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True crime (ooooo spooky)

Tercy
Tercy
Partly inspired by Grep's conspiracy thread. Perhaps a place to discuss "true crime" and similar mysteries?

I've always loved crime and mysteries (being a detective would be my second career choice) so for years I've studied quite a few cases - some in great depth. To get anywhere near the truth with most of these things, you need to go beyond just watching a single documentary or YT video because often they leave out details or they're obviously biased and present a narrative that favours a chosen position.

This week specifically I've binged Netflix's Evil Genius, The Keepers and I'm part way through The Staircase.

Crickets and tumbleweeds in 3... 2... 1...

Comments

  • Gloomy
    Gloomy
    Posts: 262
    I love true crime. One thing I miss about having cable is I can’t watch the ID channel anymore, but I still often watch YouTube videos about that stuff, and watch shows like that on Netflix. Even when I was a little kid I liked watching Unsolved Mysteries and Forensic Files.
  • LordGrep
    LordGrep
    Posts: 2,686
    <hears church bell in the distance>.


  • Tercy
    Tercy
    Posts: 47
    *slaps Grep*

    @Gloomy Do any particular favourites stand out?
  • Gloomy
    Gloomy
    Posts: 262
    Tercy said:
    *slaps Grep*

    @Gloomy Do any particular favourites stand out?
    Serial killers in general are pretty fascinating. I read a book about cannibal serial killers a few months ago.
  • LordGrep
    LordGrep
    Posts: 2,686
    They murdered Snap Crackle and Pop... 
  • cavalier080854
    cavalier080854
    Posts: 2,175
    Aileen Wuornos, the first female serial killer who altered the profiling of serial killers. Up until her, they ruled all females out of the equation.
  • Tercy
    Tercy
    Posts: 47
    I've never really been that interested in serial killers myself. As far as I'm concerned there's no mystique to them; it's always just some combination of stupidity, sadism, delusion, insecurity, power trips, etc.

    I finished The Staircase and have some thoughts to throw out there. I'll put them in spoiler tags just in case.

    I wouldn't say I'm convinced enough of his guilt that I'd send him to prison, but I do strongly suspect he did kill his wife.

    Just to quickly explain before I carry on: Due to having a general interest in crime and psychology and such, I've studied various "deception detection" techniques/theories developed and used by law enforcement agencies, interviewers, etc. It's not an exact science (i.e. you can't prove someone is definitely lying) but it's a good way of detecting where deception may exist so that you can probe further.

    One of the most interesting things for me is that there were red flags for deception within the first few minutes. (I'll explain why this becomes more significant later.) He's giving his account of what happened the night his wife died and two main things (with some other smaller stuff) stood out immediately:

    1. He went off on some tangent about how there were dirty dishes on the table - or something to that effect. This behaviour of elaborating on insignificant details can indicate deception because it creates the illusion of being open and cooperative, but doesn't actually communicate anything meaningful. It's such an effective method of deflecting and deceiving that people acting in a military, intelligence or otherwise sensitive capacity are sometimes taught to do it if they're captured by the enemy. (Note that this is a natural lying instinct for some people, but it's also interesting that MP had a military history and was a crime author - so maybe he was familiar with this).

    2. Whilst talking about what happened outside, he shifts tense when he talks about his dogs. "We were sat here and the dogs would come up to us." These aren't the words of someone speaking from "experiential" memory; that would be more like, "We were sat here and the dogs came over." The shift in the speaker's perspective from what was happening ("were sat here") to what sometimes happened ("dogs would come over") suggests there's some kind of internal process piecing together information into a narrative. (Also, this bit about the dogs is more inconsequential detail as covered by point 1 above)

    So within a few minutes of starting the series, I had a suspicion that he made this story up. Now we arrive at why this is interesting (at least to my subnormal brain): They don't mention this in the documentary (unsurprising, considering they make little effort to mask the fact it's biased in MP's favour) but we know from several sources (e.g. this document) that MP's original story (given to the paramedics and/or police) was that he had only briefly walked outside alone to turn the pool lights off.

    He only invented this story about him being outside on his own for an hour ("with the dogs") after people called into question the timeline of his original story, considering the condition of his wife (all signs suggest she had been dead for a hard minimum of 30 minutes (estimates from various experts ranged from 45 to 120 minutes) before she was found, yet she supposedly had only died approx 4 minutes before the paramedics arrived).

    Also, to my ear his 911 call sounds like bad acting. The emotion comes across a bit forced, with all the melodramatic panting to go with it. It's also suspicious that he kept disconnecting the call every time the 911 operator tried to ask him questions - as though he didn't want to risk giving answers that would confirm his guilt.

    The documentary also puts a lot of effort into convincing you that there's no motive for him killing her, but they neglect to mention he stood to gain a lot financially from doing so. He got something like $400k from her life insurance policy, inherited her $1m mansion and I vaguely remember reading somewhere that he inherited her 401k (however that works). For a guy who had no money himself and whose sons were plagued with debt, I'd say that's at least a plausible motive.

    Another motive much more difficult to support is that he just wanted to kill her. Somewhere in the documentary they recite something he wrote (presumably in his crime fiction) about having the "urge to kill" and such, but it was written so convincingly that it's easy to feel he was writing from experience. If he really did kill the other woman (which I don't think he did tbh) the same motive would apply there.

    Then there's this talk of an owl attack. I'm not too sure about that. People who support this theory love to talk about the "abundance of feathers found in her hair OMG" but the reality is they (allegedly) found a single (1 - one) "microscopic feather" in her hair. Could have come from anywhere (a pillow, some kind of hair accessory, brushing her head/hair against a branch, etc). Also, I've tried to find out what exactly a "microscopic feather" is, but cannot find a single resource on them anywhere on the internet. So I'm wondering if there's something even bigger amiss with that claim.

    In any case, the hypothetical owl scenario doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. We know she definitely fell because she had damage to her neck and bleeding in the brain - so the owl theory fans like to say, she got cut up by the owl outside, went inside, lost so much blood that she passed out and then fell down the stairs. Well she must have been losing all of this blood without leaving any trace of it between the front/back door and the staircase.

    And presumably whilst she was being attacked by this owl, she didn't make a sound - or MP (sitting on the other side of a bush, a few feet away) was unable to hear the commotion. Even if she did run straight into the house, surely she would have screamed for his attention so that he could follow her. I dunno. I guess it's all possible, but to me it's a bit too convoluted of an explanation.

    I've typed enough bollocks so I'll leave it here.

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