Thursday, November 26, 2015
Blackburn Murder, What Detectives Think: "No One Is This Lucky!"
What do experienced detectives think about the murder of Amanda Blackburn?
What does the average person think about this case?
You have already heard from me in Statement Analysis where I have concluded:
The language of guilt, with the source of guilt not yet known.
What do detectives who have no association with the case, but have many years of investigation behind them, think about the case?
When someone, anyone, speaks publicly, there is an expectation that the audience will have an opinion about what is said. Some will believe; some will doubt, and some will disbelieve.
Every thinking person has an opinion. When the opinion is expressed, response follows.
What does the public think? This is easy to answer.
We have thousands of comments. Most comments conclude that police have the shooter and his gang members, but have strong doubt as to whether or not the victim's husband has any connection to the gang. The public, overwhelmingly, suspects the pastor, and now his mentor wants a public apology as he ridicules those who disagree with his own opinion. What's next, lawsuits? Comments here, as well as in various news articles, run, perhaps as high as 90% doubtful that the husband has no connection to the case.
Jeanine Shapiro, of Fox News, looked at the initial statement of the husband and expressed a strong opinion. She said, "Look at this, it is all about him!"
She simply saw the emphasis of career while his wife had just been horribly murdered and the killer at large.
Her judicial background entered into her thinking which thus revealed itself in her verbalized perception. Several detectives felt it necessary to disclose their own personal backgrounds: they are professing Christians. Their backgrounds reference both murder investigations and faith. They recognize that this will influence their own thoughts and words, just as it did for Jeanine Shapiro with her legal background. Several admitted feelings of shock and disgust at the videos posted with the following:
a. "performance" obsession with success -some said they could not use the word "sermon"
b. Body language of "competition", "distance", "coldness"
c. Contempt; he had contempt towards Amanda'--humiliated her modesty (all), interrupted her, minimized her, etc..."like she is a prop"
d. Sex is used to sell, even at Amanda's expense-"how could he shame her?" and the "butter" reference produced angry responses
e. Descriptions of bad marriage strong, credible
f. Shock over using a gun in the performance
h. Those who professed Christianity said it is appropriate to preach on sex but "that is not what he was doing" (all)
Overall, they had a very negative perception of the victim's husband from the videos. They recognize the influence upon the as they examined the case details. The analysis was all but impossible to do without outside influence (outside the words) therefore, this had to be repeatedly referenced in reminders.
"What might we say about this word, if we had not known that...?"
This is what we all do, but for Blackburn's mentor, she should apologize for her opinion though she is paid to publicly give it.
This is seen in two basic ways:
a. The opinion frightens the subject so he wishes to silence it
b. The call for apology is simply free publicity
Perhaps, it is both.
Recall the trend of government tyranny today: If you disagree with me, you are morally unworthy of an opinion ("hate") and you are mentally incapable of reason ("phobia"), which are used to silence difference of opinion. This is to show the road to losing freedom of speech is now traveled and in progress. This was unimaginable just a few short years ago in our country but now is the powerful trend in colleges, politics and even now employment where people are terminated for an opinion that their government disagrees with. It often speaks to the weakness of the policy that says do not question.
If you speak publicly, not everyone is going to agree with you. When they don't, do you demand an apology? Do you sue them into silence?
What do detectives unrelated to the case think?
Davey Blackburn, husband of murder victim, Amanda Blackburn, was said to be "100%" not involved, in the very first days of the case. This, say experienced detectives, was not an accident.
True, he was on video at the gym at the time of the shooting. It is extremely rare that anyone close to a murder victim would be cleared this quickly but, as detectives pointed out, the phrase, "100%", if an accurate quote, shows an unnecessary emphasis. This, some said, may not be as 'foolish' as it first appeared. To know what they are thinking, we listen to what they said. This is in the present tense as it continues, with some affirming their thoughts with the release of the affidavit.
What have detectives unrelated to the case said about it?
I. First, they cite the same statistic Fox News referenced: When a pregnant woman is murdered, the number one killer is the husband or boyfriend. Steve Doucie even mentioned this in asking the husband how to respond to it, to which Blackburn said,
"For us, we have nothing to hide" which not only is to invite searching into something that is hidden, but retreats to the pronoun "we", confirming it with the pronoun "us": This is a very strong indication of both guilt of something, and of something thought of at the moment of this statement, that the subject does not wish to reveal. For detectives without strong Statement Analysis training, "I have nothing to hide" is the same that parents of 7 year olds see:
Detectives: He has something to hide.
I ask that those unfamiliar with Statement Analysis view this basic and light analysis of Timothy Madden. He, too, has nothing to hide. It is a good, "101" analysis to introduce basic principles that consistently produce results in detecting deception. Without statement analysis, having "nothing to hide" is, to detectives (and teachers, principals and parents) an "invitation to look."
II. Next, detectives step away from the religious setting and recognize that a church is a business, only that it's goals may be different than simply 'the bottom line' and that unless people come to it, bills will not be paid. Even those who may not want to take this view must because it is "imposed upon us" by the language of the victim's husband
Therefore, they view it from this perspective: a business that must have customers to survive. Many more customers and it does not survive, but it "thrives." Blackburn came from a "business" that rather than seating 150 customers per week, sees as many as 16,000 customers per week. His personal reference point is vastly different than the average "neighborhood business" (church) and even the publication of such numbers shows emphasis.
Blackburn publicly shows his disappointment in failing to reach goal setting numbers but did so in context with what most people would consider a church's calling: souls. He used two numbers: "16" and "400"
While Scripture speaks of rejoicing over 1 soul, he used 16 souls in contextual failure.
The failure of the number of customers.
It is easy, they said, to see how obsessed the victim's husband is with success.
Detectives: This guys lives for success of numbers.
He lives for success and he, himself, has defined what "success" means to him, repeatedly.
III. Thirdly, they look at the Coincidental Nature of the Crime.
This was the biggest "hurdle" and something they all repeated throughout and continue to.
True, they have the statistic to look at the husband and then they have the husband's bizarre selfish initial statement, his subsequent 'corrections' yet even there, he could not stop himself with such things as:
'I'll tell you what to say to media
I'll tell you how to react, come and 'laugh' while the killer is at large
I'll tell you how to dress
and make sure you invite as many customers as possible...
Even under criticism, he adjusts his wording but still cannot conceal his true 'god' or passion: he must bring in numbers.
Some said that he is likely driven to bypass the success of his mentor who gets 16,000 customers.
1. A man who publicly speaks for a living is driven to success.
2. He tells the public that his marriage is bad.
3. He tells the public that his marriage went south with pregnancy.
4. He tells the public that, in his business, a wife can help bring success, or she can hinder that success.
5. When she is brutally murdered, what did he talk about? Did he worry for himself or his child? Did he worry about the killer coming back to get him or his neighbors? Did he express hurt for himself?
No, they said: he spoke about his business.
This was repeated:
"No. Not buying it. When a guy has an affair and the wife turns up dead, we say he can't be that lucky, but when a guy tells everyone how bad his marriage is, even if he is using it to sell he went as far as to say how bad it was with pregnancy. C'mon, now. She is a hinderance to his success, he waves a gun around and she's gone? Pregnancy is what he, himself told us that made the marriage worse and guess what? When she's dead, she was pregnant? No one is this lucky!"
They said: The coincidental nature of the case is overwhelming. The odds are as bizarre as his language. It is like Blackburn just won the lottery. What are the odds?
On the phone for 40 minutes while remaining outside...
Why not take the phone inside?
'Just happened to be waving around a gun...not that it was in his mind or anything...just another coincidence, right?'
He tells us how bad his marriage is how pregnancy made it worse, but most of all, how his ministry is everything to him, so much so that he can't control how creepy he sounds with his "the best is yet to come" slogan? What are the odds of pulling out a gun and then....? Way too much. It doesn't pass the striaght face test and the *&^%% this guy shovels and his hiding behind "we", and the constant selling and advertising....a divorce would have ruined his career!
Detectives: NO ONE IS THIS LUCKY
Loo, 'she is dead and he is not just not happy, he is in "salesman overdrive" and now he is telling us his plans? Book? Movie? Hollywood? He is going to beat his mentor!'
Maybe the100% was a clever playing into his narcissism and letting him go on and on as they continue to seek the connection and make the link...
IV. The Outcome
The detectives saw this from a unique perspective. The public sees it in the "here and now" of breaking news.
I see it through the lens of the verbalized perception of reality.
They see it in months and even years.
Cold case detectives, in particular, sometimes lack camaraderie in general, which is natural. It is not like internal affairs animosity, but when a case is closed, the cold case detective becomes the de facto critic of his comrade in arms' work.
When a cold case detective focuses in upon someone that has been officially cleared (which is his job), those who cleared the subject are on edge, which is understandable. They are also conflicted.
They want justice but as human nature is, they do not wish to be wrong.
Honorable investigators will accept this and be glad for justice.
Others will be a bit defensive.
Some may even be resistant.
Some will go to great lengths to cover their own error, as was the case of Sheena Morris where they made the life of Sheena's family a living hell. Thankfully, they are the exception.
Amanda Blackburn's murder is a tragedy which we, the public, are going to have before us, quite likely, for some time to come. Even the "demand for apology" brings free publicity, and the words reveal the intention of the husband to publicize the brutal murder, as he changed the language to "Amanda's Story" even before the killers were caught.
Detectives stated that it may take months or even years, but all stated that "police are actively investigating" any possible connection to the husband, by any means.
My conclusion remains the same:
The language of guilt.
The source of guilt is something powerful enough to elicit the need to 'hide' in the plural, something seen in human language in children, in the Bible, in history, in an abundance of news stories of crime, and within the understanding of human psychology.
The source of guilt?
I do not know, but it may be that the marriage was as bad as he claimed, and, in his perspective, he is not only relieved, but an extreme opportunist, who can feed the insatiable drive for success with the "story" of the brutal murder.
Is this 'enough' to produce the intense guilt seen in the language?
"The Stuttering "I" in Statement Analysis
I don't know. This is a bizarre case. It is the first case I have ever seen a public speaker stutter on the pronoun "we"; instead of only the "Stuttering I", with its "scale of anxiety" where the non-stutterer halts upon the pronoun "I", something he has used millions of times, with anxiety level skyrocketing with each "I" stuttered upon, until the highest level is reached: "9", which is only seen in domestic homicides where the husband killed his wife, during a close relationship, in a physically close violent manner, where, upon stuttering to this extreme, the killer suffers a nervous breakdown and his hospitalized.
Police will continue to investigate to learn if there exists a connection.
In spite of the complaints, it was the husband's own statements that brought the public to doubt him. Experts told me that the language was that of the "anti-social narcissistic' variety which was not lost on Jeanine Shapiro, nor the public at large.
When asked about involvement, had he said,
"I didn't kill my wife, and I don't know who did", this strong statement would have been reliable. Had he then been asked,
"Why should you be believed?" to which the answer,
"Because I am telling the truth" would have meant 99.9% likely truthful.
I would have closed my analysis with it.
Instead, he said something else.
Consider that this man is well above average in intelligence and his friends know it. Those close to him already know the signals of narcissism in his language, as well as his competitive nature. They know.
If the average person has an internal dictionary of, let's say, 25,000 words, it is fair to say that this man is not average.
Yet, let's say he is average and has about 25,000 words.
When he was asked to speak to the suspicion that he could be involved, via the statistic of police needing to clear the husband, he would answer by:
a. Going into the dictionary of 25,000 words
b. Choose which words to use only
c. Decide the order of information
d. Put the words into sentences, which word going where, to make sense to the listener
e. Choose which verb tenses to use
f. Choose which pronoun to use, "I" for himself, or "we" if there is someone else with him who needs to speak to the suspicion that he could be involved;
This entire process takes place in the brain in less than a micro-second in time.
The speed of transmission is very fast. Not only is it very fast, but it is something the subject's brain has been doing, every day of his life, for more than 25 years. The efficiency is powerfully accurate.
When someone speaks the truth, they will speak from not only memory, but "experiential memory"; that is, memory that they themselves, experienced. Memory could be:
the memory of what someone told me;
the memory of what I said earlier (self reference)
the memory of something I read or saw...
Or, it could be "experiential memory"; the easiest of all processing. This is powerful because experience means increased hormonal activity to the brain, 'cementing' or solidifying memory. This is why if you experienced something in childhood that frightened you, the memory remains due to the imprint left from the inclusion of elevated brain hormones. (this is the basic source of PTSD like symptoms, including nightmares)
Experiential memory, therefore, is not 'taxing' to produce, and it goes in time; that is, like life, living in time, it is in chronological order. This is where children learn that lying is difficult because it is hard to "keep track of the lies." Why is this hard? Because there is no 'emotional' or elevated hormonal connection. (Teachers use this to help mnemonics. If I give you bare facts of two individuals' deaths, you will forget them. If I use "narrative" (emotional connection) and say, "The queen died, and shortly after, from a broken heart, the king also died" you are far more likely to remember this even years later. By including an emotional connection, the brain experienced a subtle increase in reaction, strengthening memory. This is why a certain scent can trigger a 30 year old memory)
Experiential memory is "easy" to recall.
In order to go into this process and deliberately deceive, withhold, or even outright lie, one must disrupt the speed of transmission.
This is the source of stress in deception.
Even if someone has sociopath tendencies, and "do not feel like others feel", such as "Dr. Hannibal Lector", then they "can pass a polygraph because they don't feel guilt like you and me" or
"psychopaths don't have human emotion which makes a polygraph a waste of time."
It is not true.
It may be interesting or make for good drama, but it is false.
The source of stress is not conscience (though conscience can contribute to one's stress: we all have seen some kids so quick to say "I'm sorry!" while others dig in their heels), that we pick up in both linguistic indicators and the polygraph, it is the stress of disrupting the speed of transmission.
This is why in Analytical Interviewing we produce admissions because we use the subject's own language, and his own deceptions.
This is why a polygrapher who uses the subject's own words and his own moment of disruption, will get results.
When the subject was asked about police looking at him, as the husband, which is very personal, masculine and with no one else possibly being the husband of Amanda, nor the 'husband' of the statistic, he said,
"For us, we have nothing to hide."
This is both the language of guilt, and the invitation to search for that which is hidden.
Interesting that the mentor said that there was something "wrong" with the victim's husband and that he did not feel comfortable with him until he met Amanda.
Although limited in volume, Amanda's words seem to reveal a genuinely Godly, lovely, chaste mother and wife .
She was probably his single best advertisement for Christianity in his possession.
She is now gone.