central Florida's World of Dance" series.

    10PM to Midnight Free but get some coffee.  Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out & laugh, or give it a try yourself.

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Thursday, March 22, 2018

    Witnesses take the stand in the Noor Slaman trial

     There is some sensitive content and disturbing details included within. If you feel you may be affected, please do not read this post.

    The afternoon session of court consisted of a series of very fast testimonies from witnesses for the State. Noor Slaman stands accused of aiding and abetting her husband Omar Mateen in the Pulse massacre and lying to FBI agents.  Bobby Rodriguez took the stand just after lunch. Ironically Bobby had held the door open for me at the Colombian restaurant I went to down the street from the courthouse just moments before. She recounted the horrifying experience of trying to survive in the bathroom at Pulse with Mateen, the gunman inside as well. Bobby and Orlando Torres were in a stall together and they both crouched on top of a toilet so that the gunman could not see their feet. Someone who was shot crawled under the stall divider from the more crowded stall next to them. That person ended up dying and Bobby survived the three hour ordeal by hiding under the body.

    Jessica Brooks was working as a dispatcher on the evening of the Pulse Nightclub attack. Her eyes filled with tears when the prosecutors played the audio of her interaction with Omar Mateen that night.

    Jessica: Emergency 911 this call is being recorded.
    Mateen: This is Mateen.
    Jessica: What?

    Mateen: (Foreign Language) I want to let you know, I am in Orlando and I did the shootings.
    Jessica: What's your name?
    Mateen: My name is, I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi of the Islamic State.
    Matthew Gentili who works for Channel 13 News got a similar call on the evening of June 12, 2016. The gunman called and pledged allegiance to ISIS.

    Mateen: Do you know about the shooting?
    Matthew: Yes, I’m getting calls, I am hearing reports of a shooting. …
    The man cut him off.
    Mateen: I’m the shooter. It’s me, I am the shooter.
    The caller then said he had carried out the Pulse attack for the Islamic State and began speaking quickly in a foreign language.
    Matthew: Sir. Please. Speak in English, please.
    Mateen: I did it for ISIS, I did it for the Islamic State.
    Matthew: What is your location?
    Mateen: None of your [expletive] business.
    The line went silent...
    Matthew: Is there anything else you want to say?'
    Mateen: No.

    Andrew Brennan was a police negotiator who spoke to Omar Mateen on the night of the Pulse Nightclub attack. Sunday June 12, 2016. The time 2:48 a.m.

    Brennan: 0247.
    Mateen: Hello.
    Brennan: Hello, there. Hi there, this is Orlando Police. Who am I speaking with, please?
    Mateen: You're speaking to the person who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of (unidentified name).
    Brennan: Can you tell me where you are right now so I can you get some help?
    Mateen: No. Because you have to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. They are killing a lot of innocent people. What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there. You get what I'm saying?
    Brennan: I do. I completely get what you're saying. What I'm trying to do is prevent anybody else from getting --
    Mateen: You need to stop the U.S. air strikes. They need to stop the U.S. air strikes, okay?
    Brennan: I understand.
    Mateen: They need to stop the U.S. air strikes. You have to tell the U.S. government to stop bombing. They are killing too many children, they are killing too many women, okay?
    Brennan: I understand that. Here is why I'm here right now. I'm with the Orlando police. Can you tell me what you know about what's going on tonight?
    Mateen: What's going on is that I feel the pain of the people getting killed in Syria and Iraq and all over the Muslim (unidentified word).
    Brennan: Okay. So have you done something about that?
    Mateen: Yes, I have.
    Brennan: Tell me what you did, please.
    Mateen: You already know what I did.
    Brennan: Look, I'm trying to figure out how to keep you safe and how to get this resolved peacefully because I'm not a politician, I'm not a government. All I can do is help individuals and I want to start with helping you.
    Mateen: By the way, there is some vehicles outside that have some bombs just to let you know. Your people are going to get it and I'm going to ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.
    Brennan: Okay. I understand that and I'll pass that along. Can you tell me what vehicle? Because I don't want to see anybody get hurt.
    Mateen: No. But I'll tell you this, they can take out a whole city block almost.
    Brennan: I understand that. Tell me, in the club do you have any injured people with you that you brought with you?
    Mateen: I'm not -- I'm not letting you know nothing.
    Brennan: I'm trying to offer you help.
    Mateen: Well, you need to know that they need to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. The U.S. is collaborating with Russia and they are killing innocent women and children, okay?
    Brennan: I hear what you're saying.
    Mateen: My homeboy Tamerlan Tsarnaev did his thing on the Boston Marathon, my homeboy (unidentified name) did his thing, okay, so now it's my turn, okay?
    Brennan: Okay. Let's start. My name is Andy. What's yours?
    Mateen: My name is Islamic soldier, okay?
    Brennan: Okay. What can I call you?
    Mateen: Call me Mujahideen, call me the Soldier of the God.
    Brennan: Okay. Okay. So that's a lot for me to say, so can I just -- can I just call you something else? Do you have a name, a nickname?
    Mateen:  Just to let you know --
    Brennan: I'm here. I'm listening. I'm here, I'm listening.
    Mateen:  It's the last month of Ramadan if you even know about that.
    Brennan: Yes, I do. I understand.
    Mateen:  I fasted the whole day today. I fasted the whole day and I prayed.
    Brennan: I understand that. Okay. What I'm trying to do is make sure that you and no one else suffers any further injury, okay? I can help you.
    Mateen:  I have a vest.
    Brennan: Okay. You have a vest. I understand that. Okay. And so what kind of vest are you talking about? Is it a bullet-resistant vest? Is it a bomb vest?
    Mateen:  No. It's what they used in France.
    Brennan: It's what they used in France.
    Mateen: I got to go.
    Brennan: Well, I'd like you to stay on the phone with me please, okay? Are you there? Please stay on the phone with me so I can help pass along your concerns.
    Mateen: If you bring the bomb dog they are not going to smell shit.
    Brennan: Well, I understand that.
    Mateen: You can't smell it. Bring your little American bomb dog, they are fucking outdated anyway.
    Brennan: Well, tell me, I presume from what you're saying you're wearing a bomb vest?
    Mateen: No.
    Brennan: Well, you said you're wearing a vest.
    Mateen: No, I'm not.
    Brennan: So what are you wearing?
    Mateen: Yeah, like, you know, to go out to go out to a wedding.
    Brennan: Okay. I'm not trying to joke with you, I'm trying to be serious and get this peacefully resolved. Okay? So are you wearing a bomb vest? Okay. What can I call you? Let's go back to that. Let start with that. Okay. I understand you're a soldier, I understand you're an Isis, I understand you're Mujahideen and you pledge your allegiance to someone whose name I can't pronounce. I apologize for that, okay? Can you start with that? Are you an American citizen? Are you a local citizen? Are you a resident of Orlando? Hello? Are you there? I'm right here. You need to talk to me. You have to talk to me. I'm still here. Are you there? Talk to me please. Are you there? Sir, are you there? We need to talk. We need to try to resolve this peacefully. I don't want to see you or anybody else get injured. Please help us. So you say there's a vehicle outside with a bomb. Is there more than one vehicle? Are there other shooters? Tell me what's going on, please. Tell me what's going on. I'm here. I'm listening. I'm here, I'm listening.

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

    First State Witness Officer Adam T. Gruler

     There is some sensitive content and disturbing details included within. If you feel you may be affected, please do not read this post.

    Adam T. Gruler testified in the Noor Slaman case at the Orlando Federal Courthouse. He is currently is a Special Agent with Orlando Police stationed in the canine unit at the Orlando Airport. At the time of Pulse he was a Special Agent in the Traffic Homicide and Motors Unit. Before coming to Orlando Police Department he was in the military police for 5 years and so has 22 years in total of being a police officer. His shift started at 11 pm on June 11, 2016 and was supposed to end at 3 am on June 12 at Pulse Nightclub as an off-duty officer in full uniform.

    Exhibit 119 was brought in to evidence – a map of the block Pulse Nightclub is on with Pulse shaded in green and block drawn with the location of Omar Mateen’s rented van. Gruler pointed out where his vehicle was parked, on the grass curb in front of the front doors of Pulse across the street from Dunkin’ Donuts on Esther Street. At 2:02 AM he heard gunfire from inside the nightclub and immediately called, “Shots fired, shots fired” over his CB.

    Exhibits 105 and 105A were CD recordings of the audio recordings and transcript as an accurate depiction of his radio activity that evening. Was played for everyone before the prosecution broke it down into pieces to ask questions. “Shots fired, multiple down.” Gruler explained the series of three tones as being an alert for Signal 43 which serves to notify others that immediate assistance is needed by an officer.

    Gruler was expecting a typical night time night club shooting in which a specific individual is being targeted. From 22 years as an officer, he knew that the weapon being used was a long-barreled assault rifle and he only had his regular handgun on him.he was out gunned and alone. He quickly called in a perimeter, assuming the assailant would take off and try to flee. Then, “Go ahead and get chase up.” a call for the helicopter and then a street canine to assist them in apprehending the shooter.

    Gruler than saw the shooter from outside, he took cover behind cars outside. The south side double doors flung open and to men came running out and were gunned down. One immediately and one after he had made it a bit. he fired at the gunman. The shooter retreated into the club and went towards the north. Gruler took up a position to get to the doors. Government Exhibit 108 accepted into evidence – Dash camera video of responding officer that shows Gruler. He engaged the suspect a second time and attempted to shoot him.

    Additional officers began to arrive and they worked to formulate a plan. Planned to approach and make entry through the patio, some officers went that way though Gruler ultimately did not. He went through the front large window. He stated he was unclear about what time it was at that point. He could see that multiple people were down, some alive, some very obviously not. There was blood everywhere and they had to step over the bodies as they tried to check for signs of life, trying to rescue people while also trying to find and contain the shooter. They weren’t sure where the gunman was as he had retreated back to a bathroom by the back bar.

    The triage area was set up on the South East corner of Orange and Kaley by Einstein Bagels and that is where they were directing people to go. Victims were being put into law enforcement vehicles, specifically a black truck, and being transported to the hospital just up the street. There were no ambulances as fire and rescue protocol states that those individuals wait until police give the go ahead and have the shooter contained, as they are no good to anybody if they are dead. Multiple reports were coming in, reports that their might be more than one shooter. Gruler was brought back to command at 2:45 AM to begin providing his report.

    The defense began examining Gruler. Exhibit 119 brought back up (a map of the block Pulse is on) and Gruler again point out where his unmarked Dodge Journey police car was parked. Stated he has worked at multiple clubs in Orlando but for the past 18 months. For 2 years he had worked at Pulse and was usually the only one on duty. Reiterated that he was parked on the grass curb area. When he arrived for his shift the club promoter had told him he knew there was an under 18 individual who had gotten in with a fake ID. Gruler brought him out and began to talk to him, the individual ran off and taunted him from across the street. Gruler got in his car and drove around about 20 minutes or so attempting to find him, but didn’t. When he returned he placed his car in the same location it had been. Defense asked a lot of questions about whether or not the officer could see Omar Mateen’s vehicle from where he was located, whether he had or had not seen Mateen enter or exit the club. He stated he had not to all of the above. Court adjourned for lunch.

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018

    Silent Surveilence

    There is some sensitive content and disturbing details included within. If you feel you may be affected, please do not read this post.

    Today I witnessed the most shocking evidence in the Noor Salman trial. The prosecutors displayed the Pulse Nightclub surveillance videos for June 12, 2016 starting around 2:02 AM. People could be seen partying and dancing near the bar with large blue Japanese lanterns decorating the ceiling. Then Omar Mateen was highlighted as he walked into the room. I have been in that room partying with actors in the past. I am familiar with the tightly packed space. The surveillance video was silent. For the next seven minutes we watched as Mateen ruthlessly gunned down everyone in the room. People dropped to the floor. We watched as he walked the room, pacing back and forth, shooting prone victims multiple times. Bodies writhed from the impact. At times I wondered if they were still alive or just the impact of the bullets was causing their limbs to react. One person, unable to get up, ran in place as he lay on his side. It was like a horrific nightmare, wanting to escape, but unable to move. Another lay face down on the stage. People lay stacked together on the floor near the bar. Each time someone moved, I prayed that they would not be shot next. One person lay silent on the patio. The time code displayed minute by minute the carnage in utter silence along with a Computer Graphic map of the club that tracked Omar's movements..

    Omar stopped to reload and then began shooting helpless people at close range again. The surveillance camera switched to the front entry where police entered the club. I couldn't draw. I was numb. I hadn't expected to witness the mass murder first hand. What was seen cannot be unseen. A police body cam showed police lifting a woman who was shot in the leg into a pick up truck. She screamed in agony. The sound of wind whipped the microphone as she moaned and then they had to remove her, and then her screams were even worse and more ear piercing. Those sounds sceams bear down deep into your soul.

    The footage switched to a helicopter night vision view of the club from above. The white forms of police could be seen in the dark field at the back of the club. A charge was set and detonated then police could be seen using a manual battering ram to further open the breach in the wall near the bathrooms. Gunfire flashed and the operator shouted, "Shots fired!" Two police dragged a body through the grass towards the street leaving behind a subtle heat trail on the ground.

    39 bodies lay dead on the floor and FBI agents and police both noted the constant ringing of cell phones that filled the room. Two others were dragged across the street behind Einstein Bagels where they were pronounced dead. The remaining victims were pronounced dead at Orlando Regional Medical Center. That means 8 people died on route or at the Medical Center. The Medical Center claims that every person who was alive when they arrived at the ER survived, but that is an optimistic PR white washing of the grim reality of the triage.

    Walking the streets of Downtown Orlando after leaving court, the ceaseless activity seemed annoyed, impatient, and hurried. A block north, under the I-4 overpass, multiple police cars were flashing their lights due to some extensive police activity. I kept walking. Was this life as usual? What is the new normal in Orlando?

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Monday, March 19, 2018

    Noor Salman's Defense Opening Statements

    Lisa Moreno opened for the defense. (Statements as given by prosecution, may or may not be actual fact as revealed by the court hearing and jury deliberation.) Moreno began by talking about Noor Salman as a mother. She spoke of Mateen’s habitual cheating on his wife, About how he dated other women, usually older. He used his childhood friend Nemo as an alibi for these affairs. Salman was described as a loving mother, taking care of her son. She was so caring that her entire home was child-proofed. Noor was born a Californian Muslim but was not really religious. She was a special needs student though she managed to get an An Associates degree. Served for a while as a Kindergarten Aide and later worked at Kmart. She only scored 84% in her IQ test, which places her with the bottom 20% of the population.

    She claims no support for, or knowledge of ISIS. All of her Internet searches were just shopping or to read romance novels. She is described by those who know her as. “Simple, sweet, and trusting.” She and Mateen met online, only had a few month relationship and after marriage she was isolated from her family, he controlled all of their finances. She only ever met his family and did things with them, never his friends. She described Mateen as a misogynist, cheater, loser, and a wanna be cop.

    Mateen claimed he was friends with the brothers form the Boston Marathon bombing, that he experimented with bombs, and that he killed a Jewish drug dealer, though the defense says that all of these claims were outright lies. The FBI interviewed him three different times, he admitted to making disturbing remarks in 2014 but nothing was done. He had sworn allegiance to two opposing Islamic groups. She repeatedly referred to her husband as a monster.

    The reason Noor learned to drive and got her license is because she had recently enrolled her son in preschool. When they went to the Walmart in Vero Beach, they split up, Mateen going to sporting goods, and Salman going to get other things. On June 2, Mateen received a letter from the FDLE and the Criminal Service Standards Office letting him know he could be part of a training program to become a police officer. So, that is why he was okay with spending so much money. The bank warned Mateen not to put Salman on the account because it could become susceptible to her student debt, so instead he named her as the beneficiary. As far as Salman knew all the trips to different locations were were family trips, not “casing” or “scouting” trips.

    June 11, 2018 was a normal day for Salman. Mateen went to work, came home, and at 3 PM they took their son to McDonald’s. Her husband then purchased the three tickets to California to see her mother and uncles. Nemo, Mateen’s childhood friend, called the FBI to testify when he learned of the attack. Saying Mateen was always cheating with older women he met through online services like Plenty of Fish and Arab Lounge. After Mateen left for Pulse, Salman called her Uncle and her friend in California to let then know of her future visit back home.  She went to Walmart to get a father’s gift and toys for her child, then they ordered Applebees to go because she thought her sister-in-law might stop over to pick up a toy.

    After leaving House of Blues, Mateen googled downtown nightclubs and pulled directions up for Eve Nightclub and drove there but then looked up Pulse and went there instead. At 2:30 AM Salman texted Mateen, “Where are you?” and tried to call. At 4:00 AM she is woken up by Mateen’s mother saying that he said he would stop by after prayer but then he never came.

    Salman texts Mateen:
    • “Where are you?"
    • Mateen, “Everything OK?”
    • “Your mother is worried and so am I.” Reminds him he has to work in the morning.
    • Mateen, “You heard what happened?”
    • “What happened?”
    • Mateen, “I love you babe.”
    • “Habibi, what happened? Your mom said you were to come over but you never did.”
    • Salman calls Mateen.
    At that point the Fort Pierce police (Lieutenant William Hall) call her out of her apartment so she didn’t get a chance to look up what had happened. The police coerce her and take unrecorded statements. From 4:30 Am until midnight they questions her, she never asks for a lawyer and even consents to a home search and a polygraph test. An expert will confirm that she scores 98% in being highly susceptible to coercion. The police utilized the Reed method of interrogation and coercion. FBI told her that if she lied that she would go to jail and never get to see her son.

    The defense claims that all of the statements are provably false – that the GPS tracking in evidence never took them casing around Pulse before June 12, 2016. Mateen had not showed her Pulse online or at the site and told her it was his target. Forensics don’t show that. The defense cushioned each statement with, “They got her to say….” The polygrapher wrote three statements in his own hand that she read, agreed to and initialed. When they let her go, she went to Mississippi, eventually making her way to California, reporting every day to the FBI so they knew where she was and what she was doing. On June 20, 2016 she thanked the FBI for all they had done for her. 7 months later she was indicted and arrested.

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Sunday, March 18, 2018

    Prosecutor's Opening Statement in the Noor Salman Case

    There is some sensitive content and disturbing details included within. If you feel you may be affected, please do not read this post.

    Case notes by Pam Schwartz

    When I arrived early to secure my spot for the opening day of Noor Salman’s case, I was the ninth person in line and the 8th public member let in as per my blue public identifying slip of paper. As we began to be seated in the room, the prosecution, defense, and defendant were already all seated. Twelve boxes of paperwork and evidence were lined up next to the prosecution in front of the jury box.

    James Mandolfo began his opening statement for the prosecution (statements as given by prosecution, may or may not be actual fact as revealed by the court hearing and jury deliberation). He began with a verbal illustration of Bobby Rodriguez being locked in a bathroom stall with Orlando Torres, when somebody who had been shot tried to crawl in with them unde the bathroom stall. Bobby tried to play dead for nearly three hours under the body of that person who died while Omar Mateen was hiding from police in the bathroom and terrorizing victims trapped inside with him.

    Mandolfo claimed Noor knew that her husband Omar Mateen would do this, and that she gave him the “green light”, they had spent thousands of dollars in preparation for this night. Noor
    aided and abetted Mateen with his plan to support ISIS. He said that she knowingly obstructed justice. Every step taken was a step to help him with his plan, and every step after was an obstruction of justice. As part of the trial we would hear from FBI Agents, law enforcement, witnesses, experts on terrorism, and people who had communicated with Mateen within the weeks before the shooting. We would see bank statements, receipts, GPS data, cell phone information, laptop information, and more during the case.

    May 22, 2016 Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, a spokesperson for ISIS called for attacks in America during Ramadan. Omar watched the footage on June 4, 2016 just 8 days before the Pulse Nightclub attack. Mateen referred to himself as an Islamic soldier for ISIS. At 2:00 am on June 12, 2016 right before he entered the club and began shooting, he posted on Facebook that America and Russia needed to stop bombing the middle east and that he supported ISIS.

    While inside the club Mateen stated that he had help, that there were bombs, and that there would be more attacks. While attacking, his SIG Sauer MCX assault rifle jammed, he also had a Glock handgun as a back up. He was finally killed by police at 5:14 AM. At the time the FBI was busy looking for co-conspirators, researching possible ongoing attacks, and helping victims and survivors who had been shot multiple times. 

    Lieutenant William Hall was dispatched with his team of officers to go to Mateen’s apartment in Port St. Lucie, he was warned that there could be possible booby traps and explosives. At 5:45 AM Special Agent Christopher Mayo of FBI came to the apartment and initially talked to Salman in Hall's police car in the parking lot of the building before taking her and her son to an FBI building at 7:15 am. 

    The prosecution listed several ways they felt Salman attempted to mislead law enforcement, thus obstructing justice. Law enforcement had not told her of the shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub. When asked if her husband had enemies? She replied that he likes homosexuals and he likes America. When asked why she brought up homosexuals? She said he likes homosexuals because both homosexuals and Muslims are discriminated against. When asked about their ideology? She stated that she and Mateen were moderate but later stated that he was an extremist and had started wanting to commit Jihad. She stated he only had one pistol but that he didn’t have it with him, but later said that he had multiple weapons and ammo when he left the house. She said he had deactivated his Facebook account several years earlier and that he didn’t use the Internet at home, later she said he would watch violent Jihady materials daily. When asked why at the age of 30 she had just gotten her driver’s license for the first time? She started to say, “God rest his soul” and corrected with “God bless his soul” though the FBI had not yet told her that her husband had been killed. The FBI felt she had given a staged answer: that Mateen couldn’t have died because he had just bought them all plane tickets to go to California to see her family the next month and he had just paid all of the bills, she had even just gotten him a father’s day gift.

    At 11:00 AM Ricardo Enriquez, a polygraph examiner from Miami, was called in. A polygraph was cancelled the next day and never conducted though she had consented to doing one. Though Noor's statements were not recorded by video or audio, he said she stated the following... She was asked if there was any evidence Mateen would do it. She told him Mateen had been viewing Jihady material every day and that at some points she had to pull her son away as it was so violent.

    They had been on several trips lately. Together they went to City Place in West Palm Beach and Mateen had asked her, “How bad would it be if a club got attacked?” They went to Disney Springs and Mateen disappeared for 20 minutes, came back and asked, “What would make people more upset? An attack at a club or an attack at Disney?” She said she had asked him about the rifle in his trunk and he said that is was for work. 

    On June 11, 2016, the day before the shooting, they went on a spending spree to Kay Jewelers, Victoria Secret, they also got ammo and a rifle. Mateen had recently added her as the beneficiary of his checking and savings accounts, giving her $1,000 in cash. She stated that her husband left home at 5:00 pm on June 11, 2016 and was going to see his childhood friend Nemo for dinner, to go to the Mosque to pray, and then come home and that he left with guns and black bag full of ammo. Enriquez asked her questions and wrote down the answers for her to review and initial in agreement. Then she chose to write a separate statement in her own hand that stated that she was sorry and that she wished she could go back to be able to tell his family and the police what was going to happen.

    In another statement, Salman said Mateen had been talking about committing Jihady for several years and that she saw his buying guns and going to shooting ranges as a “green light.” He texted her at 4 am and she knew he had done it. Mr. Mandolfo stated that the evidence will show where and when they were as they made plans leading up to the shooting, as well as her encouragement and support of it. Mateen had been investigated several years earlier by FBI because of extremist comments to a co-worker. 

    On May 31, 2016 Mateen and Salman went to a Walmart in Vero Beach and he bought 200 rounds of ammo for what he said was his work gun. On June 1, 2016, Mateen put Salman as the Payable at Death Beneficiary for his checking and savings account of which she previously had no access. They were expecting a $4,000 IRS deposit to that account shortly after the shooting. On June 4, 2016 Mateen spent $1,800 on a SIG Sauer MCX assault riffle and watched the Abu Mohammad al-Adnani video calling for acts of violence in America during Ramadan. 

    On June 4, 2016, Mateen and Salman visited family in West Palm Beach, leaving at midnight to go further South to Delray Beach with their 3 year old son in tow. They drove around Delray for 45 minutes. At 2:00 AM a Chevron Gas Station surveillance footage shows them in Palm Beach with their child. They didn’t return to Port St. Lucie until 4 am. On June 5, 2016 Mateen purchased his Glock handgun. On June 6, 2016 Mateen and Salman went to Treasure Coast Mall and spent $8,000 at Kay Jewelers on jewelry, including a wedding ring though Salman already has one, $1,200 at Best Buy, $10,000 in total in just about 3 hours, all on credit cards and with store credit completely in Mateen’s name only. In 11 days, they spent $30,000 which was that family’s annual income. On June 8, 2016 Salman got her Driver’s License for the first time and they went to Bass Pro Shop in Orlando to purchase three magazines for Mateen’s SIG Sauer MCX assault riffle. They went to the Florida Mall and spent $800 at Zales on jewelry, $300 at Victoria Secret, and $600 at Michael Kors. They then drove to Disney Springs. The prosecutors described these trips as scouting missions.

    On June 11, 2016  Mateen got a rental van and went to a shooting range where he purchased more ammo. He left his security job at G4S to take out $4,000 from his checking and $1,500 from savings. He purchase flights for the family to California for the next month and gave Salman $1,000 in cash. That evening after he left to murder 49 people in Orlando, she drove to Bank of American to deposit $500 of that cash. She bought a steak and also a father’s day gift for her husband before going home.

    That night, at 5:41 PM Salman called her husband with no answer, so she texted him and instructed him to tell his mom that he was going out with Nemo and that she wanted to stay home. The text was to maintain the alibi. Mateen had his phone turned off until 7:20 pm presumably so that the FBI would not be able to track him. After all the missed messages and calls, at 7:27 he called his Mom to relay the alibi Salman had shared. At Mosque, Mateen’s Mom saw Nemo’s mom in the mosque and related that their sons were out together. Nemo’s Mom said, "No, Nemo is in medical school in Maryland studying." Mateen’s Mom became aware that her son was lying. Mateen’s Mom left the Mosque and tried to contact him. 

    At 10 PM Mateen was at the House of Blues and bought a t-shirt which he later threw away. There was apparently a strong police presence outside of the House of Blues that evening. Afterwards Mateen googled downtown nightclubs on his phone. After passing up Eve, at about 1:30-1:40 he is in the area of Pulse Nightclub where he went inside and purchased a ticket for cover and went up to the bar. Noor Salman’s Internet activity showed that she was awake and not trying to stop the attack, but was shopping for a leather biker jacket. There was evidence that she deleted some of the text messages between she and her husband before the police obtained her phone.

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Saturday, March 17, 2018

    What evidence should the jury see in the Noor Salman trial?

    After the jury was selected, lawyers and the judge held a closed session in which they tried to tie up some loose ends about what evidence should be presented in court on the opening day of the trial with the jury. In contention were graphic audio and video recordings. The defense wants to limit the amount of violent content which might re-traumatize families of victims, as well as survivors, who come to the trial. There is so much police body cam footage that it all can't be seen. The defense felt that all this evidence is against Omar Mateen, the gunman, and that it has little to do with Noor Salman.

    This jury trial is going to great lengths to protect the identities of jurors and witnesses. One witness, nicknamed Nemo, will never have his real name associated with his friend Omar Mateen. Nemo was apparently used as an excuse when Omar wanted to cheat on his wife. Motion 287 was raised by the defense and it precluded the prosecutors from making certain allegations in their opening statements. If a founding statement cannot be proven throughout the trial it should not go in the opening statements. Judge Paul G. Byron however denied this limitation. He feels that the jurors should be able to decide for themselves if the statements are proven. Any opening statement is not to be considered as evidence.

    Points of contention were:
    • Making the statement that Omar Mateen was targeting a gay club.
    • The notion that Omar Mateen visited the Pulse website on June 10, 2016. The IP addresses were not found or verified. He logged out of Google on June 10, 2016 at about the same time as Noor claimed that he showed her the Pulse website. He may have switched to Chrome incognito which hides suspicious web activity.
    • Mateen's purchase of ammunition at Walmart Supercenter while with Noor.
    • The fact that Noor was put on the bank accounts just prior to the attack.
    •  In the final days, Mateen's expenses far outweighed his income.
    • A cellphone call by Angel Colon wounded in the bathroom of Pulse was not allowed. "They are shooting up the place." Angel shouted. The call was thrown out because it would already be clearly established that there were hostages in the bathroom.
    Two 911 calls from victims inside the Pulse Nightclub bathroom were discussed. The defense argued that those calls were hearsay and should not be heard by the jury. 64 individual pieces of evidence are to be admitted into evidence. There will be testimony from 6 responding officers and witnesses from all aspects of that evening's response to the attack at the club.

    A phone conversation with Omar Mateen stated that he will not harm African Americans although he had already shot and killed African Americans on the dance floor. The fact that Pulse is a home and and safe place for the LGBTQ community was not considered to be the crux of the case by Judge Paul G. Byron.  A 27 second long call with Mateen in which he mentioned a fake suicide vest and explosives was allowed into evidence. All police traffic, car cams, and body cam footage already submitted was allowed to be shown in court. All Walmart Super Center receipts that showed joint spending on such things as Ammo and house hold items was allowed.

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Friday, March 16, 2018

    Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 17th and 18th 2018.

    Saturday March 17, 2018
    10 AM to 1 PM - Free. Sketchbook Project at the Park. Winter Park Station, Amtrak/Sun Rail Station, 148 W Morse Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32789. With #Connection being the theme of the Orlando Urban Sketchers #SketchbookProject, they will take it to the Winter Park 59th Sidewalk Art festival - where they'll document in sketches the connection between people, art, and the festival spirit on location, from observation! If you wish to be part of this project or just wish to sketch on location please join them at 10:00am. Sketching into the project sketchbook pages is not mandatory.

    Will meet at the Sunrail train station at 10:00 am. After the traditional meet and greet, they'll disperse to points of interest around the park as a group or as individuals to begin sketching. Will meet back near the Sunrail station at 1:00 pm for the Sketchbooks Throw down ceremony. To those who wish to participate in the project on location:

    How this will work: The sketchbook we've received from the project organizers will be disassembled and reassembled. Each participating sketcher will receive one page- 7 x 10inch- with potential of 4 sketching pages (front and back folded in half).
    You can pick up a page from Margaret Gibson on location at the event or use your own paper, keep within the dimensions of 7 x 10 inch and keep in mind the paper will be folded in half.
    If you cannot attend our sketch outing on Mar. 17th and still are interested in contributing your sketch to the project please contact Margaret Gibson for additional details, and as indicated here:
    Submitting our collaborated sketching work to the worldwide collection at the #BrooklynArtLibrary will greatly define us urban sketchers artists and the global art movement we represent and are part of! We are proud to take part in this project!
    What to bring:
    Your own sketching/drawing/painting supply
    Your sketchbook or painting paper to sketch more
    Sitting stool
    Hat and drinking water
    A friend or family member and anyone who likes to sketch
    All skills are welcome!

    11 AM to 11 PM -  Free. 3rd Annual Crooked Can Celtic Festival. Crooked Can Brewing Company 426 W Plant St, Winter Garden, Florida 34787. The biggest party of the year is coming back to the Crooked Can Brewing Company for its THIRD YEAR! Join them for Three Days of Live Celtic Music, Irish Dancers, Local Vendors, Delicious Eats and so much more. Oh, let's not forget about the Crooked Can Brews!!

    4 PM to 8 PM -Free. Cruisin' Downtown DeLand Car Show! East Indiana Ave Downtown DeLand, Deland FL.  Classic cars and rods. Live DJ, giveaways, shopping and dining. Fun for the family! Every 3rd Saturday night!

    Sunday March 18, 2018

     9 AM to 5 PM - Free. Friday Saturday and Sunday The 59th Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Central Park in Winter Park. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most prestigious outdoor art festivals. Over 1,100 artists from around the world applied for this year’s Festival. An independent panel of three judges selected the 225 artists exhibiting their works. The Festival consistently ranks as one of the top juried fine-art festivals in the country. Recent accolades include the #4 ranking in Art Fair Calendar’s “2016 Best Art Fairs” and Art Fair Source Book’s listing in their “Top 10 Fine Art Shows, 2016”. The Festival is also listed in Sunshine Artist Magazine’s “Top 100”. 

    The Festival features a wide variety of fine arts and crafts in the following categories: clay, digital art, drawings and pastels, fiber, glass, graphics & printmaking, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media 2D, mixed media 3D, painting, photography, sculpture, watercolor and wood as well as our Emerging Artists. Artists complete for 63 awards totaling $72,500. 

    Girls and boys can create their own artwork at the Children’s Workshop Village. Easel painting is very popular, and local art centers and museums feature a variety of fun, hands-on art activities for children. Admission is free and participants may take home their artistic creations. The Children’s Workshop Village hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Easel painting is from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

    1PM to 8 PM - Free. Will's A Faire Spring Market. Will's Pub 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803. Will’s A Faire, the one day retro, vintage, local and handmade market is back at Will's Pub on March 18th for Spring 2018. Will's A Faire is the Biggest Outdoor/Indoor vendor market in Orlando, with 50 to 75 Vendors, Live Music a la Southern Fried Sunday, Craft Cocktails, Craft Sodas and Craft Brews from Will's Pub and lil indies, Food Trucks andFree Fun for the Entire Family! Bands, Food Trucks and Specific Vendors: TBA! The Market runs from 1pm until 8:30pm.

    3 PM to 5 PM - Free. Lutheran Cantata Choir and Chamber Ensemble. Saint Luke's Lutheran Church (2021 West SR 426 Oviedo FL. Lutheran Cantata Choir and Chamber Ensemble. A Voice from Heaven - Claire Hodge, Director. Reception for the audience after the concert.

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Thursday, March 15, 2018

    Jury Selected for Noor Salman Trial

    Judge Paul G. Byron interviewed one juror who was a motion graphics artist that works for the local news stations. He created a 3D model of Pulse and extensive motion graphics for the TV News coverage following the Pulse Nightclub massacre. This juror was excused for cause. In our media overflow courtroom, the reporters watched closely as the prospective juror left courtroom 4B. He was recognized as having worked for Channel 9 News. The great thing about sketching the trial from the media overflow courtroom is that I get to hear the opinions from News station legal analysts. In the end, however, the only opinions that matter are the opinions of the 12 jurors.

    After a solid week of interviewing jurors and narrowing down the jury pool to 56 prospective jurors, the final process of picking the final individual was rather fast, taking less that 40 minutes. This process was referred to as Striking the Jury. The defense lawyers could strike 2 jurors off the list for every 1 juror the prosecutors struck form the list. Each lawyer used a different color marker to strike names from the list. No one in the media will ever know the names of anyone on the jury. Come Wednesday when the case begins, we will finally learn how many jurors are female and how many are male. I would think that the defense would want female jurors since they might sympathize with any reports that Omar Mateen mistreated Noor Salman, his wife. Up until today, I have avoided mentioning the gunman's name in any of my posts about the horrific Pulse Nightclub mass shooting. With the case in full swing, I think I will have to mention his name often.

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

    Wednesday, March 14, 2018

    Would you have been selected for the Noor Salman Jury?

    Any media inquiries to purchase courtroom sketches should call or text (407) four five zero-0807. I am out of touch while in the courthouse. I will get back in touch ASAP.

    Today a jury will hear opening arguments in the Noor Salman trial in Orlando, Florida. Noor Salman is accused of aiding and abetting her husband Omar Mateen as he planned the horrific attack on the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando that left 49 people dead. Each prospective juror filed out a questionnaire which narrowed down the pool to start. I heard there were 600 questionnaires sent out. Each prospective juror was assigned a number and asked to come in individually for follow-up questions. Judge Paul G. Byron's first question was whether the person had served on a jury before, and more importantly had they been the foreman on that jury. The biggest concern is that someone might want to get on the jury and their mind is already made up prior to hearing any evidence of testimony. The roll of a juror is to keep an open mind and listen to both sides of every argument in court.

    Next, Judge Byron wanted to get a feeling as to what media coverage each juror had been exposed to. Everyone in Orlando experienced the initial coverage just following the Pulse Nightclub massacre on June 12, 2016, but some people immediately return to life as usual. He specifically searched for what news coverage prospective jurors heard about Noor Salman herself. his primary concern is that each prospective juror be able to set aside the media coverage they had seen and only consider the evidence and testimony given in court.

    The next line of questions had to do with religion. Do you have friends who are Muslim? What do you know about Islam? Would you assume Noor Salman is guilty just because she is Muslim? She was born in the United States and is a citizen. Do you feel the prosecution might have the same bias as the president? Everyone was effected by the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on 9-11 in some way. Would you be able to set your feelings aside about that attack and judge the case based solely on facts presented in court? Have you been a victim of terrorism here or overseas? Do you know anyone who is directly effected by the 17 student and teacher murders at Parkland High School in south Florida?

    Noor Salman is charged with an indictment. An indictment is not evidence, it is just a document that states what she is accused of. The indictment cannot be considered as proof of what Noor did, it is not evidence. Would you as a juror feel pressure from the community to find her guilty even if the evidence did not prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? We are all presumed innocent in a court of law. We each walk in with a clean slate and it is the job of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We all have the right to remain silent. Mrs. Salman does not have to testify in this case. If she elects not to testify can you not hold that against her?

    He asked about each prospective juror's deliberation process. Are you quick to form an opinion or do you need to weigh all the evidence before forming an opinion. Are you reluctant to change your mind once it is made up? Do you have negative feelings about people who use gun ranges for recreation? I most certainly wouldn't make it on the jury partly because of my intense involvement in trying to understand how Orlando had tried to heal since the horrific shooting, and because I can't stop myself from sketching. I am literally not allowed to enter courtroom 4B with a sketchbook. I would have my press privileges revoked and would be escorted form the building. A pencil is a dangerous weapon.

    The case begins today at 9 AM at the Federal Courthouse (401 W Central Blvd Orlando Florida). The case begins exactly one month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has called for a walkout in honor of that mass shooting. Students across the country are organizing similar walkouts. In an e-mail, he wrote, "Our community has been so inspired by the students at Stoneman Douglas, students here in Orlando and across the country that have pressed lawmakers to approve school safety and pass measures aimed at preventing gun violence. In solidarity with our students, and to honor the victims, join us for a walkout to the lawn of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (445 S. Magnolia Ave. Orlando, Florida.)" It seems that the mass shootings are happening closer and closer together. There have been 10 school shootings since 17 students were murdered in Parkland. The town officials are just now considering collecting memorabilia from the memorial site after religious leaders hold a ceremony on the evening of the one month mark. 

    Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at