Monday, November 14, 2016

Rusty Sneiderman Shooting Analyzed

An analyst  used this in her homework assisgnment for the Statement Analysis course and is doing excellent work.  Although there are moments where one may jump to a conclusion, she showed self discipline; something essential for success in detecting deception.  Her early work shows promise as she 'tethers' herself to principle early on, it will serve her well in more complicated statements and in advanced analysis.  

                  Does an insane person know he is lying?

This is a good example for learning:

In 2010 Rusty Sneiderman was shot at close range in the parking lot of his toddler son's day care when he was walking back to his car after dropping off his son.  Sneiderman died at the scene.  The person who shot him was reported to have worn a fake beard as a disguise and drove away in a mini-van that had no license plates attached to it. When the police investigated the incident they found that just two weeks before that someone in a fake beard had been lurking around his property but ran off when he was seen by Sneiderman.   Surveillance video near the parking lot of the day care captured images of the van.  From these images police were able to determine that the vehicle was a limited-edition make with less than 3,000 in existence in the U.S.  The van also may have had a rental car sticker on it.  In any case the police found that a local rental car company had one of these vans in its fleet, and had recently rented it to an individual named Hemy Neuman. 

Hemy Neuman happened to also be the boss of Sneiderman's wife.  Neuman's estranged wife called police after Sneiderman's death and told them her husband was having an affair with Sneiderman's wife, and that he may be involved. 

Neuman was asked to come to the Police station because they had some questions about a car that he had rented.  It was not public knowledge that the van seen in the surveillance video was a limited-edition vehicle and that police knew that Neuman had rented an identical vehicle when the crime happened.

Neuman was questioned by police for 6 hours.  The video of that questioning was played at Neuman's second trial in 2016.  (An appeal court threw out the first trial and Neuman was re-tried.)

a)  (Day 3 of the trial, part 1)

Here is where analysis and interview critique are added.  

Starting at 129:19 and ending at 130:15

DPD:       You know how much you're shaking on it all?  To you?

Neuman:  Of course.  I'm shaking because you --

DPD:       Why?  Am I saying --

Neuman:  Why? Because I'm in a -- look at this setting?  Look at, look at what you guys are accusing me of?

This is where we expect Newman to deny the allegation against him.  He raises the issue with the word "accuse" in his statement.  

For the de facto innocent (this speaks to those who did not 'do it' more so than one who claims innocence due to lack of judicial finding). 

DPD:      And we're off base?

Neuman:  No.

DPD:      Are we off -- tell me, am I off base?  Am I wrong?  Am I wrong?  Gary to Hemy, now, we've talked.

Analytical Interviewing is the interview conducted from the actual analysis.  We seek to avoid introducing new language, interpretations of the subject's language, as well as avoid interrupting him and...

compound questions.  

Here the interviewer not only self censored, but which question does he expect the subject to answer?

a.  are we off base?
b.  am I off base?
c.  am I wrong?

The change from "we" to "I" reveals the emotion within the interviewer, which is a mistake.  He must be dispassionate here.   He is emotionally charged due to the lack of denial:  

Neuman:  I'm saying -- 

The subject introduces what he is going to say, which is to immediately begin in psychological distancing language, but he is interrupted by the overeager "we" to "I" interviewer:  

DPD:   Am I wrong?  Am I wrong?

Neuman:  I got to work at 5:30.

If we look at this statement on its own, it is very strong, but we should not see it as a stand alone statement, instead, 

"I'm saying I got to work at 5:30" changes the analysis of the sentence.  It is no longer strong.  He does not say that he got to work at a certain time, he says that he is saying such.  In Statement Analysis, this is very different.  

Do not interrupt.  

When a skilled interviewer interrupts, it is to go against standard principle for exceptional reasoning.  

DPD:  Okay.  Am I wrong?  Am I wrong about you being there?

The interviewer must compose himself.  

Neuman:  I don't see how you can place me there.  I don't know how you can place me there.

Here is a critical point and is similar to rhetorical questions in analysis where the subject is often seen as seeking information from the interviewer.  (Other reasons include (a) possibly reliving the event and (b) floating a theory to see if it is accepted).  

This is actually skillful on the part of the subject.  It plays off the fact that the interviewer cannot control himself and can allow for the subject to learn police theory and counter it.  

(The interview continues.  Just after this the police showed Neuman pictures taken by cameras of the car the shooter was driving and pictures of the very rental car Neuman had.  The pictures are of identical vehicles.)

Starting at 216:08 and ending at 221:14

DPD:   ...And you're sitting over there, neither --

Neuman:   That so-

Interruptions cease the information.  In the occasion where the interview has advanced and the subject wishes to divert, the interruption may be used.  This means the interview is moving towards the interrogation phase.  

DPD:   Confirming or denying that you're the person that shot him so my question is: If you're now -- are you telling me -- are you prepared to tell me now you're not the guy?  'Cause you haven't said that yet.  All afternoon you have not said, I did not damn do it.  Interesting.

Mistake.  He is not in control of himself.  This is why the training is so useful. Anyone in this detective's shoes is going to feel an elevation of excitement of the 'hunt' of the interview.  This is where the advanced training pays off:  dispassionate interviewing.  

The interrogation phase is coming, but in the interview process, we simply allow for information to flow unimpeded.  

Other DPD:  He's right  'cause I told you so many times, look me in the eye and tell me you didn't do it.  You didn't.  He's absolutely right.

DPD:   Not once.  So.

Neuman:  Look, you, you, you guys are, are -- I mean, you, you're crowding me.

The stutter on the pronoun "you" shows increase in anxiety and the denial is also avoided.  This increases the tension in the room:  it should not have.  

DPD:  I, I can't hear man  I can't -- if I sat over there --

The interviewer now shows his own anxiety, but over what topic?

Answer:  defending himself for his seating posture.  This is part of Reid training and it can be overdone or used as overcompensation for a faltering interview.  

At this point, an admission is actually close but in "taking the bait" of the subject's diversion, the opportunity is missed.  

Neuman:  You sit here and crowd me, you, you, you come up with all this stuff you -- you're accusing me of something, and it was obvious from the beginning because I knew you guys were talking about the car, that, that you're, your're some how implicating me in this whole thing.

Besides moving the topic to seating posture we know the subject has an increase of tension while avoiding the denial.  Yet, there is something missed here:

The subject continues to seek to learn how to lie from the overeager interviewer.  

(skipping to 221:09)

DPD:  I want to hear you say it.  Say I, you know, -- is that your story?  Is that what you believe?  are you gonna tell us, on a stack of bibles whatever, I did not shoot Rusty?

He has now allowed for the simple parroting of a denial.  This is the result of "101 training" where the basics of Statement Analysis are taught and placed in the wrong hands.  He has now fed the very words, including "on a stack of bibles", which is foolishly to employ his own deceptive language.  

Parroted language is an unreliable denial, but to feed a subject the precise words is unthinkable. 

Neuman:  Sneiderman

DPD:  Say it.  If that's what you believe.  

Investigators reading this that are either new in training or are considering training:

Most times if you say this, the subject will say it back to you.  This is called the "magic words" denial that poor training runs with and it is wrong. 

Chris Christie said, plainly, he did not know about the bridge closing and isolating his words make it appear to be reliable.  It was not.  The preamble used to get to the denial change the status from reliable to unreliable.  

By introducing and here, inducing, the subject to parrot is to demand an unreliable denial.  

They reveal just how emotionally charged they are that hours of interviewing has not produced a denial.  Far better to conclude:
"after x hours of interviewing subject, he failed to deny..." in the report.  

Neuman:  (unintelligible)  I was not there.  I did not pull the trigger on the gun that shot Rusty Sneiderman.

This is an unreliable denial and begins with location instead of denial.  The interviewer uses Statement Analysis improperly here; not by observation, but by revealing his own observation. Yes, he is showing a good listening skill, but no, he did not employ it properly.  This is as if he is ridiculing the subject.  

DPD:  Well, you sure picked your word pull the trigger on there, didn't you?  You about fell all over that one.

This is a juvenile taunt, "you about fell over that one" and has continued to make this a personal, "you against me", which is why the increased sensitivity from both IR and subject over seating was evident.  

Neuman:  You asked me the question, I'm telling -- I'm giving you the answer.

Neuman distances himself, psychologically, from his own denial.  

Skilled trained investigators have just read this and picked out exactly where the admission or confession could have been realized. 

Formal training presses upon the analyst/investigator with discipline; self discipline, applied repeatedly until it becomes instinctive.  When on a 'trail', it is naturally difficult to control enthusiasm. 

When confronted by a liar, it is difficult to not feel the inherent insult that the lie contains:  the belief that you are too ignorant to discern the lie.  

This, too, must be subordinated to your overall goal:  obtaining information.  

We push, over and over, self restraint.  It is not simply because overeager will see in a statement that which does not exist just like the untrained will.  

The overeager will then take this into the interview.  

The IR was likely strongly impacted by the lack of denial and then the lack of reliable denial, but he must learn self discipline.   

In the interview, the subject does 80% or more of the talking.  In the interrogation, we do 80% or more of the talking.  

By careful and repetitive training, the analyst learns to use the subject's own words in obtaining confessions.  

Here, he displayed his learning of basic Statement Analysis, but not the necessary restraint of how to employ it.  

Every interview is a lesson and no interview, including those that end in confessions, are perfect.  

It is an understandable mistake to have emotions rise, especially after so many hours in the interview process, but the training takes over and principle guides us to completion.  

For your own training, or to host a seminar, please visit Hyatt Analysis Services training opportunities.  

For your consideration:  When one is legally mentally ill, he is not capable of understanding and aiding in his own defense. 

When one lies, we only discern the deception in his intention to deceive.  

By showing the ability to avoid issuing a reliable denial, the subject is showing his intention and his understanding.  


Trigger said...

Did Rusty Sneiderman's wife ever admit to an affair? or deny it?

I wonder what her statements revealed.

Buckley said...

This has been an excellent read, both for the dialogue itself and the lesson on interviewing. Thanks!

Trigger, it's an interesting story, you should google it. She admits some but not all.

Anonymous said...

Considering that interruption is usually for the purpose of argument/correction or finishing the speaker's thought for them, I can see why not interrupting is so important in interviewing.

Anonymous said...

At other times & places in human history, a man could kill a man for having relations with his wife and no one would question it. I'm not saying that kind of lawlessness is better (of course it's not). But let me take this to an extreme: Remember the father recently (a year or 2 ago?) who watched a (drunk) driver run over & kill his 2 young sons, in front of their home? The father immediately walked into his house, got his gun, came back out and shot dead the driver who had killed his 2 children, while he was still seated in his car. Even though that could be seen as "lawlessness", I find the father's reaction to be understandable, and it would be difficult for me to convict him if I was on the jury in his trial.

Tania Cadogan said...

Off topic and great news

A jury in Georgia Monday found a father guilty of murder in the death of his 22-month-old son who was left for hours inside a hot SUV -- a conviction expected to send the man to prison for the rest of his life.

Prosecutors say 35-year-old Justin Ross Harris intentionally killed his son, Cooper, in June 2014 to escape from family responsibilities while he sought sexual affairs outside his marriage. Defense attorneys say Harris loved his son and that the boy's death was a tragic accident.

Prosecutors charged Harris with malice murder and felony murder, which required no proof of intent to kill -- just that Cooper died as a result of his father committing the felony of cruelty to children. Both convictions carry mandatory life sentences. Prosecutors indicated earlier in the trial that they would not seek the death penalty.

Jurors reached a verdict in their fourth day of deliberations.

Harris said he forgot to drop his son off at day care that morning and drove straight to his job as a web developer for Home Depot, not realizing Cooper was still in his car seat.

Soon afterward, investigators found evidence that Harris was having sexual relationships -- both online banter and in-person affairs -- with numerous women, including a prostitute and a teenager.

Prosecutors argued Harris must have known Cooper was in the car. He drove less than two minutes to work after strapping the child into his car seat when they finished breakfast at a Chick-fil-A restaurant just over a half-mile from Harris' office. Parking lot surveillance video showed Harris also went to his car after lunch and tossed in some light bulbs he had purchased, though he never got inside.

Harris told police he didn't notice Cooper until he left work for the day to go to a movie. The boy was dead, having sweltered in the car for about seven hours.

Prosecutors said Harris left online clues to murderous intentions. Evidence showed that minutes before Harris locked the car door on his boy, he sent an online message: "I love my son and all, but we both need escapes." Five days earlier, Harris watched an online video in which a veterinarian sits inside a hot car to show it reaches 116 degrees in a half-hour.

Defense attorneys said Harris was responsible for his son's death, but insisted it was an accident rather than a crime. Friends and family members testified he was a devoted and loving father, and the jury watched video clips of Harris trying to teach Cooper to say "banana" and letting the boy strum his guitar. The joyous moments had some jurors laughing aloud.

Harris' ex-wife, Leanna Taylor, also came to his defense. She divorced him in March and bitterly told the jury that Harris "destroyed my life." But she testified he was a loving father who, regardless of how unhappy he may have been in their marriage, would not have harmed their son on purpose.

Also testifying in Harris' defense was Gene Brewer, an Arizona State University psychology professor who specializes in memory and attention. He said it would have been possible for Harris to forget about Cooper in a matter of seconds.

Harris was also found guilty of sending sexual text messages to a teenage girl and asked for nude photos of her pubic area. The girl testified Harris knew she was in high school the months they swapped sexual banter when she was 16 and 17, and Harris several times sent her photos of his penis. He was asking for a photo of her breasts the day Cooper died.

Harris moved to Georgia from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2012. He lived in the Atlanta suburb of Cobb County, which is also where Cooper died. Because of intense pretrial publicity surrounding the case, the judge agreed to relocate Harris' trial 275 miles away in the coastal port city of Brunswick.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Finally a jury that used common sense.
I wonder if he will throw wifey under the bus as well?

Fmbe said...

Per the Ross murder verdict, would love to hear thoughts on the wife's facebook post. It comes off as strange to me, would live to read analysis of it

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump on 60 minutes tonight, but voices are kinda distorted, wish there was a better video....

John Mc Gowan said...


Last nights programme.

What Happened to Baby Lisa?

John Mc Gowan said...

Inside Baby Lisa’s Family: Keeping Hope Alive 5 Years After Her Mysterious Disappearance

Shannon In CA said...


This article has more statements from Keith papini, the husband of that missing mother up in Northern California (Sherri papini). Is there enough here to do a deeper analysis? The police said they cleared the husband after he took a polygraph and people confirmed where he was during the day, but something just doesn't sit right with me. I figure he couldn't always have been with his car (what about grabbing lunch, for example). I just feel that a polygraph isn't the end of this, since, as you've said before, polygraphs don't give the whole story if the questions are asked the wrong way.

For example, the husband says "I just want her back, and I want her back safe." So priority is "want her back" and THEN he wants her back safe. Is this something an innocent husband would say or is it a concerning statement (I'm truthfully asking...I'm still such an SA novice).

He also say "I know that my wife wouldn't leave me, and never in a million year leave our kids." So there's the "our" again, as opposed to "HER kids" and since he comes first in the sentence, doesn't that make him the more sensitive subject in the sentence? She wouldn't leave HIM, but she wouldn't leave "our kids" IN A MILLION YEARS. So...I guess leaving him could take a lot less than a million years? Would I be right in feeling that this marriage was not as good as everyone is making it out to be?

And he also says he believes his wife “would have to have been either snuck up on, or there would have been multiple or maybe two people, because my wife is very aware. She wouldn’t have allowed somebody to get that close to her unless it was unsuspecting”
The abductor, he says, is probably a stranger: “My gut says it is a person unknown to myself and Sherri. My gut tells me it is just low-life people.”

So which is it? Is it a person, or is it people? And she was snuck up on? That sounds a whole lot like a memory to me. He didn't say the magic number 3, so I don't know what to make of that. It just seems like he's doing an awful lot of speculating for a grieving person. You don't usually hear a lot of "oh yeah, I'm sure she was abducted, AND it was probably multiple people because she's so aware, so they had to have snuck up on her, etc." there have been a few murdered joggers recently and I don't remember ANYONE speculating like this. Usually it's just "I don't know what happened, and at this point I don't care...just please, bring her back safe."

Maybe I'm overly suspicious. I do read a lot of true crime, lol. Just thought I'd post this link to see if peter wanted to do another analysis or if anyone else wanted to take another stab at it.

John Mc Gowan said...

Shannon said

"I just feel that a polygraph isn't the end of this, since, as you've said before, polygraphs don't give the whole story if the questions are asked the wrong way.


I posted this under another thread.

I understand that the polygraph if not administered properly (using the subjects own language) can give false positives. But iv'e never come across LE expressing doubt after someone has been cleared. Why would doubt creep into his language?
Did he pass with flying colours?
Were there some questions he just scraped through?
Were there questions suggesting if he knew other people maybe involved, in her disappearance. Was there something outside of the questions regarding his wives disappearance that cause doubt in the sheriffs mind. An affair for example, etc..

Family of missing mom holds out hope

MOUNTAIN GATE (AP) — The family of a Northern California mother of two who went missing while jogging is holding out hope she will be found alive.

Sherri Papini, 34, has been missing since she went for a jog Nov. 2 in the tiny town of Mountain Gate in Shasta County, a case some say resembles the 1998 unsolved disappearance of a teenager in a nearby town, the Sacramento Bee reported Saturday.

Her husband, Keith Papini, reported her missing when he came home from work and found that she hadn’t picked up their two children from daycare. Her cell phone and headphones were found near where she was reported missing, officials said.

Without a body or a suspect, investigators homed in on those closest to her — namely her husband.

The Sheriff’s Office announced last week that he had passed the lie-detector test, and that they confirmed his story that he was at work when she went missing.

It appears he’s telling us the truth”said Sheriff Tom Bosenko. “Generally, you can’t trick a polygraph.”

Many are wondering if the case is connected to the 1998 disappearance in nearby Shasta Lake of a teenage girl who resembles her.

Like Papini, Tera Smith, a blond 16-year-old Central Valley High School homecoming princess, was wearing running clothes the last time she was seen. Her body was never found.

In Smith’s case, detectives zeroed in on a possible suspect though they never made an arrest. Smith’s martial arts instructor, a man with a prior rape conviction, told investigators he dropped her off on the night she disappeared a few minutes’ drive from where Papini’s cellphone and earphones were found.

The similarities prompted Keith Papini to reach out to Tera Smith’s father, Terry Smith, for his advice.

“I didn’t have a lot of comfort to offer him. I’m not real confident that anything’s going to come out of it, but how do you tell somebody five days after their wife’s gone missing that she’s probably gone for good?”

Sheila Koester, Sherri Papini’s sister, also knew Smith, and the teen’s disappearance has been on her mind.

“For them to be so closely related in that we all went to high school with them, and they look like each other, it’s all very strange,” she said.

Koester believes her sister’s disappearance will end differently than Smith’s.

“We feel that she’s going to walk through the door at any time,” Koester said.

Shannon In CA said...

Polygraphs are NOTORIOUSLY unreliable, which is why they aren't admissible in court. There are several ways to beat a polygraph, using the wrong language for one (which could actually completely clear the husband, since you mentioned people being completely cleared) and also making sure your response to the control question matches the other questions. I'm not saying the husband is guilty for sure, I'm just saying he's made some awfully weird statements (like the "I just know she's screaming for me" or something like that).

Shannon In CA said...

Thanks for that article, though...I hadn't seen that one.

Shannon In CA said...

And yeah...LE's statement sure is weird..."it appears" he's telling the truth? That sure is a solid statement right there (/sarcasm). And GENERALLY you can't trick them? So sometimes you can, then. Sounds to me like LE suspects he had something to do with it but don't have anything on him yet and are willing to entertain the idea that he's telling the truth, but they're still suspicious. It appears...god, I think I'd freak if I was in his shoes and LE said that about things I'd said. I'd be screaming "NO APPEARS! I AM telling the truth!"

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Polgraphs are so reliable that the most wealthy and powerful rely upon them to keep their very lives safe.

When a polygraph is administered using the subject's own words, it is all but fool proof.

To train an examiner in Statement Analysis is someone who is not going to miss.


Nic said...

Thanks, John

Sheila Koester, Sherri Papini’s sister, also knew Smith, and the teen’s disappearance has been on her mind.

Speaking from the point of "I was raised during the era of "whodunnit", I find it peculiar that the people in this story all knew the first girl to have gone missing and that the wife looked like her. I know it sounds ridiculous but "trophy" popped into my head.

I'll take my tin hat off now.

Nic said...

Thank you analyst!

I don't see how you can place me there. I don't know how you can place me there.
Here is a critical point and is similar to rhetorical questions in analysis where the subject is often seen as seeking information from the interviewer. (Other reasons include (a) possibly reliving the event and (b) floating a theory to see if it is accepted).
This is actually skillful on the part of the subject. It plays off the fact that the interviewer cannot control himself and can allow for the subject to learn police theory and counter it.

Great observation!

Anonymous said...

"I just want her back, and I want her back safe."

I guess he feels getting her back means dead, so he felt the need to add (to let everyone know) that he wants her back alive.

I want her back AND alive, just in case you're wondering. I don't just want her back; I want her back alive. (my own paraphrase)

Anonymous said...

Magelica: I don't presume to do Statement Analysis here. I'm just a lay person with opinions. Is that allowed?

Magelica said...

Um no. Not if your opinion is totally ridonculous. You may want to sign up for a beginner class.

Anonymous said...

Magelica, when did Peter Hyatt give you authority to silence people on his blog?

Magelica said...

I think Peter would be happy that I am guiding you towards learning SA principles that seem quite difficult for you to grasp. Youve repeated yourself ad nauseum insisting that a benign statement indicates guilty knowledge. It's OK. Some lag behind, others zip right seem to be a lagger.

Shannon In CA said...

That's he question though...what words did they use?