Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Tech Trail leading up to Mass Murder

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

 Kim Rosencrans is an FBI Information Technology Specialist. He is part of the computer response team called CART. He analyzed the date recovered from Omar Mateen's Cellphone. Starting on May 20, 2016 he noticed Google searches for ISIS. On May 21, 2016 there was a search at 6:27 PM for ISIS Spit Face. This article urged Muslims to "Spit in their face and run over them with your cars." On May 22nd, Omar viewed a video in which an ISIS spokesman urged Ramadan attacks in Europe and America. On May 27th he was searching for firearms, at the online Brass Pro Shop. he also did a search for the Saint Lucy Shooting Center and he read about the Paris Terrorist attacks. On May 28th he went to and looked at an Orange Jump Suit ISIS video. In that video ISIS put people on Orange jumpsuits and executed them. He searched for cheap flights to Istanbul, Turkey. He also began researching the FBI along with Disney live Web Cams. He read an article about a terrorist who deliberately shut off his phone for several hours to drop off the FBI's radar right before an attack.

In June, 2016 he read an article about 9 ways that people are being spied on every day.
1, License plate readers.
2. Sidewalk Cameras
3. Public transportation.
4. Credit and Loyalty Cards.
5. On the phone.
6. While watching TV.
7. Sitting at your computer.
8. Sending and receiving e-mails.
9. Surfing the Internet.

You might think Omar would leave no trail given his research, but he was lazy leaving behind a clear road map of his every move.

In June he began researching how the FBI was entrapping suspects in the ISIS war. In a shocking revelation in court it was uncovered the Omar's Dad was an FBI Informant from 2005 to 2016. Omar was questioned by the FBI in 2013 for bragging to co workers at his security company that he had ties to ISIS. The FBI gave up on him as a suspect perhaps because his father was an informant. In one of the "scouting" videos at Disney Springs, Noor can be seen holding Zac on her hip and then the defense pointed out another man in a blue shirt. That man was Omar's dad who was also "scouting" the location. He thumbed through shirts hanging on a rack, while Noor took photos of her son. 

Noor texted Omar...
N.  I told your parents you are paying for Cali with points from PNC and your job.
O.  K
N.  I'll be waiting. 😊

On June 11, 2016 Omar had plenty of ISIS searches on his phone. He powered off his phone going dark until just before the Pulse Nightclub attack. Noor texted...
N.  She (Omar's mom) asked where you were. XOXO
N.  What time does everyone go to Mosque.
N.  If your mom calls say Nemo invited you out and Noor wants to stay home.
N.  Call your mom she is worried.
N. Love you.
N. Sabrina stopped by.
N. Getting my food to go.
N. Told mom I didn't have the car.
N. Wanted to stay home LOL.
N. I'm home XOXO.

Omar was Googling Disney Springs on the evening of June 11, 2016 and could be seen on security footage at Disney springs. There was a large police presence at the Disney shopping area that night. Just past midnight Omar took a 17 second phone call from his mom. Omar left Disney and started searching for Downtown Orlando Nightclubs.

Noor sent Omar a text...
N.  Omar call me. We are so very worried. Please call me.
N.  Habibi where are you?
N.  Where are you?
O.  Everything OK?
N.  Your mom is worried and so am I. You know you have to work tomorrow right?
O.  You heard what happened?
N.  ????
N.  What happened?
O.  I love you babe.
N.  Habibi what happened?

FBI Counter Terrorism Information Technology Specialist Stephen Boise discussed information found on Noor Salman's cell phone. He habitually reached up to touch the knot of his tie when he answered questions. On the evening of the Pulse Nightclub attack she was at home shopping for leather jackets. Omar had lavished many gifts on her in the weeks leading up to the attack running up over $26,000 in credit card dept. The family usually spent $1,556 on credit cards each month.

It was noted that Noor and Omar were friends on Facebook. I am amazed that this is considered important information in a mass murder trial. but Facebook photos of Noor were helpful to show that she had a wedding ring although Omar spent over $7000 on another ring in the days before the attack. Noor deleted messages on the night of the attack. Charles Swift on cross examination of Boise, asked the agent if Noor regularly deleted texts. Of the 2000 pages of texts he had researched, he couldn't decide if she regularly deleted texts. He did not want to conceded that she might do this as habit rather than s a sure sign of guilt. There were no Islamic extremist posts from Noor no political posts. There were no searches for Pulse, guns, Disney Springs or the FBI on 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

Friday, March 30, 2018

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 31 and April 1st

Saturday March 31, 2018
8 AM to 1 PM Free. Parramore Farmers Market. On the east side of the Orlando City Stadium, across from City View. Open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the east side of the Orlando City Stadium, across from City View.Purchase quality, fresh and healthy food grown in your own neighborhood by local farmers, including Fleet Farming, Growing Orlando, and other community growers.

7 PM to0 PM Free. Ybor City Art Walk. 7th Ave Ybor Tampa, Florida 33605. Featuring a number of arts organizations and artsy businesses, be sure to R.S.V.P. here to get the official map for the walk!
Here are the participating locations:
The Bricks of Ybor
Bloodline Tattoo
Ybor Arts Colony
Hot Wax
Wandering Eye Art Gallery
Dysfunctional Grace
Moon Over Havana Arts Gallery
Live Arts Labs
There will be other businesses joining the lineup so stay tuned! For any questions please feel free to contact the Ybor Art Alliance through Facebook.
Expect to be wowed!

10:30 PM to  12:30AM Get food and drink. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL. Hot blooded Flamenco Dancing to acoustic guitar.

Sunday April 1, 2018 
10 AM to Noon. Free. Heartfulness Relaxation and Meditation Class. University, 5200 Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32811. The Method of Heartfulness A simple and practical way to experience the heart’s unlimited resources.

Noon to 1 PM Donation based. Yoga. Lake Eola Park near the Red gazebo. Bring your own mat.

4:30 PM to 6:30 PM Free. Market2Park. Shady Park Hannibal Square New England and Pennsylvania Ave.

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 29, 2018

Omar and Noor's Web of Finances

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

 In the morning, Nemo's mother took the stand. She could not be sketched. FBI agent Jeff Etter is a computer forensic examiner. He graduated from Troy University and works out of the Miami Fort Lauderdale area. He analyzed the computers inside the home of Omar Mateen and Noor Salman. Both computers showed activity of a program called Sea Cleaner which removes data. Even if data had been removed there would still be artifacts until the data was overwritten by something new. Another way data could be hidden is via Chrome Incognito Mode. Omar's password was Ocean1986.

Etter testified the date on one of the computers was modified to reflect all of its context were dated a day behind. It was established that much of the Internet browsing was done in "incognito mode," so that the Internet history wasn't recorded, but many visits to radical websites were recorded. If Omar was trying to hide his tracks, he was lazy about it. The endless searched to Jihadi web sites were conducted late at night by Mateen.

Exhibit 14 was submitted into evidence. It was a photo of Omar Mateen and Noor Salman  smiling together at a shooting range. The photograph was recovered from the couples apartment.

Shelly M. Morgan was a witness who was the assistant bracnch manager at PNC Bank on the day Omar Mateen and Noor Salman went in to put her as the beneficiary of his checking and savings account in case of his death. She described her meeting with the couple. There was some discussion of having Noor as the joint account holder, but her outstanding college loans would have put the account in jeopardy. This action by the couple implied that there was a premeditated attempt to take care of Noor after Omar committed his violent act of Jihad in Orlando.

Rose Von Brezel a Kay Jewelers manager, helped sell Omar and Noor an engagement ring and a diamond wedding band for $8,623 on June 6, 2016 just 6 days before the deadly shooting. Rose remembered seeing tears in Noor's eyes. She couldn't tell if this was sadness or happiness. Salman seemed focused on buying just the right ring in the style she likes while Mateen seemed agitated. A store surveillance video showed the couple at the counter and their son Zac took a step back and then another step back as they discussed the purchase. He then ran off into the mall and Omar had to chase him down. Despite the serious nature of the testimony it was hard not to laugh at their son's antics.

Later in the trial a photo was shown of Noor from Facebook showing that she already had a diamond wedding ring. These purchases therefor seemed to further support the idea that Omar was arranging items that Noor could later sell to help survive after he was killed in his act of Jihad.

T.J. Sypniewski was the Special Agent who assisted Ricardo Enriques in the interrogation of Noor Salman. He has been with the FBI for 22 years and does polygraph interrogations. About 8:45 AM on June 12, 2016 he started his interview with Noor Salman at the FBI headquarters. He didn't notice Noor sleeping on the floor which had been noticed by FBI agent Enriquez. T.J. introduced himself and decided that he would break the news that Noor's Husband Omar Mateen was dead. She looked away and didn't say anything. She didn't ask questions.

He began asking questions. She had attended  college, but didn't graduate. She brought up religion saying that she and Mateen were not extremist but somewhere in the middle. he noted that she was actively listening understanding what he was saying what he said. Her son was getting restless so the agent suggested that she have a relative pick him up.Mustafa picked up her son and she remained to answer questions.

Noor explained that her husband could not have died in a violent act because he had just paid the bills. he also had just purchased air plane tickets to San Francisco. She could not have known what he was going to do because she had just bought him a fathers day present. She denied going to a shooting range, but when told that the FBI would be going to all the shooting ranges in the area, she lowered her head and admitted that she had gone once. She also indicated that she was never physically abused by her husband.

Three statements were read, and Salman said they were true. "I brought ammunition with my husband one time for the handgun." she said. The interview ended at 10:15AM on June 12, 2016. She did not ask to go home according to the agent. At 10:30 Am Noor signed the consent forms which stated her Miranda rights. The defense wanted to imply that agent Enriquez had been interviewing Noor for two hours before she was given Miranda forms to sign. The fact that the interviews were not recorded was covered by the defense. The agent stated that it was common practice to only record interviews after someone has been arrested. Since Noor was not under arrest, they could not record the interview. He has never recorded an interview outside of arrest. It isn't the FBI's policy to do so.

Agent T.J. Sypniewski was not a case agent in the Pulse Nightclub massacre. After this day, he had no other involvement. It was established that Noor was eating lunch, Jimmy Johns between the two interviews.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Duel Valentine has worked in the Counter Terrorism unit for 7 years. He sat in with Special Agent Getz and Noor Salman of a short time on the morning of June 12, 2016. He was just there to sit with them. Noor approached him and wanted to get her husbands death certificate. With the certificate she felt she could get certain debts waved. She said she tried to stop him. She was concerned that she couldn't get a job after the attack and that she would have to raise her son alone. She didn't know what to tell her son about what his father had done.

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 28, 2018

Agent Ricardo Enriquez testified about early interviews with Noor Salman

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

 Ricardo Enriquez is a polygraph expert for the FBI. He never actually did a polygraph on Noor Salman although she had agreed to have one done. The defense argued that since the polygraph wasn't done, the testimony would be irrelevant. They felt that just the prejudicial effect would be enormous on the jury but Judge Byron allowed the testimony.

Special Agent Mayo said that Noor wanted to go home at one point, but her home was being searched. At 11 AM on June 12, 2016 Noor was found sleeping on the floor of the FBI interrogation room. She didn't say that she wanted to go anywhere else. Her uncle came to pick up her son Zack. When the uncle asked if she could come home, he was told that there were additional questions that the FBI wanted to ask her. She agreed to stay. She asked agent Enriquez, "What will happen to my son?" He said, "It isn't up to me." Enriquez asked Noor questions and then memorialized her responses by writing what she said and then having her read what he write an then initial the start end end of each sentence. By doing this each sentence would be confirmed as being true and it would not be possible to add anything to the statements since they were initialed. She would dictate and he would write. She said that she was too nervous to write the statements herself.

Omar asked Noor, "Where would the next terrorist attack make a big splash?" What I find odd is that no one asked Noor what her response was to her husbands outlandish statements. "Omar bought a gun 4 days ago and put it in the trunk of the car. He said it was for work." She made quite a few statements about Omar's spending, to summarize, in the last days he spent a lot of money for instance buying her a $7000 wedding ring although she already had a ring. He spent $300 on clothing and brought a lot of toys for their son. He also spent money on take out and restaurant food in the final weeks. He sent $80 on ammo in Vero Beach. He withdrew $1000 from his PNC Bank account and gave it to her. Omar also made her a beneficiary on his checking and savings account. Because of this she thought he was considering a violent act. "I often worry he was going to commit an act of violence or terrorism." she said.

Driving around City Place, he said, "How bad would it be if City Place got attacked?" Later testimony from a digital forensic expert however indicated that there was no time for this "Staking" of City Place. Omar Mateen asked her, "What would make people more upset, an attack on Disney, or an attack on a club?" "I knew." she said. For the last 2 years Omar had talked about doing Jihad. He said if he did jihad, everybody would know who he is. "How upset are people going to be when it gets attacked?" She mentioned driving around Pulse for 20 minutes with the windows down, but again digital forensics proved that this staking of Pulse was not possible in the time allotted. Agents interviewing Noor claimed that she had not been told about Pulse or prompted in any way. But this shifting story indicated she might have been fed statements by agents.

Noor said that on June 10, 2016 late at night, Omar was looking at a website for the Pulse Nightclub and when she saw what he was looking at he said, "This is my target." She knew that the time of the

attack on the cub was close. Digital forensic disproved that this exchange about viewing the Pulse website actually happened. On Saturday June 11, 2016 before Omar left their apartment he asked her if he looked Spanish. He was pumped up. He had his ammunition backpack and gun. She asked the agent an odd question at the end of their interview. She said, "When do I get my money?"

The defense pointed out that on June 12, 2016 at about 1:30PM the Sentinel reported that Omar Mateen was a terrorist. It is possible that the FBI agents saw this report on they morning they interviewed Noor. The defense asked what time Agent Ricardo got up that morning. He could not remember the exact time but they narrowed it down to between 8 AM and 9 AM. That morning he looked at the news on his computer perhaps Fox News or ABC. Then her drove to the FBI headquarters to interview Noor. No one asked if she approved of the purchase of a rifle. She dis complain that she didn't want it in the back of the family car when she took her driving test.

She said in a written statement that Omar Mateen was driving to City Place and got there around 1 AM. She was a passenger. They drove around with the windows down for about 45 minutes. He was driving around slowly looking at the clubs at City Place. While driving, he said, "How bad would it be if a club got attacked?" Defense attorney Charles Swift asked the impotent question, "What was her response?" Why didn't agents ask if she agreed or disagreed with the statement by her husband? So many of her written comments were confessions of knowledge of her husbands long standing extremist views but they were not confessions of participation. Did she encourage her husbands actions that resulted in 49 lives lost in Orlando? This is what the jury will ultimately have to decide.

Noor decided to hand write a statement on her own at the end of the long night of questioning. She wrote, "I'm sorry for not truthful in the start about what Omar was planning." The grammar and diction of this written statement is very different that what agents wrote for her. It is standard FBI practice that interviews are not recorded unless the person has been charged with a crime. So the agents were not authorized to record Noor's statements

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 27, 2018

Noor Salman Talks to Detectives

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

 This was Lieutenant William Hall's second time in the witness stand in the Noor Salman Trial. He had testified back in December during the evidence suppression hearings. Hall was the the officer who went to Noor Salman's apartment on the evening of the Pulse Nightclub massacre. He carried his long gun to the apartment. He recounted some things that Noor said that night which he found odd.

Noor came to the door in her pajamas. Hall gave his rifle to another officer and then approached her to speak. Her son was asleep inside. Hall allowed her to go in her bedroom to change. When she came out she checked her cell phone which surprised Hall who suddenly realized he had made a tactical mistake, the phone could have been used to set off a bomb. She did not set off a bomb but instead cooperated. When asked if she would come to the FBI office to answer a few questions, she said, "Are you taking me to Disney World?"

Photos of the conference room where FBI Agent Christopher Mayo interviewed Noor were shown to the jury. She also offered FBI agent Christoper Mayo a defense for her husband saying, "He likes everyone, including homosexuals." She had not been informed that the shooting had happened at a gay nightclub. When asked if she ever noticed Omar carrying a gun in public, for instance, might she notice it if she put her arm around his waist, she said, "She doesn't put her arms around him in public." She claimed she didn't know where he was going that night. At first Noor denied a search of her apartment but later she changed her mind. A report from the medical administration college Noor went to showed that she is actually rather smart, having a 3.0 grade point average. She is no simple and dumb girl as painted by her defense.

Omar was interviewed in 2013 because he made inflammatory comments to co-workers at his security company. Noor learned to drive in 2016 for the first time. When asked about how she learned, she said, "God rest his... my father taught me." Another agent T.J. Sypniewski then informed her that her husband was dead. She cried for 5 minutes but not hysterically. Her son also in the room did not understand, he kept playing.

Noor met Omar Mateen on She described their religious beliefs to be "in the middle." She went on to defend her husband saying he couldn't have committed the violent act since he had just paid the bills. She could  not have known about the attack because she had just brought him a fathers day present. His hand gun was for work, and he needed to practice shooting. She said she had never been to a gun range but when she was told that the FBI would check all area gun ranges looking for video and receipts, she lowered her head and then said she had gone to a gun range once. She said that she never shot a long gun. Her mother in law called at 4 AM on June 12, 2016 looking for her son Omar. When asked about Omar's friend Nemo, she said she had never met him. Again officer Sypniewski said they have ways to find out, and then she admitted that she did meet Nemo who she described as going to a medical school in the Caribbean and he was  ugly. When asked if Omar was violent, she said that he never hit her.

On cross examination it was established that Noor Salman had been kept up all night with questioning. She was found asleep on the floor by one FBI agent. There was video of every moment of the Pulse Nightclub attack and the police response, but there was a 10 hour gap in which there was no audio or video of Noor Salman's interview by the FBI.

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 26, 2018

Charles Swift Cross-examines a Witness

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

Defense attorney Charles Swift spent plenty of time cross-examining witnesses from the State in the Noor Salman trial. She is accused of aiding and abetting her husband Omar Mateen in the mass murder of 49 Orlando citizens at Pulse. He would stop and linger, taking time to ask questions that might raise doubt in the jury's mind. The jury consists of 12 woman and 6 men. 12 are on the actual jury and 6 are alternates. None of them has been informed if they are the alternates in order to guarantee that they all pay close attention to the details of the case.

FBI evidence collection expert Lauren Regucci took the stand to describe the steps taken to document the evidence collected from the van that Omar Mateen parked near the Pulse Nightclub. Agents are trained to draw maps that help clarify where items were found along with photos, where items were found. The vehicle was parked under a carport near a boat. The windows had been blown out by a bomb-seeking robot. A 38 revolver pistol was found near the vehicle along with items known as speed loaders. Speed loaders allow all the bullets to be loaded at once saving time when you want to kill fast.

Also found near the vehicle were a green rifle bag and a long gun rifle case. A child's stroller was also on the ground on its side. It was a strange combination of the domestic mixed with the murderous. Lauren held up a pistol box along with each item found so that the jury could see. The SIG Sauer MCX assault rifle was found next to the gunman's dead body inside the club bathroom, so it was not among the items found outside.

Tampa FBI Special Agent Lynn Billings was in charge of collecting evidence inside the club. She showed the jury a photo of Omar Mateen's cell phone that was found submerged in a pool of blood.     Each item in the club was assigned a yellow marker and the distances between items was noted. She held up the the rifle purchased on June 4, 2016 by Omar Mateen and verified that the serial number on the gun matched the serial number on the receipt from Saint Lucie Gun Sales. The gun was submitted into evidence. There was a knife found next to Omar Mateen's body along with the Glock handgun that he had also purchased in the weeks leading up the the massacre. The gun holster was found on the gunman's body. Thirty-seven other bodies were found in the club. "There were cellphones ringing,” she said. “People were constantly calling cellphones that were scattered throughout the club."

The FBI spent nine days collecting evidence. They measured distances between objects and figured out the shooting trajectories of shots whenever possible. They then proceeded to tear out the drywall to collect any other bullets that had penetrated the walls. Tape on the walls marked places where bullets had entered. Furniture as well was dissected for evidence collection. Besides collecting near Omar's rental van and inside the club, a map was also set up that was used to make sure any evidence in the blocks around the club was collected. Every imaginable area was searched before Orange Avenue could be once again opened up to traffic.

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 25, 2018

The Robot Strips Omar Marteen

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

National media interest in the Noor Salman trial dwindled drastically on day two of witness testimonies. The national media might consider this case to be a consolation prize since the gunman Omar Marteen was killed at the club and thus can not be convicted. The prosecution entered the courtroom carrying long yellow boxes full of evidence. I wondered if the boxes were full of guns.

Special Agent Paul Castillo took the stand. He is a bomb technician who operated the robots that entered the club on the evening of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. Mateen had made claims to a negotiator by phone that he had bombs, so special care had to be taken when clearing the club. The robot with a camera saw wires coming from under Omar's body. The many bodies on the floor made navigating the robots through the club difficult. It was determined that the wires were from an exit sign that had fallen to the floor when the swat team blew a hole in the bathroom wall to breach the club and kill Mateen, not from a bomb within his pants.

Pictures from the robot showed Omar's lifeless body with his face contorted in a grimace of pain. The robot manipulated the body and removed the gunman's blood soaked pants. A Glock handgun was found near the body along with a knife. A robot was also used to check Omar's rental van that was parked near Pulse. The gunman had claimed that the he had bombs and if the van was full of explosives it could have caused damage and devastation to several city blocks. The van was cleared by 10:30 AM.

The Orange County medical examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany's testimony was short and concise. He testified about collecting the 37 bodies from inside the club, one body from the club patio, along with two bodies in the parking lot behind Einstein Bagels. 9 victims arrived at Orlando Regional Medical Center dead or died shortly there after. All the victims were taken to the medical examiner's office at Michigan and Bumby. The autopsy reports describe every gunshot would in terms of how the bullets entered the body and how they exited the body.

Officer Brett Chabot described his recovery of four receipts from a dumpster outside the home of Omar Mateen and Noor Salman. A dumpster is public property, so a warrant isn't needed to do the search. Brett executed the dumpster diving.

He responded to Mateen's home and was with the team in charge of searching Mateen’s vehicle. He talked about receipts that were found which where for hundreds of dollars worth of ammo, jewelry, and clothes just days before the shooting. Just the fact that the receipts were being discarded tends to be incriminating, as if the couple were trying to get rid of evidence.

Omar was supplying assets for Salman since she had no money of her own. The defense attorney arguing they were just gifts since Mateen was getting a better job as a police officer. There was a heavy police presence in the Fort Pierce area surrounding their apartment for the entire day. I saw video footage that the apartment had been broken into and foreign journalists wandered through the apartment taking pictures.

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 24, 2018

Noor Salman Testimony Continues

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

William Braniff took the stand in the Noor Salman case as a terrorist expert. He is the Executive Director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and a Professor of the Practice at the University of Maryland. In general he took the stand to outline Omar Mateen's obsession with ISIS and to describe the violent online videos that call for violence in the west during Ramadan. On cross examination Charles Swift portrayed Omar Mateen as a lone wolf and he said that a partner would never offer aid unless they were converted to the ideological extremist views of their partner. William disagreed. In research papers it has been found that love can be a reason that a couple might work together for an extremist cause. The example was brought up of the Boston Bombers. One brother was the extremist and the other simply followed to stay close to his brothers views. Mateen had researched the Boston Bombers and he considered them comrades-in-arms.

Nelson Rodriguez took the stand to describe his night at the Pulse Nightclub. On June 11, 2016, he was a Florida highway patrolman who went to Pulse with friend Christopher SanFeliz to celebrate his graduation from police academy and connected with other friends, including Shane Tomlinson. Another friend Amanda showed up late that night. Immediately after last call, he heard shots ring out and the friends got separated. “It was dark,” he testified, “and I thought I was going to die that night. I just thank the heavenly father.”  Nelson dropped to the floor and crawled for cover.

The gunman paused his shooting and Nelson realized that he was reloading. it was time to move or die. He crawled towards the front entrance, but the gunman was blocking the exit. he changed his tack and crawled instead to the patio where people escaped over a fence. 

Once clear of the club, he called 911 and offered a description of the gunman to police. He got a call from his friend Amanda who was trapped inside the bathroom with the gunman during the three hour siege. After the gunman was shot Nelson began calling hospitals looking for Amanda. She had been shot multiple times, but survived. He could find no news of Christopher Sanfeliz or Shane Tomlinson and later learned that they had both died.

Officer Tyler Olson was an Orlando Police Department officer working extra duty the night of the Pulse shooting. He took the stand to further clarify the police response after the shooting by Omar Mateen at the Pulse Nightclub.

When Tyler arrived at the scene, he said he tried to enter the back of the club, but there was no entrance.
When he went around to enter from the front, he described that there were a large amount of people on the ground and said he didn't know the number of shooters at that point.
Police body camera video showed Olson carrying a victim to his truck. The woman screamed in agony when lifted into the truck and then screamed even louder when she had to be removed from the truck, presumably at the hospital. He got choked up describing the scene. This happened with nearly every officer that took the stand.

Outside the courtroom Christine Leinonen the mother of Drew Leinonen shouted her blame into a microphone for officers who testified. Their tears offer no comfort. Instead she blamed them for not saving her son that night.

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 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 Super Rico, 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 also inside. 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 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. It 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 nighttime 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 for 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 two men came running out and were gunned down. One immediately and one after he had made it a bit. Gruler 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 pointed 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 to 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. For a while she served as a kindergarten aide and later worked at Kmart. She only scored 84% on 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. Moreno described Mateen as a misogynist, cheater, loser, and a wanna-be-cop.

    Mateen claimed he was friends with the brothers from 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. Moreno repeatedly referred to Salman's 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 them know of her future visit back home.  She went to Walmart to get a father’s gift and toys for her child, then she 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 was 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. Moreno claims 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 again.

    The defense claims that all of the statements initialed by Salman 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