Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Statement Analysis: Tom Fallis: "I Did Not Shoot My Wife"

Tom and Ashley FallisFrom CBS.  I have edited the storyline down to get to the quotes, but left in some family quotes that are relevant. This is an excellent example of the complexities involved in analysis.  

In Statement Analysis, a reliable denial has three components.  If it has 2 components, or 4 components, it is unreliable.  
I.  The pronoun "I"
II.  The past tense "did not"
III.  The allegation specifically answered. 

It must be freely expressed, not as a parroting response.  "Did you reach into my purse and steal my money?  No, I did not reach into your purse and steal your money" would be an example of "unreliable" due to parroting language. 

If one is able to say "I didn't shoot my wife" with these three components, and has no need to add a fourth or fifth, it is 90% reliable.  If asked, "Why should you be believed?" and he answers, "Because I told you the truth" with the pronoun "I", the past tense "told" and the word "truth" it is 99.9% + reliable.  

If there are less than there components present, it is "Unreliable."  If there are more than three components, it is "Unreliable." 

In this case, the subject reported that his wife committed suicide but police accuse him of shooting her.  What do his words tell us?

Question:  Why is more than three components enough to move a denial from "Reliable" to "Unreliable"?

Answer:  Because when one is truthful, not simply technically truthful, but truthful as in:  the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", that is, without need to deceive, the denial does not need to be 'strengthened' by additional language.  It can be repeated, in that, it is the best answer, "I didn't kill my wife", for example, and can be used in varying questions, but it does not need anything to strengthen it. Therefore, when one adds a fourth or fifth element to it, it shows that the subject wants to make it "stronger."  
This makes it weaker. 

A man gave a sheriff's daughter drugs which caused her to overdose and die.  He could say, with technical truth, "I didn't kill her" yet, as he considers that it was the drugs that killed her, and that he supplied her with drugs, he will not be content to leave the denial alone.  He will feel a need to add to it, because of his connection to her death.  True enough, he did not kill her, the drugs did, but giving her the drugs is something that connects him to the death, and something he does not want to say.  Therefore, he will likely add to "I didn't kill her" with more elements.  We deem the denial that has more than the three components as "unreliable" even though within it, appears the reliable denial. Generally, when we see more than three elements, it is a strong indication that the subject is involved in the crime, and likely responsible, but that there is a story that accompanies it.  

In this case, if he says "I did not kill my wife" plainly, we should believe him and continue to listen to his words to see if they support this denial.  If he did not kill his wife, there will not, therefore, be sensitivity indicators about the gun, because if he is truly innocent, it is likely that he did not give her the gun, for example.  This is why context is used.  We would learn that in the course of the questioning, he did not kill his wife, nor did he say anything that caused her to kill herself, nor did he give her the gun of which she killed herself.  The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, to communicate to the police:  he didn't kill her, nor did he cause her death.  

We must also keep in mind:  

There can be deception present and still not have the subject shoot his wife.  

A.  Note that it is possible that he did not shoot his wife, but bullied her into shooting herself. 
B.  He could be deceptive about the domestic violence that led her to shoot herself.
C.   He could be deceptive about something else, such as drugs, while not have done the shooting.
D.  He could have forced her hand to shoot herself, manually.  We will examine his denials with this in mind.  His simple statement, "I didn't shoot my wife" will be supported with truth.  He didn't shoot her.  He didn't fight her, or assault her, or even talk her into shooting herself.  His denial will stand and be seen as reliable...
or it won't.  

Lastly, keep in mind the rarity of the outright liar, by statistic.  This means that it may be rare, but that it does happen.  This is why we ask, "Why should we believe you?" because even a direct, outright rare liar will not lie about himself.  Remember, this rare liar is all about himself.  He is the ultimate center of his universe.  He is, in this sense, his own 'god' and he will not 'blaspheme' or "take the name of his god in vain' by looking at his own lie, and lie about it. 

It will not happen.  

There are reasons for deception that may not include murder.  Drugs, and attendant crimes are the most typical reason.  She committed suicide, which is bad enough, but he does not want to add to his woes by admitting that he was taking illegal drugs and then lose his job and freedom, possibly, after losing his wife.  Therefore, we take note of the context of deception in a statement or interview.  

In other words, deception indicated must be specifically related to the shooting, itself for us to conclude guilt of the crime. 

 In many crimes committed   there are often "attendant crimes" which can produce deceptive responses.  There are, for example, arsons that accompany murder.  One may have not committed the murder, but helped cover up the murder by burning down a building.  Deception will be present but we must isolate it to learn its cause.  

The analyst goes into the statements with the preconceived prejudice that the subject did not do it, and sees if the wording affirms, or disqualifies this presupposition. 

Please note that the 911 call, itself, is a red flag regarding Tom Fallis in that the call was made for assistance for him, not for the victim.  This is the "unexpected" from an innocent caller, seeking emergency medical intervention for his wife.  

 Ashley Fallis, 28, died in the early hours of New Year's Day 2012.  She had two kids from a prior marriage and married, against her families' wishes, to Tom Fallis.  

The claim was that Ashley had  taken her own life; leaving behind her three kids -- Madelynn, Jolie, and Blake, all under 10 years old. Her family did not believe this and was against her marriage to Tom Fallis, from the beginning.  
 In April 2007, Ashley met Tom Fallis; he seemed responsible and ready for a family.

"And what was it about Tom that drew Ashley to him?" Moriarty asked.

"He said he wanted a large family. He was very family-oriented ," Fox replied.
"And it seemed like their relationship progressed really quickly," added Raguindin.

Just months into their relationship, Ashley became pregnant.

"I think-- it was a way for them to feel more connected to each other in too short of a period of time," said Fox.
They had a son, Blake. Two weeks after he was born, the couple married. Soon, Tom Fallis also adopted the girls after their birth father gave up his parental rights. Ashley's family felt it was all moving too fast.

Ashley and Tom Fallis had only known each other a short time. Her parents say they began to notice disturbing aspects of Tom's personality.

"I didn't like -- his mentality of -- being right all the time and fighting all the time and the aggression," said Fox.

Tom and Ashley settled in the small town of Evans, about an hour north of Denver. Ashley worked as a respiratory therapist, and Tom took a job as a corrections officer with the Weld County Sheriff's Office, working at the local prison.

"Joel and I were like, 'Pfff, that's the perfect job for someone who has an ego that needs to tell people what to do,'" Fox said. "I think he was a very insecure person and he wanted total control of her."

Please note that control is the central issue in Domestic Violence.  Losing control is often the trigger for violence.  

"Do you think you were a threat to Tom?" Moriarty asked Fox.
"Absolutely," she replied. "I was the one person that he could not isolate Ashley against."

This language is consistent with the nature of D/V.  The perpetrator seeks to isolate the victim for the purpose of remaining in control.  Generally, family members, or even members of the public, are 'demonized' by the perpetrator to the victim.  This seeks to create an "us versus them" false scenario.  

Ashley was caught in the middle and the pressure on her only increased when Blake - still just a toddler - was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid builds up in the brain, requiring constant attention and frequent surgeries. 

"She researched everything on hydrocephalus. Everything," said Fox.
By early 2011, the stress of taking care of Blake had taken its toll on the young couple.
"At any time during that, did you feel your daughter was depressed?" Moriarty asked.

"No, I think she was anxious and she was concerned and she would -- had a lot on her plate and -- I think overwhelmed," Fox replied.
"I would say that they were definitely going through some hard times," said Raguindin. 

As the pressure built between Ashley and Tom that summer, she considered divorce. But later, in the early morning hours after Ashley's death, while Fallis admitted to investigators that they had gone through a rough patch, he insisted that things were on the mend:
Tom Fallis to police: ...end of July, early August, we really started workin' on us ... and then her and I started going to counseling.
Note the use of "we" which indicates unity and cooperation.  Note that after counseling is signaled by "and then" in the statement, it changes to "her and I."  This may be a signal that counseling uncovered something that he did not like, and may have felt the counselor 'sided' with Ashley.

Fallis, still covered in Ashley's blood, said they had turned a corner a month earlier. Ashley had been taking medication for anxiety and seeing a therapist.
Tom Fallis to police [crying]We were doing so good.
Pronouns are very important and the location of the pronoun "we" is of particular interest.  "We" indicates unity, and we look for where it exists, and where it disappears.  Here it appears in the past tense, and we look to see it continue in the language of innocents. 

Things were going so well that they invited close friends and family over for the New Year's Eve party. Then, just days before, Ashley took a pregnancy test, and got a shock. Even though she had had a tubal ligation, she believed she was pregnant.
Tom Fallis to policeWhen we found out, when she had that positive test, it was like, all right, it's like we finally, like, got over everything.
Note that it was "her" test, and that in-between the two "we" pronouns, something went on between them that caused the word "finally" to surface:  this suggests a struggle but eventually his version of unity returned.  

She stopped taking medications out of precaution, and then, another shock. On the day of the party, Fallis says Ashley began to bleed and miscarried.
Tom Fallis to policeSo she was kinda down today.

Note "kinda" qualifies being "down."  It is not a strong assertion. 

But Fallis says they forged ahead with the party and as the night went on, the friction between Jenna Fox and Tom began to surface.

"There was an eruption during part of the party, Tom had been cussing, and very loudly, so I asked him to stop after a period of time 'cause he was quite loud and there were kids in the house, and he got very very angry with me," Fox explained. 

"I always knew that Tom hated me," she said.

Note the personal emotion is consistent with the order of concern previously mentioned.  Remember:  D/V relationships are not dominated by violence. The victim is not controlled by violence. 
The household is dominated just as the victim is controlled:

By the threat of violence.  

This is an important distinction and one that defense attorneys use to defend the perpetrator:  the lack of physical violence.  The verbal rages, cursing, and so on, signal to the victim to yield.  This yielding may save her from the violence, and saves the perpetrator from being formerly charged, or even classified as a violent person in his own eyes.  

As the party was winding down, Fallis flew into a rage when he overheard one of the guests, Fox's brother, offering Ashley marijuana:
Tom Fallis to policeI saw Ashley with her coat on. And I was like, "Where are you going?" And she was like, "I'm gonna go have a smoke." ... And I was like, "You don't need to go get high." 
Please note that there are indicators here that he is deceptive.  

1.  The first sentence is strong and likely to be true.  It is without qualifiers and uses the strong pronoun and past tense formula for reliability. 
Yet, it is unnecessary, which is an indication of sensitivity. 
2.  "I was like" is then used as a quote.  It is not.  This is a very strong signal that the subject is not speaking from experiential memory. 
3.  Note that he does not say that she told him she was going to have a smoke.  This is another reduced commitment and an avoidance of a direct sentence. 

Compare these two with the first sentence about seeing her with her coat on.  Context is key.

4. "And I was like 'You don't need to go get high" 

a.  Avoids quoting himself, which is a signal that he is not speaking from experiential memory
b.  Portrays her as going to use drugs
c.  It avoids telling us she used drugs.

This is likely a deceptive statement.  

He has no trouble telling us the truth about the coat, and seeing her.  Yet, he has a need to persuade us (his audience) about her drug use while being unable or unwilling to state it directly.  

Direct lying increases the internal stress, which is why most people withhold information to deceive.  This is another technique where he is aware that his words will cause the audience to interpret his words, but he then is able to later say "I did not say she used drugs."

His intention is to deceive highlighting that he has a personal need to deceive.  

As Fox and Raguindin were leaving the party, they saw Fallis, still upset, go into the bedroom and slam the door. 

"It didn't take much to set him off," Raguindin explained. "Short fuse is the word.

"Set him off" and "short fuse" are consistent with D/V (and consistent in their descriptions of Fallis) 

Ashley followed them outside. It was around 12:40 a.m. when they said goodbye.

"And what was Ashley's demeanor like? Was she upset?" Moriarty asked Fox.

"No, she's kinda, like, 'Whatever.' Like, 'This is normal. This is Tom,'" she replied.

This is about her demeanor, and not direct quotes.  It is better to ask, "What was her demeanor?" followed by "What did she say?"

"We were the last ones to see Tom Fallis in a fit of rage," Raguindin said. "A fit of rage. Our daughter giving us hugs and goodbye kisses, and her standing on the front porch waving goodbye, and that's the last we saw of our daughter." 

"Our" is need to share; often used in step parenting, or when there are more than just biological parents involved. 

Fallis later insisted that it wasn't Ashley he was angry with, just her mom, saying Fox was responsible for trying to get Ashley to do drugs.
Tom Fallis to policeI told Ashley, I was like, "You don't need to get high." I was like, "If whatever happened today with the miscarriage," I was like, "It happened." ... I was like, you know what? F--- your mom. F--- everybody. Let it go.
Note: "I told Ashley" is very strong and an indication that the subject is speaking from experiential memory and is going to quote himself directly.  

1.  "I told Ashley" is then changed to "I was like."  This is an example of self-censoring.  It is a change of language. 

A change of language should represent a change in reality, as seen in context. 

There is nothing in the context, especially given the strong nature of the use of the pronoun "I" with the authoritative word "told" (rather than "said")

"I was like" is to interrupt himself and stop himself from going further.  This is very likely to be deceptive and to signal that he is:

*No longer speaking from experiential memory
*Has something he does not want to tell us, at this point in the account.

Note "f your mother" is the consistency found in the language of Domestic Violence perpetrators who demonize those who challenge their authority. 

It is also the setting up of the "us versus them" scenario that he furthers with "f everybody", which likely does not include himself. 

At this point, the subject is not telling the truth.  

The subject:

1.  wants his audience to believe Ashley smoked marijuana, but he is unable or unwilling to tell us this. 

2.  wants to blame Ashley's mother.  This shows a need to move guilt over to someone else.  The need, itself, is sensitive.  

Ashley's autopsy shows that she didn't smoke marijuana that night, but Fallis says that after she put the kids to bed, Ashley came into the bedroom defiant.
Tom Fallis to policeShe's like, "F--- you. If I want to get high, I'll get high." ...I'm like, "Do whatever you want to."
Note that he began to quote her, but stopped himself, and gave an 'interpretation' of what she said.  This may be deceptive.  Lying causes internal stress and rather than lie outright, he only gives a weak assertion of what it was "like" that she said. 

This is a linguistic signal that the subject is not speaking a quote from experiential memory.

"Do whatever you want to" may be that the subject has been confronted by family as being controlling and has a need to downplay this. 

It further affirms the allegation of domestic violence. 

As Fallis tells it, he was in their closet to change clothes, when suddenly he heard the sound of a gun being loaded from across the room.
Tom Fallis to policeShe has a .9mm Taurus. She keeps it under her mattress. ...she was behind the side of the bed. She was low.
Note the verb tense change from present to past.  

He says it all happened so quickly. He was on his way out of the closet -- closing the door and asking Ashley what she was doing -- when he heard a "pop."
Tom Fallis to policeI heard that and there was smoke. I just ran over to her and I just grabbed her head. And I was holdin' her head and I reached up and I grabbed her phone and I dialed 911.
First note the word "that" may be in response to how the question was worded.  He may be referring to what the police interviewer said.  
"There was smoke" is passive voice.  Passivity is used to conceal responsibility.  
Follow the verbs:  "I jut ran over" and "I just grabbed her head."  The word "just" is used in only these two places and is a strong indication that he did something else, also, as it is repeated, and that it is used to compare other activities.  My conclusion goes beyond "he is thinking of something else" to conclude activity because of the sensitivity in repetition.  

Note "I reached up and I grabbed her phone and I dialed 911", in comparison, has no need for the word "just" and it is very likely to be truthful statements. 

Please note that he did not "hold" or "held" her head, but "grabbed it", which is the language of confrontation. 

I continue to see hints that there was a struggle in which he may have put the gun in her hand while he may have pulled the trigger. 

What the language tells us:

 This was not a passive event in which she shot herself, while he was unconnected. 

Tom Fallis to 911: "You're staying here! You are not leaving me! You are not leaving me!"
This is a possible example of scripting  where he is speaking to his wife, yet he is speaking to the audience, which is police.  Note that the words are of a controlling nature.  Controlling language is often found in Domestic Violence cases.  See "Chief McCollum" for scripting language in a 911 call.  

Note the repetition of the word "me" in this 911 call.  The call began with the guilty indicator of asking for help for himself, and not the victim.  

The further use of "me" is indicative of a narcissistic personality.  I would be surprised if a court appointed psychological evaluation did not include this element.  

That 911 call came into the dispatcher at 12:50 a.m., just 10 minutes after Ashley's family had left. It began with the specific red flag of asking for help...for himself. This is sometimes called the 'subconcious' call for help, but it is not beneath consciousness; it is better viewed as 'leakage', in that, the brain knows what it knows.  He knows that it is not she that needs help, but that he, himself, needs help

This is appropriate when one is seeking medical or first aid directions.  This was not his context, however.  
Tom Fallis to police [crying]And I opened her eyes and I started talking to her. I was like, "I -- I'm right here. You're not leaving. You're not leaving me.
Note that he uses this phrase in certain places, but not in others.  Note that he uses it when he wishes to quote himself, but stops himself from the quote, and employs the weakening assertion of what he was "like" saying.  This is self-censoring and indicates that at this point, in quoting, he is not working from experiential memory, instead saying that which he would like to be interpreted as saying. 

We believe what one tells us and he has not told us what he has said, only what it was "like", instead of what it was.  

Note, again, the inclusion of the word "me" as narcissistic controller, also consistent with the language of Domestic Violence as alleged by the family. 

Even though Tom Fallis had called in the shooting as a suicide, police brought him in for questioning early that morning, while his parents watched the children. Investigators were suspicious right away, because neighbors said they heard yelling. Fallis was questioned by Detective Rita Wolf:
Det. Wolf: Then she's telling you to get off of her. 
Tom Fallis: I wasn't on her. 

We don't have the full context and CBS indicated that the police talked about their inexperience.  This should not ever be a hinderance to proper interviewing as mock interviewing should be done regularly.  Analytical Interviewing avoids such leading questions whenever possible. 

"I wasn't on her" is in response to the accusation and speaks to a specific time.  This does not mean he was not on her at all times, but in the time period Det. Wolf was referencing.  Better is to ask, listen, and follow up, not with statements that lead the story forward, but with questions that let the subject lead the story forward noting when the subject does not want the story to move forward as critical. 

Det. Wolf: Why do you think someone said that? They could hear her vividly saying, "get off me, get off me."

Tom Fallis: I wasn't on her.
He avoided the question, "why", making the question, itself, sensitive.  She then gave him the answer he could have used:  
Det. Wolf: So somebody's just making that up, Tom? 

Tom FallisMy wife never told me to get off of her.
 Note:  In this allegation (specific) she is "my wife."
Note that "never" is not "did not", but now note this:

He uses the proper form of speech with "told", which is authoritative, rather than "said."

This may lead us to wonder if is is speaking from memory with "told", even while "never" is unreliable. This statement indicates that a struggle may have taken place.  

With "never" as unreliable, yet the word "told" included:  if this word "told" was not in the Interviewer's language, it is very likely to have happened that she "told" him to get off her, as he signals, via leakage, that memory is at play. 
Det. WolfWhen you went upstairs and you were arguing with her. The wound on the back of her head isn't where she could do it herself, Tom. It's not.

Tom Fallis [pounding table]: Oh bulls---! Bulls--- Bulls--- Bulls---! I didn't shoot my wife!
Please note how close this comes to a reliable denial:

1.  "I didn't shoot my wife" uses the pronoun "I"
2.  "didn't" is past tense
3.  "shoot my wife" specifically answers the allegation. 

Remember:  a Reliable Denial consists of these three components.  If there are less than these three, or more than these three, it is unreliable. 

His statement of "oh bulls..." four times negates the denial's formula.  It is now unreliable.  

Investigators, however, should consider if he put the gun in her hand during a struggle, and controlled it through her.  

Investigators also searched his body and noticed scratches on his chest. Fallis says he scratched himself:
Tom Fallis to policeBecause I just shaved my chest. I just shaved it, because I've never done it before ... I'm sitting there going like this with my shirt. Because it itches, it scratches.
Note that the initial use of  "because" is not sensitive.  It is an appropriate response to the question why his chest had scratches on it.  We continue to view the rest of his answer:

1.  The word "just" is used in comparison.  Here, the context is the comparison of the element of timing.  What is in his mind regarding the time that he shaved his chest?

2.  Note "I just shaved my chest" is repeated with "I just shaved it", making it sensitive to him. 

3.  a.   "I've never done it before" is unnecessary information, making it very important to the subject. 

b.  "Because I've never" seeks to explain why, showing a need to explain, making it sensitive.  This element of sensitivity should be taken alongside of the sensitivity of repetition.  

4.  "I'm sitting here" is not to say "I am here", but to include his body's posture of "sitting", which is an indication of tension.  

Objection:  he is being accused of murder, of course he is tense!

Answer:  The tension is expected.  That he has included his body posture about shaving, with the repetition of shaving is an indication of tension regarding the topic at hand:  scratches on his chest in light of testimony he is aware of that someone heard them screaming.  It is tension related, not to suicide, or even her death, but to his reasoning for scratches on his chest.  

Had he had an itchy chest innocent and immaterial to the case, the language would not show sensitivity:  even when accused.  It would be simply a fact and this simplicity would show itself in language.  "I'm itchy." 

Why are you itchy?

"I shaved my chest."

Aren't those scratch marks that you got in a struggle with your wife?  (not my wording.  I would have gone the analytical route of open ended questions leading to, "What happened to your chest?")

"No, I got them shaving." 

That his answer has sensitivity indicators is seen in the multitude of words, the repetition, and the unnecessary language.  

5.  "Because it itches it scratches" avoids saying, "because it itches, I scratch it" should be seen along with the sensitivity of explaining why he scratches it.  

Yet he does not say he scratches it because it itches.  He does not even say he scratches it. 

This is an example of transcription looking 'strange' to the eye.  People do not like to lie outright and will say awkward things, disrupting the speed of transmission of speech itself, to avoid outright, direct lying and the internal stress. 

Yet, even while 'parsing' words with "it scratches" (passivity noted) there is a disruption to the speed of transmission and some stress.  

Fallis gets increasingly agitated as Wolf continues her questioning:
Tom FallisYou're accusing me of killing my wife. I'm not supposed to get upset? That doesn't make sense...
We do not know if this is an embedded confession or if he has reflected her language back to her.  Did he "kill" her while not bearing sole responsibility for "shooting" her?  This is another possibility in a struggle over a gun, if a struggle took place. 

Det. Wolf: You were upset before this. 
Tom FallisYeah, 'cause I've been here the whole time. 
 He gives the reason for his assertion to being upset:  he is where he does not want to be.  An innocent person will be upset at being falsely accused of killing his wife, upset at the accusation but more upset over the death of his wife. 

Here, the subject is upset at the loss of time and that he may not be in control of where he is, regarding location. 
Det. Wolf: You are known to blow off the handle, is what they're saying. 

Tom FallisI didn't shoot Ashley. I did not shoot my wife. I didn't shoot the mother of my kids.
This is an interesting denial.  She is:

1.  Ashley
2.  my wife
3.  mother of my kids 

We have already noted that he issued a reliable denial above, and the change of language shows no justification, instead, it shows a need to persuade.  It is similar to making a strong, reliable denial, but immediately weakening it with "I wouldn't do this to my wife.  I wouldn't do this to the mother of my children."

Police should seek to learn if Ashley's hand was on the gun, at some point in the struggle. 

The reliable denial is so strong that it does not need emphasis even in a situation where one is challenged.  

Here we have not only the possible factor of a struggle for control of the gun, but a need to ask, "Did you cause your wife's death?"

Analysis Conclusion:

I do not have the full transcripts of the 911 call, and the transcripts of the interview are choppy but I am able to conclude certain things:

1.  The family's statements about Domestic Violence are supported by the language.  It is very likely that Ashley was in a Domestic Violence relationship in which she was controlled by the threat of violence, rather than overt continual violence. 

2.  That Tom Fallis was deceptive about his wife using drugs.

3.  That Tom Fallis is likely a narcissistic controlling abuser. 

4.  That Ashley may have suffered from depression due to the extreme circumstance of her life. 

5.  That Ashley did not commit suicide unabated, that is, of her own free will, while Tom was in the closet.  This did not happen. 

6.  That a struggle did take place and that Tom deliberately withheld what words and actions took place just prior to the suicide. 

7.  That in the 911 call, Tom is deceptive about what happened to Ashley and showed guilt and/or responsibility for her death

8.  That Tom caused Ashley's death, both emotionally and physically, and during a physical assault on her, put the gun in her hand, at some point.  He could have physically or even emotionally, caused her to pull the trigger.

Tom Fallis is deceptive and does not issue a reliable denial when he said, "I did not shoot my wife" as he:

a.  Used additional language in his first denial
b.  Used a change of language in his second denial. 

From the small example, the interviewer did not do a good job gaining information, was emotional, and set herself up as challenger to him.  Police may have used a female interviewer on purpose, amateurishly  thinking that he would be most challenged or threatened by a female officer.  They did not have much experience (a good thing in life) but should always have preparation by solid training and mock interviewing. 

Statement Analysis and the subsequent Analytical Interviewing does not require departments to have experience in various crimes.  It is not necessary.  Here is why:

Statement Analysis studies words and Analytical Interviewing gets information.  

Statement Analysis does not 'care' what crime has taken place, as it studies all crimes and what words they bring. 

It is good for a department to have little experience in murder.  It is good, also, for them to be trained in communication and then they may apply it to whatever allegation comes their way.  This is something emphasized in training:  you are not studying "rape", for example, but are studying words and how to get information.  Should "rape" happen, or theft, or any other crime, you will use the same techniques to gain information as you would in any other case, including job applicants.  

The "words" studied covers theft, rape, arson, murder, and anything else in the realm of communication.  This is the key.  Analytical Interviewing does not care if it is a murder, or if it is a job interview:  it is the ascertainment of information.  

The use of a female interviewer with a controlling narcissistic male subject may have been deliberate.  It is not wise.  

It is true that a narcissistic controlling abuser would be challenged by a female, but it does not mean that this is the best way to elicit information. 

This technique, if intended, is best saved for the follow up interview, not the primary.  

The subject shows a disdain of women and to raise the level of "challenge" in the primary interview is a mistake if the goal is to gain the maximum amount of information.  

The subject should be allowed to "control" the interview in the sense that he should do 80% or more of the talking.  He will reveal to us what happened   

When you see the interview, you see the "challenge" that goes both ways.  

This is a mistake. 

The follow up interview is where most admissions or confessions are obtained.  After a lengthy open-ended interview with a male, it may have been good strategy to do the follow up interview with a female, since the initial interview's transcript would have yielded deception.  

It should also be noted that a narcissistic controlling abuser is not likely to "confess" to a female but may "admit"only,  instead.  

These types of judgement calls must be made in light of both the analysis, and the talent level and training  of the interviewer.  

The interviewer must be self-contained and able to respond neutrally to insult, disparagement and even taunts by the abuser.

Every interview is a learning experience and it is likely that this department learned quite a bit from this case.  

Tom Fallis is deceptive and is involved in his wife's death.  

"I did not shoot my wife.  She shot herself."  This would have been strong.  Instead, by using repetition with a change of language, he denoted the need to persuade, by adding to his denial.  

In the course of an interview of innocence:

"I did not shoot my wife."

"Ashley shot herself. "

"We didn't fight or argue."

"I didn't kill my wife."

These or similar statements would have been made throughout.  The repetition would not be found in the same denial, but in places elsewhere in the interview.  In any given question, repetition would be unnecessary.  In a series of questions, repetition of truth is expected.  

We would not expect an innocent person to say, "I didn't shoot my wife.  I didn't shoot my wife.  I didn't shoot my wife" but over the course of an entire interview, we would expect this to show up anywhere the accusation does.  This is staying in context.  The repetition is not unnecessary, therefore, not "sensitive" in context because the accusation has arisen several times in context. 

Fallis is a liar.  Yet, even in the rarity of direct lying, we see the sensitivity due to the disruption of the speed of transmission of words:  he must slow it down because it is not coming from experiential memory, but from bits and pieces, chosen carefully, in order to deceive.  

This is a useful statement for instruction of the Reliable Denial and the sometimes complex nature of deception.  


GeekRad said...

Trustmeigetit, in response to your post on the previous topic-
Peter's analysis is up! I haven't read it yet as I am going through the 48 hours interviews to get the bigger picture- the written and then I will watch. But I think possibly in the context of the bigger picture he (Tom Fallis) had a reliable denial, but was still deceptive. She was possibly holding the gun to her head and they struggled as he tried to stop her and the gun accidentally fired. He could say I didn't shoot her (reliable denial) and be deceptive about the struggle being the cause of the shooting. This is going to be a really good one for the lesson!

trustmeigetit said...

Yes! I clearly missed a lot here.

But this was a great one to help us all learn.

Thanks Peter.

One thing in my mind now was that she was on her knees.

Initially that supported suicide in my mind.

Now I wonder if she grabbed it (she kept under her mattress" as self defense and he turned it on her while still in her hand.

Anyways, this was a great lesson

GeekRad said...

Ok, now I am going to read Peter's analysis:)

Tania Cadogan said...

off topic

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been criticized for taking to the stage with Prince during a memorial concert for Freddie Gray.

Rally4Peace was organized in honor of Gray, who died of spinal injuries following his arrest on a knife charge last month, sparking riots across the city.

Mrs Mosby, who declared his death a 'homicide' and filed charges against the six police officers, reportedly received the concert tickets as a Mother's Day gift from her husband.

But her appearance has sparked public outcry and renewed calls for her to stand down over allegations she cannot prosecute the case objectively.

There have already been calls for the chief prosecutor to stand down because of her political links to the lawyer representing the dead man's family.

Allegations arose that she could not prosecute the case objectively because the victim's family attorney, William H. Murphy, previously made a $4,000 contribution to her 2014 political campaign.

It came as the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police penned an open letter citing its 'deep concerns' over her position.

The police organization, which provides a voice for active and retired cops in Baltimore City, described Mr Gray's death as a 'tragic situation' but said none of the officers involved were responsible for his death.

Last Friday, attorneys for the officers charged in the death of Mr Gray, asked a judge to dismiss the case or assign it to someone else.

Lawyers claim Mrs Mosby should be replaced with an independent prosecutor at the very least, in a motion filed in Baltimore District Court.

In the latest legal move to challenge the charges, which range from assault to second-degree 'depraved-heart' murder, the motion said the prosecution has been 'overzealous' and 'politically motivated.'

Mrs Mosby announced the charges a day after receiving an investigative report from the police.

The motion argues that part of the reason she acted so swiftly was to quash protests that gave way to violence in West Baltimore, where Gray was arrested and where her husband Nick Mosby is a city councilman.

A separate motion argues that her rapid decision could be at odds with a law that requires a thorough investigation prior to filing charges.

Mr Gray was arrested April 12 and died a week later. Authorities say he suffered a spinal injury in the roughly 45 minutes between his arrest and his arrival at a police station in the back of a prisoner transport van.

He was not wearing a seatbelt inside the van, and was in handcuffs and leg irons.

A state of emergency was been declared in the city after it transformed into 'an absolute war zone' following his funeral.

Mrs Mosby has only been in the job for four months after ousting an established white opponent by promising to hold police accountable.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3078604/Baltimore-State-Attorney-Marilyn-Mosby-faces-fresh-calls-stand-down.html

GeekRad said...

I initially thought it to be a reliable denial. After reading the interview I changed my view that while the denial was reliable, in the context of the rest of his statements and the circumstances, I see the three components of a reliable denial, but he is deceptive. This is a great lesson that it isn't just Statement Analysis 101, the three components of a reliable denial, we have to look for words that negate a reliable denial and for deception. Thanks Peter! Great lesson!

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Think of what it must be like to be a black police officer in Baltimore...

its a very rough job to begin with, and this political nonsense is making it much worse.

Tania Cadogan said...

Tom Fallis to 911: "You're staying here! You are not leaving me! You are not leaving me!"

This stood out to me particularly as it indicates control and possession.

In other calls where the caller finds their loved one injured or dying/dead, we hear them begging them not to leave, not to go.
They beg the victim "stay with me"
Even where it is demanded, it is not possesive you will not... , it is a plea.
It is up to the victim to make the choice, they are the one to decide if to live or die if you see what i mean.

When he said "You're staying here! You are not leaving me! You are not leaving me!"
It was an order, a command.

It was him desperate to keep control over her, it was for him to decide if she lives or dies, not her.
He saw it as her escaping his control, getting away from him and his power over her.

She was standing up for herself and disobeying him even though she was dying or dead.

Her dying meant he no longer had her in his power, she was no longer under his control, she was no long subservient to his will.

His words indicate rage, she was getting away and he was furious she was daring to disobey him.

I do wonder if he struck her in his temper, he needed an out for his rage.
DV is all about power and control, he was pissed and she paid for it with her life.
She fought for her life and, even as she lay dying, he still tried to exert his control over her.

Tania Cadogan said...

how come we don't get protests when a white guy is shot and/or killed by a black cop?

how come we don't get protests when a hispanic is shot and/or killed by a a non hispanic cop?

How come we don't get protests when a hispanic cop is shot by a non hispanic person?

How come we don't get protests when a black cop is shot by a white person person?

How come we don't get protests when a white cop is shot by a black person?

where is all the rioting and looting and protesting then?

Where are the leaders when that happens demanding justice, claiming it was a race hate crime?

All i see is silence
All i hear is silence

elleemmcee said...

Peter uses Fallis's stilted use of "it itches it scratches" as a form of damnation, but has nothing to say about the Detective's use of "you blow of the handle, that's what they're saying". Fly off the handle? Who are they??

elleemmcee said...

Peter uses Fallis's stilted use of "it itches it scratches" as a form of damnation, but has nothing to say about the Detective's use of "you blow of the handle, that's what they're saying". Fly off the handle? Who are they??

Unknown said...

The analysis is of the subject's language, not the detectives.

(Usually the only references to interviewer's words is when they ask bad questions, cut the subject off, etc.)

Kellie said...


Because most whites have not experienced the racism that most blacks have, so they don't have a conscious concept of playing the race card.

I don't imagine there are many, if any, police forces primarily comprised of black officers who have secret parties where they sing "funny" songs about dead white men.

John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update:

Hadsell case in Norfolk tied to break-in moves forward

As friends and family frantically searched for Anjelica "AJ" Hadsell in early March, her stepfather broke into the home of one friend.

He then told a group of AJ's friends that he was in a white supremacist gang and if anyone told police what he'd done, they could be "dealt with," according to testimony on Monday in General District Court.

Wesley Hadsell, the 18-year-old woman's stepfather, appeared on several charges stemming from that break-in.

A grand jury will consider four counts of obstructing justice and one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Two other charges - misdemeanor animal cruelty and felony burglary - were dismissed.

AJ Hadsell disappeared March 2. She was last seen at her parents' home in the Tarrallton area of Norfolk.

Police conducted a series of searches for her, and her remains were found April 9 near an abandoned house in Southampton County. No cause of death has been released.

Prosecutors have said that the March 6 break-in at the home of Reita Spilsbury, the mother of one of AJ Hadsell's friends, was committed by Wesley Hadsell because he was "seeking to impede" the investigation into her disappearance.

A lawyer for Hadsell has said he broke in because he believed his stepdaughter might have been in the house.

Joshua Campbell, AJ Hadsell's boyfriend, testified that during a conversation on March 5, Wesley Hadsell asked where Corey French lived, the layout of French's home and Campbell's opinion of him. French is Spilsbury's son, and Campbell and French knew one another.

Hadsell "asked if there was a security alarm," Campbell said. "I said I didn't notice any but I wasn't looking for one."

On March 6, Campbell testified, he got a call from Hadsell, who said he was at French's house and was "going to take a look."

Later that day, Campbell said, he got a text from Hadsell that read, "We have a problem."

The pronoun "we" is often used in an attempt to share guilt. (Dillingham)

Andre Barr, a friend of AJ Hadsell's who testified, said Wesley Hadsell told him he entered Spilsbury's house through a side door. Wesley Hadsell said he found a jacket he thought belonged to AJ under a sofa cushion and put it in plain sight. Wesley Hadsell told Barr to go to the house and confirm the jacket was there.

Barr said he went with a few friends to French's house and found the jacket on the back of the couch where Hadsell said it would be.

They called police and told them about the jacket.

They did not initially tell police that Hadsell had broken in.

After that, Campbell testified, Hadsell gathered several of his stepdaughter's friends. He

told them how he'd walked into the house through a side door and, when approached by the family dog, punched it on its head and knocked it out.

Hadsell told the group "It's all going to be OK," Barr said, and that

if anyone told police what he'd done they "could be dealt with." Hadsell also said he was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

Spilsbury testified that a side door was usually left unlocked. She said that she didn't notice anything the day Hadsell broke in. She only found out about it later, she said.

Detective David Benjamin testified Hadsell had a box of bullets on the table and another in a vent in a hotel room on the 1800 block of E. Norfolk Road.


Statement Analysis Blog said...

elleemmcee said...
Peter uses Fallis's stilted use of "it itches it scratches" as a form of damnation, but has nothing to say about the Detective's use of "you blow of the handle, that's what they're saying". Fly off the handle? Who are they??
May 12, 2015 at 9:04 PM

Read it again.


Lisa21222 said...

"And what was Ashley's demeanor like? Was she upset?" Moriarty asked Fox.

"No, she's kinda, like, 'Whatever.' Like, 'This is normal. This is Tom,'" she replied.

Her family ALSO used the phrase "like" to indicate a substantive quote. I am curious as to why this is not flagged as sensitive, when it was flagged when Tom said it.

I agree with your analysis as a whole, but want to know if this could just be a verbal "tic". I recall my parents LOATHING that word when I was in junior high school, because it was not only meaningless but irritating when a long "conversation" was being related. At the time, it was the way all of my peers talked, and eventually I left it behind (along with the word "wicked" which was used to mean "good").

Sara said...

When it comes to the police, there is no race, no black or white, there is only one color--Blue.
So hypocritical, all the people concerned over Mosbys "lack of objectivity". Have you ever heard that said when the suspect is an average citizen? But now that the accused are police officers, suddenly the prosecutor is closely scrutinized. Hey, it's OK folks, you still have the judge in your corner, as usual. After all, what do you call a prosecutor in a black robe? Answer--Your Honor.

Sus said...

Nice analysis, Peter. I'm stuck on one area.

"She has a .9mm Taurus. She keeps it under her mattress. ...she was behind the side of the bed. She was low."

Notice it was HER MATTRESS and changes to THE BED. When speaking of where his wife keeps her gun, it is HER mattress, or HER area. That is unexepected. Did she keep the gun as protection against him? Did she point it at him rather than herself that night? I think so...further bolstered by his next statement.

Also unexpected is, " BEHIND the side of the bed." Why add "behind"? From his point of view she is blocked from him. And if he sees her as blocked from him, he is trying to get to her.

This part plays into his later quotes where he runs over to her (probably over the bed and clarifying why he stated, "She was LOW.") He then "just grabbed her head." I agree with Peter that the "just" shows he did other actions...in this case, he grabbed the gun and forced it to her head. The detective stated the wife was shot in the back of the head. Remember she was LOW.

Lisa21222 said...

OT: Jameis Winston Accuser


This statement ends with "He dropped me off... and then left"

Is this indicative of sensitivity?

trustmeigetit said...

I agree Tania.

Where is all the protests.

Especially protests for the truly innocent.

Like the victims of Child abuse/molestation. Like with Michael Jackson. No protests there that he got away with molesting kids. No protests because Justin DiPietro was not arrested despite the amount of his daughters blood blood found in the home.

No protests asking for Billie And Shawn to be arrested.

All the things that matter more..silence...

Could not agree more.

This world is a mess!

Anonymous said...

The statement, "You're staying here! You are not leaving me! You are not leaving me!" seems to suggest hat the victim and her husband, Tom, were arguing about just that, she told him she was leaving and he told her no she wasn't.

Unknown said...

Hi Lisa,

We covered this statement a while back, I'll try to find it for you

John Mc Gowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Mc Gowan said...

Here you go Lisa, Jen.

Thursday, December 4, 2014
Jameis Winston's Statement to Florida State Hearing


Jameis Winston Accuser Files Suit


Unknown said...

Thank you John!

I found it, but then I got caught up reading it!

This case surprised me. I had been dogging Winston, and I had told my husband he was a rapist when a segment featuring him was on TV.

Then I read the accuser's statement.

The accuser's statement is incredibly passive, and contains about 90% temporal lacuna. She provides no details of the sexual acts she was supposedly forces to perform. She fails to even say that she was raped.

Most importantly she shows cooperation both DURING the sex, and after!

"He moved US to the bathroom". (During)

"WE went outside". (After)

She is deceptive.

Thanks to her, I had to admit that I was wrong to my husband...you have no idea how painful that was! ;-)

Statement Analysis Blog said...


I respect your self-awareness.

Jameson Winston is not a likable character. He speaks very much like an egotist and one who has some real issue with women in general.

At times, we do analysis on someone who emerges in a very negative light, but did not "do it."

Here we have such an example. His cavalier attitude towards the woman may be a reflection on how he treats women. NFL does psych evals and such, and it was reported in the press, for instance, that some teams had strong reservations about him, even while knowing he did not rape her.


trustmeigetit said...

Anonymous said...
The statement, "You're staying here! You are not leaving me! You are not leaving me!" seems to suggest hat the victim and her husband, Tom, were arguing about just that, she told him she was leaving and he told her no she wasn't.

Great point anon!!!

AND.. that fits. There was a partially packed bag on the bed. They think she may have attempted to leave....

Unknown said...

Thanks Peter!

My husband and I have a running joke about analysis of sports figures. He likes to watch those 30 for 30 shows on different athletes, *(which are always a treat for analysis). He was a fan of Lance Armstrong, and was also moved by the Mante Teo, 'overcoming adversity' story before it was exposed as a lie.

After all the revelations of deception, when he watches one of the shows, he jokingly asks me "not to ruin it for him". In most cases, inspiring 'STORIES' are exactly what they are peddling. (Heavy on the story, light on the truth.)

trustmeigetit said...


More "shocking" news.

Tiger Woods cheated on his newest lady"

So apparently that have split up.

This just cracks me up.

Do these women really think that a serial cheater is going to be faithful?

Now it's news?

It would be news of he DIDNT cheat.

Tania Cadogan said...

Kellie said...


Because most whites have not experienced the racism that most blacks have, so they don't have a conscious concept of playing the race card.
I don't imagine there are many, if any, police forces primarily comprised of black officers who have secret parties where they sing "funny" songs about dead white men.

I don't know about the States, here in the UK we have the National Black Police Association as well as the Metropolitan Black Police Association (MetBPA).

This apparently is acceptable.
Can you imagine if we had a National White Policeman Association or Metropolitan White Police Association?

Here we have positive discrimination where if you are black, female, anything other than heterosexual you get fast tracked or given extra credit, support or the employer gets told, regardless of your ability, you will get a position because a quota has to be filled.

I know both here and in the States, there have been cases where the best candidates for a job are ignored because they are white male in order for someone who doesn't have the right skill set or ability to get the position because a quota says you must have x amount of these and x amount of those.

Then everyone wonders why there are problems in the emergency services, why education of nose diving, why society is going bosoms up.

No longer do kids get told to study, work hard, be the best you can, if you fail try again and you will reap the benefits.
Instead if they fail we see lawsuits, we see demands for extra help and favoritism.

I argue with my bro about his kids education.
I tell him kids are leaving school with A* grdes 9 or 10 plus and yet when they apply for a job if they get hired, the employer has to teach them to read and write and do maths.

I explain that yes the kids work jard, they are however being taught by teacher who know sod all and are all for the easy life.

I said if i gave someone with all these top grades a test paper from when i was at school, they wouldn't have a clue.

teachers are only as good as how they were taught.
A bad teacher who has students becoming teachers, taints all those students and so on down the line.

If all else fails play the race/gender/sexuality card ahnd wait for the bux to roll in

Statement Analysis Blog said...


your hubby is like Heather.

She once asked me to not tell her about what Bob Hope's biography revealed so it would not ruin his movies!

I must admit that I too like to avoid knowing anything about the personal life of an actor or athlete.

I told her I would not tell her how Bob Hope would throw his servants' paychecks on the floor and make them bend over to pick it up, or how he cheated on his wife and...



Anonymous said...

Pretty woman. I can't imagine why she hooked up with this creep in the first place. So sad.

Marci said...

I was in a relationship that was abusive and I took him saying SHE HAS NEVER TOLD ME TO GET OFF HER.. Like she would never dare tell me that or she would never dare tell me what to do.

elliegrl said...

Peter, I'm so glad you did this. It seemed he'd given a reliable denial but I flagged deceptive things in his statement (and I thought the guy was a controlling jerk too and it was not out of the realm of possibility that he'd done it.) Some articles had said he was a former Colorado police officer, so I thought it possible that he may have been aware that he needed to give an RD. Other articles say he was a corrections officer only, but BC they are employed by the sheriff's office maybe that's where the confusion arose? The parents thought there was a cover up by police, BC Tom's superior got involved, and a deputy who heard Tom say "I shot her" didn't put it in his report. The deputy's higher up when asked why the deputy hadn't reported it said "Never underestimate the power of sheer laziness." so ***puts on best Peter voice*** he wants us to believe it was laziness, but cannot bring himself to say it, so we cannot say it for him. ;-)

Lis said...

Sus, the statements about the gun jumped out at me also.

I was surprised that she (apparently) owned a gun and kept it under her mattress. He does not seem like the kind of guy who would be ok with that. I wonder if that has something to do with it? It is a curious part of the interview.