Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Troy Lyons Hoax: Resigns

 Troy Lyons said he was assaulted while on duty October 29th, 2012, working as a corrections officer.  This was the night of superstorm Sandy, which did so much damage on the East Coast. 

 Police said it did not happen, and he self injured and has lied.  He was offered a polygraph and refused.  Police said he was down to only a day or two of sick time, and pulled a stunt in order to get time off.  By offering him a polygraph, he could prove this to be untrue.  

He also could have issued a reliable denial.  A hearing was scheduled for him, which would allow him to assert the truth.  

This is something very simple. 

Last week, instead of contend that he told the truth, he resigned. 

We have several principles at play here, which can be covered. 

When someone has told the truth, he will say, "I told the truth" when challenged, with the strong connection seen in the pronoun, "I", the past tense verb, "told" and the word "truth" used in one sentence. 

"I am telling the truth" is not as strong, as it is in the present tense. 
"I don't lie" uses the word "lie" along with the present tense "don't" verb, also weak.  

If someone is unable or unwilling to say, "I told the truth", we are not going to say it for him. 

For those unfamiliar with the case:  he claimed to have been assaulted, but police doubted his story and offered him a polygraph.  

Statement Analysis question:   Did the assault really happen?
Statement Analysis is in bold type with emphasis added to the italics.  

The Expected:

In Statement Analysis, we deal with the "unexpected."  We first set up what we expect to hear; we put ourselves in the shoes of the subject.  We expect him to tell the truth.  If we do not hear the simple and expected, we are 'surprised' and analyze the words.  
This is how deception is detected.  

What we listen for is the corrections officer tell us that it happened, using the pronoun, "I", a past tense verb, and address the issue specifically.  This is called commitment. 

(See Dr. Susan Adams, FBI Law Bulletin 43 “Statement Analysis:  What Suspects Words Reveal”)

Because his account has been called a story:  We look for him to then say, "I told the truth."  This is the most powerful affirmation, using the first person singular pronoun, “I”, the past tense verb, “told” and the word “truth.”  This is the strongest commitment a subject can make.  (Laboratory of Scientific Interrogation; Avinoam Sapir)

These simple words are avoided by the deceitful and are used, easily and often, by the truthful.  They often do not wait to be asked. 

Subjects telling the truth should be ask:

 “Why should we believe you?”

The strongest answer is “because I told the truth.”  When a reliable statement is made (First Person Singular, Past Tense) followed by “I told you the truth”, it is considered in excess of 99% likely truthful.
It is also a simple sentence avoided by deceptive people. 

This is the expected.  He should simply say what happened, without story telling, vague language, or passivity. 

Passive language is used to conceal identity or responsibility. 

"I heard a gun shot and saw my husband lying in a pool of blood on the floor."
This is a truthful statement but it omits that she, herself,  fired the gun, making it technically true, but deceptive.
"There was a struggle and the gun went off..."  Guns do not go off, people pull triggers. 
He should not tell us what did not happen, what was not thought, and so forth. 

The Form of a Statement  

See:  “Discourse Analysis” Don Rabon

We will also test his statement on its form.  
A truthful statement will dedicate the most number of lines (or words) to what happened since the event, itself, is the most important issue.

The percentage for reliability is:  25/50/25.  This can be seen in its three sections: 

1.    25% of the words or lines used will describe what happened leading up to the assault
2.    50% of the words will be dedicated to the actual assault. It is the most important part of the account and anything close to 50% should be considered reliable. 
3.    25% of the words will be about what happened afterwards, such as calling 911, or getting help.  

Truthful people dedicate the most words (or lines) to the actual event, since that is the most important part of the account.  In this case, the subject reported being attacked.  We expect him to dedicate the most words to the attack, and since he has been accused of fabricating it, we expect him to assert that he told the truth, using the pronoun, “I”, the past tense verb, “told” and the word, “truth.”  Should he say, “I am honest”, the present tense verb, “am” avoids committing himself to the event, which took place in the past. 

Deceptive people overwhelmingly (85%, LSI) dedicate more words (or lines) to the introduction.  This appears to be a 'delay' or an 'avoidance' of the issue, which, if deceptive, causes internal stress. 
Let us see if the words of Troy Lyons show truth or deception.  

Here is his account that he gave to the media, in an attempt to assert that it really did happen:
It was the night of Hurricane Sandy, and there were high winds. I was outside making a cellphone call to my girlfriend, saying goodnight to her as I do every night, and I saw a shadow on the side of the fence. I walked around, through a bunch of obstructions, but didn’t see anything. Then I looked up and got hit, and went down, and I remember hearing a car squealing off.

Note that this statement is 72 words in length.  A truthful person will tell us that they are telling the truth and will report what they saw, said, or thought, whereas a deceptive person may tell us what they did not see, did not hear, did not think.  This is called reporting in the negative.

An assault is very personal, and will have sensory detail to it. (Christopher Dillingham/ Reid Institute)

Please note:

It was the night of Hurricane Sandy, and there were high winds.

"It was the night..."  which is passive language and more used in story telling.  He is marking time by the hurricane rather than the assault.  Since an assault is something that impacts human senses, we expect to hear him mark time by the assault.

“High winds” is unnecessary information.  Hurricanes have high winds, and he is using a format that is more suitable to story telling than honest reporting.  This may be an attempt to persuade that he is truthful, which highlights the need, itself, to persuade.

I was outside making a cellphone call to my girlfriend, saying goodnight to her as I do every night,

Note the additional language:  "making a cellphone call.”  The research of Retired US Federal Marshal and Statement Analyst Mark McClish has shown the inclusion of a “phone call” within a statement often ties a suspect to a crime scene (a scene of deception).  Here, it is not just a phone call, but a “cell phone” call, with additional wording that also appears as an attempt to persuade.

"saying goodnight" is also needless.  He  does not use his girlfriend’s name, which is often indicative of a problematic relationship, yet he may not have introduced her because she may not want her name in the press.  

  "as I  do every night" is the same as "normal", which is a signal that this was not the norm, but rather story telling.  When someone says “I am normal” it is a strong indication that they have been thought of as “not normal” in the past.  This holds true for reporting something as “usual”:  it is an indication that this was anything but “the usual” and is a signal that he is story telling, rather than making a truthful report.
and I saw a shadow on the side of the fence.

The structure here strongly suggests he is telling the truth:  he saw a shadow on the side of the fence.  It may be his own shadow as he gives no description of the shadow.  Note that

 I walked around, through a bunch of obstructions, but didn’t see anything.

Note that he reports in the negative not seeing anything.  This is impossible.  He did see things, but does not want to engage the visual sense.  This report in the negative strongly indicates deception.

Then I looked up and got hit, and went down,

“Then” is a temporal lacunae; that is, a passage of time that he has skipped over something.

 and I remember hearing a car squealing off.

A truthful person can only tell us what they remember, therefore, the need  to say “and I remember” is another indication that he is being deceptive.

     "but didn't see anything":  also makes for good story telling but it is not what honest people report.  In an assault, victims tell us what happened and what they saw. 

 "and got it" is passive language.  Passivity is used to conceal identity or responsibility.  

“I was at the wrong place at the wrong time,”. I don’t know if someone was trying to throw some contraband over the fence, or what. I spooked somebody, and then they clocked me. I had lacerations to my face and injuries to my shoulder and the muscles in my chest, and my knee keeps popping out.”
He does not connect himself to the assault:  Instead, he uses story telling language. He should tell us what he knows, and not what he does not know.  He also introduces the word “contraband” which should be considered as sensitive information.  The subject should be investigated for any involvement in possible contraband movement in and out of the facility.  There is no connection to an assault with  the word “contraband”; making it important to the subject.

Regarding that he may have done this to get more sick time, the subject should tell us that it is not true:

 “That’s bull,” Lyons said Monday. “I’ve worked there 12 years, and I was just promoted to sergeant in April. When this happened I had 24 hours of vacation time, eight hours of sick leave and two days of comp time.”

If "that" is bull, it indicates there is a "this" that is the actual reason. (See Psychology Today, November, 2012 “This and That” )

 This is a good  place to say "I told the truth" but he avoids it.   He offers to combat the allegation that this is due to time, but does not say “I told the truth”, instead he speaks of the time he does have:

Vacation time, sick leave, and comp time.  Note the order. 
Note also that vacation time came first, at 24 hours.
Sick leave is 8 hours, but comp time is not reported in hours, but 2 days.  This is a total of only 5 days of time accumulated after 12 years.  He actually highlights how little time he has.

 “I live in Lubec, and, from what people have heard and read, my name is mud,” Lyons said Monday. “People come up to me and call me a liar. It’s been a very emotional strain. My injuries are healed, and nothing restricts me from going back to work, but they don’t want me back.”

This is the perfect place for him to say he is not a liar and "I told the truth" but he does not.  

Testing a Statement By its Form 

There is another aspect of Statement Analysis that can be applied to his statement:

Testing a statement on its form. 
A truthful statement will be:
1.  25% introduction
2.  50% event
3.  25% post event
Most deceptive statements, on their form, will be heavily weighted in the introduction.  

He uses 59 words in his introduction
He uses  5 words for the assault
He uses 8 words to describe what happened after the assault. 

Total words used  72 

Introduction:   82%
Event:                  7%
Post Event:        11%  
On its form:   Deception Indicated. 

Analysis Conclusion:

Police are correct.  Troy Lyons is deceptive about what happened on the night he reported being assaulted and will not pass a polygraph.

The deception is indicated by both the language and the form of the statement. 


Anonymous said...

Can we talk about the investigation in the CT shooting ? For some people, for me, it helps to deal with emotions by thinking. The investigators have given some good statements for analysis and that is what this blog is for, right ?

""You don't know if this kid was put up to this by somebody else," the source said. "You don't know if there was a conspiracy of sorts. You don't know if there wasn't somebody who wasn't goading this kid on." Detective Vance

mommaklee said...

Re: OT,

I am amazed at how revealing such a short statement can be regarding Troy Lyons.

I know it's not a part of statement analysis, but is it plausible that he had so little vacation/sick/comp time in reality? My parents worked for the government, but on a federal level, and they always had plenty of time and could even take leave without pay if it was absolutely necessary so I have a hard time believing Troy Lyons had 3 days vacation, 1 day sick time and 2 days comp time.

Re: Anonymous @9:04,

The repeated use of "You don't know" would indicate (to me at least) that they really have no clue at this point why the man went into the school and murdered teachers and students.

The "You" would indicate distancing. He did not say "We don't know" or "I don't know". He is distancing himself from what he/they don't know....

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know exactly how much vacation, comp and sick time they have, particularly when you weren't asked about how much time you have. He was reciting the time like he would have said his social security. For some reason, he knew exactly how many hours sick, vacation and comp he had available. I would have to check and see how much I have. So taking that into consideration, if an honest person were asked if the reason they did something is to get comp time, an honest person would not have known exactly how much time they have available, so they probably would have denied it, and added I have time available, but would not have been able to say how much. Then when asked how much time they do have, at that time, you would probably see sensitivity in their answer, because although they wouldn't know exactly, they would have said I have several days vacation and several sick and comp time as well. Then in the negative, they probably would have said, I don't know exactly how much time I have, but I have time available. I guess the sensitivity would come because although you don't know exactly, you do have a ballpark figure if you've used up some time. Just my assumptions and my imagination getting the best of me.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:19 While I agree that an honest person would have denied doing it for time off, I disagree about an honest person not knowing the amount of time they have remaining. My boyfriend knows how much vacation time/ sick time he has. He keeps track of the hours left to know if it is ok to come in late or go home early, or take a day when he is not up to par, or take a couple hours to watch a school performance. I think it is pretty normal to know how much time you have, especially when it gets down to only a couple days left.

Anonymous said...

This man is guilty re"I'm unsure who struck me"he uses a noun!!!!

Anonymous said...

"my boyfriend"???? He's lieng as nobody completely knows what leave is owed.he uses a verb and shouldn't be your"boyfriend"nor in any relationship!

Katprint said...

+1 to honest people may know how much time they have. Especially if they work for a governmental agency or other employer that lists accrued vacation time, comp time, etc. on every paycheck.

I agree with Peter Hyatt's observation that 5 days is a surprisingly tiny amount of time to have after 12 years. Most government agencies have the opposite problem where their employees don't take enough time off and their vacation balances get too big which results in an unacceptable financial liability. For example, if you accrue 80 hours in 1982 while earning $5/hr, that 40 hours gets paid at your current earning level (for example $25/hr after inflation, promotions, etc.) if you haven't used it up when you leave in 2012. Most hard-working employees tend to have high vacation balances unless they just took an extended honeymoon to Europe or had major surgery or some other unusual event drained their balance.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:12
I understand your poing, but I noticed that the example you used was your boyfriend. Your boyfriend checks daily to see how much sick and vacation time he has. You didn't use yourself as an example. That would have been more suitable, since you are disagreeing. Is that because you don't know exactly how much sick time you have?

You also said, "I think it is pretty normal to know how much time you have, especially when it gets down to only a couple days left." - You only think it is "pretty normal". You used extra unnecessary words here. I think the reason you made this sentence weaker is because you don't know how much vacation and sick time you really have.

I get paid electronically, my paycheck if I choose to see it, has to be downloaded and I need a password to get in. It is a hassle. If governments pay electronically (paperless), then unless they go online for each pay period, I don't see how they would know off the top of their head.

I doubt people know exactly how much they have. That's why they have to check. That is why I believe his exact knowledge of what he had is strange. We have a "ballpark" figure, but not exact.
Anon 10:19

Anonymous said...

I used "my boyfriend" as an example because I do not get sick or vacation days.

My boyfriend doesn't check daily to see what he has left. When he starts with x amount of days off, he counts them down as he takes them.

I said "I think" because the majority of people I know keep track. I can not say what people I don't know do.

I said "pretty normal" because it is pretty normal.

Thanks for posting REB! :)

Anonymous said...

Your boyfriend probably uses drugs as he's a crazy liar.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend DOES use cannabis BUT only on a weekend Thanks guys REB ;)

Anonymous said...

This isn't about your "druggie"boyfriend @"REB"

rootie kazootie said...

I don't know anyone who knows their vacation/hours without checking either their own records or asking HR.

Maybe just the people we know, and family, are the types to work our vacations. Those who take vacation don't have to worry about available days.

Jen said...

Hi Anon 10:19

I thought the same thing about him being able to rattle off his vacation time without research, but we have to remember he's speaking to the media to refute the accusations against him. That being the case he may have already checked his records and thought by offering that he wasn't technically out of time would prove he didn't have a motive to fake the attack or lie about it. As usual, the devil is in the details! All liars seem to have the same belief, that the more detailed the story, the more truthful they sound (Zanny the nanny is a 10, with perfect teeth and her roommates name is blah, and her mothers name is blah, my 'work' cell phone doesn't have any names or numbers saved because they are stored on my sim card that I switch back and forth daily, and which coincidentally I just reported stolen at 'work', etc.) when in reality it sounds comical and clearly raises alarm in the listener.

In the case of this liar, I think he is probably a 'dirty' guard who assists inmates in smuggling contraband into the jail, there MAY have been an assault or an issue which came about as a result, and the only way to explain what he was doing, and why he was snooping around over in the area without cameras was to say he was checking out a suspicious shadow? As Peter pointed out, he introduces contraband into the story and it's not relevant to the accusation. There may be more to the story and he was trying to cover his bases in case an inmate or someone gave up the real story or contraband was found.

Anonymous said...

Oh Good Lord! It isn't uncommon at all for governmental employees to keep up with how many ununsed sick pay, vacation and paid work hours/days they have left that is available to them, and so easy to keep up with. Only an idiot wouldn't know how much paid time they have left at any given time!

When I was employed for the U.S. Post Office Dept, we used to sit around at coffee breaks all the time and talk about how much accrued vacation and sick leave time we had left, and how many hours we could carry over annually. Some of us even kept a chart, ME being one of them. For heaven's sakes, that's how we planned our personal lives around our jobs!

I guess some of you wouldn't know a bee if it stung you on the hiney as it smiled in your face.

And just suppose it comes out one of these days that this guy was actually telling the truth? hmmmm? Truth sometimes stings too doesn't it?

rootie kazootie said...

Kinda explains the state of the budget, doesn't it? Government employs something over half the workers in the country, no? And they are all making sure they get what's theirs.

Sort of a 'go slow to insure you have plenty of work later' approach. It takes forever to do anything through a government office..

Anonymous said...

Anon said, "we used to sit around at coffee breaks all the time and talk about how much accrued vacation and sick leave time we had left, and how many hours we could carry over annually."

WOW! That explains why our government is in the shape it's in.

The truth stings! To the liar.

rob said...

As a federal employee, let me say,the same people who abuse their annual leave and sick leave, are the same ones who then fake an on-the-job injury to continue abusing the system. Then, those of us, who have leave, and come to work and actually do what we are paid to do, gets to pick up the slack for these dead-beats.

You might get the vibe that this is a sensitive issue with me. And yes, this is why our gov't is in the shape its in, too many people with their hand stuck out for a freebie, but unwilling to work for it.
Come on, tell me off for saying it, but the truth is the truth.

mommaklee said...

I am less concerned that Troy knew how much time he had and am more surprised he had so little.

My dad always knew how much time he had.

My husband has to check on it.

I think it's a personality type thing whether you remember how much vacation/sick/comp time you have left or not.

Nic said...

There is no connection to an assault with the word “contraband”; making it important to the subject.

Maybe it's what he was doing (smoking it) instead of calling his g/f before he beat himself up so as to numb the pain of self-infliction).


Anonymous said...

Well Rob. Alls I can say is you being a government employee and all, you sure have lots a time to sit around here blogging WHILE ON THE GOVMT PAYROLL!

Trigger said...

"People call me a liar" This would have been a perfect time to say, "but I told the truth"

Anonymous said...

Why were the last posts removed that were made by Jazzie & Sus and maybe one or two more also? Just because they said why they weren't going to post here anymore?

No fair. They were all nice posts and nice posters.

Anonymous said...

Please stick to the subject your "poster""posters"comments is irrelevant and BORING!!!!