Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pronouns and Confessions

In Statement Analysis, the first thing we do when we receive a written statement is photocopy it and file the original. I often make several copies and like to check my work with others. When work is shared, we only submit the statement and the allegation to the analyst. We do not share suspicions, evidence, history, or anything else. We want the analysis to not be influenced by anything but itself. We should see similar analysis done anywhere; though some may be deeper than others.

With the copy of the statement, before I read it, I circle the pronouns.

This is done before reading it, or any other analysis.

Pronouns solve many crimes. Pronouns answer many questions. It is estimated that as much as 70% of murders are due to the pronoun

Pronouns are understood by children at a very early age. Even for children they cannot speak, the concept of "mine" is strong. Adults and children with developmental disabilities understand "mine".

At an early age, children will use the pronoun "my" and "mine" for everything from food, to toys, to even attention. The pronoun is the single most focused indicator in Statement Analysis.

Pronouns show ownership.

Pronouns show hidden confessions.

As cases come and go; one day they are being reported everywhere, only later to be displaced by another case, observe carefully what the accused says.

In Statement Analysis, we listen to what words are used, and not what we think the author meant. This is the basic premise of all Statement Analysis, no matter what it is called.

If someone used the past tense in a verb, we acknowledge that they used past tense. We don't make excuses or accept, "that's not what I meant" as an excuse, and are content to make a report knowing that later the subject will deny its meaning. We let a jury decide if "that's not what I meant to say" is credible or not.

Why do we insist that the words a person chose are to be taken at face value?

Because the words chosen by the brain are communicated to the tongue in less than a micro second. The more freely the subject speaks, the more information we have. When in an interview, the interviewer must be careful not to introduce new words or new subjects: the best interview is when the subject of the interview introduces his own words. When the subject introduces a new word, or a new topic, then and only then should the interviewer reflect the words (or topic) back in the form of questions.

As one practices Statement Analysis, (media provides us with more examples per day than we could ever have time to cover)things such as verb tenses and pronoun alerts become second nature. (I circle them in my mind as I hear someone speak). This is more accurately called "Verbal Polygraphy". It is the result of practicing Statement Analysis.

Pronouns jump out at us. This leads to a very important principle:

Pronouns show ownership.


"My daddy!" "My cookie!"

It is something ingrained within the human mind from the first moments of language. Pronouns are instinctive. 

It is something we do not suddenly dismiss in Statement Analysis. We recognize it in 2 year olds, in 10 year olds, and in adults.

If someone does not take ownership of something, we do not ascribe ownership of it to them.

If someone takes ownership of something, we do not argue with them.

When an arguing parent says, "maybe if you controlled your daughter more, we wouldn't be in this situation!", one parent is not owning responsibility for the current crisis, but is casting blame on the other.

"Oh, that's not my clean up. It's your dog, not mine!" It is likely that this subject is not going to clean up after the dog.

"Woke up, made the bed..." is different than "Woke up, made my bed"

What is the difference?

The pronoun "my" tells me that the person is either single, or is about to be single. Couples normally say "the" bed, but do not feel a need to say "my" bed. Singles sometimes do, but married couples when having marital trouble will sometimes say "my" bed, especially if they are headed towards divorce.

"I have to go and pick up our daughter" is different than "I have to go pick up my daughter". For most biological parents, if they are together, they use "my", but if there is step parenting involved, the pronoun "our" is likely to slip in. (Foster children and adopted children's parents often say "our" but when a married person says "our" and there are no step parents involved, it is a sign of marital trouble).

When someone says "I have to take care of the dog" instead of saying "I have to take care of my dog" it tells me that the subject is likely part of a family and the dog is a family pet.

These are things that are likely to show up.

Pronouns show cooperation.

"He threw me in his car. We drove to the woods. He raped me and we drove back here and threw me out of the car."

She's lying.

"He threw me in his car. We drove to the woods. He raped me and we drove back here and threw me out of the car."

You may have already noted that "his" car became "the" car, as we note change in language. But in Statement Analysis, the first thing you do (after photocopying) is circle the pronouns. This is done BEFORE the statement is read.

"He threw me in his car. We drove to the woods. He raped me and we drove back here
and threw me out of the car."

When the young lady was confronted, she admitted that she had lied because her father would not allow her to go out with this young man, and she was caught. "We" solved the case because "we" denotes cooperation and there is never a "we" involved in sexual assault. The victim's disdain for the perpetrator precludes her from using the pronoun "we". The investigator in this case had training which served him well. The pronoun "we" may show up before the sexual assault, but not after the sexual assault in the statement.  After the rape, there is no "we" between the victim and the perpetrator. 

However, pronouns go even deeper.

Within a pronoun, we find ownership. When we see ownership of a crime, we have a confession.

Innocent people will not take ownership of guilt. They have been using possessive pronouns since they could talk. It is decided in less than a micro second and if there is one thing a person will NOT make a mistake over, it is something they learned before they could even walk, and have practiced it EVERY single day of their lives up to now:


Pronouns show ownership, even of guilt.

"For those of you who believe in my guilt, I want to say to you..." (OJ Simpson).

Innocent people will not take ownership of something they did not do. When a person is guilty of a crime, they will use the possessive pronoun to lay claim to the guilt.

In at least 3 interviews, Patsy Ramsey said "our guilt" in her statements.

Scott Peterson did it.

It is a powerful habit, deeply embedded within us, to recognize what belongs to us. If it is guilt that belongs to us, the pronoun will be used to frame a sentence, in less than a micro second, which will give its indication.

Later, the person will say "that's not what I meant!" but it is what they said.

Remember when Casey Anthony attempted to explain the smell of decomposition in her car? She said "dead squirrels climbed up" into the engine.

Since dead squirrels cannot climb, you may interpret it as "squirrels climbed up into the engine and died".

But that would mean rather than listening, you are interpreting.

In Statement Analysis, we know that truthful people recall from memory meaning that they can recite backwards and forwards what happened, but deceptive people are noted because sometimes they mix up order. When something is out of order, it is a red flag for deception.

Squirrels climb first, and later die. This would be noted linguistically as out of order and marked "deceptive" in Casey's statement. We would not say she "misspoke". We would say she was practicing deception, just as she did when she attempted to say that Caylee was alive, kidnapped while her own words told us Caylee was dead.

"Caylee loved the park."

Misty Croslin did the same with missing 5 year old Haleigh Cummings.

Parents and care providers do NOT speak of missing children in the past tense unless they believe or know that the child is dead.

When Texas Equasearch was organizing their massive volunteer search for Caylee Anthony, Tim Miller presented Casey Anthony (and her mother Cindy) with a map of Orlando and asked for help on where to begin the search. When Casey would not cooperate, Tim Miller asked her to simply put an X on the map; but Cindy intervened and would not allow Casey to do anything.

As stunning as it may be to the sensibility of a parent of a missing child, what Cindy said next was more important than what she did when she blocked Casey from helping find her missing daughter:

Cindy spoke to the camera and said, "George and I don't believe that Caylee's in the woods or anything."

Caylee's remains were found in the woods, down the block from Cindy Anthony's home.

Statement Analysis shows that Cindy chose "woods" because "woods" were in her mind. We were not surprised to learn later that she had her private investigator videotape the woods, quite close to where the body was found, previously.

Question: Did Cindy Anthony know that Caylee was in the woods when Tim Miller went to search?


People choose their words for a reason. The reason is simple: it is what is in their mind.

"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" is an eternal truth.

The heart is the seat of the affections and the intellect. Both what we think and what we feel comes out through the mouth.

Watch the interviews on television that are becoming popular. "Real Interrogations" is a good one because they have the transcript of the interview on the screen as it is being spoken. Listen when someone says, "Oh, man. You think I did it?" and note the person.

The person who says this, unprompted by the Interviewer, is telling you, within the sentence, "I did it", and you will find, as the show concludes, that the person who said "I did it" even though it was framed in a question, is the one who "did it" and is in prison.

If your beloved says "You think that I cheated on you! I'm telling you once and for all, 'Nothing happened' but you don't believe me!".

I can tell you two things:

1. Something happened. "Nothing" cannot happen. 
2. They cheated and confessed with their own words "I cheated on you".  If these words did not come from the accuser first, there is an issue present. 

(These words must be spoken unprompted. If they were prompted by the Interviewer, they are not the subject's own words, but a reflecting back of the Interviewers words).

Listen for confessions by listening for pronouns. Stephen Trunscott, in prison for murder, denied knowing the victim.  Yet he said, he didn't "really know my victim." 

This is an example of a confession by pronoun.  It is believed that up to 80% of homicide files contain a pronoun confession within them. 


MissUnderstood said...

Thanks for this article. I always enjoy learning more about SA.

I have a question.

I know that the mention of lights and showers/water should be noted. should it be noted in every single statement?

If something happened at night, and the person is re-telling what happened should the mention of lights be noted, even though it was important to let others know that what happened, happened only after they turned the light off?

Ivy said...

I am curious to hear more about why it's "my" daughter but "the" dog when both belong to a parent couple. I suspect it's because kids belong to you in a personal way an animal can't, but I would still like to read more about it.

Re Cindy Anthony, I picked up the prosecutor's book at the airport and was surprised to see nothing in it about Cindy cleaning the car and the clothes, her thwarting the searchers, and her statement about Caylee "not" being in the woods. (reminds me of the 911 call of the "staircase murder" guy who got off -- he said something like "I didn't push her down the stairs or anything" -- classic). He included a photo of the trunk with the drier sheet, and I think mentioned it , but said nothing about how it got there, etc. He presented Cindy as conflicted about Casey, buy didn't include this information and his portrayal was mostly sympathetic. The book had other problems (so self aggrandizing) but this stood out. I wondered if this sympathetic view of Cindy and George hindered the prosecution/investigation, if more pressure could have been put on them to tell what they knew.

Jeffssis said...

We'll go a little off topic here with Cindy Anthony, but her behavior and demeanor frustrate and anger me to no end. Has anyone done an in depth look into her, her life and her relationships? Is there a book coming by any chance? She is so psychologically fascinating.

And...I also find Statement Analysis fascinating!

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla

Q Okay. Anything else you remember she was wearing and her hair?
Becky Her hair is in braids. It’s in little ponytails, I MADE LITTLE PONYTAILS ON HER HEAD LAST NIGHT before she went to bed.

Q And the hair color you said brown?
Becky Brown.

Q In braids?
Becky And she has, and she has two little um, braids going down, they’re like, WE PUT PONYTAILS IN HER HAIR so she;s got like four ponytails on each side that go down her And it’s split…

This is the only time Becky uses the pronoun we during her 911 call.
Q Four ponytails…
Becky …in the middle.

Q …brai (ph), four braided ponytails?
Becky It’s, it’s a two, it’s like two braids.

Q Two braids? Okay.
Becky But it’s made with ponytails instead of a braid.

Anonymous said...

Please analyze this:

Anonymous said...

Ivy, I wouldn't waste fifteen cents on Ashcroft's book. He let every lie and perjury Cindy and George told slide right by. He was in cahoots with them. In the end, he failed to prosecute either Cindy or George for their blatant lies and perjuries. These two got away with their collusion and participation in the cover up of Caylee's murder, if not their direct involvement, which I ALSO suspect; all thanks to Jeff Ashcroft.

His, George's, Cindy's, and 'here come da judge Perry's, entire scheme was to make Baez look like a complete fool which they did accomplish; but while they were accomplishing this Ashcroft failed to present the case against Casey as it really was. Only thing, it backfired on them when the jury closed their eyes and took pity on Baez's profound lack of experience, decided to believe him and totally absolved Casey, setting her scot free. THIS, Ashcroft and his conspiring connivers never expected.

Now today, the Anthonys walk the streets as free criminals and felons, which they ARE, thanks to Jeff Ashcraft; and thanks to HIM, baby Caylee got no justice in this life. Only God marked the tree with lighting as forever his marker where she was laid.

Jen said...

Oh, i hate to even let myself think about that family but I'm going sister bought me a copy of Ashton's book for x-mas (even though I had vowed not to buy or read anything that paid tribute to that farce). My curiosity got the best of me on the long ride home. I was also surprised by his sympathy toward GA & CA. He described them as, being in a terrible situation & basically said he didn't blame them or their behavior for the outcome of the trial. I couldn't disagree more...the entire family was holding back the truth and setting hurdles for the police from the 911 call forward!

They all knew what happened that caused Casey to leave with Caylee, and it wasn't 'bonding time'. I believe Cindy came home from visiting on Father's day armed with the info about Casey's theft from the Grandmother...she started poking around to find out why, when Casey was supposed to have a great job, she was stealing $1000's from her family & she found the 'no clothes party pics'...then, just as Lee described, when Casey came thru the door Cindy started laying it on the line...slapped down the pics & confronted her about not being at work while her parents were watching her daughter for free & probably threatening to pursue custody of Caylee, since they were raising her anyway. Neighbors remembered a loud argument & Lee told Casey's ex-bf that the confrontation became so out of control that Cindy ended up with her hands around Casey's throat choking her. After that fight, Casey left with Caylee & they never saw her again...I don't believe the story about George seeing Casey & Caylee leave 'for work', like any other normal day because...a. She didn't have a job, b.I believe she left angry, either right after the argument or waited til G&C were sleeping to sneak out 'her car' and Caylee, c.George's details about remembering the exact outfit down to the sunglasses more than a month later, when if we believe it was a normal day, he would have no reason to note those details.

The fight scenario makes it all fall Into place...the my Caylee is missing myspace post, the surprise visit by Cindy to Universal, Cindy sending Lee to try to track Casey down at the clubs, Casey dodging her brother at the club & George chasing after her on the highway, the gas cans incident, all the way to the day of the 911 call when Lee wipes her laptop before the cops get their hands on it. The whole family knew that Casey left with Caylee and was keeping her away to punish & hurt them them, they knew she resented Cindy, and they knew Casey had the ability to lie against in, 'no, I'm not 6mo pregnant! I don't know how long it took them to realize she had actually killed Caylee but if at no point earlier, the moment that George & Cindy smelled the car @ the tow yard they knew Caylee was dead and that was hours before the 911 call- the reason the story was so ridiculously unbelievable is because it was an elaborate hoax from the beginning! The Anthony's have perverted the justice system & they have profited from the death of their 2 year old grandchild...they disgust me.

Ivy said...

Yeah, it just seemed like such a glaring omission. I'm with you, I tend to think Casey killed Caylee because her mom was threatening to file for custody and this was Casey's way of maintaining control. Unspeakable. Ashcroft's book had little reflection on what he could have done differently. He implied without directly saying it that it was the jury's fault, which is a little unseemly Coming from the prosecutor who didn't convince one juror to convict her of even manslaughter. He seemed so focused on her tattoo, which even if you accept as telling, isn't anywhere close to being overwhelming. Also he was very focused on proving scientifally that a body had been in the car, which didn't necessarily refute the defense theory. I have no love for Baez, but coming from Ashton the criticism on some of these motions sounded like sour grapes. If I were the prosecutor on that case I would be wondering where my failures were rather than pointing the finger at Baez or the jury. I understand responsibility rests there too and Ashton paid some lip service to the possibility he could have done things differently, but it was very general and he was quick to say "well it's easy to second guess at this point." just very little acknowledgement/discussion of the fact that the responsibility to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt rests with the prosecution and with what seems from the outside like a clear case he couldn't even get a hung jury. In not saying its not hard, I just expected more reflection on what might have gone wrong.