Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Statement Analysis of Sheriff Victor Hill
He refused to give a statement to police, or be interviewed.
After several days, he handed over his gun and clothing as evidence.
He has released the following statement:
"As reported, on May 3, 2015, I was involved in a tragic and heartbreaking accident. Gwenevere McCord, who is very dear to me, was critically injured in this accident. Please understand that for the past 48 hours, I have been entirely focused on Gwenevere and her family. I will continue to pray unceasingly for her recovery. I ask you all to please pray for Gwenevere and her family throughout this most difficult time."
Here is the statement analyzed:
This is to affirm that he is addressing what has been reported and a linguistic signal that this statement is prepared with the media reports in mind. This is similar to a "self reference" where a subject says, "Like I said before..." or "As I told the other officer" which suggests that experiential memory is not foremost, but memory of what was earlier referenced. It is to be aware of what was "reported" in the press as taking emphasis over experiential memory.
The reader should be aware of this as possibly reduced reliability.
on May 3, 2015, I was involved in a tragic and heartbreaking accident.
1. The date is referenced, because that is what media reported and it is, therefore, confirmed: a signal that the subject is working from the media report rather than experiential memory.
2. "I was involved" is passive voice. This is a deliberate use of a phrase that avoids responsibility for the shooting. The allegation is that he shot a woman. He avoids admission of shooting, which is the nature of passivity: it conceals identity and/or responsibility. Where a shot is fired from an unknown entity in a crowd, passivity is appropriate.
In a shooting where he is the shooter, this is an attempt to avoid responsibility for the shooting.
3. He reports that it was an "accident", while avoiding responsibility for causing it. An "accident" indicates unintended. We see if the rest of his statement bears this out. Thus far, the passivity does not.
4. Notice that the "accident" is "tragic" and "heartbreaking."
This is to use "narrative form", that is, the editing of an account to include emotion. It belies a need to show that there was no intent on his part, which should cause investigators to learn if there was because it calls our attention to motive.
5. Note that his "involvement" with a "tragic and heartbreaking accident" comes first. This is more important than the victim, who comes after this, in his priority.
6. Note that in the first sentence, he avoids saying he shot someone, or even, in passive voice, that someone was shot.
For most, the shooting is the most important element of the story.
It is not for him, however. He has a different focus.
Note that this statement avoids any mention of anyone but him.
Gwenevere McCord, who is very dear to me,
1. We note that Gwenevere McCord is an incomplete social introduction. This is an indication of a problematic relationship.
2. "who is very dear to me" shows:
a. distancing language. She is not, "my friend, Gwenevere McCord" but has the name distant from the word "me",
b. The word "me" is included in the second sentence, confirming the importance of the first sentence: the focus is not the victim, but the subject, himself.
Recall the rule of Statement Analysis: Where one begins a statement is very important to the subject and sometimes even the reason for writing. In spite of the shooting of a woman, the subject, himself, remains the dominant theme.
c. Note "who is very dear to me" is to affirm the problematic relationship with the need to persuade closeness to the victim. It is unnecessary wording that indicates a need to persuade, and even justify: he would not have shot her because she is so dear to him. Not only is the emphasis on "me" (the subject) but its inclusion, particularly after the incomplete social introduction, is problematic.
If the victim has been involved previously with the subject, investigators should seek to learn if any elements of coercion exist that may lead to denial, or minimization.
Investigators are likely to learn of a serious problem in their relationship.
was critically injured in this accident.
Her status comes only after he makes sure the reader knows:
1. He was "involved" but not responsible
2. He was emotionally attached to her
3. This is tragic and heartbreaking, but we do not know to whom, outside of the context emphasis, which is the subject himself
4. that she is "dear" to "me", which, in priority, is more important, in the statement, than she being "critically injured" as order shows priority.
Please understand that for the past 48 hours,
Note the need to be polite. Before asking for prayer for the victim, the reader/audience is asked to understand his lack of cooperation in the investigation: his focus:
I have been entirely focused on Gwenevere and her family.
The need to qualify his focus, in light of "critical" shooting, suggests that his focus has been on something else: the statement bears out this emphasis:
I will continue to pray unceasingly for her recovery. I ask you all to please pray for Gwenevere and her family throughout this most difficult time."
Note the need for prayer: before asking the audience to pray, it must be known in his priority that he will "continue to pray unceasingly", placing emphasis upon himself, over her need for prayers to be answered.
One might consider this as an entry of "Divinity" in a statement.
The subject's focus is upon himself.
He avoids responsibility for the shooting.
He editorializes in order to gain sympathy for himself.
He addresses emotions to avoid intent, suggesting intent is sensitive.
He gives us several indications of a problematic relationship between himself and his victim.
His defense is stated: "accidental shooting."