Friday, April 5, 2013

"I Didn't Do It": Scott Peterson and Billie Jean Dunn

Scott Peterson's family has a website in which they maintain in hopes of freeing him from prison, as they claim he did not murder Laci, his wife, and Connor, his pre born son.  

When it comes to Scott Peterson's lies, the family claims that he only lied about his adultery, nothing else, so that readers will conclude that he is not a "liar", particularly when it comes to killing Laci, but only that he lied about adultery.  

It is not unexpected that his family would defend him, by any means. 

Billie Dunn has only a  few supporters who post on social sites. (The plurality of posting in that some have had up to 15 different profiles) The difference between the two is that Peterson's family seeks to refute evidence, while Dunn's supporters avoids the evidence, instead, focuses on attempting to ridicule those who agree with the police on the case. Dunn handed private investigator a lengthy list of those who did not believe her, wanting "dirt" dug up on them, to silence them.  It is not surprising that her followers would resort to the same.  

Recall the words of Cindy Anthony who said that just because Casey "may have told a few mis-truths" it did not make her a liar. 

In Statement Analysis, specifically, Scientific Content Analysis, (SCAN) we look not only what one says, but what one does not say.  Here we are faced with the "I didn't do it" principle. 

Both cases, Scott Peterson and Billie Dunn, are valuable for teaching deception detection and Analytical Interviewing.

The principle says that it is rare for someone who is guilty to say "I didn't do it" in the Free Editing Process. 

We'll need a few short definitions first. 

1.  The Free Editing Process is when someone is speaking on their own, freely choosing which words to use and which to not use.  This is why Analytical Interviewing is the most legally sound method:  it is based upon Open Ended Questions:  "What happened?" and "What happened, next?"  It then takes the responses and focuses in on the specifically chosen words.  

Here is an example from a recent interview where someone had applied for a job (human resources interview) but left off the application a short period of time where she held a job for only one month. 

Q.  Tell me what happened?

A.  "Well, it was really nothing.  It was just something silly that I didn't think was worth even mentioning."

The interview continued with the Interviewer jotting down "nothing" and "silly"; noting that the subject reported in the negative (importance) what she "didn't think" was "even" (even more sensitive) mentioning (or including in the application).

The interviewer let her continue but then went back to the word "silly."

Q.  What's 'silly' like?

She was surprised because she thought the Interviewer had let it slip by.  

A.  "Oh, that's nothing."

Q.   "What does 'nothing' look like?

A.   "Oh, it really is something very silly.  I guess since you asked..."

What ended up being so "silly"?  Dangerous substance abuse case that could have ended in tragedy.  

In the Free Editing Process, she used the word "silly", therefore, in Analytical Interviewing, I used the word "silly" which avoids interpretation and allows for the subject to clarify meaning. 

"Did you do it?"
"No, I did not do it" is an example of reflective language.  This means that the subject is reflecting back the words of the interviewer and not choosing his or her own words. This reduces reliability. 

In the Free Editing Process Only:  When someone says that they did not do it, using the pronoun "I", the past tense verb, and the specific allegation, it is very likely that they did not do it.  Yet, if someone is able to lie in this manner, we have another principle:

No one can lie twice. 

This means that, psychologically, the liar will not be able to lie about his lie. 

I know, I know... it sounds strange but here goes:

If the person is able to say "I didn't kill Laci" in an open statement (free editing process) if asked "Why should you be believed?" will not be able to look upon his lie and say "Because I told the truth", with pronoun "I", past tense "told" and the word "truth."

Of course, anyone can read this and copy it, or read it from a script, but when someone is speaking on his own, freely choosing his own words, he is likely to avoid the internal conflict of a direct lie, and even if he can, will not lie about his lie. 

2.  Personal Internal Subjective Dictionary

We all have our own personal, internal, subjective dictionary. 

Here is an example:   If I say "dog", what do you conjure up in your 'mind's eye'?

Do you see 165 drooling pounds of bullmastiff?  Do you see that 2 pound yappy little dog? 
 Is it 'Old Yeller' that comes to mind?  
'Marley' and me?

In other words, we must ask clarifying questions to get to exactly what "dog" means to the subject being interviewed.  

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky" is a structurally sound and truthful statement, meaning that it is rare that this could be a lie.  

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky

a.  The pronoun "I" is strong
b.  "did not" is past tense (strong) and in the negative (important)
c.  "sexual relations" is, in President Clinton's highly personal, internal, subjective dictionary meaning "sexual intercourse" (as he told Ms. Lewinsky before hand) and does not include other forms of sexual activity.  
d.  The word "with" when used between people, shows distance.
e.  The word "that" is also used to show distance, rather than "this" woman.
f.  Ms. Lewinsky is as far from the pronoun "I" as possible in the sentence, showing even more distance. 

It is not a lie, though he is well aware of the deception. Later, he was seen with a black eye and said he was "roughhousing with our daughter, Chelsea" on the White House lawn.  He did not say he got the black eye from roughhousing, but knew how it would be taken.  Many think that Mrs. Clinton did not share President Clinton's personal, internal, subjective dictionary.  

A mighty left hook

3.  Exemptions

There are some exemptions, principally, pronouns and articles.  Pronouns and articles are instinctive, learned very early in life (with the possessive pronoun "my" even pre-dating speech for some).  They are universal to all of us making them reliable.  

In SCAN, we listen for what someone tells us, but we also listen for what someone does not tell us. 

4.  The Expected Versus the Unexpected: 

If you knew the entire nation thought you killed your wife and you did not, what would you say?

This is called the "expected." In Analysis, we are confronted by the "unexpected"; that is, what we were not expecting to hear. 

SCAN seeks content:  what someone tells us, and what someone does not tell us.  

If the entire nation was thinking that I killed my wife, but I didn't, I would say, "I didn't kill my wife" early, and without using additional words.  

NBC:   "...So, you had nothing to do with this? I mean, people are having questions now. "

Here, the NBC interviewer brings out the obvious:  everyone thinks that he is lying, while his wife is missing, because he had something to do with her disappearance. Since this is viewed as a "domestic" homicide, their relationship may be a motive, therefore, questions are being asked including why he lied about her. 

Lying while a person is missing is a major red flag for investigators.  Here, the Interviewer has given Peterson the chance to say "I didn't do it" plainly.  

Does he?

Scott Peterson: The focus is on her. Let's keep her picture out there. Let's keep the tip line, the description out there."

Note that Scott Peterson avoided the opportunity to address what everyone was thinking.  He was not able to bring himself to say, "I didn't do it" on his own. 

GMA Diane Sawyer asked him plainly,  "Did you murder your wife?"

This is a "yes or no" question, easy to lie to as it does not require going into the Free Editing Process and choosing words.  I seek to avoid morally charged questions like "murder" or "steal", instead using "kill" or "take" as one might be able to say they did not "steal" something but "took" it as the company "owed" them, or that they did not "murder" as it was 'self defense' (Jodi Arias' claim). 

If a "yes or no" question is easy to lie to, what value are they?

They are of value in first locking a person into an answer, which then permits us to test the rule of no one being able to lie twice.  "Why should we believe you?"

Also, here is something critical to learn about liars:

They talk. 

The rare liar keeps his mouth shut as did Josh Powell, though eventually he said too much also.

The liar feels the burden to prove, or convince he had nothing to do with the crime, and often uses too many words which give us much to analyze for information. 

Here, Scott Peterson does this very thing.  

His family objects to him being labelled a sociopath, but here we see the need to control and convince.  We find the same thing in Billie Jean Dunn's lengthy answers which she thinks she is persuading the audience when, in fact, she is undoing herself and entangling herself deeper in the crime.

Scott Peterson: "No. No. I did not. And I had absolutely nothing to do with her disappearance. And you use the word murder and right now every one is looking for a body. And that is the hardest thing because that is not a possible resolution for us. To use the word murder and - yes, and that is a possibility. It's not one we're ready to accept and it creeps in my mind late at night and early in the morning and during the day all we can think about is the right resolution to find her."

1.  Note that instead of saying "no" and ending his answer, he goes beyond the boundary of the question.  Every word beyond the boundary of a question is important. 

"Well, how far did Hailey have to walk to the sleep over?' was asked to Dunn by Nancy Grace.  "Four or five blocks."  Good answer, yet she kept it going with "she wasn't allowed to..." referencing the missing Hailey in the past tense, as if deceased.  The extra information is because the subject thinks he or she is persuasive. She attempted to portray herself as a good mother (a signal that she is not) but actually gave a verbal indication that she had knowledge of Hailey's death. 

 Both Peterson and Dunn have similarities in their deception that they give additional information, beyond the boundary of the question. 

2.  Repetition:  deceptive people think that by repeating something they are convincing the audience, whereas it has the opposite effect.  "No" is repeated. 

Peterson answers the question with three denials "No. No. I did not." Deceptive people will often try to convince you they are telling the truth by repeating their denials. A simple "no" would have answered the question. People like to expound on their answer which he does but he starts out with three denials.
"I had absolutely nothing to do with her disappearance." The word "absolutely" is not necessary. "I had nothing to do with her disappearance" says the same thing. He uses word "absolutely" to try and convince us he is telling the truth.
Peterson mentions the word "murder." He tells us that "it is not a possible resolution for us." All he can think about "is the right resolution to find her." At this point in time, Laci's body has not been found. Peterson and other family members are hoping she is alive. This will be an important factor as we look at other statements he gives in the interview.

3.  Sensitivity:  he had "absolutely nothing" making "nothing" sensitive to him.  

4.  Note the need to explain why "murder" was not a possibility.

5.  Note how he then gives possibility to the murder. 

6. The word "And" at the beginning of a sentence means a connection exists, and there is missing information.  

7.  Pronouns show deception. 

Yet, beyond this is his use of pronouns:

A missing pregnant wife is very personal to a husband, so the expected is "my wife" and "I" can't bear this, and this is not a possibility to "me"; yet he uses, repeatedly, the plural pronoun. 

As every parent of every 6 year old knows, guilty kids love to share guilt.  It is a natural reaction that the guilty feel better if they can have others shoulder the burden of guilt with them.  It actually gives them away.  

He says that it is all "we" think about, all day and all night.  He claims to know what he, and others, think of all day.  Simpler would have been, "it is all I think of..." but he is speaking in a manner as to know the thinking of others.  It would have been interesting to ask him, "Who is 'us'?" during the interview, yet as he continued, he had the need to stay in the plural in order to share guilt. 

"everyone was talking!" says the chatty 6 year old, in his own defense.  

He wants to portray it as being impossible as a murder, yet he then repeats the word murder and gives it not only possibility, but specific times when he thinks of it. It would have been easier to figure out when he did not think of murder.  After the appearance, a reporter asked him why he murdered her, but instead of saying "she's alive, look for her!" he said, "I had nothing to do with it"; affirming that she was murdered, rather than refuting it. 

The interview with GMA continued and it revealed a great deal more information.  Note the need to boast.  

1.  Dunn:  told media she was a "wonderful" mother. This is in context of domestic homicide where her daughter was murdered. 

2.  Peterson:  called his marriage "glorious."  This is in context of a domestic homicide in which his wife was murdered.  

Q: What kind of marriage was it?

Scott Peterson: "God, the first word that comes to mind is, you know, glorious. I mean we took care of each other, very well. She was amazing. She is amazing."

Note that he uses Divinity in his statement. 
Note that he uses the word "first" which would cause me to ask what was the "second" word that comes to mind.
Note the pronoun "we" while taking care. 

Yet note that he speaks of her, in his mistake, in the past tense, as if dead. 

This is why Statement Analyst and Private Investigator says "the brain knows" and likens the words to marbles. 

The subject must open the cabinet door and choose which marbles to let out, but struggles to control them.  

Here, the brain knew that Laci was dead so the words slipped out, just the way Billie Dunn did in her appearance on Nancy Grace.  She wanted people to search for her daughter, yet, she blundered as well, referencing Hailey twice in the past tense, the way we do when we speak of the deceased. 

Casey Anthony:  "Caylee loved the park."
Susan Smith: "my boys needed me."
Haleigh Cummins:  "I loved that little girl like she was my own."

This one past reference can solve a missing person's case. 

GMA: "You haven't mentioned your son?"

Scott Peterson: "Hmm. That was, it's so hard. I can't go in there. That door is closed until there's someone to put in there."

In talking about his pre-born son, the subject again uses the past tense, "That was..." indicating that he knew his son was dead.  

This is difficult for Peterson's family, but linguistically Peterson, like Casey Anthony, Deborah Bradley, Billie Jean Dunn, and others, showed that he had knowledge that Laci and Connor were dead while asking people to look for them.  

He, like Dunn, repeatedly asked that the spotlight be put on the missing, while it is that investigators knew that the key to finding Laci, was with Scott.

The key to finding Dylan Redwine, rests in Mark Redwine.

The key to finding Isabel, rests with her father.
The key to finding Hailey, rests with Dunn and Adkins.
The key to finding Baby Ayla, rests with her father.
The key to finding Kyron, rests with Terri Horman...

and on it goes.  

Why go on TV?

There is a need to control information, along with the love of attention, that conflicts with trying to keep the spotlight off of oneself.  

The sociopathic liar often shows a love for the spotlight, and will attract those who large gaps in their lives to support them.  We saw this with Charles Manson who received many proposals of marriage over the decades in prison.  

In an interview, Peterson showed his desire for celebrity. Recently, Dunn posted a "thank you" to Marc Klass, not recalling that he had called upon her public "shame" for lying.  

In showing how similar Scott Peterson and Billie Dunn's deceptive styles are, it is interesting that both mention Marc Klass, who, after his daughter was murdered, became an advocate. 

During an interview, Scott Peterson was told that both John Walsh (America's Most Wanted" and Klass had publicly questioned whether he was involved in Laci's disappearance. 

What did Peterson say?

This is what liars do:  

Scott Peterson: "I have had conversations with both those gentlemen. It is entirely too selfish of me to defend myself against these accusations. All the media time should be spent on finding Laci."

1.  It is "entirely too selfish" for him to say "I didn't do it", positioning himself in the moral high ground. 

2.  Note "those" gentlemen shows distance, rather than "these" gentlemen (just mentioned). 

Why would he distance himself from them?  

Marc Klass cleared up the mystery.  He had never spoken to Scott Peterson. 

He likely wishes he had never spoken to Billie Jean Dunn, either. 

"There is no ambiguity in this. I have never in my life spoken to Scott Peterson. Where he comes off thinking he can make a statement like that in the public forum and get away with it, I don't know. It's not the first time. Who does this guy think he is that he can make these statements, and that they'll go public, and they're obvious lies?"

I can answer his question, however. 

Liars are dangerous.  They seek to control information and like to associate with others who may benefit their quest for positive publicity. 

Parents of missing children do not care what anyone thinks of them; they only care for their missing child.  When you see one like Billie Dunn seeking to avoid saying "I didn't do it" instead attempting to slander others into silence, you are witnessing the need to "shoot the messenger" because the message cannot be answered. 

Scott Peterson's family is doing what is expected.  They want to believe that his only lies were about adultery. 

"to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" recognizes deception by withholding the truth. 

Scott Peterson was unable to bring himself to say he didn't do it in the Free Editing Process and is in prison. 

In all the interviews Dunn (and Shawn Adkins) have given on television, radio and in print, she has been also equally incapable of saying "I didn't do it" in regards to her missing daughter. 

In SCAN we have a rule:

If the subject won't say he didn't do it, we are not permitted to say it for him.

When there is a "shoot the messenger"; that is, a desire to silence the disagreeing voice, it is noteworthy that this takes place when evidence cannot be refuted. 


Trigger said...

I like this post.

It ends the confusion about what the guilty say or don't say and why they say it.

It clarifies why guilty people like BJ and Scott want to bully, ridicule, and slander those who disagree with them.

Although I have to say that I enjoyed President Clinton's style of deception. I found him to be very entertaining and creative in his "perspective" about his personal behavior and his avoidance of admitting to "sexual relations" with "that woman."
(very cleaver these Americans)

BostonLady said...

I love that Billie Dunn's statements are being used in training on deception. Billie is famous! Not for being a "wonderful mother" who lost her daughter. Not for telling others that she "mentioned" her daughter - not with her name HAILEY - while having her picture taken with a Mushroom Head band member. No, that didn't work. Could it be because she never even "mentioned" her daughter at all?

Billie has threatened "Snitches get stitches" on facebook. Billie has stated, within weeks of Hailey gone missing, that she was going to make people pay for their slander of her. Billie has stated, when asked what she is most concerned about, answered "that people perceive me as a bad person".

Guess what Billie... your concern has come true. Soon karma will get you too.

Local anon said...

Does Billie ever mention Hailey on Facebook? Or only in interviews?

Anonymous said...

In response to local anon...she rarely mentions Hailey , but she did make a lovely Facebook page for her ferret.

Katprint said...

In identifying remains, it is much easier to rule out a non-match due to wrong gender, wrong age, wrong height, etc. than to positively confirm a match. IIRC, last year when remains were found, the non-match was announced pretty quickly. The more time goes by since the most recent set of remains were found near Shawn Adkins' mother's house, the more likely that the remains match gender, age, height, dental, etc. for Hailey. It took less than a week for DNA tests on Laci Peterson and just over a week for DNA tests on Caylee Anthony's remains; it seems like the medical examiner ought to know by now whether or not these are Hailey Dunns remains.

It is possible that law enforcement has a conclusive match but is surveilling certain persons of interest pursuant to a secret search warrant(including wiretaps, bugged rooms/cars, GPS monitoring, etc.) No marital privilege protects communications between Billie and Shawn because they are not married, nor is there any parent-child privilege that would apply to communications between Billie and her son. Investigators are generally not required to publicly disclose how they are conducting their ongoing investigations.

Tania Cadogan said...

Thanks for this post Peter.
I read it through several times and realised just how much i don't know or understand completely.

I have a long way to go to become reasonable at statement analysis.

Keep posting these tutorials, it will sink into my noggin eventually, in the meantime back to the books and listening to the news.

Local anon said...

Thank you anon 5:49. Yeah, her ferret. Mom of the year.

Anonymous said...

Ha, Bill's good at cheating Tigger, he knows all the right moves having done it many times before, and many times previously apologized, lied, blamed the women, and promised Hillary never again, but this time he went too far.

I got a laugh out of Clinton's straight faced denial too, particularly when Linda Tripp had the (live) dna evidence on Monica's infamous blue dress all along. Ah, but Hillary didn't think it was so funny.

She attacked and beat the hell out of Bill, visualizing what he had done with Monica; similar to Elin who also packs a powerful punch, broke out a window with a golf iron in the SUV and beat Tiger in the mouth with it for cheating, knocked him out cold and caused him to have stiches and two lose teeth. Ta da... They both had it coming!

Talk about domestic violence...

Anonymous said...

I wonder, if this turns out to be Hailey's remains that were found in Scurry County, are we going to be able to go back and decipher (sp?) Billie's words and actions during this period of time since the bones were found, to be able to determine that she showed guilt in already knowing these are Hailey's remains?

I think both Billie and Shawn already kno if these are Hailey's remains considering that Shawn is the one who dumped her, along with Billie's full knowledge (and likely participation) in where Hailey was dumped, and quite possibly there are others who know where she was dumped.

At this stage, Billie doesn't seem to be particularly worried about the identity of this body. What do you all think?

Trigger said...

"What do you all think"?

I think that Billie and Shawn are going to use this as a reason to get high, laugh at the police, mock the searchers, rehearse their alibis, and celebrate with each other how much fun it is to outsmart everyone and get away with their hoax.

They will look into each other's adoring eyes and feel nothing for Hailey Dunn's fate.

Trigger said...

Like any other wonderful mother, Billie will turn on the tears in front of the cameras and lament about how much she misses Hailey and wants her home.

If this is Hailey's remains, she will ask the public for donations to help with the funeral costs, while dabbing her eyes with a tissue, and reaffirming that she and Shawn have not been together as a couple for some time.

Trigger said...

The honeymoon phase between BJ and Shawn must have been hotter than ever when they convinced themselves that they had succeeded in "getting away with murder" together.

With their attachment to bloodlust, their macabre "hobbies," their sexual preferences for viewing sexual deviancy, and starring in their own porn videos, the continuing party must be thrilling and daringly themed as posted in recent photos. The beat goes on.

Skeptical said...

I have always puzzled over Shawn's statement that Hailey could be found in Scurry County and that LE should be looking at both him and Billie Jean. Even if it was an attempt to taunt the police and show them how smart he was, how could anyone be that foolish?

~ABC said...

BostonLady said...
Billie has threatened "Snitches get stitches" on facebook.

I have to wonder how many times poor little Hailey heard this threat. Children have a keen sense of justice. When they are raised in a criminal environment this inborn knowledge is slowly but surely silenced, sometimes permanently, causing them to grow up with a distrust of self and so the cycle of deception continues. It's sad that anyone ever has to be raised in a reality that is so deceptive it even causes a concern of "snitches"!! That shouldn't even be an issue. So much to HIDE..... smh

~ABC said...

Billie has stated, when asked what she is most concerned about, answered "that people perceive me as a bad person".

Not only was she unable to muster a concern that her daughter is missing, she couldn't even do the next best thing in a having a concern that people think she killed Hailey. More missed opportunities to express genuine love for Hailey and also to issue a denial! arrrrrrrgh! A cat cares more about their kittens!

SAlurker said...

Off topic:

Update on Antonio Santiago case

" In new court documents filed Friday, Elkins' defense team is requesting a drug test from West, claiming a crack addiction could have clouded her recollection of what happened that day. She is the only eyewitness."

" We told you about another motion filed earlier this week, suggesting there was a murder-for-hire scheme, a possible plot to obtain money from the baby's life insurance policy.  New documents claim West and the baby's father may have been involved in a false insurance claim before."

" motion demanding the state disclose more evidence about a state material witness.

The motion asks for any and all information relating to the witness, alleging she may have been involved in a murder-for-hire plot or insurance fraud in connection with the death of the toddler.

The defense has also asked the state to turn over any evidence suggesting she may have provided false information to police about the shooting."

"Santiago's father, Luis Santiago, has also been subpoenaed to testify for the defense, Gough said.

First Coast News has also learned an attempt was made by the defense to subpoena the toddler's mother, Sherry West, but Gough said she did not answer her door."

Anonymous said...

Initially, I was reluctant to immediately slant my view towards any guilty participation of this mother while continuing to wait and watch; remembering how so many of us jumped to conclusions about Sierra LaMar's mother having guilty knowledge in Sierra's disappearance; however, several issues have struck me as just not right in the death of this baby.

For one, Sherry West moved the stoller into the yard and behind a fence after her baby had already been shot dead and the perps had fled the scene. Why?

Why would the perps shoot the baby at all if this was a robbery attempt on the mother's life but merely shoot her in the leg and graze her ear? It wasn't the baby holding the purse and refusing to hand it over, it was Ms. West.

Why would any greiving mother have her baby cremated the very next day and get rid of all its' clothing and belongings? No greiving mother would do such a thing. They wouldn't be able to part with one tiny item that belonged to their baby. I guess she dumped the baby food too?

Why is the older daughter speaking out against her mother? Bad blood or just a grown daughter trying to get even? However you look at it, that right there is serious and worth paying attention too. Why was this daughter raised by others and not her mother? Was she abandoned by her mother or taken away from her, and why?

The jumbled up ramblings of Ms West are typical of a druggie, now it turns out that she has an extensive history of drug use and mental problems. And more, including the possibility that she and her baby daddy roomie may have been involved in an insurance fraud scheme. NOW there are questions that Ms. West had a life insurance policy on the baby?

I think you all were right to question this mothers' possible involved in the murder of her baby right from the beginning.

Trigger said...

"Snitches get stitches"

I had not heard this catch phrase before, but the message is clear:

"Keep your mouth shut about what you know (about Billy and Shawn) or suffer physical damage that requires medical attention".

Is this a threat to ensure that Billy gets her biggest concern eliminated? "That people perceive me as a bad person,"in an effort to "ease her mind" so she can move on with her life?

I know, this is something that is common with most wonderful mothers. (yeah, right) Threats of violence, concern for her public image, moving on, lying, hiding boyfriend from police, ...etc. after her 13 year-old daughter was reported missing.

Billy, you have been extreme in your efforts to find Hailey.

Unknown said...

Why can we take Klass's statement as reliable?

In fact, based on analysis, it would appear Scott was much more honest...

SA is extremely new to me, so i honestly ask...