Sunday, December 27, 2015
Steve Avery's Statement At Sentencing Analyzed
If you were innocent of killing someone and were told you could freely speak, particularly after declining to take the stand in your own defense, what would you say?
"I didn't kill Teresa" is a reliable denial. In all the clips that the documentary showed, he did not once issue this.
We have noted that it has three elements.
1. The pronoun "I"
2. The past tense verb
3. The specific allegation answered.
If any one of these three elements is missing, it is no longer reliable.
If any one of these three elements is changed, it is not reliable.
If a fourth, or fifth element is added, it is not reliable.
If the statement does not come from the Free Editing Process, that is, where one is freely choosing his own words, it is not reliable.
If it is parroted from a question, it is not reliable.
If it is a 'corrected statement' that is, one in which the subject was told that he did not issue a reliable denial and now 'corrects' his statement, it is not reliable.
Being unreliable means just that: it is not reliable. Some innocent people do not grasp that they are under accusation and do not issue a denial at all, which means the interviewer must find a scenario where the subject recognizes that he is under question. In employee theft, this is common and the subject of the interview must be brought to a place where he realizes the need to deny the theft.
Where the subject knows precisely the allegation, the reliable denial should come early and easily.
If there is any obstruction, change or hinderance to making this statement, it is not reliable.
If the subject reverse the order of wording, to, in effect, avoid making the plain and simple denial, it is unreliable.
Some examples of unreliable include:
"I did not steal the goddamed jewelry" where "jewelry" is now cursed.
"I never stole the jewelry" using "never"
This case may prove emotionally difficult for analysis due to the incessant flow of deception from character after character, including the police, the defendants, the attorneys and the prosecutor. The interview of the 16 year old was a contaminating legally unsound feeding of information, losing the opportunity to learn how Teresa Halbach actually died.
Steve Avery did not take the stand in his own defense and when the judge gave him the opportunity to speak this is what he said:
"Well your honor, I'm sorry for Halbach's family, Teresa Halbach's family, what they are going through, the hate that they got. Nothing else will bring her back, and uh, my family and everyone's friends and the community, it is hurting everybody.
For myself, Teresa Halbach, I didn't kill, I am innocent of all of this and I figure later on I will prove myself innocent and can take it from there. That's all I got. Thank you. "
Here is his statement with analysis with emphasis added.
"Well your honor,
We note that he began with a pause to consider what he was going to say. He had spent 18 years in prison for rape that he did not commit, but had committed other crimes, including crimes that had he been convicted, would have sent him to prison. This is something that may have impacted his earlier statements particularly from the time he was first released. He had threatened to kill, in writing, and there may be things within his language to suggest sexual crimes early in life. He did not rape the victim he was charged with, however.
Next, we consider the passage of time between the conviction and sentencing. This was significant enough time to know what he was going to say.
What would you say?
Can you analyze in spite of seeing the illicit influence that was used to obtain Brendan's confession? The teen was fed words by the "confession expert" who manipulated the teen. By doing this, they kept Teresa's family from knowing the truth of how Teresa died.
Statement Analysis recognizes that where one begins a statement is always important, as it speaks to priority.
He began with a pause and the first two words that followed the pause were, "I'm sorry."
We note that these words, under various elements or context, find their way into the guilty. Note this in the language of Casey Anthony while speaking to the 911 operator as an example.
This phrase, "I'm sorry" is particularly interesting to note that it came from a man who had been wrongfully imprisoned and knows what the injustice is like. I believe his tempered statements when he was initially released were due to knowledge of things he had done before the rape conviction and not simply due to the coming financial windfall.
The documentary began with his passive voice where he took a cat and burned it to death, tossing it alive into a fire. This is something associated with sexual abuse. That police thought he was the rapist was not a surprise.
An innocent person is likely to state first and foremost, "I did not kill Teresa Halbach." He might go on from there to say, "You did this to me before, and now again..." but the first and foremost statement should be the simple denial of the murder. Not only was it not here, it was missing from the statements the documentary showed, including his phone conversations where it was expected. In times where he was asked about it, he consistently avoided denying it, instead opting for statements that we frequently hear from the guilty.
In sentencing, freely speaking, this is the single highest expectation: sentence one, priority one: "I did not kill Teresa. She was not at my house..." and so on.
His priority: "I'm sorry"
He was living free and set for the upcoming millions of dollars he and his lawyers were to receive and had become a celebrity of sorts.
He was sorry.
Where one begins a statement is always important. What was his sorrow? What did he do to Teresa? What did he coerce or convince his nephew into doing? In Brendan's statement, to describe himself and Avery, he said, "we" repeatedly, until the fire, where he suddenly changed (reversing the law of economy) to "me and Steven"...
I'm sorry for Halbach's family,
He began with Halbach, the last name only of the victim. This is not polite and likely reveals his emotion towards her, and here he then adds her first name:
Teresa Halbach's family,
closer to an appropriate social introduction. This is a correction.
what they are going through, the hate that they got.
What they are going through is to be deprived of their loved one, instead, he goes to the passive voice:
"the hate that they got", in passivity, which avoids telling us who it is that the family hates, though presumably it is Steven Avery. He is sorry that they hate, which is to feel bad for himself as the recipient of the hate. Victimhood was a theme in the documentary, even when Steven was convicted of running a woman off the road and pointing a gun at her, he was portrayed as a victim due to the woman's connection to police.
Please take this with the incomplete social introduction. We use the social introduction to understand what the subject thinks of the person introduced at the time of the statement. This is particularly useful in domestic homicide statements as well as domestic violence. A good example is the New Year's shooting by police chief William McCollum who made it through an entire 911 call without using his wife's name, nor even the word "wife." The analysis is here.
The suggestion of both the incomplete social introduction and the correction is feigned empathy for the victim's family.
Nothing else will bring her back,
What is the "nothing else" that he refers to? Is there something that can bring her back?
The context is his own sentencing.
The judge told Avery that he was the most dangerous person he had ever had in his courtroom and that society, itself, was safer with him behind bars.
The context is his sentencing, which he asserts will not bring back the victim.
and uh, my family and everyone' s friends and the community, it is hurting everybody.
Here he completes the list:
1. Halbach's family
2. Teresa Halbach's family
3. "my family"
4. "everyone's friends"
5. "the community"
This is the entire list of those who have been hurt or damaged by the murder of Theresa Halbach. It is interesting that he puts himself last in the order, even though he is the only one facing life in prison. It is interesting to see how many others show up in his language. This is to reduce the commitment to de facto innocence on his part.
For myself, Teresa Halbach, I didn't kill I am innocent of all of this
This statement needs attention. It is not a reliable denial.
1. "for myself"
2. "Theresa Halbach"
3. "I didn't kill"
4. "I am innocent"
5. "all this"
First we note that he is not able to simply articulate the very same words he used years before regarding the rape. I had asked readers watching the documentary to compare denials on the show. He gave repeated denials readily regarding the rape and was incapable of issuing the same simple words to the murder.
1. "For me" is something for him, but not for others. This is to say "in my opinion", allowing for someone else to have a different opinion, or a different verdict. It is similar to the gnostic view point of having 'someone else living inside of me' who is incapable of whatever crime. We hear this often in guilty statements, such as,
"this isn't like me..." or "in my heart, I would not have done this..."
An extreme example of this is the denial of Ryan Braun and PEDs where Braun had used a large painful needle to inject testosterone, while his statement not only is deceptive, but he literally uses the word "point" as he recalled the injection. It is here.
To him, he may not have done it, but the qualification, itself, is necessary, showing us his own recognition.
In his denials, he did not say "I did not kill Teresa" nor "I didn't kill her..." but "they haven't found any evidence" and "they didn't prove nothing" and he did not even strongly assert planted evidence. The documentary made this point strongly; whereas Avery, himself, did not.
2. "Teresa Halbach, I didn't kill, I am innocent" is to reverse the order, but the commas are added due to the pause, which is closer to self-censoring, as he showed the disruption in the speed of transmission, than an actual pause.
This is to avoid the simple denial, and to begin as if he was about to, but was incapable of doing so.
This is consistent with the statements shown, particularly in phone calls, where he talked about the allegation against him.
3. "All this" not only uses the word "this", bringing him close to the allegation, it also uses the plural, "all."
One may argue that there were attendant crimes (or attendant allegations) but it is "murder" that is not only front and center, but it is "murder" that holds the life sentence. This use of "all" is further indication that Teresa was not only murdered.
Due to the poor interviewing and contamination done by investigators, we do not know what happened to the victim before she was shot and her body burned. None of the interviews shown, conducted by professionals, allowed for the Free Editing Process. Particularly, the seeking of the confession via writing, was to force feed wording to the reluctant teen who would have likely revealed important detail, had he been allowed to speak.
He then shows that his thoughts will be long-term:
and I figure later on I will prove innocent and can take it from there. That's all I got. Thank you. "
"That's all I got" is to show his limitation. This is similar to the statement, "that's all I know" when one wishes to stop the flow of information and not be asked questions again. It is a signal of not simply withholding information but the active suppression of information; that which takes greater effort. This is likely why he did not take the stand in his own defense.
Steven Avery killed Teresa Halbach.
I do not know what he specifically did to Teresa Halbach, and where the actual killing took place, but it likely included some form of sexual abuse and Avery likely coerced or persuaded his nephew, into some level of involvement so that he, Avery, would not be alone in this crime.
As to allegation of evidence planting: there is deception in the language of investigators, including on the witness stand, under oath.
As to the prosecutor, his unnecessary, bizarre and repeated references to water showed some sexual issue regarding him personally. ("sweaty" and "perspiration")
These are things that are guided by the language, in spite of prosecutorial misconduct, deception and the ruination of interviews by investigators. An analyst must recognize in this case that what the state did was inflammatory as well as the documentary's "narration", that is, its message, via order and even music.
Emotion must be identified before it can be eliminated. At times, there were statements shown that were provocative and with a music score, there is a heightening of emotion, even as body language can impact the analyst. The countenance of Andrew Colborn, for example, was noted not only on the stand, but he was given the task of escorting the prisoners as well, which was akin to heightening the insult.
In order to reduce the influence of emotion upon a statement, the analyst must recognize its presence. It is best dealt with:
a. process the emotions
b. the '40% rule' of revisiting analysis
c. peer review
This is simply my own opinion on the documentary and the case as presented. Recently, the prosecutor has spoken out how unfair the documentary was. Kratz did not show himself as a honest person by his speech. During Avery's trial he said, "one man and one man only..." was responsible. The teen's attorney not only allowed the teen to be interviewed without counsel, but did not even pick up on all that was said and done by professionals who's words were, at times, shocking and will likely impact for many years, local community trust. Why did he not fire back at the prosecutor with the prosecutor's own statement of "one man and one man only..."? Was he not paying attention? This particular attorney was not honest in answering journalists' questions.
During Kratz 'story telling' of 'entering the trailer' dramatics where he narrated a story with a high effeminate voice (not the same voice he used in press conferences nor when he was angry) when used water references. He appeared to eroticize the telling of the tale, for himself. This was where the water references came in, and immediately connected 'sexual' activity (abuse, etc) of some form, for me, coming from the prosecutor, himself. He did not have tangible details of the victim to work from. This is likely why he repeated the water reference as he did, revealing something very wrong with himself simply by speaking.
It was a bizarre and disgusting moment in the trial.
Fair Trial? Adequate Defense for the Teen?
Judging only from the documentary, the teen did not appear to get a fair trial, as his attorney was repeatedly deceptive, and showed little interest in the case other than to be done with it, and offered no protection to his client. The interviewers were so poorly done that they can and should be used in demonstrations in learning Analytical Interviewing.
I wonder how much involvement Brendan had in the case and suspect that Avery convinced him to sexually abuse, and perhaps even rape, the victim. The details were lost due to the incompetence of the interviewers. Very few words that were ultimately attributed to Brendan were actually used by him in the free editing process.
The pronoun use tells me that Brendan was present for the burning of the body, but the investigators were unjust and violated not only civil rights, but were deceptive on the stand and about evidence, which could have left jurors no choice but to conclude that the state failed to prove its case.
I do not believe they did this to protect anyone else, as in a conspiracy to bury Avery, rather they were "pragmatic"; that is, they believed that Avery had killed her, and they would do whatever it took, including deceptive words and practices, to accomplish it.
Two investigators, in particular, were easily shown to be deceptive and seemed to believe themselves above the law.
The attorneys who defended Avery gave indication that they believe he killed Teresa Halbach.
His family also gave indication that they know or suspected that he killed Teresa.
Even in the years after the conviction, Steven Avery did not issue a denial, instead kept with "the truth will come out" and "I will show myself innocent", putting the onus upon himself to "show" this innocence that he, himself, does not believe in.
The state's misconduct may not have only been deceptive, but may have bordered on criminal. Two of the investigators' arrogance was such that they lacked self awareness as to their own behavior. A legally sound, open ended interview of the teenager, conducted by trained and patient professionals, would have likely yielded details that are still missing from this case.
The conspiracy to frame Avery was something the defense followed because of the blood in the vehicle, the punctured tube, and the lack of blood following a narrative that did not come from either suspect. This might have been enough for 'reasonable doubt' for some, but using this is risky.
It was not risky painting the police or the state as 'the bad guys' (even though this was a time before it became popular to blame police) because they had enough bad behavior in the court room and on tape to justify it.
The risk was in making the theory work.
The 'conspirators' knowledge of the bonfire would be something that jurors would not be able to get past. There was also a great deal of evidence and testimony left out of the film, and the film was edited with a bias toward Steven Avery being framed and ultimately innocent. It will be interesting to read additional transcripts of Steven and Brendan, if they are available, which would reveal a clearer picture of what happened to Teresa.
Here is what the judge said after Avery spoke:
"I have to say, Mr. Avery, that what particularly strikes the court, as I was preparing for today's proceedings, is the... is the continuing danger that you pose to those around you, evidenced not only by the homicide in this case, but by its timing in your life. Whatever crimes may have been a part of your past, at the time you committed this homicide, everything suggested that your life was poised to take a turn for the better. However, despite having the widespread sympathy of the public and the prospects for a significant financial award, you committed the horrible crime that brings you here to be sentenced today. In terms of assessing your danger to society, the evidence forces me to conclude that you are probably the most dangerous individual ever to set foot in this courtroom. Your attorney has argued eloquently that the court should make you eligible for release at some point in the future. But from what I see, nothing in your life suggests that society would ever be safe from your behavior. One of the things that strikes me the most is that as you've grown older, your crimes have increased in severity. This crime was committed at a time when you were 43 years old. Given the trend of your crimes, uh... society has a legitimate right to be concerned that there is a serious risk you would reoffend and commit serious offenses if you're ever permitted to be released from prison."