Saturday, April 25, 2015

Statement Analysis of Timothy Sparks 911 Call








Mason police are investigating after a 56-year-old woman, Susan Sparks was found dead at a home on Mackenzie Court.

Police originally responded to reports of a shooting around 6:45 a.m. in the 4200 block of Mackenzie Court, officials said. The caller is her executive husband, Timothy Sparks.

The death is considered "questionable" and an investigation is underway, Sgt. Craig Kline of the Mason Police Department said. An unidentified man was taken to the police station and is being questioned.

The woman's husband called 911 around 6:45 a.m. Monday and told emergency dispatchers that he needed an ambulance because his wife had been shot.  Thanks to John for the transcription.



Operator: 911 whats your emergency ?

This legally sound open-ended question allows:

1.  The subject (caller) to choose his own words in his answer.  
2.  The subject to choose where, in his account, he wishes to begin.  
3.  He will tell the operator what is most important to him, in the order reflecting his priority. 

We begin our analysis with the presupposition of truthfulness.  This is not a moral or ethical exercise, but a specific tool necessary for analysis. 

We now ask, "What would I say if my wife shot herself and was bleeding profusely before me?

What would be the very first thing on your mind, as an innocent caller?  

Each of us has an internal dictionary of words.  This dictionary, on average, is estimated to contain at least 25,000 words.  Most all of these words are subjective and personal to us, and will need clarification.  A "boy" for example, could be anything from a new born, to a 21 year old soldier, and everything in between.  Therefore, "boy" may need clarification by the subject.

Pronouns, however, are not subjective, but objective.  "We" means more than one person, no matter who says it, when they say it, or how they say it.  "I" is singular.  

"4PM", that is, time on a clock, is objective and 4PM means the same thing to all of us.  

Articles are also objective.  "A man" will become "the" man, after introduced, to all of us, at all times. 

Therefore, the three elements of English language that do not need clarification are:

1. Pronouns
2.  Time on the Clock
3.  Articles

When the operator asks this open ended question, the subject (Timothy Sparks) must:

Go into his dictionary of 25,000 words (those of higher intelligence may have between 30,000 and 35,000), and:

1.  Choose what words to use
2.  Choose what information to not include, since no one can tell us everything that happened;
3.  Choose the order of information according to his priority
4.  Choose which verb tenses of which words to use;
5.  Choose where to place words, next to each other, to make sense

He does this in less than a measurable second of time, with the brain signaling the tongue what to say and how.  

We then listen to let him guide us, by this incredibly rapid speed of transmission.  In fact, it is this speed of transmission that makes Statement Analysis so accurate.  A disruption of speed is stress inducing for the subject who is deceptive.  We note this even in what is called, "self - censoring", that is, in this incredibly fast transmission, he stops himself from the potentially self-implicating words:  

Timothy sparks: Ugh please, my wi.. i need an ambulance quickly quickly quickly.

1.  "Ugh" is a pause, or signal that the speed of transmission is interrupted, causing stress.  

Liars have internal stress, not so much for morality sake (though many do) but because a deceptive response interrupts the incredibly fast transmission of information from the brain to the tongue.  This is a pause to think about what to say. 

Ask yourself:  if your wife shot herself and lay bleeding before you, would you need a pause to think about what to say?  It is not likely.  The pause, therefore, is the "unexpected" in analysis.  

2.  "ug, please, my wife..." is to begin with what we think would be most important to be said:  his wife is bleeding, yet we have a self-censoring of words.  This broken sentence indicates suppression of information, that is, the deliberate stopping of what he knows he should say.  He successfully suppresses the most important information:  that his wife is in dire trouble.  

3.  "I need an ambulance" is to ask for help, not specifically for the victim, but for himself.  

Please note that when one asks for help for himself, it is only appropriate if the help is about instruction for CPR or First Aid.  Here, he does not give any indication (or anywhere else in the call) that he needs instruction. 

Guilty callers will often ask for help for their own selves, rather than for the victim.  

We note that he asks for help for himself. If he is, at this time, performing CPR and is in need of instruction, it is appropriate.  By adding "ambulance" he shows us that the context is not CPR or First Aid for the victim.  

If he is not performing any type of First Aid in which he needs instruction, it is a red flag for possible status of "guilty caller"

We listen to the call to see if he seeks specific First Aid or CPR directives or not, in the future, but already, due to contextual wording ("ambulance") it is not so.  

OP: What your address ?

TS: Er 4293 Mackenzie court.

Op: And whats going on ?

TS: Ahh my wife had a ahh a gun my gun, the gun went off the gun went off my wife she's been shot. Oh my god Susan, please baby.

First:  Note the self censoring of incomplete sentences. 

Next:  Note the order of information represents his priority:  

1.  My wife had a gun 
2.  my gun
3.  the gun went off
4.  the gun went off
5.  my wife; she's been shot

"My wife had a gun" is an attempt to put the responsibility of what happened upon the victim.  This is called "blaming the victim."

Blaming the victim is often heard in guilty callers where a child has been shaken to death or injured.  "uh, my daughter, well, she would not finish her bottle..."

This shows the priority is not asking for help for his wife.  The first thing out of his mouth should be help for his bleeding wife. 

He wants police to first know that it was his wife who had a gun.  This strongly suggests that he, himself, may be responsible for the shooting as it shows a need to influence the police.  The first statement is always important.  The first statement of the call is asking for help, for himself.  The first statement after being asked the open ended question of what is going on is that his wife had a gun.  

Next, he admits it is his gun.  The ownership of the gun is part of his priority that is above seeking medical intervention for his wife.  This intervention includes gaining instruction on how best to treat her, which presupposes him saying first:  "my wife is bleeding!"

Then note "the gun went off" in his speech.  Guns do not go off; people pull triggers.  

Note next the passivity of language.  This is used to conceal responsibility for the shooting.  That "the gun went off" is repeated is yet another signal of sensitivity regarding the responsibility of the shooting.  

Note the term of endearment, "Baby" is often used in scripting and is a sign of a bad relationship.  

Already, in the first moments of this call, there are enough indicators to conclude that this is a guilty caller, who has shot his wife.  

So far, he has not sought help for her, nor has he told what happened.  He has avoided saying "my wife shot herself" using his own language.  

"Yes or no" questions are said to be less stressful to lie to, which is accurate.  This is because the simple one word response will not interrupt the speed of transmission. 

Recall former police chief, William McCollum, who not only used passive language, but made it through an entire 911 call by not using the words "wife" or "Maggie", but gave as little information as possible, so much so, that the 911 operator was forced to ask, "Who shot her?" and, "Is she your wife?"

When asked, "Who shot her?" he only said, "me", so as to avoid the internal stress of transmission disruption.  

Timothy Sparks has skillfully avoided saying the words "My wife shot herself", which, if he is a guilty caller, would be a fabrication of reality. 

Please note that fabrication of reality is a very rare form of deception.  Most all deception is done by withholding information, which is precisely what he has been doing.

He forces the 911 operator to ask: 



OP: Who shot her ?

TS: She had the gun. I tried to take it away from her, i have no idea. i was i was..

The question, "Who shot her?" is either avoided entirely, or answered in deception with "I have no idea", as his brain, loaded with 25,000 or more words, chose which words to use, how to order them, which to leave out, all in less than a micro-second.  It is safe to conclude he does not want to tell police the answer to this question. 

Question:  Who shot her?

Answer:  She shot herself. 

This, itself, in context, would be "unreliable."  We would not say, alone, that it is "deceptive", but "unreliable" because the speed of transmission is not disrupted in "parroting language", that is, by repeating the words of a question. 

He avoids it, nonetheless, even though it would be less stressful due to parroting.  



"I have no idea" is not truthful, as he will soon indicate.  That he is deceptive on the call is one issue, but that he is deceptive about who shot her means the deception is specifically related to the topic of who shot her.  

Note it is "the" gun.  This is appropriate since he introduced "a" gun earlier. 

"tried" in past tense, means attempted and failed.  

We look for him, in the "free editing process" to say, "She shot herself":

By "Free editing process":

his own words
spoken in an open statement
spoken as a response to the open ended question, "What happened?"
spoken without qualifiers or anything else interrupting the speed of transmission 
without using the operator's, nor anyone else's words. 




OP: How old is she ?

TS: She's err err err 56.

OP: Is she breathing ?

TS: I can hear her gulping gulping, she's like gulping.

OP: Alright, where are you at at the residence ?

The 911 operator instinctively is concerned for the safety of the responders.  

TS: I'm in my bedroom.

Married couples often use "the bedroom" and not "my", which is possessive.  By using "my" bedroom, he is giving us an indication that the place of sleep (rest, peace) has something amiss.  This should lead investigators to learn if they

slept in different locations
talked about divorce where he keeps the house and she goes elsewhere.

OP: Whats your name ?

TS: My name's Tim.

Please note that he parrots back the word "name" by entering into her sentence.  This is a slight indication that he may want to be cautious with his answers.  It is only a slight indication.  However, when we have "self censoring", the slight indicator is taken with the other, stronger indicators, in conclusion. 

Please next note that he uses his first name only; informal, or, "friendly" which shows need to "win over" or "be friends with police."  See other 911 calls for this attempt to sound friendly, or at peace with police.  

OP: Whats you last name Tim ?

This question is forced by him, which, by necessity, takes away from possible first aid care to his wife.  


TS: Sparks, Sparks.

OP: Is your door open, unlocked ?

TS: Err No i i i..

Stuttering on pronouns indicates increase of anxiety.  This principle is seen in an even more acute manner when it is the pronoun "I", which, in the English language, is a word used by our brains millions of times, and is one in which a non stuttering person will not stutter on, unless there is anxiety.  A single stutter would show an increase in tension, or fear, but 3 "I's" shows a significant increase in anxiety. 

Objection:  his wife is dying before him, who would not be anxious?

Answer:  The pronoun "I" is directed towards self, and stuttering on it shows the anxiety is directed, not towards his wife, but himself, and is consistent with him expressing a need for help, for himself.  Should he stutter even further on the pronoun "I", it may be that he, himself, will need ambulatory care as he may have a nervous breakdown.  "I" is the one word in which anxiety towards external circumstances will not produce stutter.  It is always focused upon the self; not knowing what outcome will be upon self, rather than victim.  It focuses the language upon himself, not the one in need of assistance.  This is why we seek to learn if an innocent caller will ask for help, specifically for the victim, or specifically for self, if administering life saving aid. 

OP: Were you guys having a fight, or what was she doing with the gun ?

poorly worded:  Avoid compound  questions as they let subject choose which he wishes to answer

TS: No, i was, she was she, i was getting ready for work and i just came in came in and she's standing there with the gun, i said Sue what are you doing ? Oh hurry hurry please. What do i do ?


1.  Note self censoring where he stops himself from speaking a full sentence as the brain signals "shut off" in order to protect himself
2.  The question about having a fight, or her having a gun, is sensitive to him.
3.  Note the chronological order:  "I was getting ready for work" and "I just came in" avoids, by delay, getting to what happened.  

Is this because he "has no idea" how she was shot, as said above?

4. "She's standing there" gives her body posture, which is unnecessary; therefore, very important to him.  It is a signal of increase tension, or stress, not for his wife, but for him.  Recall the training:

"My supervisor said for me to fill out the forms" versus, "My supervisor stood and told me to fill out the forms" shows an increase in pressure, or tension, for the subject, as he recalls not only what his supervisor said, but included the additional words describing the body posture of his supervisor.  The law of economy is suspended and additional effort is used to bring additional wording in.  

5.  Next, he tells the operator about their conversation with soft language, "I said..."

Please note that he does not answer the question, but interrupts himself giving an answer by telling them to hurry, yet does not ask for help for the victim, which is now a red flag, since he does not know what to do.  He is not performing CPR or any detailed First Aid.  

"What do I do?" is likely leakage and he does not know what he, himself, is going to do.  This may have been in a moment of rage.  

OP: Where was she shot at ?

TS: Err, it looks like right in the chest. I tried to take the gun from her she pulled it toward her.

"right" is the language of hitting the correct point in shooting.  "Tried" in past tense, indicates failure.  

Ask yourself, "Would you say this?"  

Note that the law of economy would have said, "in her chest" and then may have asked for guidance on how to help her.  Instead, he adds in his alibi building and self-absorbed view:  "I tried to take the gun from her..." which he had already said that he had "no idea" how she was shot.  

This repetition shows the sensitivity he has about "what happened" and should be viewed with the passivity.  


OP: Can you tell where she's breathing from ?

TS: She's bleeding from the chest.

OP: Ok.

TS: She's bleeding a lot.

OP: Can you get a clean rag and try to hold pressure where the wound is ?

TS: Yes yes.

OP: And i need you to see if she's breathing when you start CPR.

TS: Err she's gul..she's gul

OP: Is she still gasping ?

TS: I'm holding my hand on her chest.

OP: Ok, can you get like a shirt or a towel or something to hold over the top of that ?

TS: Yes yes..(inaudible)

OP: Is it 4293 Meckenzie court right ?

TS: Yes yes.

OP: ok.

TS: I got the blanket i'll take the blanket. I'll hold the blanket on her.

OP: Ok. Is there anybody else in the house with you ?

TS: No no no.

OP: How old is she ?

TS: Uhg Uhg Ugh, she's 50..6

OP: And how old are you ?

TS: 58

OP: Has she ever threatened suicide before ?

TS: Uhg erm, she she she, she suffers from depression.

He stutters at this question about threatening suicide.  This question has caused him anxiety.  
OP: Is the depression really bad ?

TS: she would never do this..She didn't do this on purpose. I tried to get it from her.

This may be an admission.  
OP: Was it a hand gun ?

TS: No, its a its a shot gun. That we keep in the closet.

The shot gun makes it more difficult to shoot "right in the chest" by suicide.  Note he uses "we" regarding the gun, which may indicate need to share guilt.  
OP: And where is it at now ?

TS: Uhg aahh, its laying on the floor.

Instead of "it's on the floor" he uses body posture for an inanimate object, often a linguistic signal that he put it there.  This would be different than a suicide since he only "tried" to take it from her.  It is likely that it did not fall to this position, but he put it there deliberately.  
OP: In the same room as you ?

TS: Yes yes

While the OP is typing you can hear TS in the background saying "honey, honey, honey, honey.

OP: Is she still breathing ?

TS: Sh's..no. She was gulping..

OP: Can you feel on the side of her neck and see if you can feel a pulse Tim or..

TS: Hang on...No, i don't know how to feel it, no, i don't feel anything.

OP: Ok.

TS: Her chest was moving i can feel it now.

OP: OK

TS: Chest stopped moving, chest stopped moving 

OP: Is it moving still ?

TS: No no it's not moving.


OP: Ok, take a deep breath for me. Is she on her back ?

TS: God..

OP: Is she on her back ?

TS Yes, oh my god oohhh.


OP: Can you start CPR ?


TS: Are they here, are they here ?

OP: They'er coming. It's gunna take them a couple of minits but they are all on the way. Can you start CPR again ?

TS: (Inaudible)

OP: Ok. Lets give her two breadths

TS: Ok where

OP: You are gunna tilt her head back a little bit and pinch her nose and give two breaths into her mouth.

OP: Where at in the chest was she shot at ? Are you gunna...

TS: In the middle, oh my god.

OP: Is it like between, like her breast bone ?

TS: Yes yes.


OP: Ok. Are you able to do chest compressions over the top where the gun shot wound is ?

TS: I got the blanket on her

OP: Ok

TS: Oh my god oh my god. Come on baby come on babe. Baby look at me. Honey come on, oh my god. What did i do, what did i do ? She's not breathing, she's not breathing

Note the terms of endearment spoken into the phone:
Baby
Babe
Honey

OP: Alright, ok Tim

TS: She's not breathing

OP: Alright, are you able to do chest compressions on her ? Over the top of where the gun shot wound is.

TS: Whats that, just push on her ?

OP: Yeah just give her thirty compressions

TS: Just like push on it

OP: Yep

TS: OK......Oh My God, oh my god oh my god...Baby, baby.


OP: Are you giving her compressions Tim ?

TS: Yes i'm pushing on her

OP: Ok. After you have give thirty of those, go back and give her two breaths again

TS: OK i did..Thirty

OP: Where are you at in the house ?

TS: I'm in the bedroom

OP: Is it a two story or one story ?

TS: It's a two story, do i need to unlock the door ?

OP: Are you upstairs in the bedroom ?

TS: No, it's on the first floor,. When you come in the door, turn left

OP: OK

TS: I need to unlock it though

OP: Yes, get the front door unlocked

TS: Ok i'm gunna unlock the door

OP: Do you have any dogs or anything in the house

(Dogs barking in the background)

OP: can you put the dogs in another room ?

TS: Yeah. Come here, come here. (Talking to the dogs)

TS: I don't think she's breathing ?

OP: Ok

TS: Honey

OP: Lets give her two more breaths. Did you get the dogs secured ?

TS: Yeah

OP: Ok. Lets give her two more breaths

TS: Oh baby, oh noo oh noo

OP: You are doing good Tim

(Inaudible) TS is saying something

OP: Do you have a Police Officer with you ?

Police in the background

Police: sir let me see your hands, let me see your hands, slow down

TS: She's not breathing, she's not breathing

This is a call with an abundance of indictors of guilty caller status for Timothy Sparks.  He attempts to portray this as a suicide, but it is a homicide.  His use of passivity shows:

Timothy Sparks deliberately shot his wife and deceptively reports this as a suicide.  

What is not known from this short 911 call are issues that the subject's original written statement (if taken before the interview) would reveal, including:

*the nature of their relationship
*premeditation

The social introduction of "my wife" is appropriate in context, while the terms of endearment, if intended for the recording, is a form of 'scripting' and in general, terms of endearment are indicative of a poor relationship, just as "I love you" and others are.  Here is why:

When you put your children to bed, it is likely that you say "I love you" to them.  

When a person feels the need to put this in a statement, or in the case of scripting, to be heard by someone other than the children, it is indicative of:

a.  Need to persuade
b.  poor relationship

I have advised police to look at terms used in departures, such as, "See ya, Babe" within a statement, as this can help pinpoint the time of death.  I ask that they look at the timing in the statement where this is found and ask the coroner if the time listed (or in the pace of the statement) equals, or comes very close to, the medically deduced time of death.  

This analysis is not conclusive, but general, and it is not difficult to discern the status of "guilty caller" which indicates:

a.  The caller has guilty knowledge of what happened;
b.  The caller, himself, is guilty of what he is reporting.  

Analyst Kaaryn Gough has said, "the brain knows what it knows" even as the subject attempts to deceive.  This is why "I'm sorry" and/or "I need help" can enter the language of the deceptive caller.  

The deceptive caller knows that he is in need of help, and may be even expressing remorse, having gone through with either his plan, or even his angry impulse. 

This caller's words guide us, and reveal his need to persuade.  Truthful people report simply what happened, and unless challenged, will not show a need to persuade.  

What would an honest 911 call look like in a domestic situation?

I just analyzed one sent to me via Facebook by a reader who noted red flags, but sought guidance.  I do not know who the caller is, but simply analyzed, in context, what the reader sent me.  

It is also useful for teaching, particularly show why, in context, a caller might ask for help specifically for himself. 

If we used only a "checklist" (that is sometimes used by departments), we may have erred in our conclusion of that call. 

A checklist can be useful, but it also can be for the lazy-minded who wish to reduce principle to the most simplest of forms.  

Detecting deception is hard work, and it is not easy. 

When I teach law enforcement, I encourage supervisors to send their "best and brightest" for this reason.  A checklist, while convenient, is a temptation to rush to a conclusion, the very element that a good investigator must not possess.  

The analysis is found HERE and should be studied.  Note how the check list mentality would have worked in this call.  Read the analysis at the link, but also note the abbreviated points that follow:  

8/9/13 Call to 911: 911: what is your emergency?
Caller: yeah I need some help. I found my wife on the floor. She’s passed out and unresponsive. I can’t wake her.

In the checklist, asking for help for himself here is a "red flag" checked off. Slavish devotion to simplicity can backfire. Here is why:
The caller asks for help for himself rather than the victim, which is something we look at, specifically, in context.  

If the caller is administering specific First Aid or CPR, he, himself, does need help to save the victim.

This is not inappropriate if the caller is administering first aid, CPR, attempting to revive the victim, etc, showing a need for help, for the caller, specifically. Even if the caller is knowledgable (like a nurse, for example), if success is not forthcoming, the caller may still ask specifically for help. A doctor trying to save someone's life and is not having success, will want help.

911: okay, address? Caller: 45** 8 Street.
911: 8 Street? Caller: 45** 8 Street, in Addis.
911: Oh okay, I’m sorry. [pause] Caller: Send somebody quick.

This would be seen as not asking help specifically for the victim, and might have ended up on the "check list box"
911: Okay Sir, I am taking down the information.
Caller: She’s not breathing. [long pause] I can’t wake her up. 

In the original analysis, he had strong pronoun use of responsibility for her revival, which is indicative of someone with First Aid and CPR training. EMTs, for example, often feel personally responsible for outcomes.
Dispatcher: alright… Caller: I don’t have a pulse.


The caller is taking ownership of his wife's pulse here. This pronoun ("I") strongly connects the caller to the well being of the victim in the context of his care for her. This could be misinterpreted as not asking for help for her, since it is only a check box.

Dispatcher: Okay — [pauses] Caller: She’s not breathing. I can’t wake her up.

The same pattern of responsibility for her care continues.
Dispatcher: Okay, I need you to get him flat on his back on the floor, okay? Flat on the floor. Caller: She’s on the floor!

noted exasperation and frustration with the 911 operator. There is no need to "make friends" or show friendliness or even make a show of cooperation to 911, which is the police.

Compare this with the Sparks call in which he gives his first name only. Compare it also with initial (this is important: "initial") response of parents of missing children when they praise police for not finding their child. Later, when police accuse them, this "make friends" attitude or display, usually disappears. See Justin DiPietro and the Celis family.
...


Caller: uh, she’s not breathing, she has no pulse. Her eyes are open. I can’t wake her up

Note that he already gave her name, so he does not repeat it, instead, the information of her age is "overruled" in priority by the extremities of the situation:

a. She is not breathing
b. She has no pulse
c. Her eyes are open
d. I can't wake her

Note that, again, he takes responsibility for her care with "I can't wake her." Guilty callers often find subtle (and strange) ways to distance themselves from their victims and even blame them, with "she won't wake up", whereas he, instead, blames himself and it is his own frustration, as seen in the instinctive use of the pronoun "I"
Dispatcher: Hold on Sir, I need you to stay calm with me. Did you see her stop breathing or did you wake up ——
Caller: [interrupts] No! I got up and I came downstairs!

The interruption was added by the transcriber, yet it shows how quickly he responded. This is the opposite of the sensitive "pause" of "well, um, "I'm sorry" and so on.

This establishes an alibi; he was not there when it happened. The location of the alibi is critical.

In guilty callers, the priority is the alibi.
In innocent callers, the priority is helping the victim.

Please note that in alibi building this information is likely found earlier in the call as the guilty caller's priority is himself, and not the victim. The location of this information suggests that his priority is her lack of breathing, that is, her condition.

Recall Misty Croslin's 911 call in which she was asked what the emergency was and her first words were:

"I was sleeping..."
Dispatch: Okay. Once again, I want you to —she’s on the floor? I want you to go ahead and I want you to put your uh, place the heel of your hand on her breastbone, right between her nipples —
Caller: [interrupts and talks over dispatcher irritated] I know how to do CPR! 

Thus showing why he needed help. He knows how to do CPR but it is not working revealing why he, himself, asked for help.
Dispatcher: okay well I want you to do that 600 times. I want you to feel the chest come all the way up between pumps and count loud so that I can hear you, and count with you, okay?
Caller: How many times do you want? I’m sorry

We note the inclusion of "I'm sorry" within the call. In context, he has used the pronoun "I" repeatedly, in taken ownership of the CPR care. Here, "I'm sorry" is produced in context to the specific count of CPR, which he has stated, is not working. This is likely an appropriate response and not "leakage" due to the context.
Dispatcher: it’s okay, you’re going to go 600 times. Go! Caller: 600?

In the interview, my guess is that he did not know that "600 times" was supposed to be done, prompting the answering of a question with a question.


The "check box" used to make things easier for police would not have served justice in this case. 

Always beware of short cuts and anything that promises to make Statement Analysis easy. 101 courses are good for introductions, but it takes years to learn Statement Analysis to the point of it being a sharp tool. 

A detective recently told me that Statement Analysis is a "short cut to success" for his career, but a "life long learning process."

What prompted this?

In a recent college rape case, (another involving 'rough' violence) his analysis, which was sharp and distinct, indicating deception in both the alleged victim's and the alleged perpetrator's statements.

Working with the statement, trusting the subjects to guide us, he saw:

They had a prior relationship;
He had sexual dysfunction;
She had bitterness...

and both had reasons for deception.

It was not rape, however, in the legal sense, but yet another case where the influence, perhaps, of "50 Shades" has set upon college kids.

In the second call, the caller is innocently seeking help for his wife.

In the case of Timothy Sparks, he should be charged in the 

murder of his wife.




Friday, April 24, 2015

Statement Analysis: Death in the Home

Backstory:

The wife died, falling down the stairs, and the investigation did not show any foul play, yet a relative insists it was murder.

The best way for us to know if he killed his wife is to see his written statement, which we do not have, but we do have this short 911 call.

Does the call show guilty knowledge?



8/9/13 Call to 911: 911: what is your emergency?
Caller: yeah I need some help. I found my wife on the floor. She’s passed out and unresponsive. I can’t wake her.


The caller asks for help for himself rather than the victim, which is something we look at, specifically, in context.  

This is not inappropriate if the caller is administering first aid, CPR, attempting to revive the victim, etc, showing a need for help, for the caller, specifically. Even if the caller is knowledgable (like a nurse, for example), if success is not forthcoming, the caller may still ask specifically for help.

Note he calls her "my wife" taking possessiveness with her title. A full social introduction is not expected during a rushed call. We will, however, see if he either:

A. Works with the operator for the flow of information or
B. Works against the operator to hinder the flow of information

911: okay, address? Caller: 45** 8 Street.
911: 8 Street? Caller: 45** 8 Street, in Addis.
911: Oh okay, I’m sorry. [pause] Caller: Send somebody quick.
911: Okay Sir, I am taking down the information.
Caller: She’s not breathing. [long pause] I can’t wake her up. 
911: Okay, I’m gonna go ahead and send paramedics now and I am going to give you to give you to [inaudible]. Now don’t hang up, okay?! (silence) Dispatcher: You need an ambulance? What is the address of your emergency? Caller: 45** 8 Street
Dispatcher: What city is that in? Caller: That’s in Addis.

note the word "that" as the caller is repeating back the words of the operator, which is common.
Dispatcher: Alright, can you spell that street for me so I can make sure I got it right? Caller: A-d-d-i-s
Dispatcher: alright, uh, what’s the nearest street that makes a corner to you right there? Caller: Warsak.
Dispatcher: What is, what is, what is 48th Street off of? Caller: It’s off of LA 1.
Dispatcher: alright… Caller: I don’t have a pulse.


The caller is taking ownership of his wife's pulse here. This pronoun ("I") strongly connects the caller to the well being of the victim in the context of his care for her.

Dispatcher: Okay — [pauses] Caller: She’s not breathing. I can’t wake her up.

The same pattern of responsibility for her care continues.
Dispatcher: Okay, I need you to get him flat on his back on the floor, okay? Flat on the floor. Caller: She’s on the floor!

noted exasperation and frustration
Dispatcher: Alright. Alright, I’m going to say exactly what you should do next. How old is she? Caller: She’ssss 59.

The question is answered, yet when answered again, he gives specific information to help facilitate her care.
Dispatcher: She’s 59?
Caller: uh, she’s not breathing, she has no pulse. Her eyes are open. I can’t wake her up [sounds like he is starting to cry].

Note that he already gave her name, so he does not repeat it, instead, the information of her age is "overruled" in priority by the extremities of the situation:
a. She is not breathing
b. She has no pulse
c. Her eyes are open
d. I can't wake her

Note that, again, he takes responsibility for her care with "I can't wake her." Guilty callers often find subtle (and strange) ways to distance themselves from their victims and even blame them, with "she won't wake up", whereas he, instead, blames himself and it is his own frustration, as seen in the instinctive use of the pronoun "I"
Dispatcher: Hold on Sir, I need you to stay calm with me. Did you see her stop breathing or did you wake up ——
Caller: [interrupts] No! I got up and I came downstairs!

Please note that in alibi building this information is likely found earlier in the call as the guilty caller's priority is himself, and not the victim. The location of this information suggests that his priority is her lack of breathing, that is, her condition.
Dispatch: Okay. Once again, I want you to —she’s on the floor? I want you to go ahead and I want you to put your uh, place the heel of your hand on her breastbone, right between her nipples —
Caller: [interrupts and talks over dispatcher irritated] I know how to do CPR! 
Dispatcher: okay well I want you to do that 600 times. I want you to feel the chest come all the way up between pumps and count loud so that I can hear you, and count with you, okay?
Caller: How many times do you want? I’m sorry [voice cracks]

We note the inclusion of "I'm sorry" within the call. In context, he has used the pronoun "I" repeatedly, in taken ownership of the CPR care. Here, "I'm sorry" is produced in context to the specific count of CPR, which he has stated, is not working. This is likely an appropriate response and not "leakage" due to the context.
Dispatcher: it’s okay, you’re going to go 600 times. Go! Caller: 600?
Dispatcher: yes sir but I need you to start right now though! Caller: I gotta put the phone down to do that.
Dispatcher: That’s ok, put the phone down, now count out loud Caller: okay [you hear a small noise putting phone down] [in the distance] Caller: one, two, three, four … there’s liquid coming out of her mouth…five, six, seven, eight, nine [recording stops]

Please note that there is nothing within this call to indicate status of guilty caller. He kept the flow of information going on that which was his priority: her first aid, and took ownership of the failure to revive her, something that a guilty person is not likely to do.