Saturday, August 31, 2013

Human Resources: The Coat of Many Colors

In the past ten years, I have met many investigators, both in law enforcement and in the civil realm, whose jobs were to gather information.

I have found that the SCAN method (www.lsiscan.com) of Statement Analysis is the "grandfather" of all statement analysis techniques taught today.  It is the brainchild of Avinoam Sapir and it reduces subjectivity tremendously.

When, for example, a company has been robbed by one of  its employees, if this number of employees is finite (who had access to the missing money or goods), I am able to say:

"Have each employee write out a statement of what they did from the time they woke up on the day of the robbery, until the time they went to sleep" and if all cooperate, I say to the company:

"You have a 100% chance of knowing who stole."

This is stupendous within itself.

Yet, I find myself saying it, over and over.

Even if police are unable to prove it, or, realistically, the prosecutor is not willing to press the issue, the company itself will know.

They will know.

Even if it is not prosecuted, they can keep their eye on the thief for better security and less risk to their overhead.

The system is this good.

In my travels and trainings, I have found that insurance companies often lure away law enforcement's "best and brightest" to investigate claims for them.  Insurance companies pay more, provide better training, and do not operate on quotas:  they are free to hire the best candidates.  In defense of law enforcement, they have to spend a lot of time in weapons and vehicle training which may show why so many score poorly on "deception" tests.  (It has been shown that even after training, law enforcement scores very low on deception detection examinations as they still consider all to be lying).

I also found that among the civilian population a rare breed of individuals who wear many hats, or as it is, a "coat of many colors" and stripes:  Human Resources.

Among these professionals, I have found some examples of intuitive excellence in interviewing.

Analytical Interviewing.

Analytical Interviewing is simply using Statement Analysis in in the interview.

It is legally sound, non forceful, and uses the language of the subject not the language of the interviewer.

When I teach this, I find many "aha!" moments from Human Resources professionals.

They interview many people, not simply new hires, but they, in their multi-faceted work, interview people, even on the fly, over disputes.

Some of these disputes are short, 30 to 60 minute interviews which require the wisdom of Solomon (which comes in careful listening; which we train for!), but some are far weightier:

Sexual harassment allegations that threaten the financial status of the company, not only through law suits, but also through reputation.

No company wants this ugliness interfering with their work.

Human Resource professionals, in my experience, are some of the most qualified individuals I have met and here is something I consider personal, and sensitive:

If a loved one of mine was a victim of a criminal activity in which the investigation would warrant the highest level of skill in the interview process, I would consider specifically requesting someone of excellence from a human resources department over experienced law enforcement.

Why?

Law enforcement often loses its best and brightest to the private sector's lure of better income.  Insurance investigators, in New England, can be paid up to 25% more than in law enforcement.  I would check insurance companies as well, and want to interview prospective interviewers for the job.

Those trained in SCAN would be no-brainers for me.

Cops have to do weapons training and vehicle training and constantly practice these skills, taking away valuable time training in linguistics.

Human Resources is  "information gathering", period.  This is what I want:  information.

I don't want someone bullied into a false confession, or intimidated by a cop tapping his gun.  I want a thinker, not a cowboy.

I have met some in law enforcement who are excellent in Statement Analysis  and its interview process (interviewing off the analysis; i.e, "Analytical Interviewing.")


To have a human resources professional trained in Statement Analysis is the perfect storm of experience, intuition and a scientific process that goes well beyond anything body language analysis and microexpression training can give.

Human Resources needs the best and brightest as they wear the coat of many colors, with its many responsibilities, from referee to legal advisor to therapist.  They are experts in the one thing Statement Analysis wants more than anything else:

information.

Some of it quite sensitive, too.

Scheduling training for human resources in Statement Analysis is ideal.  Companies will find that the more seasoned veterans of human resources will say, "hey, I knew that!" more often than not.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Statement Analysis: Alex Rodriquez Denial of Steroids

This is an article from 2009.  Note that a reliable denial consists of three components:

1.  The pronoun "I" must be present

2.  The past tense verb "didn't" (or "did not") must be present, rather than "never"

3.  The specific allegation must be addressed.

"I did not use steroids" is an example of a reliable denial.

Lying causes internal stress on humans, therefore, they avoid a direct lie and will use "never" rather than "didn't", or drop their pronoun, or make the allegation 'vague' in their statements.  Here, A-Rod is seen deceptive on a number of points.  Can you pick up all the places where A-Rod is deceptive?

George Mitchell's blistering report detailing the illegal use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in baseball rocked the sports world this week. It implicated more than 80 players, some of the best in the game: MVP's, Cy Young Award winners, future Hall of Famers. 

One baseball great who wasn't on the list is Alex Rodriguez. He's on track to become the home run king, surpassing the likes of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. But for all of his individual accomplishments and seemingly clean record, A-Rod has been a lightning rod for criticism -- for his poor performance in the postseason, for upstaging the World Series this year, and, most of all, for his staggering paycheck. And that was before he signed a new contract with the Yankees worth an estimated $300 million dollars. Katie Couricspoke with him just after the Mitchell Report was released.



"For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing substance?" Couric asked.

"No," Rodriguez replied.

Asked if he had ever been tempted to use any of those things, Rodriguez told Couric, "No."

"You never felt like, 'This guy's doing it, maybe I should look into this, too? He's getting better numbers, playing better ball,'" Couric asked.

"I've never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I've always been a very strong, dominant position. And I felt that if I did my work as I've done since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn't have a problem competing at any level. So, no," he replied.

But the Mitchell Report named names, including at least 16 current and former Yankees, like superstars Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens. 

What's Rodriguez's reaction to this investigation?

"Katie, you're putting me in a tough spot. I mean, these are guys that I play with. They're my teammates. If anything comes of this, I will be extremely disappointed. And it will be a huge black eye on the game of baseball," he told Couric.

"It sounds like this is rampant. According to the Mitchell Report, every single club has a player using banned substances. Did you ever witness or hear about or even suspect this was going on?" Couric asked.

"You hear a lot of things. I mean, I came in 1993. And you heard whispers from the '80s and '90s. But I never saw anything. I never had raw evidence. And, quite frankly, I was probably a little bit too naïve when I first came up to understand the magnitude of all this," Rodriguez replied.

But there's no escaping the magnitude of the scandal now. The Mitchell Report comes on the heels of Barry Bonds' recent indictment in San Francisco for perjury and obstruction of justice in a federal steroids investigation.

"Given this controversy, Alex, who do you think has the real homerun record? Barry Bonds at 762 or Hank Aaron 755?" Couric asked.

"Well, I think Barry Bonds. He has 762," Rodriguez said.

"But, he has an asterisk next to his name?" Couric remarked.

"Does he?" Rodriguez said. "Not yet."

"In the minds of many, he does," Couric said.

"The federal government is going to make its decision on that. Barry's been a phenomenal player. And I've really enjoyed watching him play. But, he's innocent 'til proven guilty," Rodriguez replied.

On the same day the Mitchell Report was front page news, A-Rod was making headlines as well. The Yankees announced he had been re-signed, breaking his own record-setting deal. He already had the highest paying contract in any team sport.

Asked why he thinks he gets so much grief over his salary, Rodriguez told Couric, "'Cause I make a lot of money."

"Your new contract is worth $300 million-plus. Are you worth it? Is any player worth that kind of salary?" Couric asked.

"I'm not sure," Rodriguez said. "I mean, that's not my job to evaluate or appraise players. I love to play baseball."


But the game that got Alex Rodriguez the most attention this past season was one he wasn't even in. It was the fourth game of the World Series and the Red Sox were about to sweep the Colorado Rockies, when the announcer suddenly broke away from the game, saying that Rodriguez had decided to opt out of his Yankees contract.

Opt-out, meaning he was leaving to become a free agent. That announcement upstaged one of the biggest nights in baseball.

"Can you understand why so many people found that so incredibly offensive?" Couric asked.

"Absolutely. A hundred percent," Rodriguez said. "If I was a sports writer, if I was a fan, I would have been very, very upset. I was angry and upset. Shocked -- disbelief. I mean, I'm sitting in my living room."

"You were watching the game?" Couric asked.

"Yes. And that was very, very difficult," Rodriguez said.

Asked what he did when he heard it, Rodriguez told Couric, "Nightmare -- you know, I got white like a ghost. I just couldn't believe my eyes. I was under the impression that it would come out a day or two after the World Series concluded. And I would never do anything to harm the game … to the Red Sox and the Rockies, my deepest apologies, and to all of Major League Baseball."

"You got hammered by the press. A number of respected sports writers called you, among other things, 'A gold plated phony.' 'Pay-Rod in Pinstripes.' They say you upstaged more World Series games than you actually played in. Were you surprised at the level of vitriol that came your way?" Couric asked. 

"No. If I was a writer, I would have done the same thing, because it was unacceptable. And inappropriate," Rodriguez said. "And, you know, when you do things the wrong way, that's what you get."

The whole debacle started, he says, when his agent, Scott Boras, told him the Yankees didn't want him anymore. 

"But they were trying to reach out to you. It's kind of hard to believe that you were taking Scott Boras' word as gospel when you had all these other signs coming from Yankee management," Couric remarks.

"You're right," Rodriguez says.

Asked why he fell for that, Rodriguez said, "Why wouldn't I trust my attorney. Most people trust their attorneys. I'm a baseball player. I'm not an attorney. I've never negotiated a contract." 

But at the age of 32, he was about to. 

"When I realized things were going haywire, at that point, I said, 'Wait a minute! I got to be accountable for my own life…this is not going the way I wanted to go and I got behind the wheel,' and I called Hank," Rodriguez recalled.

Hank, as in George Steinbrenner's son, who is now in charge of the Yankees. Taking the advice of his friend billionaire Warren Buffet, A-Rod says he negotiated directly and personally with the Yankees. 

Scott Boras, who told 60 Minutes he couldn't talk about his clients, was not welcome at the table, but he still stands to make about $15 million on the deal. A-Rod says he will pay him, and will keep him.

"What is your relationship like with him today? Why do you have to think about that so much?" Couric asked Rodriguez.

"Well, the whole situation saddens me a little bit," he replied.

Asked if he talks with him at all, Rodriguez said "No."

"Do you think that will change?" Couric asked.

"We'll see," Rodriguez said. 

Asked if he was talking to Boras during the negotiation process, Rodriguez said, "No, I wasn't. I was talking with my wife."

"Cynthia, how do you think Alex changed as a result of this?" Couric asked.

"He wasn't used to having to take such initiative and such action, especially in this arena….and he actually had to pick up the phone, make the calls, make some decisions and stand behind them…be confident and be sure…it was very difficult, but it was a huge growing experience," Rodriguez's wife replied. 

Is it all about the money for you?" Couric asked.

"No," Rodriguez said. "But economics always play a part of it. I wanted the best deal the Yankees had for me. Whatever that number was."

"Some people say you overplayed your hand. That there wasn't that much interest in you among other teams," Couric remarked.

"I beg to differ," Rodriguez said.

Asked why, Rodriguez said, "I thought there was a lot of interest out there."

"You thought or you knew?" Couric asked.

"I knew," he replied.

By the time this contract is over, Rodriguez will have made nearly $500 million playing baseball. Life in Coral Gables, Fla., is a far cry from his childhood in Miami, which changed dramatically when he was only nine. His father abandoned his family, leaving his mother to support them. 

"My mother's been a rock for a long time," Rodriguez said. "And again, she's working two jobs, secretary in the morning. She was a waitress at night. And it's funny 'cause when she got home and she would pick me up at the Boys and Girls Club in her beat-up car that half the times couldn't start, we would go home. And I was so excited to kind of get all her money out of her pocket. And I would sit there and count, you know, 23, 24, 25, 38, 40. Mom, you did great."

So has her son. Since high school, Alex Rodriguez has been one of baseball's most promising prospects. At 18, he was the number one draft pick for the Seattle Mariners. Over the years he earned a reputation as a player who could do it all, blasting home runs despite the most determined outfielders, diving for balls, and gunning down runners.

But since he came to the Yankees four years ago, New York fans have had trouble warming up to the enigmatic Rodriguez, especially when they needed him the most. 

"Why haven't you done better in the post-season?" Couric asked.

"I've stunk," Rodriguez admitted. "You know? I've done very poorly. And that's not acceptable."

Asked what it is like being booed by his own fans, Rodriguez told Couric, "Oh, that's awful. That's terrible."

This year there was a lot less booing. He seemed more relaxed and says he was finally comfortable enough to laugh at himself. 

A state-of-the-art batting cage he built near his home raised his game. Every day in the off-season, he blasts his music and gets to work.

"How much of getting a good hit is technical and how much of it really is psychological?" Couric asked.

"I think it really comes down to 90 percent mental and you know, once Yankee Stadium, the lights are on, you have 55,000 people there. It's all about your mind. You know you better than that guy on the mound, and you cannot let that guy beat you. It becomes a competitive battle, one on one," Rodriguez said.

But the lights are on Alex Rodriguez 24-7, and he's gotten singed, routinely described in the press as arrogant and disingenuous, not a team player. Then there were the tabloid reports about an alleged extramarital affair.

"It was a challenging time," Rodriguez recalled. "And you know, we've learned from it, we've regrouped, we've stood up and now I think we've become much closer because of the whole situation. "

It's unlikely the media attention will go away, but some of it will focus on his potential to break the homerun record.

"These are the two MVP awards," Rodriguez told Couric in his memorabilia room. "And this right here is the Babe Ruth Award-
for most home runs in Major League Baseball. But I would like to yank all three of 'em and put World Championship there. That's my goal. That's my ultimate goal."

Today, Alex Rodriguez says he's in a better position than ever to help make that happen. "I feel comfortable my team can expect me to be in the line up every day and at the end of the day, I get paid to be a Major League Baseball player, not anything else, and I do that pretty well." 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shorty Killer's Claim: Crack



Suspect in WWII vet slay: We were buying crack from victim



Family friends via KHQ-TV
Delbert Belton
One of the teens charged with beating to death a World War II veteran allegedly claimed he was buying crack cocaine from the 88-year-old and the transaction turned violent — but cops said there is no evidence to support that.
 The allegation was denounced as bizarre by victim Delbert “Shorty” Belton’s family and even dismissed by the defense lawyer for the other teen accused in the Spokane, Wash., case, which has drawn national attention.

The Spokesman-Review via AP
Demetruis Glenn, 16, listens to his lawyer, Christian J. Phelps, before a first appearance in District Court in Spokane, Wash., on Monday.
“That’s a bunch of crock,” daughter-in-law Barbara Belton told NBC News on Tuesday afternoon after suspect Kenan Adams-Kinard made his first court appearance to be charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.
“He was a little senile, a little eccentric, but he was not into drugs,” she said, accusing the teen of concocting a self-serving story that would make the victim seem less sympathetic.
“Of course these kids are going to make excuses.”
Adams-Kinard and Demetruis Glenn, both 16, are accused of attacking Belton when he resisted a robbery attempt in the parking lot outside his Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge last Wednesday night. Both were charged as adults.
The teens, who have previous convictions for assault, were caught on security cameras in the area at the time of the slaying, but Glenn’s lawyer said there are no eyewitnesses or forensic evidence tying them to the crime.
An affidavit from prosecutors says that while he was on the run for four days, Adams-Kinard told two friends that the beating was the result of a drug deal gone bad. Police seized a letter signed with Adams-Kinard’s name that gave a similar account.
The letter said that after buying a “zip of crack cocaine from Shorty,” the teens “proceeded to sock him.”
“I took his wallet and another ounce of crack from his pockets,” the letter said, according to the court document. “He was unconscious so I made sure he was still breathing, and then I took off."
The letter was purportedly an explanation the teen was writing to his mother, police said.

Handout / Reuters
Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16, will make his first court appearance Tuesday in the beating death of 88-year-old World War II vet Delbert Belton.
Spokane police said they doubted the drug-buying story, with spokeswoman Monique Cotton saying in a statement: “We have no evidence to support that.”
Even Glenn’s lawyer, Christian Phelps, said he was highly skeptical of the claim, which was disclosed during Adams-Kinard’s court appearance on Tuesday.
“It doesn’t seem plausible to me,” Phelps said. “I wouldn’t put any stock in it at this point.”
Phelps also claimed "there are no eyewitnesses and no forensic evidence that links either of the kids to the crime." 
Belton, who survived being shot in the Battle of Okinawa, was a widowed retiree who liked to dance and play pool at the lodge, according to friends.
His death has made headlines because of his age and war heroism. While some commentators have seized on the fact that the suspects were black and the victim was white, police have said race played no role.
"A lot of folks just want to throw these kids away and the key — or worse,” Phelps said. "I would urge people to wait for the facts to develop."

Isabel Celis: Cold Case

Statement Analysis indicated both Sergio and Becky Celis, parents of missing child, Isabel, for deception regarding their daughter's disappearance.

Their statements showed deception about what happened to Isabel, and the aftermath of their actions, and continue to do so.

Sergio Celis' 911 call, in particular, showed intent to deceive, sans his 'giggling', as seen in his change of language, according to the SCAN technique, the foundation of all Statement Analysis today.

Sergio Celis' language is also indicative of sexual abuse.

It is difficult to understand how the giggling, nervous Sergio Celis, with Child Protective history, bested police in the interview and interrogation process.

Very difficult.  This presupposes that there was no confession even though they pressured Sergio Celis by getting him to have no contact with his children.  This tactic appears to have failed.

There is no "who done it" here; just "what" can be proven in a court of law. There may be significant difference of opinion between police and prosecutors, as is sometimes the case.

Here is a news article meant to be read with a large pillar of salt:


"There is a startling revelation in the case of a missing Tucson girl that's gone all but cold.
Isabel Celis disappeared in April 2012.
Now, as Isabel's eighth birthday approaches, her parents say there is someone who they believe could help bring her home.
Isabel's father said a family member, whom he won't name, has refused to talk to the couple's private investigator.
"It's frustrating to run against a wall of this person has an attorney and they're not going to let them speak a word, protecting somebody that we feel has a lot of information to give," Sergio Celis said.
Sergio does not believe that person committed a crime but does have information of some kind.
"And if it has to be anonymous, so be it. We just want her home. We want our baby home. We want this nightmare over," said Becky Celis, Isabel's mother."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Racial Cruelty Caught On Tape

If they are this way, at this age, what will the future hold?

 Is this what we have become?

Caution to viewers:  very upsetting video.  The boy who posted it on Facebook called it

"What happens when white people p*** off black people."

What will the parents say about their children's behavior?


2 Year old Shaken To Death

“I think he might be having breathing trouble, because his mom has asthma and he may have it too,” says Dimambro.
 “He keeps like gasping for air. He might have had an asthma attack or something.”

Note the need to explain why he might have an asthma attack is anticipated before he is asked, making it very sensitive. 

2-year-old Damian Sutton, Washington Township boy allegedly shaken by mother's boyfriend, dies in hospital

damian sutton.jpgCourtesy of the Prayers for Damian R. Sutton Facebook page
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, MI — Damian R. Sutton, the 2-year-old Washington Township boy who has been hospitalized in critical condition since last Wednesday, died Tuesday morning, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony M. Wickersham's office has confirmed.
The boy was hospitalized after suffering critical injuries while being babysat by his mother's boyfriend, 26-year-old Ronald A. Dimambro.
Dimambro told dispatchers he believed Damian was suffering an asthma attack, later said he fell out of his crib and ultimately admitted to shaking the child, police said.
Damian underwent a brainsurgery Sunday to remove a portion of his skull to relieve pressure from his swollen brain.
Dimambo is charged with first-degree child abuse and detectives are preparing a case for amended charges in the wake of the child's death, Macomb County sheriff's officials said.
Dimambro was scheduled to appear in Macomb County District Court at 9 a.m. Tuesday for a preliminary examination.
With in minutes of the news becoming public, an outpouring of condolences appeared on a Facebook page named "Prayers for Damian Ryan Sutton," set up to support the family and their medical expenses.
Dimambro.JPGRonald A. Dimambro, 26
"My heart is heavy this morning as it is every morning I wake up and see another child has lost a life because of the abuse from someone else," wrote Melanie Loafman. "R.I.P. angel, you're in Heaven and nothing can hurt you now. I pray to bring relief to the family during this time. I can't imagine what the mother is going through. Stay strong.
"Damian touched so many people's hearts and didn't even know it."

Regionalism and Language: "Of Course!"

O'Neils to see the Irish Dancers
We take into consideration that language is a shifting element in society.  What was once "far out" turned "cool", or even "hot", while some parts of the country retained their own expressions (regionalism), more than others.

We've talked about it being "wicked hot" in New England, indicating a warmer than normal temperature, and not inherent evil within the temperature.  This is why context is so important.

We had a lesson in regionalism this past week.

At a restaurant in Colorado, each time we said, "Thank you", we were met with "Of course", rather than "you're welcome" (which is often written as 'your welcome' or 'your wellcome' in today's communications).

We thought it might just be our waiter, but soon heard others say the same.  Perhaps it was just this particular restaurant.

We went to another restaurant the next night, and, sure enough, rather than hear, "you're welcome" we received, "of course!" (with some emphasis) from our greeter, waitress, and busboy.

Hearing it in some local stores convinced us that this was, perhaps, a regional expression, since we had not heard it in our part of the country.

It also makes sense.

"Of course" means to take for granted, without question.  It is in this sense, that "thank you" being answered by, "of course", as if "it is expected service, without question."

It was good service.



Boulder had lots to offer, and the Pearl Street Mall was a lot of fun, including the thunder storm that came and went and gave us quite a show.

As language changes, Statement Analysis works with clay blocks, not cement, and is pliable.  Anything that is intended for communication presupposes understanding.

We can analyze it.

Can do it.

Even when pronouns dropped in text messages!

Can you think of anything from your region that is exclusive?


Monday, August 26, 2013

Analysis: False Confession of Thomas Cogdell, 12

While watching a documentary on the case where Thomas Cogdell, 12, was accused of killing his sister, I was stunned at just how often he told the police, "I didn't kill her."

He was interviewed by three ignorant and zealous men who should not be in law enforcement.  Their utter lack of training was appalling.

Listening to the quotes of statistics, I agree with the finding that police officers who take Statement Analysis training were tested before and after the training with these results:

1.  The police scored lower than the general public on identifying liars
2.  After taking training, the police scores remained lower than the general public.

Police often feel that "everyone" is lying.

This week, I met a woman who spoke to me after my speech in Boulder in which I mentioned how poorly police are in catching liars.  She said, "my husband is a detective", so I thought to myself, 'brace yourself for some anger', but instead of anger she was laughing and said how incredibly accurate my description was.  She said her husband never believes her (her laughter dissipated) and thinks that "everyone" is lying.  She also said he is leaving law enforcement for insurance investigations.  I encouraged her to encourage him to training.

The SCAN training is difficult.  My estimation is this:

If one takes the SCAN training (See LSISCAN.com) and works diligently in practicing, in about two years, the "analyst" will emerge.  As for practice, I am thinking of working on statements, every day, without fail, for 2 hours per day until the magical number is reached:

1000 hours.

1000 hours is often sited as the mark of proficiency in learning any skill, from guitar study to analysis.

In the case of Thomas Cogdell, there are two things which stand out:

1.  "I didn't do it" is spoken plainly, early and often.  Only when he enters the language of the ignorant accusers does he frame "I killed her"; which is their language; not his.  At one point of the video, he whispers to his mother that he didn't do it but will tell them he did. He may have thought he was protecting her.

His language showed veracity.

2.  False confession

In listening to his confession, it is immediately apparent that the language did not come from memory. In fact, without analysis, I heard him go out of chronological order, at least twice, regarding the event.

His language showed confession.

False confessions do not come from memory.  If someone is beaten, or sleep deprived, or coerced into a confession, since it does not come from experiential memory, it can only contain the words of the interrogator (parroting language) or it will show deception.

False confessions are deceptive statements and are seen as such.

When Amanda Knox defenders claim she was beaten and threatened into a false confession, Statement Analysis showed that it came from experiential memory:  She was not lying:  She had guilty knowledge of the murder---she may not have inflicted the blows (I believe she did not) but she was present and helped the clean up.

This is why she was deceptive when she went to blame someone else:  she had the need to deceive.

Statement Analysis is added to the following article, in bold type.






'We'll give you the death penalty': How police 'forced innocent boy, 12, to confess to strangling his sister, 11

A 12-year-old boy found guilty of murdering his 11-year-old sister said he was forced to confess to the murder after hours of 'terrifying' police interrogation - although he had nothing to do with it.
Police suspected Thomas Cogdell, now 18, had strangled his sister at their Camden, Arkansas home after his shock at her death stunned him into silence. Hours later, he admitted he was to blame.
Although found guilty, Cogdell insists he had no part in her murder and was coerced into a confession. After two years in jail, he was released when a judge found he was unfairly questioned.
Distress: During interrogation, Thomas Cogdell, then 12, told police 36 times he did not murder his sister. Cogdell said when police turned off the recorder, the pressure intensified and led to a confession he insists was false
Distress: During interrogation, Thomas Cogdell, then 12, told police 36 times he did not murder his sister. He said when police turned off the recorder, he was pressured into confessing his 'guilt'
During questioning following the 2006 crime, the boy - an intelligent bookworm - told police 36 times he had had no part in the killing.
But when he asked for food, officers switched off the tape recorder. Three-and-a-half hours later they switched it on again - and Cogdell confessed to the murder.
They had allegedly used tactics such as threatening him with the death penalty. He was unaware a child cannot be sentenced to such a penalty.
 


    He eventually told police he had snapped because his sister was bossy and he put the bags over her head to teach her a lesson, The Commerical Appeal reported.
    But in reality, he had made up the confession, believing that DNA evidence would clear him.
    Police had told him they found a fingerprint on the plastic bags. He can be heard at the end of the recording whispering to his mother: 'I didn't do it. It's OK, Mom. They won't find my fingerprints.'

    On tape, he is repeatedly heard telling police, "I didn't kill her", and "I did not kill my sister", though each time, it was ignored by police. 

    Murdered: Kaylee Cogdell, 11, was found dead on her bed with bags tied around her head. Her brother remained calm, which police say as a sign of guilt
    Murdered: Kaylee Cogdell, 11, was found dead on her bed with bags tied around her head. Her brother remained calm, which police saw as a sign of guilt
    As it turned out, police were unable to read a clear print and the boy was found guilty of murdering his young sister as she slept.
    'I was terrified,' Cogdell, now 18, said in a recent interview. 'They wouldn't believe me and they said they would give me the death penalty.'
    The case is just the latest example fuelling the debate about whether police interrogations should be recorded.
    In August 2006, Cogdell was awoken by his mother, Melody Jones. Together they found 11-year-old Kaylee sprawled on her bed.
    Her head was covered with two Walmart bags, and she had been tied up with the family dog's lead and a measuring tape, The Commerical Appeal reported.
    When his mother became too hysterical, he calmly called 911 and gave directions to their family home.
    Police dragged him in for questioning, turning their attentions away from his mother, who Cogdell and his grandparents insist is guilty of the murder.
    Melody Jones admitted to police she had repeatedly smacked her daughter the night before her death when she refused to come home as she had been told.
    They ignored her confession that she was on Social Security disability due to mental illness, including bipolar disorder, and that she sometimes failed to take her medicine.
    A video of the questioning show investigators repeatedly telling the boy: 'You or your mother did it.'
    Although an unknown male's DNA was found on Kaylee, investigators ruled out the possibility of an intruder as there were no signs of a break in.
    Interview: Cogdell's mother, Melody Jones, is treated more compassionately than her son during interrogation. Cogdell believes his mother, who had a history of mental illness, is guilty of killing Kaylee
    Interview: Cogdell's mother, Melody Jones, is treated more compassionately than her son during interrogation. Cogdell believes his mother, who had a history of mental illness, is guilty of killing Kaylee
    Cogdell said when the recorder was off, he was told he could go home if he told investigators he was to blame and he'd go to jail if he didn't, according to The Commerical Appeal.
    But in at least 36 recorded denials, he is heard pleading with police.

    Crying, he offered to swear on a Bible or take a polygraph test.'I wouldn't kill my sister. I didn't do it, OK?,' he said. 'I didn't. I didn't kill my sister. Is there any way I can prove that to you?'
    One of the detectives asked: 'What are you crying for?'

    Can we even imagine such ignorance on the part of a man who carries a weapon? "What are you crying for?" to a kid who's accused of murdering his sister?  I can only imagine the psychological profile of this detective!


    He responded: 'Because you are accusing me of something I didn't do -- of killing my sister.'

    When police left, Thomas let out shrill cries and said to himself: 'Why? ... I didn't do it, but they won't believe me. Help. I'm scared.'

    He is repeatedly heard talking to himself, saying "I didn't kill her"


    He was eventually convicted of second-degree murder by a Ouachita County judge in March 2008.

    The high court threw out the confession in 2010 - but on technical grounds as he had told police he didn't understand what it meant to waive his rights to remain silent and have an attorney with him.

    He served two years in jail but has not been cleared.

    'I lost my faith in the justice system,' Cogdell said. 'I don't believe in any of it anymore.'

    Memphis defense attorney Gray Bartlett told The Commerical Appeal that police are often trained in the type of military tactics used in questioning suspected terrorists.

    'It's so contrary to common sense,' he said of false confessions. 'But what happens in these interrogation rooms is that they break down people's will.'

    Steve Drizin, a lawyer with the Center on Wrongful Conviction of Youth, said: 'The interrogation is one of the most riveting examples of psychological torture I have ever seen.'
    But prosecuting attorney Robin Carroll to the Appeal: 'No evidence or court holding has been forthcoming to cause my office to doubt anything done in the case, or its basis.'

    Simply put:

    Statement Analysis showed that he did not kill his sister and was telling the truth.  
    Statement Analysis showed that when he confessed to killing his sister, he was deceptive.  

    Statement Analysis: Husband of Missing Hiker


    Husband of disappeared AT hiker plagued by questions, doubting he’ll ever see wife again


    Geraldine Largay in the black jacket searchers say she would have been wearing around the time of her disappearance.
    Maine Department of Public Safety
    Geraldine Largay in the black jacket searchers say she would have been wearing around the time of her disappearance.
    She was 200 miles from her goal, the rocky Maine mountain that marks the northern end of the Appalachian Trail. She’d been in touch with her husband just that morning. She’d said a cheery hello to other hikers, who snapped her photo before she turned toward the peaks rising in the distance.
    And then?
    Geraldine “Gerry” Largay vanished on July 23. No one knows what happened to the former Peachtree Corners resident.
    News of her disappearance has rippled through metro communities where Gerry was a constant, smiling presence — prompted questions, too. Did she fall off a cliff? Did someone attack her?
    George Largay figures he may never again see his wife — not alive, anyway. He’s learning to refer to her in the past tense.
    She was absolutely where she wanted to be,” Largay, 69, said last week. “She was absolutely doing what she wanted to do.”
    Note the use of the verb, "was" in the past tense.  He believes she is not alive. 
    One might ask about the word "absolutely" used twice...was he supportive of her hiking?  Why the need for emphasis?
    Did she want him to go but he did not want to?  The word "absolutely" is sensitive, and there is a reason.  The article gives us the explanation as we view his sad quotes. 
    Meantime, police keep searching for the lost hiker as summer wanes and the nights grow longer. They know the odds against finding her alive grow ever longer, too. They’ve combed hills on foot, sent helicopters thudding skyward, followed dogs trained to sniff the faintest scent. Word about the missing grandmother has gone up and down the 2,200-mile trail that cuts a diagonal from Georgia to Maine.
    The mountains where Largay was last seen are steep, thick with forests. What happened to Gerry Largay may be a secret known only to the trees and the wind, the rocks and the water.

    ‘Meet in the middle’

    Two years ago, Gerry surprised her husband. She wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail.
    George thought about it. In four decades of marriage, she’d followed him in his career of automobile sales and marketing. Since 2001, they’d lived in Peachtree Corners, where the couple celebrated his retirement in 2010. He owed her the hike.
    It would not be a mere stroll in the woods. The Appalachian Trail — the AT — begins in Georgia at Mount Springer and winds through 14 states. Its northern terminus is in Maine at Mount Katahdin, rocky and windswept, rising a mile above sea level. Three-quarters of the AT’s hikers don’t complete the trek. Gerry resolved to be in the minority who do.
    With her husband, she hiked 200 miles in the Georgia and North Carolina mountains, training for harder trails ahead. She took a course at the Appalachian Trail Institute. She sought the advice of a woman who holds the record for hiking the trail in 46 days. She read seven AT books. In all, she spent 18 months in logistics and training, even weighing her food to determine how much she should carry. George was her constant, bemused fellow planner.
    Hiking (the trail) was not on my bucket list,” George said. “But when you’ve been happily married for 42 years you sort of meet in the middle” and compromise.
    This now explains why the use of "absolutely" was used twice. 
    George, not a camper, agreed to be the fellow she’d meet at prearranged spots to provide her with more food — and, every few days, with a hotel room where Gerry could take a bath and sleep on a mattress. He adopted a trail nickname, “Sherpa,” to describe his role as the support guy in her trek. She also took a hiking nickname, “Inchworm.” She was slow and steady.
    Gerry decided to make the northern trek first, leaving from the trail’s midway point at Harper’s Ferry, W.Va. That would put her ahead of hordes who started from Mount Springer. Gerry hoped to reach Mount Katahdin by late July or early August. She’d then return to Harper’s Ferry and hike toward Georgia, taking advantage of the milder southern weather as temperatures dropped in northern states. Gerry planned to finish by mid- to late November.
    In January, they sold their house and moved to Nashville, where the Largays had lived before and where their daughter, Kerry Bauchiero, has a home. From there, they made final plans.
    Those plans went into effect April 22, when George took his wife to Harper’s Ferry. Joining them was Jane Lee, a friend from Alpharetta. She planned to make the trek, too.
    The two women left the next morning. It was 38 degrees at sunrise. The two walked down a small street, trailing vapor clouds, and entered the trail. Their adventure had begun.
    “She was on Cloud Nine,” recalled Lee, who shared a love of canasta and hiking with Gerry. “Finally, we were walking on the AT!”
    As the two walked, Gerry took note of her surroundings. She shared her thoughts with friends in periodic emails she wrote with a laptop George supplied when they stopped for the night.
    In an April 26 entry, she sounded a gloomy note about the dead woodlands they encountered after entering Pennsylvania. “We later found out that insects have been the main cause; the emerald ash borer has wiped out the ash, the woolly adelgid has wiped out the hemlocks, and the gypsy moth has done a number on the oaks,” she wrote. “Heart breaking.”
    Gerry shook her malaise the next day when she summed up their first four days on the trail: “A grand beginning!”
    One morning, Gerry paused to admire the rising sun. Its beams sliced the night mist as cleanly as a blade cuts paper.
    Come on, Gerry, we have to go!” Lee said.
    note the use of "we" showing unity.  
    Gerry didn’t move. “Look!” she said. “Look how beautiful it is!”
    They covered nearly 800 miles until a family emergency forced Lee to give up the trek. On June 30 they parted in New Hampshire, both weeping.
    I don’t want to leave you,” Lee said.
    Jane, I’m a big girl now. I’m going on this hike with or without you,” Gerry replied. “I’ll be fine.”
    Lee got a text from Gerry on July 19. JANE I JUST CROSSED OVER THE STATE LINE OF MAINE, the excited hiker wrote. WISH U WERE HERE.
    Four days later, Gerry was gone.

    Few lost

    It’s not unusual for hikers to take a wrong turn on the AT, but nearly every hiker is found. A report last year from the Maine Warden Service concluded that 98 percent of lost hikers were found within 24 hours. The service is still searching for Gerry, but has scaled back. It takes three hours to hike in to the area where officials think she went missing. Crews searched for her Thursday, but found nothing.
    Officials have not ruled out the possibility that she met with violence, but say the odds are better than she got lost, with fatal results.
    “We’ve had a handful of cases” of lost hikers, said Cpl. John McDonald, a public information officer for the warden service. “This could well be one of those instances.”
    That’s a hard truth, and George struggles with it. When she didn’t meet him at a prearranged spot on July 23, he didn’t worry about it. Surely the rain had slowed her. He spent the night in their Toyota Highlander, confident she’d join him the next day. When she did not, he contacted police.
    He and his son, Ryan, joined the early search for Gerry, only to follow the advice of Maine officials: Go home, they said. He’s back in Nashville, planning to attend a memorial for his wife Oct. 12 at St. Brigid Catholic Church in Alpharetta, which they regularly attended while living in the metro area.
    He has memories that won’t let go. At Gettysburg, he surprised his wife with a couple of hiking shirts that wick moisture from the skin. One was blazing pink, and it fit! She wriggled into it, and George knew: He’d scored some major husband points.
    Her expression said it all,” said George.
    These days, George is, suddenly, someone without a plan, talking in the past tense. “We always figured that I’d be the first to go,” he said. “It didn’t work out the way we figured.