Saturday, October 20, 2012

Statement Analysis: Kevin Fox

Kevin Fox was arrested for the sexual assault and murder of his 3 year old daughter.

Analysis by Peter Hyatt, January 11, 2011, updated August 26, 2012.  Statement Analysis is in bold type.

Is Kevin Fox telling the truth? Statement Analysis gets to the truth and this interview highlights principle well.

Statement Of Kevin Fox Regarding His Interrogation by The Will County Sheriff's Office

"I want the public to know that I did not kill my daughter. I have always cooperated with the authorities in the investigation of my daughter's death."

This is a powerful denial and although in such a case we expect to see sensitivity indicators this is something we do not find in guilty statements.

The denial itself, is first person singular, past tense, without qualifiers. It is to be considered very strong if it was spoken freely, and not reflective language. 

If this came from him in the free editing process, we can conclude, in spite of any sensitivity indicators, that he did not kill his daughter. 

There may be other issues, as sensitivity indicators may show guilt of neglect, or of other crimes, but not homicide.

On Oct. 26, I went to the Will County Sheriff's Department at the request of the investigators. I tried to cooperate and answer their questions, however, they became very abusive -- yelling and screaming at me that I had killed her."

"tried" means attempted and failed yet here he tells us why this attempt failed.

Embedded admission?  No. 

Note "I had killed my daughter" is within his statement. He is directly quoting his interrogators and has no possessive pronoun attached to it.  This means that he entered into the language of his accusers and has not spoken from the FEP (Free Editing Process)

We note it just the same, to see if there are enough indicators of deception to overthrow the powerful denial that he began his statement with.

We look to see if, even in a denial, he frames his own guilt, or is if it is a direct quote of the deputies (the interrogators).

Note that present tense language (things/topics/issues in motion) indicating that at the time of this statement, the yelling and screaming is something that continues to this date and is sensitive to him. It is not an indicator of deception, but follow up questions should be around the yelling, sleeping, nightmares, etc. At the time of the statement, it is still "active" to the subject.

"For hours, I told the investigators that I did not kill my daughter
I asked them repeatedly to call my father so that he could get me a lawyer.
 I was told that I did not need to speak to my father or a lawyer."

Note the strong denial is his own quote, not that of someone else. 
Note that the word "told" is fitting:  strong affirmation in communicative language. 
Confusing "said" and "told" is indicative of deception.  Here he is consistent with the 

Communicative language:  he "told" them he did not kill her.  This use of "told" is authoritative and strong.  
Note that I "asked them..." is softer language.  He demanded that they know he did not kill Riley, but only asked, as a request (soft) that his father be called.  This is an example of ignorance in interviewing by police as well as a violation of his rights.  He was young and wanted 'counsel', which, in his mind, was his father.  

"was kept in a locked area for approximately 14 ½ hours. was told by the investigators that if I did not give a statement saying I was involved in my daughter's death that they "knew inmates at the jail" that would make sure that I was (expletive) every day I was there."

Note the heavy use of the pronoun, "I" showing ownership of his sentences. 
Note the absence of qualifiers.  His language is straight forward.  The time period is important because it is likely that in reviewing the tape of 14 1/2 hours, he said, "I did not kill my daughter" early, often, and late in the tape. 

Note "approximately" is appropriate to measure large amount of time.
Note first person singular, past tense indicating reliability and confident connection. 

"I was involved in my daughter's death" is the language of the interviewers/interrogators and not his own.
It should be noted that it is not his language but that he is repeating and quoting the direct language of the deputies.
He enters into their language:  it is not his own.

"One of the investigators got 6 inches from my face screaming at me that I was a (expletive) for not talking and that my wife was going to divorce me if I didn't cooperate."

Note personal pronouns and consistency of pronoun usage (I, me, my, me) is an indicator of truth.
 Note that the "screaming" is not "screamed" and likely continues to date of the statement.

Note the absence of qualifiers. 
This is another indication that his initial denial is trustworthy and reliable.

He framed "I killed her" within his denial, by entering into the language of the ignorant interrogators
 and has no personal pronoun connecting him to the murder. 
This is significant. He is quoting them directly.

"I was told that I would be in jail for 30 years unless I talked. At one point the investigators threw a picture of my deceased daughter on the table in front of me. They screamed that I had duct taped her mouth and hands.

Note "deceased daughter" is softer and respectful.  This is an indicator of innocence.
Note "told" continues as appropriate indicating it came from memory.
Note appropriate "told" versus "said" which would have been inconsistent with screaming. Note again that he is quoting what they said to him with their language, not his.

This was the first time I learned that she had been bound.

This is critical:  Here, he says "she had been bound" which is passive language.  Passivity in language is often used to conceal identity or responsibility. 

Question:  Is passivity appropriate here?

Answer:  Yes, because he does not know the identity of who bound her.  

                      There is no sensitivity within his sentence.

"They wanted me to say that there had been an accident at home and that she had hit her head -- that was the first time I learned that she had lumps on her head."

"She had lumps on her head" is passive and without knowing who is responsible (from the reliable denial), passivity is appropriately used. 

Note that he quotes others and thus far, has not owned anything for his own, in his own language. Note that "first time" is repeated, which would indicate sensitivity, but it must be noted that it is not a repetition: it was the first time he learned she had lumps, which is different than the first time he learned she had been bound; different items

"They said if I said that she fell and I panicked and tried to cover up the accident I could only be charged with involuntary manslaughter and would immediately go home on bond and could not get more than 3-5 years. They told me to say that I duct taped her mouth and hands."

"they said"now is different than "told" so we must learn if the change is justified. 
Here, it is with more details and appears to have come, likely at the suggestion of the "good cop" who was 'befriended' Fox, and the softer language indicates that this came from memory. 

They "told" him, (above) short, harsh statements. 
They "said" to him the entire story of accidental death and cover up.  

Veracity indicated. 

This is not embedded:  he enters into their language and is straight forward.  This means that when they "said" it was an accident, they were being 'nice' to him, but when he did not go along with them, they returned to authoritative.  This was their amateur version of "good cop bad cop" used on a young man. 

Kevin then says authorities told him to say that he performed an act on his daughter to make it "look like a sexual attack."

"I have never been under this kind of pressure in my life. I was isolated, alone and terrified. As soon as I saw my brother and lawyer I told them I did not do this. I love my wife, daughter and son more than anything in this world. I trusted the authorities and they betrayed me and my family. I can only hope the truth will come out."


First person singular, past tense, and "this", after being issuing reliable denials above.
Consistent use of pronouns
Note lack of qualfiiers
Note that no personal pronouns were used to own the statements of the interrogators.

Without knowing any evidence whatsoever, we would have concluded that he did not kill his daughter. There aren't even indicators of sensitivity outside the photo.

This is an example of a truthful statement and boorish untrained, ignorant deputities who thought they didn't need Interview Training but could bully their way into a confession. They are not the norm and shouldn't be viewed as such. Many investigators have taken Statement Analysis training and don't need to berate someone while attempting to learn the truth. 

It is very difficult to believe that the interrogation went beyond 5 minutes after "I didn't do it."

Kevin Fox used consistent language throughout. Note no confusion of "I" and "we" that are often in weak and/or deceptive statements. No qualifiers, and no hedging of language. 
This is his statement and he owns it.  

He "wants" to tell, is weaker than just telling; but in context, it shows a slight sensitivity due to having not been believed by police and the district attorney's office. This is why it is something he "wants" to tell, but what he tells is as straight forward as it can be: "I did not kill my daughter".

Note that there is no change in "daughter" anywhere. A change would have been significant (we would have looked at the context). He is straight forward and does not go from her name to the possessive pronoun, or back and forth with change; something we see in deceptive statements.

Kevin Fox told them, from the start, that he did not kill Riley.

It is a tragic shame that they didn't listen.  

Society is best served by educated law enforcement, who's training in interviewing is more critical than in any other area, including vehicle and weapons training. 

Next:  the 5 minute non-interview.

Fox was cleared, 8 months later, by DNA evidence.

Solomon was able to get truth without beatings, torture, coercion or bullying tactics.

He simply listened carefully enough to know.

His false confession upon obtainment in full, will be posted to show the deception within it:  how he did not tie himself to the crime he was bullied into confessing. 

His statement was reliable that he did not kill his daughter.
His confession indicates deception.  Statement Analysis gets to the truth. 

The only thing deceptive from Kevin Fox was his "confession" coerced by thugs who, if they still had their jobs, should be behind a desk and away from the public. 


Anonymous said...

Peter, I've mentioned several times my skepticism about many aspects of SA. I read here sometimes because I am curious, sometimes because I enjoy a good verbal debate with my computer screen, and sometimes (although not as frequently) because I agree with your analysis.

I know that this is your blog and you may choose to teach your readers in any way you see fit.

However, I would like to humbly offer a suggestion that occurred to me after reading this post: You should use scenarios like Kevin's more frequently to explain and teach. THIS post had much more effect on my ability to understand many of the concepts you're trying to convey, and I'll explain why. First, the outcome was not a mystery (it was to me since I wasn't familiar with this case, but I mean that the case had been decided and closed legally, with irrefutable evidence), and the final conclusion had already been proven without an open door for opinion. There was no way for me to read your analysis and the legal conclusion and think, "Well, that's just your opinion. Anyone could conclude differently for any number of reasons." SO...I was able to actually read what you had to say without my own ideas clouding the concepts you were trying to get across. And, there was no room for your own biases and the reader, knowing the conclusion is already determined, is aware of this (sometimes, I really believe you have serious biases politically, and that affects your judgement of those you analyze; not to mention, it's interesting that conservatives are rarely analyzed here...maybe that's because if SA were appropriately applied, they'd look every bit as deceptive - but, I digress).

Also, reading SA applied to an innocent subject who was originally thought to be guilty (instead of the other way around - a subject that you conclude to be guilty, but is publicly thought to be innocent) seems to be a very effective way to teach skeptics like myself the concepts without running the risk of the skeptic shutting down mid-post and yelling at the computer for the remainder of the post and comments. :)

All of that to say, using a story like Kevin's, or circumstances where innocence is known and you're using SA to explain how the subject's innocence could have been determined early on, was very helpful to me to move past certain aspects of my skepticism and understand what you're actually trying to teach here. I still maintain that certain concepts are overblown from time to time, when the analyst shows a clear bias and tries to use SA to "prove" his/her own opinions. However, what you've done here with this post was very helpful to me to see SA in a more positive and useful context, and I appreciate its usefulness much more after reading your analysis of Kevin Fox.

(I did not know about this case prior to reading this post. Being able to draw conclusions without my OWN biases already formed, and being able to "see" SA prove the author's proposed analysis in the end with the final legal ruling was a helpful experience for me in my understanding of SA.)

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Anonymous. Point taken.

I received a number of requests in live trainings for truthful statements and have incorporated this particular case for this very reason.

When I do post something like this, I generally get detractors saying, "but it was already decided so you knew before you did the analysis..." and so on.

Also, if you use adjudication of a case as your reference point:

1. My analysis of Casey Anthony as deceptive is wrong.
2. My analysis of OJ Simpson as deceptive is wrong.
3. My analysis of Amanda Knox, as deceptive was correct, but now is wrong.
4. My analysis of Lance Armstrong as deceptive was "wrong" when the Feds dropped the case and now suddenly is "correct" when the USADA caught him.

It makes for a sticky situation.

Also, finding deception does not always mean guilt. I find this frequently where, for example, an assault took place at the work place. Workers who were not involved sometimes show deception because they shaved hours and did not do the work assigned, therefore, the conclusion of the matter must be considered carefully.

In the case of Brianna, the father was deceptive and reportedly failed his polygraph but did not kill his daughter; his neighbor did. Later I learned that his failed polygraph and sensitivity indicators had to do with substance abuse and that no one was watching the child due to substance abuse.

I hope you will look at Mark McClish' book, "I Know You Are Lying" from Amazon. It is simple and basic, but has lots of interesting stories of well known cases.

Something to rest your hat upon:

The same principles used for one are used for the next and the next after changing principles to suit the case.

If psychics have far less than 1% correctness, I think that Statement Analysis should be considered by thoughtful people as a far more effective means of getting to the truth.

John Mc Gowan said...

Excellant example Peter...

Anonymous said...

I have said the same over the years, that I learn more from the ones like Ryan Ferguson where the party is innocent versus guilty. The concept aligns with the scientific proven principles of teaching and learning, neuroscience, and psychology.

Nadine Lumley said...

HO HO !!!!@

sometimes, I really believe you have serious biases politically, and that affects your judgement of those you analyze; not to mention, it's interesting that conservatives are rarely analyzed here...maybe that's because if SA were appropriately applied, they'd look every bit as deceptive - but, I digress).