Yesterday I finally got my hands on a box of 20-gauge shotgun shells and began my dissecting and counting tasks. Up until now I have only able to think and speak in rounded numbers and approximations. Now I’ll be able to examine the police claims in the Jordan Brown story with more accuracy and precision.
Yesterday I counted out the #6 pellets from a single shotgun shell, and laid them out in phalanxes on sticky tape. There were 183 total. The number of pellets recovered from Kenzie’s head is represented by one small grouping of a little more than two phalanxes of ten; the phantom pellets are represented by another much larger group of more than fifteen phalanxes. This simple exhibit shows that 85% of the evidence that should be present is not—evidence that’s either missing or, more likely, which never existed in the first place. This is a huge discrepancy.
As I reported in my September 13th entry, there were no holes in the mattress, no pellets in the bedding, no pellets in the pillow or walls. If the police are telling the truth, where are the 157 missing pellets?
Being able to make this graphic comparison between police claims and the actual truth has made me wonder again just how these cops ever thought they’d be able to get away with their lies.
First of all, the context for the likelihood of this crime having happened as the police say is completely absent. Crimes like this—that is, in which a child murders a parent—are extremely rare (there are only about 30 in the U.S. each year). According to Kathleen Heide, a criminology professor at the University of South Florida and the author of the book Why Kids Kill Parents, there are three types of children who kill their parents. There are those who’ve been abused and kill a parent to try to end the abuse. There are those who are antisocial and view their parents as obstacles trying to control them. And the last are those who are mentally ill. Jordan fits none of these three types, and no one has produced any evidence (like psychological evaluations) showing otherwise.
Second, the reason police suspicion fell so quickly onto Jordan is that the police interviewer, Trooper Janice Wilson, suspected that Jordan was lying to her. To justify her gut instinct, Wilson seized on minor observational inconsistencies in Jordan’s description of a black pickup truck he’d seen parked near the house the morning of the murder. But who is to say if Trooper Wilson is even adept at discerning liars and their lies?
Scientists Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan and Dr. Paul Eckman, upon whose research the Fox TV series Lie to Me is based, identified only 50 out of 20,000 people (about 0.25% of the population) they tested from all walks of life, including the Secret Service, FBI, sheriffs, police, attorneys, arbitrators, psychologists, students, and many others, who are able to tell with 85% or better accuracy if someone is lying to them. They called these adepts “Truth Wizards.” It is highly unlikely that Janice Wilson is one of these rare natural savants, and more likely that her skills are greater in the twisting and fabrication of evidence to serve her own possibly warped ego needs.
She is the interviewer who, in a third late-night interview (after the previous two interviews yielded no incriminating evidence against Jordan) got Jordan’s step-sister to supply a statement with supporting details for the police scenario—like the claim that Jordan wrapped his shotgun in a blue blanket to muffle the sound—that have long since been debunked by the state’s crime lab. The blue blanket came back from the lab with no traces of gunshot residue, and the hole “from the shotgun blast” proved to be an old cigarette burn. Yet the blue blanket figures prominently in the young girl’s coerced witness statement.
(It’s a frightening thought that Janice Wilson has retired from the state police and is now working as an investigator for Child Protective Services. Who else’s children is she screwing with now?)
Third, it is so outrageous that the police and prosecution have been allowed to get away with releasing information about their evidence which is technically true but completely misleading. For example, they stated that gunshot residue was found on Jordan’s shirt and trousers, thereby creating the impression that he was the shooter. But do you know how much residue was actually found on these two items of clothing? Only one particle on each!
If Jordan had discharged the murder weapon, he and his clothing would have been covered with gunshot residue from head to toe. If a shotgun had been used, he and his clothing would also have been covered with blood and brains. But a shotgun was not used, and Jordan wasn’t the shooter. Jordan and his clothing were virtually spotless. (Two grains of residue is an infinitesimal amount which could easily have been picked up if the boy had dropped his trousers on the floor or placed his shirt on a dresser top.)
I’m outraged that the legal process (as well as its media coverage) is presently transfixed by the important distraction of whether Jordan should be tried as an adult or a child, which completely obscures the fact that this little boy has been imprisoned for a year and a half without a shred of evidence to suggest any connection whatsoever between him and this heinous crime.
All the while Mr. Krastek the prosecutor perpetuates this cruel perversion of justice using the heinousness of the crime as his chief justification. Hell yes, the crime was heinous. Just look at the misery it’s caused.
But that misery is being compounded—not only for Jordan and his dad, and the Houk family, too—but for our whole brutalized society to which this case is proving that the police, law, and courts cannot be relied upon to seek the truth and are therefore unworthy of our trust.
The state’s evidence should have been examined long ago, rather than just accepting the officials’ self-serving interpretations of evidence that actually clears Jordan. He should have been released as soon as the crime lab results were received and his name should have been officially cleared. But it appears the Commonwealth is intent on winning at all costs.
As investigative journalist Bill Moushey’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette series “Win at All Costs” (http://innocenceinstitute.org/WinAtAllCosts.pdf) makes so evident, we must expect a significant number of police and prosecutors to be unethical liars. When cases like this don’t add up, it is in our own vital interest to challenge their findings and actions.
Later today or tomorrow I’m going to drive into town to buy some melons if I can find them. It’s time to see for myself what kinds of wound evidence should be present if the police crime theory were true, and then compare that to replication of the wounds as actually observed and documented.
Hopefully this demonstration can help blow the mask off this whole farce, help us learn from this travesty, and prevent its ever happening again.
And yet I cannot shake the thought of what Goethe once said so well: “We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves.” I am wondering what this whole sad story says not only about police and prosecutors, but about us.
Groove of the Day
A very cool blues song by a talented kid from Minneapolis.
His ex-babysitter is a part of my extended family.