Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Jodi Arias Statement: Fabrication of Reality

When a child fabricates reality, rather than be deceptive in a yes or no question, or via withholding information, the parents must take careful corrective steps as this can and will grow with each success. 

This form of deception is rare and it is dangerous. 

Jodi Arias was accused and convicted of  murder of her boyfriend,  Travis.  She claimed that two others did it, and that she escaped with her life. This is a reposting of analysis done years ago.  Det. (ret) Steve Johnson has done excellent work in Arias' handwriting analysis. 

  1. Arias: I heard... ah.... really loud, pop, and the next thing I remember, I was lying next to the bathtub and Travis was, um... screaming.
    She begins with the pronoun "I" indicating that she is, psychologically, committing to the sentence.  We often find much reliable information because of it. 

    "I heard a really loud pop..." is likely to be true. It may not be true here and now, but she has heard a really loud pop before in life. This commitment to audible sensory is immediately followed by missing information: 

    "And the next thing I remember" is an example of Temporal Lacunae, or phrases used to show skipping over time.  It is here that we look for the missing information; that is, information that may be critical to the case, and withheld.  It is a key phrase for interviewers to go back to and ask follow up questions to.   Here, it is not "the next thing that happened" but "remembered" which would suggest deception.  Why?  What is the difference?
It is because in an open statement or open response, someone can only tell us what they remember.  How could they tell us what they don't remember?  

She heard a pop and she was lying next to the bathtub.  This is likely to be true. 

Yet, what is missing is what happened in-between the sound and her position near the bathtub. 

"Travis was screaming" is also likely to be reliable information. 

Thus far, there is the giving of information we can believe.  Follow her sequence of events and trust her: 

a. she heard a noise
b.  she next concealed what happened
c.  she was lying near the bathtub
d.  Travis was screaming 

She has very likely not told a lie here, with a lie defined as the fabrication of reality or a "direct lie." This is in an open statement (answer that is not a "yes or no" question.)

More than 90% of deception comes from withheld information; not from a direct lie .

"I don't remember"  In an Open Statement.

An open statement can be an open ended question in which the subject is now choosing his own words to describe something.  It can be written, verbal, or even part of an interview, as long as the free editing process in is play. 

but in an open statement, the use of the words "I don't remember" is sensitive because a subject can only tell us what they know, what they saw, what was said, and so on.  In fact, anything reported to you, in the negative, in an open answer or statement, should be flagged as very important, and possibly deceptive. 

"I don't remember two guys running across the lawn..."

Who said anything about two guys??  This is how deceptive people often give away valuable information.  In the above, it is not an exaggeration, but an introduction of the topic of two males into the scenario and is highly important. 

This is the reason for many innocuous or easy questions, as it causes a routine of answers which, once begun, will need something to stop it.  This exchange took place and led to valuable information. 

"and I didn't call anyone, finished my shift and went home..." a subject said in response to, "...and then what happened?" as a question. 

When she caught herself, she then denied making a phone call.  In the interview, this obvious deception was ignored.  The subject was then brought back to a series of easy questions which required little thought and the interviewer brought her, carefully, back to the time segment in which this call was made.  In rapid fire question and answer, the subject grew in confidence and the pace picked up considerably. 

The interviewer then said, "what number did you dial?" of which, without missing a beat, the subject said, "555-1212", then followed by another easy question.  

The number matched the phone records of the call she "didn't make" and the interview was successful in solving the crime.  She offered, during her own free editing process, what she did not do, and the interviewer, skilled by practice, did not respond to it until later, after the subject was back "on track" of answering easy, non-threatening questions. 

If you let people talk, they will tell you what you need to know...

only if you are listening. 

 Here, in Jodi Arias' statement,  the word "remember" it is coupled with the Temporal Lacunae.  It is indicative that she may have been telling you what she did not remember.  

Note the body position enters the statement:  "lying"

Please note:  "bathtub"  

When water, in any form, enters a statement, sexual abuse, sexual activity, sexual assault, etc, should be looked into by the interviewer.  She could have worded it in other ways. "I was on the bathroom floor" or even "I was on the floor."  

For her, it was important that we know the word "bathtub" was on her mind and utilized for whatever reason. 

Body positions entering a statement are important as they indicate tension.  
AriasAt that point, I...um...I sort of was just trying to come around and kind of orientate myself to what was going on,"  "And I looked up and I just -- I saw two other individuals in the bathroom. And they were coming towards us.
Note "at that point" is not only distancing language, (that)  but represents a space of time that would also need exploration by the interviewer.   What happened just prior to "that" point?  What happened right after "that" point?  Does this come from experiential memory?  If so, it can be repeated, easily, coming and going, backwards and forwards, and will not need such words as "sort of" and "just" and "kind of".  In Eyes for Lies commentary, she correctly identified the use of these words as odd.  This is the same that we say in analysis:  the unexpected. 

          Also note that she describes herself as making the attempt to "come around" and "kind of" orientate herself to "what was going on" which is soft language for a murder scene.   She places herself in control of cognition. 

         As these things raise suspicion, she then, in speaking of a brutal murderous attack, it is her use of the word "individuals" which alerts the analyst to deception. 

"Individuals" is gender neutral, and a strong indication that she is fabricating, or concealing the identity of the killer (s).  Two "individuals" is neither masculine nor feminine.  Would you know if two killers with guns and knives and murder on their minds were men or women?  Would you know if they were a "couple" rather than "individuals"?  This use of "individuals", like "people" is unexpected.  In fact, it is so unexpected in deceptive statements that it is expected. 

This is a good example of language that "does not proceed from experiential memory."

Police often pick this up intuitively and know to follow up in questions.  Once trained, they know precisely how to discern its usage and where to go with this discernment. 

Expected in deception.  Unexpected expectations?  We begin every statement expecting truth, and it is the unexpected that confronts us as possibly deceptive.  When someone wishes to conceal the identity of the killer, thief, bad guy, etc...

they  go gender-neutral.  

This leads investigators to ask:

Why would she want to conceal the identity of the killer? (or killers?)

We saw this in the Darlie Routier case where she sought to conceal the identity of the killer on her 911 call. 

Words like "kinda, sorta, somewhat..." etc are deliberately vague so that the deceptive person may later on use it as a way of explaining that which did not fit (forensically or logically) and it is the overuse of vague language that calls us to attention:

                      "Jodi says Travis was alive when she fled his house." (48 Hours)
  1. AriasHe was still sort of on his hands and knees, the whole time, until I ran from the room. That's the last that I saw him.
    Note "sort of" is vague, but it is followed by definitive language:  "the whole time", which is then followed by a statement which is often used when a subject wants to stop the flow of information:  "that's the last I saw him."   This is similar to "that's all I know" (in various forms) which seeks to end the information.  In this case, his body posture, which was only "sort of" but for the "whole time" is a sensitive topic to the subject. Jodi was there for the "whole time" of the murder.  She just said so. 
    Arias: He pulled the trigger, and nothing happened with the gun, and sojust grabbed my purse, which was on the floor at that point, and I ran down the stairs and out of there and I left him there. …I pushed past him and - and his gun, and I just didn't look back.

    Lots of deception and principle here.  Let's break it down.

    1.  The individuals are now only singular, and masculine:  "he"   
    This is a good example of what most of us learned very early in life, sometimes through game playing: narrative that does not come from experiential memory is difficult to recall. 

  2. Pronouns are instinctive and flow from us without pre thought.  The change from plural to singular should alert the interviewer that this is not coming from memory.

    2.  "Nothing happened..."  Nothing can't happen, so we are going to question this one (in an open statement) but we do not need to go far because she gives us the answer:

    3.  "with the gun" as if "nothing" could happen with something else.  This is indicative that not only did it not come from memory, but she is making it up as she goes along.  It has that Casey Anthony feel to it:

    "dead squirrels crawled up" and got stuck in her car engine, causing the smell of human decomposition.  Since squirrels that are dead generally don't crawl much, going out of (literal) chronological order indicates deception.  For Arias, "nothing happened" when he pulled the trigger, but in case anyone is wondering, the "nothing" that happened when he pulled the trigger was "with the gun."  It is this awkward additional wording that those untrained in analysis will grab onto, and have that 'smell test' or 'hinky meter' feel to it and cause them to not believe the story.  Instinct tells them, "she is lying" though they are not sure why.

    We are sure why, and apply the same principles statement after statement.


    Analysts highlight "so, since, therefore, because, hence, " and all related words, as sensitive in an open statement because the subject is now telling us why they did something; rather than simply reporting what they did.                                             The need to explain "why" without being challenged is a sensitivity in which the subject wants to preempt the question. It is more than just the false piling on of little detail in hopes of being believed; it is anticipation.  She knew it would be challenged so she "beat them to it."  Often this is so unnecessary that investigators would never have even guessed to ask certain questions had not the guilty party projected it through this sensitivity.  
     The sensitivity must be explored; it may be deceptive, or it may not be, but it is sensitive.  "Just" shows reduction and has a casual feel to it.  We label "so" as sensitive, and "just" as reductive.   The additional information about her purse seems totally out of place, yet, only for us:  for her, it was not left behind.  This is a form of an attempt to persuade.  Would you have the presence of mind to get your purse while running from homicidal maniacs (or just one)?  It is like being held up at a convenience store by an armed robber and asking for a receipt.   

Note that she grabbed her purse and ran, but then her last sentence seems to go back in time, just a moment is all it takes to indicate out of chronological order: 

and I ran down the stairs and out of there 

Which works, until she then shows that she is not speaking from memory:

and I left him there. …

In order to get "out of there" she would have to have "left" him there, making "left" an unnecessary word = double importance for us.  It indicates missing information.  What is missing from here is the truth.  

I pushed past him and - and his gun

Note that not only is she out of order, but gives more additional and needless information:

She pushed past him "and his gun", showing (1) unnecessary wording and (2) the word "gun" is sensitive because it is repeated.  

Linguistic Disposition:

Even self loathing people will defend themselves. 

Q. What is Jodi Arias' linguistic disposition towards the killer of her boyfriend?

A.  "Positive" is the Statement Analysis destination due to context. She did not push past the killer, but "him."  This neutral word is "Positive" in the absence of expected animosity, fear, loathing, etc. He is not even the "gunman" but only "him."

This is not coming from experiential memory. 

She has a "positive linguistic disposition" towards the killer: herself. 

Lastly, note that in this open statement, she tells us what she did not do:

and I just didn't look back.

"I just didn't look back." which is flagged as deceptive.   This description has a resemblance to the deceptive statement made by Tiffany Hartley, who had reported her husband shot dead by Mexican "pirates" on Falcon Lake.  This is a form of alibi or excuse building so that she can later attempt to explain inconsistencies.  "I can't remember what he looked like because, like I told you (self reference noted), I didn't look back."
Arias : They were both taller than me, um...they were covered -- their hands, their gloves -- they had long-sleeved shirt on. They were in all black. He was wearing jeans. But they all -- they had ski masks on and I believe they were there to kill him, um...because they didn’t take anything...to my knowledge, there was nothing missing from the house.
Please note that the word "covered" entered her statement in a broken sentence.  Later, "covered" (short, brief) became "ski masks" (longer, detailed) reversing the natural law of economy. This is another indication that her words are not coming from experiential memory. 

Self Censoring

Broken sentences mean missing information. 
Please note that "covered" as well as being covered, blankets covering, towels, clothes, etc, when it enters a statement should lead the investigator to learn if sexual activity or abuse took place, or if PTSD is part of the subject's profile.

Note the description has the feel of story building, 

1.  Taller than me.
2.  Covered
3.  Their hands
4   Their gloves (broken sentence)
5.  They had long sleeves on.
6.  They were dressed in black. 
7.  He, one individual (not a couple) had jeans on.   (note the word "all" as ill-fitting)

It only only the 8th description that the ski masks are mentioned.  This not only gives the feel that it just came to her to add this in, but order represents something; priority, importance, chronology, proximity, and so on:  it has meaning. 

To say ski masks as the 8th thing noticed is, to say the least, unexpected.  Two "individuals" in ski masks would be a striking, frightening image and it is likely that it would be the very first thing you would mention, not the 3rd, or 4th, and certainly not the 8th.  

This is deceptive.

Next, note the word "because" as sensitive (see above).

*note next the qualifyer "to my knowledge" and the sensitivity of repetition about "nothing" missing from the home...it is qualified as such so that later, if need be, she can say, "well, I did say 'to my knowledge' didn't I?"  

Something someone running for her life (while grabbing her purse) from individuals intent on murder, would not likely do:  take inventory of the home's belongings.  

She is lying

Analysis Conclusion:

Deception Indicated. 

She fabricates reality in bringing two actors into her story and the language is useful for study, especially in understanding how difficult it is to tell a lie. 

When information is being fabricated, the recall is not imprinted upon the brain until the story is told over and over. The awkward sense of presentation, including the reversal of the law of economy, is often picked up intuitively.

Beyond the language of fabrication, we have a fascinating psycho-linguisitc profile that emerges; one that may be of surprise to some. 

For training in your own home or for your department or business, please visit Hyatt Analysis Services. 


Lucia D said...

Always entertaining listening to liar extraordinaire Jody Arias. I watched a lot of her trial. I would have been even more interested had I a knowledge of SA!

Thomas Horan said...

"I can explain the [my] hair and the blood. But I don't know if I can explain the palm print." --Jodi Arias to Detective Nathan Mendes.

Jodi's identical twin sister also displays most of the common "symptoms" of sociopathy. But Jodi takes the cake. Well, almost. Amanda Knox takes the cake, the presents, the confetti, and the balloons.

Anonymous said...

She is a lying witch of a snowbunny, spinning her wretched lies on the devil's loom. Crocheting a literal blanket of sinister falsehoods in the the devil's dank dumgon.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for posting off-topic on a new post. This happened in my town last night. I smell a rat, but I'm not very good at SA. Would anybody care to weigh in?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot the link!

Anonymous said...

Oh sorry, he said to Liz Kempler "I wish that just the two of us could sit down alone and talk about the way that I am."

Anonymous said...

'I’ve been sitting a lot in my cell thinking, "What a waste," you know? I did have my whole future ahead of me,' Arias told a reporter five years ago. 'I had everything to lose and nothing to gain if I killed Travis. I loved him and still love him,' RadarOnline reported.


‘I did not kill Travis,’ Arias replied. However, she said if she were to have killed him, she couldn't have stabbed him. It would have been too cruel.

‘I don't think I could stab him. I think I would have to shoot him until he was dead if that were my intentions,’ Arias told the detective. ‘But I would have to wear gloves.

‘If I had it in me to kill him, the least I could have done was make it as humane as possible,’ she added.w

Peter Hyatt said...

Jodi Arias is a most unique subject for study. She provides much for S/A. Those who worked the investigation are better investigators today, though the impact of psychological trauma is likely with them

Mary P said...

Kayla Davis
Missing young woman, interview with husband who was with her when he says she she fell in water and was carried away by current.
It does not look good.

“Anytime we’d go on a hike, we’d be up high and we’d be sitting on the edge of a cliff or we’d play with Rattle snakes when we found them. We would see who could hold their breath longest. I mean we were always just pushing each other to do more and more, and I usually lost,” says Walker Thomas, Kayla’s Husband.

(But that night, they got a little too close to the edge. As the couple sat out on the edge of driftwood over a waterfall.)

“So that night, I didn’t think much of it. We’d just went out on to the logs to sit. We were just kind of goofing off. It’s not like they were going anywhere. There were pretty solid. When I was waiting for her to come back, and then she went from sitting to hanging and she wasn’t there very long before she went in,” says Walker.


He never uses his wife's name.
He portrays her as someone who regularly engages in risky behavior,
He spends lots of time on framing the story

They were always "pushing each other" embedded confession?

He "usually lost", but not this time? Did he win?

Lots of use of "we" not I, to avoid responsibility

Minimizing use of just in account

kind of goofing off, qualifier, how were they kind of not goofing off

He didn't think much of it, reports what he didn't think

The couple reportedly sat on the edge of some driftwood over a waterfall.

He says "it’s not like they were going anywhere. They were pretty solid."

If they were pretty solid and not going anywhere, then what happened?

"When I was waiting for her to come back, and then she went from sitting to hanging and she wasn’t there very long before she went in,” says Walker.

When I was waiting for her to come back... what happened? missing info

They were sitting together, and next he was waiting for her to come back? from where?

Reference to her body position, sitting, hanging,

His last sentence barely makes sense,
missing info what happened to Kayla?

I have been reading this blog for years and years and find Sa fascinating. Here it really jumps out at me that this man is not being truthful about what happened to his wife.

Peter Hyatt said...

he usually lost when they "pushed" each other.

Mary P said...

Thank you Peter.

I read your first, lengthier comment, but I no longer see it.

Unfortunately the linked interview is edited.

Yes, he did not say they sat, just that they went to sit, I had not noticed that, so many details.

You say-
At this point, it is still "we" but here begins "time"

I no longer see your comment, what point do you refer to?

I read of a recent case in CA where the parents were accused of torturing their kids.
The mom said the dad was a "great dad", and she was a "great mom", and I thought of how this is a red flag in SA.

I just watched your Mc Cann interviews with Richard Hall, I was impressed by the analysis, and also by your demeanor and professionalism, applying a tool, emotions aside, but with evident respect and great compassion for Maddie.

powerful stuff,

I also looked at the astronaut analysis, I respect you for considering what many would find inconceivable. We need more courageous people like you to be willing to question, consider, and perhaps discard preconceived notions and beliefs in the face of new knowledge and tools.

habundia said...

Thanks ML interesting read.....exactly what I meant with combining SA and BL