Sunday, January 4, 2015
Domestic Violence: Chief William McCollum's Shooting of Margaret McCollum
Chief William McCollum is on administrative leave for the shooting of his wife.
When this story first broke, John and a few others had posted links to it to which I responded that if the 911 call was released, I would analyze it and we would likely know the truth.
I had hoped that the analysis would reveal a loving relationship and a terrible accident. As Solomon pointed out, with much knowledge comes sadness. I imagine more than a few law enforcement officers, especially locally, felt the same way I did.
When GBI released the 911 call, much information was gleaned.
The analysis is found here and it reveals:
1. He is deceptive about being asleep
2. He is deceptive about the location of the gun
3. He conceals responsibility of how the gun got into the bed.
There will likely be a few that will be angry at the analysis, yet the principles of Statement Analysis does not change, whether it is a face to face interview, a 911 call interview, or a written statement. If there is the intention of communication, analysis can be done.
This showed deception.
Primarily, it shows a very bad relationship at the time of the statement. This "very bad" relationship is extreme; something expected in a personal homicide.
But there is more:
He gives indication of high-mindedness, that is, arrogance. When taken in context, it is alarming. He refers to himself as "the Chief of Police", which is correct. It is his title.
Yet, his wife lay bleeding to death next to him, and she is given no title, nor name, nor does he use the pronoun "my" in relation to her.
He gives some linguistic indications of a control domestic violence abuser; that is, one who becomes threatening when he is not in control of a situation.
He declares, though not asked, that "I am the Chief of Police", yet gives his victim no title of "wife."
He shows linguistic concern about his career, using the word "unfortunate", not to describe a 58 year old woman in pain, bleeding to death, but saves this word for himself. This is callousness.
A linguistic indicator is just that: an indication. It means: Check for D/V history. It is not proof of D/V.
He also gives linguistic indication that a 3rd party may be involved. This means: find out if there is a 3rd party in the marriage. This could be a major stressor.
Note also something unusual: he does not use the pronoun "my" in the call. It is not only absent towards his wife, but towards his gun.
Note also that as law enforcement, the 911 operator has her doubts that he has begun CPR and she doubts he called her immediately, especially as he says "it happened in the middle of the night", rather than just "moments ago."
I think if investigators look carefully, they will find a significant gap of time between the shootings and the 911 call.
D/V and women.
Women under DV relationships are often 'repeat victims' in that they go back to the relationship. They often will lie and police investigators should expect that Margaret McCollum may try to cover for her husband.
It is very important that she write out a statement, if she is physically able, and that the statement is analyzed.
Here is why:
In a L/E case of Domestic Violence in which the wife was seriously injured in front of the couple's child, the wife wrote out a statement from the hospital, explaining how she broke her bone; that is, in a fall. She was a professional, well educated and wanted to protect her L/E husband.
I was given the written statement for analysis.
I did the analysis before interviewing her, and before interviewing him. He had more than 19 years in Law Enforcement and was months away from retirement which was a generous benefit that accumulated and grew well over the years.
The deception indicated was used to confront each of them and admissions were obtained. No one likes being accused of lying.
A Florida blog has reported the following:
*that Margaret McCollum is his second wife, of three, and reunited with him only recently but when she was divorced, she alleged Domestic Violence on his part;
*that another ex wife of his alleged infidelity as the cause of their break up.
It is interesting that there are linguistic indicators that should tell investigators to explore the possibility of both of these elements.
That it came after New Year's Eve may have something to do with a possible stressor and, perhaps, a very late night, as this call came hours after midnight.
In commenting about the lack of a social introduction, Statement Analysis indicates a very bad relationship at the time of this call.
By calling her, "Margaret" or "Maggie" without her title, and the possessive pronoun "my", I would have concluded trouble in the relationship at the time of the call, but for him to make it through the entire call without these three ("my", "wife", "name"), tells me not only is this a highly volatile situation, but that the subject has an acute need to get himself as far away from her as possible.
Social Introductions in Statement Analysis reflect the reality of the relationship at the time of the statement. The reason I keep adding "at the time" is because we can have a statement in which an improper or incomplete social introduction is noted in a portion of the statement, but later in the statement, to find the pronoun "my" return, showing an "improvement" in the relationship.
This helps us discern, via context:
Where the subject does not want to be associated with his wife;
where the subject is more comfortable associating with his wife.
This 'change' in relationship is seen in statements that contain arguments.
The extremity of distancing language in this statement suggests domestic homicide.
This is a lot to say, especially since Margaret McCollum's condition has been upgraded, thankfully, from "critical" to "serious" but investigators may find that not only did the subject shoot her in anger, but that he may have only called 911 after a delay, learning that she was going to survive, and grew fearful. A "delay" could be mere minutes, but that he did not call for help immediate is evident in his language.
What do you make of the subject's belief that he shot her twice, while the GBI is saying she was only shot once?
Was there a misfire?
That he does not call it "my" gun (the word "my" is not heard once in the call. As pointed out repeatedly, we are possessive creatures by nature, and take ownership of what we believe is ours. "My wife" is not only expected, but it is expected to be heard a number of times in this call, particularly since the setting is his wife laying on the bed, next to him, bleeding to death.
Law enforcement is often quite possessive of their fire arms, and this is natural. Not only must they become proficient in its use, but due to the nature of the job, they become attached to it, as it can protect them from serious injury or death. "My" gun, or "my" weapon or "my" firearm is expected. It is why I asked, openly, "Was this his wife's gun?" due to the distancing language. If it is his wife's gun, the distancing language as seen in the absence of the possessive pronoun is not a red flag; it is appropriate.
But if the gun belongs to him and he does not take ownership of it, we have analysis pointed to a domestic homicide attempt.
He distances himself from the gun and he distances himself from the victim. The gun belongs to him (we later learned from GBI) and the victim is "his" wife.
In the statement, he wants to be associated with neither the gun nor the victim.
This is not good.
Language is the lens of the camera into the perception of the subject's reality.
What one normally takes strong possession of, he runs away from.
He has a reason to run away from possession of his gun and his victim. This will be the open question that investigators must answer.
Also note in the analysis the exclamation of surprise, as he appears surprised that he is being even questioned. This element of surprise, as in "gosh!", is also seen in the 911 operator's questions:
She seemed unconvinced that the chief of police exercised First Aid care to his wife;
She seemed surprised that the victim was his wife and seemed to be frustrated at his short replies and the need to have to ask him about her.
Finally, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as well as the District Attorney's office will likely be under pressure in this case.
1. They have "one of our own" in law enforcement. Law enforcement is a fraternity of sorts, due to the particular stresses of the job. This 'membership' extends to wives, as well, as they experience unique stressors that others do not. Often police express that they are the only ones who "get it", or understand each other. To go to work, each day, and face not only acute danger, but public perception, is a highly stressful condition. Suicide statistics and alcoholism statistics bear out this truth.
We find the same 'club' mentality in the law profession, medical profession, and even in the social services (those who investigate child abuse claims, for example, feel that unless one has witnessed first hand, child abusers and their victims, they do not understand the secondary trauma experienced).
It is a natural bonding that takes place, and politically today, it has become even stronger as President Obama and more recently, the mayor of New York, has portrayed law enforcement in a negative, racist light. Whereas once they were always the "good guys", they are being portrayed as "racist bad guys" by the White House. This is seen in the Ferguson shooting, where the officer told the truth about the violent criminal he was attacked by. in spite of the rule of law finding no cause for indictment, the White House will pursue federal charges.
In New York City, arrests are done almost 70%, compared with the same time last year. This is the result of having painted law enforcement as the bad guys. Better yet, traffic tickets are down more than 90%, which will hit the politicians in the pocketbooks. Police in NYC are reporting that they are frightened and demonized and are just trying to survive, rather than protect and serve, after two were executed in response to the Eric Garner death.
Law Enforcement may line up on either side of the equation.
2. They have someone who, in just a few media reports, is well beloved in the community. This means that they must seek out the truth while feeling pressure from the public.
3. They have the D/V community watching, who want justice for victims of D/V.
4. They have the nation watching, as the story went national, and this may become even more acute if the Nancy Grace producers pick it up.
5. They have their own ethical guidelines to follow, and want the truth. They must seek to put aside these outside influences and get to the truth.
Lastly, they have the possibility of a Joe Tacopina type attorney grabbing the case for the publicity, who may attempt to turn it into a circus for the sake of seeking 15 minutes before the spotlight.
I don't know if charges will be filed against William McCollum. I know what the analysis shows, and my confidence in the system is not challenged here, as it is not a case of "maybe" or "perhaps" regarding the incomplete social introduction.
There is extreme distancing in the language of the subject from the victim. This type of distancing language is fitting for a serious domestic situation, like domestic homicide.
Thankfully, it is not a homicide.
Could Chief McCollum face attempted murder charges? Or, will he be cleared?
Leave your opinion in the comments section, including the reason for your opinion.
Statement Analysis has revealed a very bad relationship and a deceptive shooter who wants no association with his gun, nor his wife.