On November 10, 2015, Amanda Blackburn was shot by intruders and eventually died from her wounds.
Police arrested and charged locals in her murder and have cleared Amanda Blackburn's husband, Davey, in her death.
His statements shortly after the death have caused many to question the conclusion of police, provoking questions of:
a. Did he arrange for this murder?
b. Or, does his unusual language show something else that appears deceptive? This includes speculation about sexuality, given the references he made to being dissatisfied with his wife, sexually, as well as his 'self-based' theatrics and priority of self promotion within his language, during a time when grieving, not ambition, is the expected.
The coincidental nature of the case includes:
a. Publicly complaining about his wife, highlighting sex as the chief complaint of the marriage as well as Amanda wanting him home rather than at promoting his church;
b. Specifying in detail that his marriage got worse when Amanda was pregnant with their first child;
c. Using a gun as a "prop" in a speech days before his pregnant wife was shot and killed.
d. The timing of his return from the gym delayed by close to three quarters of an hour, before entering the home
The distancing language was unexpected and extreme, and ambition for 'church growth' was a constant theme. Here, he writes again about the day in question.
This portion of his statement is not likely to assuagement of doubts that many have expressed.
On November 10th, everything changed. It was a normal Tuesday morning. I woke up around 4:30am. Read my bible for a bit. Grabbed my gym clothes and headed out for a workout. When I returned home to shower I walked into a reality I’d never wish on anyone. My home had been broken into and Amanda was lying on the floor unconscious with 3 gunshot wounds – one to the head.
I don’t really know how anyone is expected to process a moment like that. I suppose I’ll attempt to explain more one day on this blog, but for now the only way I can describe it is everything seemed to be a slow-motion blur as all my worst fears became reality. I called 911 as soon as I could, and the paramedics rushed Amanda to the hospital. The next 24 hours were a waiting game to see if the swelling in her brain would subside and give us any hope of her survival. Mid-morning on November 11th the doctors informed me that there was no brain activity and she would not recover."
There are some simple principles of statement analysis that can be applied here:
On November 10th, everything changed.
Not that his wife and pre born child were murdered, but that "everything" changed, to encompass more than just the two victims, and bring the reader's attention to something beyond the victims.
Please note that "everything changed" is in passive voice. Passivity is often used when responsibility is unknown or concealed. In this case, the passivity is not expected since those directly responsible for Amanda's death are known and under arrest.
It was a normal Tuesday morning.
In analysis, we flag the word "normal" (and other words revealing a similar theme) as important.
Who calls themselves, "normal"? Those who have been considered "not" normal.
When a statement includes "normal", it is similar to story telling where even young children recognize that "it was a day like any other" is about to reveal something very 'not' normal, and unlike every other day.
This use of "normal" tells us that it was not normal. What was "not normal" about this day?
He had previously described talking with his friend on the phone, each Tuesday of the week yet on this day, not only did he talk to his friend (as always) but he stayed on the telephone for almost three-quarters of an hour outside the home in the driveway. It was not his norm, and for whatever reason, he did not conclude the final 40 or so minutes of this call from inside his home.
This is not "normal" unless the conversation was something his wife was not to hear.
The use of the word "normal" tells us that the subject knows that it is anything but. This is a very strong signal for analysts viewing statements regarding deception via missing information.
I woke up around 4:30am. Read my bible for a bit. Grabbed my gym clothes and headed out for a workout. When I returned
"I woke up around 4:30am" is a very strong statement and, based upon its form, is very likely to be truthful and reliable. Truthful indicates accuracy and reliable speaks to completeness. Where pronouns disappear, the reliability decreases, as the subject distances himself which suggests that there may be some missing information that the subject does not wish to share; that is, a 'psychological removal' of one from a sentence.
"I went to the movies with my friends. Bought popcorn. I got home at 11:30..."
It is very likely that the teenager went to the movie with his friends but when it came to came to buying popcorn, he dropped the pronoun "I" entirely. In this case, he really did buy popcorn, so why the need to drop the pronoun "I" from the purchase? The answer is because although he did buy popcorn, it is not all he bought. He also bought marijuana and this was not something he wanted his mother to know.
Pronouns in Context
Blackburn's initial statements after the murder were noted for the extreme avoidance of using the pronoun "I", although the death of one's spouse is something so very unclose and personal, instead opting for the pronoun "we", even at times when he was alone. When confronted with doubts he said, "We have nothing to hide" which signaled the very opposite, not only by offering "nothing to hide" but by shifting to "we" as a pronoun.
Here, he uses the pronoun "I" to tell us when he woke up and that he returned, but within that, we find two "missing pronouns" of which there is a psychological distancing regarding both "reading" his bible, and "grabbing" his gym clothes. This is to reduce reliability in regard to both, even though security cameras and eye witnesses can place him at the gym. This is a 'psychological' distancing where from the time of 4:30am and the time of his return, the subject removes himself from the setting. This is a sensitive time for him.
This is to tell us two things:
1. Why he came home from the gym
2. The inclusion of water in his statement.
When someone recounts "what happened", we take careful notice of any possible need to include an explanation of "why" something was done, particularly if it is unnecessary.
*Why would he feel the need to explain to anyone why he came home from the gym? This means: coming home from the gym is something very sensitive to him.
Instead of saying "when I returned, I found Amanda shot..." he tells us the reason he came home, making the returning to his home something very sensitive to him.
"When I returned home, I found my wife, Amanda, bleeding..." This would show: 1. Timing of "when" 2. Priority: my wife is bleeding Since this is about a murder, and it is 5 months from the death, it is likely something that is still considered a 'fresh wound', yet it was in the very days after the murder, he used distancing language. The type of additional information and story telling generally can arise years later, if at all, depending upon the closeness of victim and subject. Husband and wife are "one person", physically and intellectually/emotionally; making it a very close relationship, meaning the murder is "very intrusive" in the language, rather than the distancing we encountered in the days after. In fact, in the first announcement of her murder, we found the subject using the death to advertise his church. This was as "unexpected" as the distancing language employed. Why would he need to explain "why" he came home, since he lived there? There should be no anticipation of being asked this question for the subject. Therefore, the information offered should be considered very important.
Since he was reportedly on his driveway for a considerable amount of time talking on the phone, instead of completing the call in the house, where he would have found his wife earlier, perhaps saving her life due to the blood loss, this is very sensitive to him, and again, tells us that it is anything but "normal" in the statement.
We note also the inclusion of "shower" for the subject. We find in statements where a psychological need for cleansing, in particular, from sexual allegations, shower, or 'water' in some form, enters.
This is particularly disturbing for two reasons:
1. His public complaints about his wife sexually;
2. His public assertion that "God Himself" spoke to him, while he was "in the shower", and gave the subject a revelation of greatness for the subject.
We find sexual homicides, sex abuse victims and others referencing 'water' and the need to cleanse, within statements regularly.
I walked into a reality I’d never wish on anyone. My home had been broken into and Amanda was lying on the floor unconscious with 3 gunshot wounds – one to the head.
Here we note what he walked into, in his order:
1. a reality
2. his own home "my", not "our"
3. Amanda lying on the floor unconscious with 3 gun shot wounds
We note the order as showing priority. This is to show that "a reality" that is his, and something he would never "wish" on anyone, comes first.
Next we note that it is his home, and not their home, collectively, with no desire to share it with Amanda.
3. Amanda is listed third.
Please note that nothing is mentioned about the child within her.
I don’t really know how anyone is expected to process a moment like that. I suppose I’ll attempt to explain more one day on this blog, but for now the only way I can describe it is everything seemed to be a slow-motion blur as all my worst fears became reality. I called 911 as soon as I could,
This is "Statement Analysis 101" where we note the unnecessary wording about calling 911. When there are delays in calling 911, subjects will often yield this information by their wording making sure the audience knows that 911 was called immediately . This is unnecessary as no one would expect a delay; therefore, its inclusion is considered an "attempt to persuade" and suggests:
There may have been a delay in calling 911.
Something caused him to not have the ability to call immediately as he was limited: "as soon as I could" indicates that he was delayed by something, not known, which would not allow him to call.
This must be considered with the "not normal" activity of delaying, after the gym, entering into the home where Amanda was still alive, though bleeding out. That is the first delay, and this is the second; a linguistic indication of delay.
and the paramedics rushed Amanda to the hospital. The next 24 hours were a waiting game to see if the swelling in her brain would subside and give us any hope of her survival. Mid-morning on November 11th the doctors informed me that there was no brain activity and she would not recover."
The use of "us" here is distancing language, as no one else is mentioned here, and although it could include anyone with him while waiting, he does not state so. It is also something, in context, that must be considered:
many statements of his use "we" and "us", even while he was alone, which some have concluded "narcissistic" or "ego driven", while others consider that this is something that guilty school children use: the desire to psychologically hide in a crowd or 'spread' guilt around.
Blackburn's statements have caused investigators to opine that they believe he may have had some prior knowledge of the gang activity that led to his wife's death, while others, thinking he did not have knowledge, but was simply responding to his many complaints against her in marriage, now relieved of the burden, he can return to the incessant selling of his ministry, where the numbers in attendance are the priority of his language.
He has publicly posted the account in its entirety, where one may consider the lengthy introduction he uses prior to the 'main event' of finding the victim, Amanda, dying in her home.
For some, the case is closed as a tragic murder by strangers, while many others have their doubts, and many have expressed their own dismay at the crass capitalizing upon her death in the guise of religion by her husband, awaiting the proverbial book and movie deal.
People have very strong opinions on this case.
Investigators who have privately given their opinion that he was somehow behind the murder own that proving any connection would be very challenging for police. Still others believe the bizarre nature of his language is due to narcissistic personality disorder, even as he sees himself as 'one with God', hence the plural pronouns. Yet many agree that this has never been the language of a grieving husband, but an opportunist with delusions of grandeur for himself using religion as his private "stage" and "performance" to fulfill his definition of success.
Consider the language of deception, too, may be related to sexuality. The need to present himself "in the shower" with "God", is to strongly suggest the need for cleansing or forgiveness, hence the presence of God as the subject stands naked and in need of the water. This can then be taken with his 'marching orders' where he criticizes his father-in-law's ministry, belittling him before the congregation, and then he criticizes the entire church, before telling the audience of the "historical" things he, himself, is going to accomplish.
He claimed that "Amanda gave her life for the church", which to many Christians, is an affront, while to investigators, it is something entirely different.