Friday, November 18, 2016

The Success of Statement Analysis

Several years ago in a 2 day police seminar, day 2 began with a twist.  A cold case detective, as a matter of routine, was given a closed murder case for review.  The investigation was closed with the person of interest cooperative and passed his polygraph.  The experienced homicide investigators were satisfied.  

Something bothered the cold case detective enough to ask if I would analyze the 911 call.  I still had much course content to cover on day 2 and said I'd analyze it from home later in the week and send him a report.  The hosting captain, well trained at the FBI's National Academy, thought otherwise, and wanted it done, live, at the training seminar.  I objected because the short call would likely take up the entire day as well as the size of the class might impede progress.  As I was pressing my arguments on why it was better to not do this 911 call,  a rather high pitched, somewhat squeaky voice arose and said, "Yeah, do it now!"

I gave my wife Heather a look that only husbands and wives who communicate without words would understand.  She returned my look with a smile.   She was breaming with confidence of which I always thought, was in the science and in my ability to employ it .  I only recently learned...she had read the first words the caller used and "knew" he had done it.  I had 7 hours of material well prepared but had to yield to the hosting captain my wife.  
on the flight home...

The transcript was put on the overhead and off we went.  

The case file was kept from us all.  This is to avoid undue influence upon the analysis.  Although it adds to the drama of conclusions, this is not the intention.  

       It took all day.  

At the conclusion I said that the caller:

A.  was the murderer, and that 
B.  his motive was found in one single word, consisting of 2 letters:  "my"  used instead of the article "the", which suggested greed.  Among the detectives in training, it was 100% consensus; no disagreement.  

Our words reveal 4 basic elements:

1.  Our experiences 
2.  Our background
3.  Our priority 
4.  Our personality 

This short call revealed aspects of all four elements with some in abundance.   I said that in spite of any lack of convictions, collateral interviews would confirm his motive (greed), his experiences (including D/V), his background (which was known and confirmed by the investigator) and his personality (narcissistic sociopathic) which would be necessary for the interview.  

When asked how certain I was in the conclusion, I said, 

"I stake my career on it."  


Why did I go that far for one single case?


I went into the analysis with the presupposition that the caller did not do it, and for me to change my mind, he would have to thoroughly talk me out of my position. 

He did. 

 This is how deception detection works.  It was my voice, but it was the entire team's conclusion.  

He caused our certainty; he caused my certainty.  

He thoroughly talked me and the team into this position.  

The cold case detective's own facial expressions had told me, as we went along,  how accurate our analysis was.  

Hundreds of years of collective experience was in the room, coming together to dissect the call, and put it back together again.  

They did excellent work.  

In a closed case, the cold case detective is under unusual pressure.  If he is successful in solving a 'solved' case, he must, by necessity, oppose his own team members of whom he likely has very strong feelings of fraternal bonding.  Should the case go to trial, the original investigators may end up testifying against his work.  

If no new evidence is uncovered, the new finding indicts the prior work of his brethren.  

Yet there is the call for justice that servants are sworn to answer. 

Statement Analysis solved the case but Statement Analysis is not admissible in court as a specialized science, similar to the polygraph.  The difference, however, is that the analysis does not simply show guilt or innocence, but entire content, including precisely how an interview must be conducted.  The analysis, we learned later, matched the forensic evidence.  The analysis' revealed motive also matched the evidence, as well as the background and experiences.  

The Statement Analysis report allowed for the case to be reopened, and the suspect re-interviewed, according to the analysis.  The detective combined decades of experience with a new, profound love of his training in Statement Analysis.  He went into the interview thoroughly prepared with written questions, and asked appropriate follow up questions using the suspect's own language.  There would be no interpretation; anything not understood, the subject, himself, would clarify.  

Following the interview, the suspect was arrested.  

A plea bargain was expected for reasons not discussed here, which seemed to override the narcissist personality of the subject.  

No plea was entered and the case went to trial and a long waiting period. 

The subject, according to his profile, would likely battle his defense attorney about taking the stand. 

The suspect prevailed. 

 Closing arguments were made and the case went to the jury.  

While the jury was out, the investigator's own work was now on the line.  

A not-guilty verdict would be, for him, not only unjust for the victims, and endangering for other citizens, but would then mean enduring the taunts of  "junk science", "years wasted", "resources wasted" and a pummeled reputation with a rift now made worse, between brothers.  His reputation would be, until he retires, shot.  

The jury was attentive to detail and in short order, returned the Guilty Verdict

The cold case investigator did not gloat in victory, but felt relief.  Justice had been found for the victims, and safety for local citizens.   He felt for the original investigators, too, as his brothers.  

Statement Analysis told him the truth, and in the interview, it, again, told him the truth, but the analysis was not done.  The prosecutor skillfully used analysis on the fly, going through the transcripts, utilizing only the subject's words.  Just as the subject did for me, for the investigator, and for the prosecutor, the subject's own words spoke the truth to the jury. 

The training that took place several years ago has not ceased.  While this investigator is now enrolled in the Advanced Course, once per month he attends the live training in which cases from around the country are analyzed successfully.  Success means, for the most part, confession, though it oftentimes ends in a guilty plea of some form.  

Patrol officers who take training inevitably end up taking statements paving the way for their own career path of success. 

Well experienced investigators and detectives only have their skills greatly sharpened in training, while polygraph examiners can become "can't miss"; as they use the subject's language and learn to skillfully avoid introducing language to the subject, which can result in faulty findings. 

To be given an investigation and knowing, before the investigation even commences, who did it, why he did it, how he did it, and when he did it, is to fill the investigator with resolve.  The confidence spills over into everything he or she does.  

Yet, the work just begins because "knowing" is not enough; one must prove, as well. 

Fortunately for such investigators (and for society), being confronted with one's own words of deception has a powerful impact upon guilty subjects, which leads to admissions.  

Training means beginning the success.

This is because, once enrolled, your work is constantly being checked by other professionals, as is each homework assignment.  While in training, should a case be assigned you, you may enter the case with confidence knowing not only deception, but truth.  

Whether one attends a seminar, or enrolls in the course at home (which allows for more time and constant repetition), the new analyst is given 12 months of guidance, included in the tuition cost.  

One does not stake a career on a facial expression, or a twitch of the leg or hand gesture. This may sound exciting, and its appeal to circumvent hard work is always a lure, but its not for professionals who cannot allow justice to be perverted, or their own reputations to be destroyed.  

Question:  Should you expect this type of success from training?

Answer:  Yes.

Routinely we submit our work one to another for heavy scrutiny.  Over time, errors are recognized, traced, and corrected.  Yet, even at the point of avoiding all error, content and depth continues its increase.  

Congratulations to a consummate professional who's hard work and refusal to take the easy path has meant justice for the family of the murder victims and for society. 


Anonymous said...

Off Topic, regarding Sherri Panini case:

Read the anonymous letter here:

Buckley said...

This great story with no transcript?!? You're teasin' us, man!

Habundia said...

Peter, Iwonder if your team has bent over the interview of Burke Ramsey at dr Phil, I wonder what you'll conclusion would be about this interview.
I Find your blogs very interessting, to read. And keep comming back to see what your next blog will be.
Keep on the good work and although polygraph may not be used in court, and SA isnt aloud too, still SA can be used as a way of asking questions and dealing with the recordings or written statements an if officers can use it during investigation to come to a possible suspect, then in fact it is kind of aloud, although it not will be mentioned as SA was used. If you get what I mean.

Bingo3 said...

That is great news. I would love to see and hear the 911 call.

Anonymous said...

I would have liked to read the transcript of the 911 call, Peter.
Perhaps you can add it to a related posting.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

With the adjudicated case, if it is publicly released it would be something readers find most inspiring for justice.

Anonymous said...

Sherri Papini update:

Anonymous said...

UPDATE 11/190/16 – According to WDRB News, Tommy Ballard, the father of missing Crystal Rogers has died. Kentucky State Police said that Tommy was shot in the back and died on Ed Brent Road in Bardstown this morning while he was hunting.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely picture of you and your wife Peter...Heather is so pretty and it is hard to believe you two are look like a young couple in love!

I hope everyone here has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I may not be checking in for a few days but I will keep up with the cases.

Dolphin said...

Lydia, I agree, and in fact, I'll add that "Hamilton" brought forth a new sensitivity within me, a deep profound appreciation of our nation as an entity as well as an evolving carousel of human freedom.

Dolphin said...

Olivia, would you also say it redefined not only musical theater but the very rhythm of the unfolding of our nation? I felt it was a dynamic symphony of change as well as personal evolution. It was not only about Hamilton the man.

Olivia said...

Dolphin, absolutely, I couldn't agree more, and it would truly be an understatement to say I walked away anything less than a changed person.

Matilda said...

Olivia and Dolphin, I'm pleased to see that you've realized that musical theater can change you as a person, it has that power. "Hamilton" is an absolutely uniquely brilliant production, that explains the hefty price tag on the tickets. You see, it's a very small price to pay to have your soul touched. "Hamilton" will echo down the halls of musical theater probably for the next thousand years, it was THAT good!

John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update:

Negotiator posts video in urgent mission to find Sherri Papini

A Redding man who says he’s an international kidnapping and ransom consultant has created a video on social media asking the person who he believes abducted Sherri Papini to come forward with the promise of reward money.

The video by Cameron Gamble is posted on YouTube, Facebook and the website,, with the urgent goal of having the missing Mountain Gate mother returned safely.

An anonymous person set up the website where the video can be seen along with a letter “for the person who has Sherri Papini.” Gamble said he did not write the letter or set up the website, but rather the anonymous person did and put Gamble’s contact information in it.

Authorities, however, have not confirmed that Papini has been kidnapped, or if so, who may have her.

Papini went missing Nov. 2 from the area of Old Oregon Trail and Sunset Drive in Mountain Gate, north of Redding.

In the video, Gamble says he has looked into Papini’s case thoroughly and has spoken to her husband, Keith.

“I’m 100 percent convinced this is an abduction case,” Gamble says. “This is not a kidnap for ransom. We are trying to turn it into that,” he says.

Then Gamble speaks into the camera as if he’s talking to an abductor.

“I don’t know your motive. I don’t know who you are, where you’re going, where you’re from. I don’t care. I simply care about getting Sherri back,” Gamble says.

He said the reward offer is a one-time opportunity that expires soon.

Gamble also says he working independently and is not involved with local law enforcement nor the FBI.

“We don’t care about justice. We simply care about Sherri,” he says.

Gamble gives the contact phone number, 530-351-2748, in order to work out arrangements for Sherri’s return.

The YouTube link to the video is It had received about 750 views by Saturday evening.

John Mc Gowan said...
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John Mc Gowan said...
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Anonymous said...

John Mc Gowan said...

Thank you, MOD

Anonymous said...

John McGowan,

This "kidnapping expert" and "negotiator" is probably the FBI trying to engage the killer in any way they can. The details about instructing kidnapper to buy a disposable phone. The language in the message that says "I dont want anyone to know who I am as much as you dont want anyone to know who you are.": this is to build rapport with the killer: as if to say "see we have something in common!" They are probably hoping he will email them and that they will be able to trace his location to at least a specific state.
Why? There is no reason not to believe the MA, NY and CA jogger killings were done by the same person, and if they want to catch him, they are doing the right thing, although I doubt he will respond. He may get a little more nervous about killing his next victim though. Because this killer leaves no evidence and does not wish to be caught.

Anonymous said...

I think the anonymous Sherri Papini note reeks of the husband and his sister, desperate to "prove" no involvement. Later, when it "comes out" they were the ones who hired the ransom guy, we are all supposed to think "Oh he really is innocent! Look what an extreme he went to, to get her back, and he did it anonynmously!" Yeh right.

Anonymous said...

I just now watched the video after reading your comment. It is totally the FBI that did it. Read the note again carefully. They are trying to develop rapport with the killer. and they want him to buy a disposable phone at Wal-Mart specifically...if he emails from, say, a library computer (gives them a general location) and calls on a disposable phone bought at a WalMart they can maybe get his image on a Walmart surveillance camera or trace through the receipt. They are hoping he wants attention and will engage with them. I find it VERY hard to believe the MA, NY and CA jogger killings are not related. Obviously the FBI would suspect this too, and unless they are very stupid they would need to try something like the ransom offer, otherwise it is like they are looking for a needle in a haystack...although I think the MA killing yields a lot of info imo that they are not saying...I watched a FOX News thing where the reporter does an interview with a VA profiler but then does a 15 min thing showing the scene of the crime and there is a LOT of profiling evidence available from that imo...a LOT, and hopefully they can figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:06, I respect your opinion. I don't think the FBI did the anonymous website/letter/video. I think it will reveal itself to be all the husband.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think that? Even the guy on the video looks like an FBI guy...also look at his body language...

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree. I'm saying he was hired by husband.

Anonymous said...

Right, but WHAT about the letter makes you think that?
Way too many things point to the the urgency of it..."contact me in next couple days bc Im going on business trip"....they want him to engage them ASAP before he kills again imo.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:19: It's probably going to turn out to be like the things I said & believed about Davey Blackburn when his wife was murdered. I was so certain he killed her / had her killed, and yet as things turned out he never got accused of anything. In this case, I'm so suspicious of the husband, I "see" and "hear" things in his words, his actions, the anonymous letter, etc. that "point" to him. I'm probably wrong again. Ha ha.