Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Miami Cannibal Witness - Statement Analyzed

Police shot and killed a man who was killing another man, by eating his face.  The case has shocked the nation and has been headlined everywhere.  It has been reported that the assailant was high on "bath salts" during the crime. Here is a witness statement for anlaysis.

Anlytical Question:  Is it truthful?

Statement analysis is in bold type.

"I was a witness to this police shooting. I stopped a city of Miami Police officer and informed him that a homeless man was killing another person by biting and ripping his face to death. The police officer confronted the aggressor and he was like a rabid dog and confronted the officer. then the officer shot the person 4 times. This was an incredible horrific experience and will think about moving my family out of Miami. I lived my whole life in New York and never experienced something this crazy. It was something out of walking dead one person eating another person piece by piece."


Larry Vega's written statement. Here is the same statement with emphasis and analysis.

"I was a witness to this police shooting.

Always consider what someone says first as important, and may even be the reason for making the statement.  He begins by declaring himself a witness.  This was done to a media station and makes him a very important part of the statement.  We should be on alert that this statement is important to the subject, himself.  Instead of saying "I saw a man nearly killed" or "I saw a man attacked..." his focus is upon himself.  It may be his 15 minutes is beckoning him, but we still seek to learn whether or not his language appears to come from memory or not.

Note that his statement about what happened now begins with the pronoun "I" and the past tense verb, which is found in truthful accounts.  Note the word "this" indicates closeness (instead of "that").  This allows us to see that the topic is close to the subject, and his language should reflect this closeness.  For example, something close might show impact upon the subject.  The strong "I" continues with his own self being central:


 I stopped a city of Miami Police officer and informed him that a homeless man was killing another person by biting and ripping his face to death.

Now comes a change of focus.

The formula for reliability continues with the pronoun "I" and the past tense verb establishing commitment.
Note what each person is referred to for any possibe change. We highlight all names and pronouns used.  Since language doesn't change on its own, emotion is the number one influence over a change in language.

Police is "officer" and we will seek to learn if there is any change from "officer."

The perpetrator here is a "homeless man" who was killing a "person" and he gives the reason as to how:  "biting and ripping" his face to death.

Note "was killing" is not "killed."  He would not have known if the victim survived at this point.


The police officer confronted the aggressor and he was like a rabid dog and confronted the officer.

Here we have a change of language.  The "homeless man" is now called an "aggressor" indicating a change in language. 

Question for analyst:  Is there a change in reality in the context?

Answer:  Yes.  He is now an "aggressor", not a "man" and the subject tells us what caused the change of language:  "like a rabid dog" and he confronted the officer.  The "aggressor" is the one doing the confronting and the language is consistent.

this is an indication of veracity.

"Police officer" to "officer" is appropriate as it speaks to economy of words.  Once someone is introduced formally, the shortened is expected.  Miami Police Officer, to Police Officer, to Officer is appropriate.  Once "an officer" is introduced, he should become "the" officer.  There appeared to be a confrontation, one to the other, and in reverse.  Both confronted each other.


 then the officer shot the person 4 times.

The "officer" remains the same, but the "aggressor" is now a "person."

Question for analyst:  Is there any change in reality that justifies the change in language?

Answer:  Yes.  He is no longer a "rabid dog" being "aggressive" and "confronting" because he has been shot 4 times.  He is now a "person."  A "person" is not dangerous (in context) as an "aggressor" is dangerous, and so is a rabid dog.


This was an incredible horrific experience and will think about moving my family out of Miami.

Note the inclusion of emotions.  We have impact upon him (he wants to move) and this "horrific experience" is for the subject himself: 

The inclusion of emotions has been put into the statement after the event.  This is another indicator of veracity.

Note that there is no pronoun here:  "...and will think..." It does not sound like he is going to give serious thought to moving, but may be in the "drama" of the moment, and enjoying being interviewed by media.  This helps explain why he starts his statement of this horrific crime about himself instead of the crime, or the victim. 


I lived my whole life in New York and never experienced something this crazy.

"This" continues to be consistent with "closeness" or emotional impact upon the subject. For him, it is an "experience" being an eyewitness to a police shooting.  Again, the focus is upon himself, his emotions, his possible move, his family, and his former living in NY. 

It was something out of walking dead one person eating another person piece by piece."

Another change of language.  The rabid dog is now, again, a "person", but this is also justified by change of context:

he is talking about a movie or tv show; likely the AMC "Walking Dead" that has aired in the past year; "It was something out" is passive and the distancing language is because he is not at the crime scene, in his language, but is in front of a television, comparing the "horrific experience" to something on television.  Since he is out of reality, there is no "aggressor" to fear, but a "person" on television eating another "person"; there is no danger to the most important person in the statement:  the subject himself.

Analysis conclusion:   The subject himself is the center of this statement, and the most important person in the statement; not the vicitm and not the perpetrator.  He begins by introducing himself, not as a witness to a horrifc crime, but to a "police shooting" which may suggest that he would like to stretch his time in the spotlight as much as possible.  This is a witness to be concerned about, and I would not be surprised to hear him, eventually, stretch his account, perhaps even lengthening the story about his own past.  However, his profile is not the Analytical Question.  The question for the analyst:  is his statement of being an eye witness a reliable statement?

The subject spoke from memory until he disengaged about a television program. He established commitment with the pronoun "I", and past tense verbs, and the changes in language indicate a change in reality: 

This is a truthful statement.
http://seamusoriley.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/cannibal-witness-statement-analyzed.html

IMAGES That Are Alleged To Be Of The Victim . WARNING GRAPHIC

http://gawker.com/5913979/do-these-unbelievably-horrifying-photos-show-the-miami-cannibals-victim?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_twitter&utm_source=gawker_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow