Friday, May 31, 2013

Statement Analysis: Zumba Prostitute Husband Analyzed

When a school teacher notices that a little boy, who, being defined as a noisy ball of dirt, suddenly is washing his hands repeatedly, she often will become concerned and seek to learn:  Was this child sexually molested?

Linguistically, we find the similarities where someone, for example, with sexual abuse on his or her mind, may reference, needlessly, water, in some form.

Off the charts was the Amanda Knox statement indicating guilty knowledge of a sexual homicide.

Yet it is the 'unnecessary' references to water that catch our attention.  Since everyone washes their hands after using the bathroom (hey, I am holding out hope here, give me a break), it is utterly unnecessary for someone to say,

"I went to the bathroom, washed my hands, went to my office..."

The reference to water can even give a possible time of murder in a sexual homicide.

The following comes from the Bangor Daily News, regarding the statements made by the husband to the "Zumba" prostitute, who's lawyer claims was "tricked" (did he intend the pun?) into getting paid for sex acts as part of the State of Maine "investigation" process into strange sexual behaviors.

Her attorney is also rumored to be taking bids on the Throgs Neck Bridge, but that's another story.

Here is the article, his statements italicized, with Statement Analysis and commentary in bold type.

It makes one lose all faith in Zumba.

Is he telling the truth to the court?  Or, is he seeking to make a portrayal of a victim like status in order to mitigate her sentence?  What did he do with the money she brought home?

ALFRED, Maine — Jayson Trowbridge, who last year married now-convicted Kennebunk prostitute Alexis Wright, told the court he would often come home in the afternoon and find her dangerously close to harming herself out of shame over her actions.
From the time we would depart each other’s arms until I would get the afternoon call or text message between 2 and 2:45 p.m., every day I anticipated that that morning would be the last time I would ever see Alexis,” Trowbridge wrote in a revealing single-spaced, two-plus-page testimony submitted to the court at Wright’s sentencing Friday morning.

Pronouns are instinctive and tell us what he thinks of the relationship. Next, we look for him to tell us what happened.  This is done via pronoun use ("I") and past tense verbs: 
I would get calls from her in tears,” he continued. “I would go to her in the afternoon and once again, I would have to pull her from the shower similar to [our] morning routine. But this time I would pull her from a scalding hot shower and prevent her from scrubbing her body clean until she bled or burned.”

Note that he does not say this ever happened.  When someone has a firm event in mind, and is truthful, a subject will say "I pulled her from the shower"; he does not. 

No past tense means no commitment.  If he cannot bring himself to commit, we cannot do it for him.  

Regarding sexual abuse/sexual activity, note the use of "shower", "scalding hot shower" (with "shower" repeated, making it sensitive) and he does not say she ever burnt herself or bled.  

"Would" is future/conditional tense and avoids directly committing to an activity, making this unreliable. 


He seems to be attempting to portray himself as a caring husband, waiting patiently for his wife to be done having sex with other men, yet he does not commit to anything. 
Wright was sentenced to 10 months in jail and ordered to pay $58,000 in fines and restitution Friday morning by Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills in accordance with a plea agreement reached with prosecutors two months ago. The York County district attorney’s office and state attorney general’s office agreed to drop 86 of the 106 charges against her and recommend the 10-month sentence in exchange for a plea of guilty to 20 misdemeanor charges related to prostitution and state tax evasion.

She was making money off prostitution as well as gaming the system with welfare fraud.  Why would a prosecutor agree to drop these easily proven accusations ?
Among the charges dropped were dozens of counts of privacy invasion and welfare fraud.
During Friday morning’s sentencing hearing, Wright and her attorney, Sarah Churchill, told the court that Wright’s history of being sexually abused by her father as a child made her vulnerable to manipulation at the hands of Thomaston insurance broker Mark Strong Sr., who convinced her to engage in prostitution under the guise that she was helping a government investigation into “sexual deviants.”

I have not met a prostitute that was not sexually abused, and unlike Hollywood's portrayal, prostitution, drug abuse, and violence are organically linked. 
Strong spent 15 days of a 20-day sentence in jail for 13 counts of promotion of prostitution-related charges in late March and early April. He was convicted of the crimes by a jury in early March.
Trowbridge, who began dating Wright in 2007, said he learned about her “double life” as a prostitute in April 2011. Wright had a son in 2005 from a previous relationship.
“[W]hen the cameras were off and there wasn’t anyone present to capture the true essence of Alexis Wright, Alexis would start her day around 5:30 a.m., waking up to take a shower first thing in the morning,” Trowbridge wrote. “I would give her about 20 minutes before I would enter the bathroom. Ten minutes to allow her to shower and an additional 10 minutes for crying.”
Note that she has a "true" essence, and not just an "essence" indicating a knowledge of the deceptive lifestyle.

If you were going to talk about your spouse, would you associate the "true essence" with taking a shower as starting her day?  This is what is on his mind, washing, which is why it is in his statement.  We can talk about someone's "true" essence (which indicates deception) and begin the day waking up, having coffee, or go right into the personality.  He chooses her showering instead. This indicates a linguistic connection with the sexual activity at play in the statement. 

Note again, the use of the verb "would" rather than "did", and note, again, the reference to water with "shower."

We cannot say that this ever happened because he does not say it happened. 

What does this do to his credibility?

Despite the hidden prostitution operation, Trowbridge wrote that Wright continued to be “an extraordinary mother” and that she plans on going back to school to get a master’s degree after she’s released from jail.

Note "extraordinary mother" high praise.  It is likely that the child's father likely has said otherwise. 
I have lost a great deal of respect from many and I’ve also lost a great deal of friends that can’t fathom the reason why I stood by my wife,” he wrote. “I stand by Alexis’ side because I knew if I was to have walked away, she would have been left to the wolves without a soul to turn to.

Note "have lost" instead of "lost", indicates the loss of respect continues.  It may suggest that the losing of respect as ongoing because he is not truthful here, and profited financially from his wife's illegal activities. 

Note "because" shows the need to explain why, making it very sensitive to him.  It may be that he is acutely aware that he is not believed. 
I’ve never asked her to say ‘sorry’ but she does all the time,” Trowbridge continued. “I will never accept her apology because I feel that she doesn’t owe me one. I stood by my wife when I first discovered her nightmare and I continue to stand by her today. The fact that I chose to marry her after learning of her situation isn’t simply based on love. It is a testament to the true person she is and the real person I know. My vow of marriage was a choice to stand up for her when she couldn’t find the strength to stand up for herself.”
Note the highest level of sensitivity (blue) is noted again in his statement.  This is in regards to not walking away nor accepting an apology.  What makes this area of his statement of the highest sensitivity?  The reader should be on alert for deception in this portion of the story, even after seeing his refusal to say what happened before this. 

Note the reference to her as a "person" (gender neutral) and not "woman" (gender specific).  Note the difference from "person" to "real person"

Note that he refers to prostitution as "her situation" 
Note how often the word "stand" (body posture, yet phrase) is used here, making it sensitive and tense. 

It may cause readers to wonder if those who know him do not believe him, and think that he married her for profit.


Unreliable statement. 

His statement is deemed "unreliable" and his defense of her is highly sensitive suggesting that he is not sincere in his statement to the court.  

She was sentenced to 10 months.  Will we see a book deal or Made-for TV cheesy movie deal?

Zumba Prostitute: She Was Tricked ?

Another Bangor Daily News gem where few quotes are used:  

 The now-famous Kennebunk prostitute was tricked by Thomaston insurance broker Mark Strong Sr. into believing she was investigating “sexual deviants” for the state, the attorney representing Alexis Wright told the court in a pre-sentencing memorandum.

The video of her 'working for the state investigators' may need a bit of imagination. 
Wright was sentenced to 10 months in jail and ordered to pay $58,000 in fines and restitution by Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills Friday morning in accordance with a plea agreement reached between the defendant and prosecutors from the York County district attorney’s office and state attorney general’s office nearly two months ago.
Wright was traumatized as a child witnessing the sexual abuse of her mother by her father and then was sexually abused by the man herself “for many of her formative years,” according to defense attorney Sarah Churchill’s memo.

We look for various indicators (verbal) of sexual abuse.  Unfortunately, we have no quotes to work from. 
That background left her vulnerable to manipulation at the hands of co-conspirator Strong, Wright told the court Friday morning. When given an opportunity to address Mills from the lectern during the sentencing hearing, she began crying and struggled to read a prepared statement.
The admitted prostitute told the court she felt joy and relief when police broke the case open by executing a search warrant at her Kennebunk office in February of 2012. That took place after nearly 18 months of prostitution activity at the location.
“I have feelings of sadness that escalate to anger,” Wright told the court. “Then there are the flip sides for those feelings, feelings of joy and relief, because now it’s over and I never have to go back again.”
Strong was convicted by a jury in March on 13 counts related to promotion of prostitution and ultimately served 15 days of a 20-day sentence. One week after Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills sentenced Strong for his role in the operation,Wright agreed to a plea agreement in which prosecutors would recommend a 10-month jail term and drop 86 of the 106 counts against her in exchange for a guilty plea on 20 misdemeanor counts, including charges of prostitution, theft by deception and state tax evasion.
Wright, who worked as a fitness instructor in the seaside town by day, would not have taken part in the prostitution if not for the manipulation by Strong, her attorney told the court.
Churchill wrote that Wright met Strong while working as an exotic dancer in southern Maine to help pay her way through the University of Southern Maine.

Story telling is often done in the present tense language, just as recreation can be: 
She meets an older man and over a period of years is taken in by him first as a model, then as part of his private investigation firm and is told a story, which she all too readily believes, about how she is an operative working for the state to investigate all manner of sexual deviants,” the attorney wrote.
At first this seems too farfetched for anyone to believe,” Churchill continued, in part. “Nevertheless text messages between Ms. Wright and Mark Strong Sr. bear it out.

"First" indicates that something is to follow.
What do you make of "bear it out"?  Is it as strong as "make it true"?

When something "bears out", it often means that it builds, little by little, and does not so much "prove" but "evidences" something. 
The defense attorney referred to several text message exchanges in which Strong referred to “them” — presumably meaning state investigators — wanting documents, making better videos of the sex acts and needing secrecy for their research.
When Churchill addressed the court Friday morning, she said Wright’s parents split up when she was “8 or 9 years old” and moved to California with her mother.
But then, the defense attorney told Mills, “her father drove across country, kidnapped her and took her back to Maine. I think we can all imagine the horrors that took place during that cross-country trip.”
Churchill said police ultimately took her father into custody and turned Wright back over to her mother, but that trauma — and the experiences that preceded it — set the stage for her later interaction with Strong.
Prostitution is not a business in the same way that a convenience store is a business or that a pizza parlor is a business,” the defense attorney told the court. “You don’t decide to go into prostitution under the same mindset we all deciding to go to law school, for instance. The choice to get into that business is driven by past trauma and past abuse.”

Note the absence of money.  

Churchill wrote in her pre-sentencing memorandum that Wright has been in counseling for six months “to begin dealing with the fallout from this matter. Not only does she have to deal with processing her childhood trauma and the trauma from this matter, but because some of the videos in this case were put on the internet, she also has to face the fact that there are people out there viewing and profiting from this matter.”

Note to begin dealing with the "fall out" and not the matter itself.  
Churchill wrote that after the conclusion of Wright’s criminal case, the attorney will direct her attention toward “shutting down these sites and analyzing whether there were actually any profits made that can be recouped.”
Prosecutors from the York County district attorney’s office and state attorney general’s office described in their pre-sentencing memorandum the tax evasion and related theft by deception offenses as being particularly “serious.”
“Stealing from these limited resources is very serious,” York County Assistant District Attorney Justina McGettigan wrote. “Public benefits are for those in need, not individuals flush with cash from an illicit business.”
Those charges are ultimately what drove Justice Mills in her sentencing decision as well, the judge said Friday.
These are the crimes that are driving the sentence,” Mills said, not prostitution or promotion of prostitution. These are charges not brought against Mark Strong and were brought against this defendant.”
In late winter a jury found Strong guilty of 12 counts of promotion of prostitution and one count of conspiracy to promote prostitution.
Mills denied a defense request to allow Wright to serve the sentence at the Cumberland County jail, where a more child-friendly pre-release area exists, instead of in York County. Churchill asked that the change be allowed so Wright could have more comfortable interactions with her now 8-year-old son and husband.
Prosecutors said that evidence introduced at the Strong trial — including a 45-minute stretch of video in which Wright is shown having sex with a man in her office, discussing her rates for the service and then accepting cash payment — would likely be introduced again if Wright had gone to trial.
Other evidence used against Strong that could have been damning included detailed client ledgers sent by Wright to Strong by email listing appointment times, names, sex services rendered and prices charged.
The Kennebunk prostitution case became a media sensation last year after police claimed to have discovered a client list including as many as 150 names, fueling intense public speculation over whether any prominent locals were on what would become known far and wide as “The List.”
Nearly 70 people have been charged with paying for sex in the case, including a former South Portland mayor and Portland planning board chairman. Kennebunk police announced last month that by the end of the summer, they would decide whether to move forward with charges againstanother 40 alleged johns, a move that could extend the court life of the sprawling prostitution case into 2014.

Nichole Cable: Navigating Local News

As some astute observers have commented, the local media is not always interested in presenting facts in their articles.

While posting the article from the Bangor Daily News without commentary nor analysis, some readers went on to read the affidavit for themselves, and saw the disconnect between the article, the headline, and what was reported in the affidavit.  Some even saw weakness in the writing of the affidavit and commented upon such.

What it may boil down to is a crisis of confidence in our nation's law enforcement, or at least, in some states.

How difficult can this be?  Let's look at what we know, rather than what is admissible and what is not:

An unemployed young male fumes over learning he is a father and has to pay child support.  He is buddies with a young real estate agent.

He takes out a life insurance policy against the life of this child; a big policy, piggy backing it on his car insurance policy, only to report her "missing" 6 weeks later.

The child's blood is found in the home and he fails his polygraph.

No arrests?

Tell me that Justin DiPietro bested law enforcement in the interrogation challenge?


Tell me that a Grand Jury would not indict with just these known facts??

Tell me that his buddy's hands are clean in all of this and that his buddy's mother is just hyper-vigilant without self interest?  Sorry, not buying it.

Have you seen local media question why there has been no arrests?  I haven't.

WIth Nichole Cable, the local media reported in a blurry manner that this was a kidnapping gone wrong.


They took a line from what the nut told his brother and made it the headline, which now means locals walk around repeating the nonsense:  you know, locals who will make up the jury pool.

Well played, Bangor Daily News.

At least they are consistent in their reporting.

For those of you who read the affidavit, your comments suggest that you are not in awe of the work done on this case.  This may be part of the larger picture.

Recall the article I wrote quite a while back extolling the virtues of the future jury pool who would seek justice for Ayla Reynolds, and how one commentator not only answered me, but pummeled me with statistics on the suitability of a jury pool.

Local media is not helping.

Bangor Daily News political slants have been well known for decades, but its desire to grab headlines, coupled with the lack of competition has conspired together to give some pretty weak journalism examples for us.

The Online Sentinel refused to publish anything, including investigative journalism, on the Baby Ayla case, unless it was given "official Maine State police" approval.

How much investigative journalism will we get if waiting for official approval?

Little wonder the only journalist who kept Ayla's story in the public's eye moved on.

Trayvon Martin: Admin Leave for Court Employee

from the AP wire:

A court employee who retrieved photos and deleted text messages from Trayvon Martin's cellphone has been placed on administrative leave after an attorney testified that prosecutors didn't properly turn over the evidence to the defense, an attorney said Wednesday.
Former prosecutor Wesley White said he was ethically obligated to reveal that Fourth Judicial Circuit Information Technology Director Ben Kruidbos retrieved the data that weren't turned over.
Kruidbos was placed on leave shortly after White testified during a hearing in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder case on Tuesday. White said Kruidbos was interviewed by state attorney investigators twice before the action was taken.
White said he wasn't surprised of possible evidence violations by Zimmerman prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
"I was saddened by it, but I'm not surprised," he said.
Note the order. 
White first learned about the evidence through Kruidbos more than a month ago, he said.
Phone and email messages left at the office of Fourth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Angela Corey were not immediately returned.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in 17-year-old Martin's killing and has pleaded not guilty, saying he acted in self-defense. Circuit Judge Debra Nelson has denied a defense motion to delay the trial, which scheduled to begin on June 10.
White led the Nassau County state attorney's office before resigning in December, citing differences of opinion with Corey. He is now in private practice.
White said the photos Kruidbos retrieved were of a hand holding a gun and one depicted drugs. The content of the text messages wasn't specified.
"I'm an officer of the court and I'm obliged to inform the court of any misconduct or any potential misconduct coming before the court. Whether it's by the defense or prosecution," White said.
The defense released photos of a gun, marijuana plant and Martin's text messages publicly, saying that if prosecutors planned to paint Zimmerman as the aggressor and Martin as the innocent bystander, they wanted the information to defend him. Attorneys won't be able to mention the teen's drug use, suspension from school and past fighting during opening statements at the trial, Nelson ruled Tuesday.
Nelson has set a full hearing on the turning over of evidence for next week.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has previously brought a handful of motions alleging that the state attorney's office had been slow to turn over other evidence.
White said his disclosure to the defense isn't sparked by any animosity toward his former employer.
"It has to do with the rule of law," White said. "When Mr. Kruidbos testifies next week, it will be his testimony and not my own."
O'Mara said Tuesday that he felt compelled to bring this matter to the attention of the judge after a hearing earlier this month in which De la Rionda was emphatic that he'd turned over all evidence related to Martin's cellphone.
"(Kruidbos) knew information that nobody else would know about what (the state attorney's office) didn't give us," O'Mara said. "The picture of the gun in the hand, for example, had not been turned over to us. But that had been created back in late January within the state attorney's office.
"That inquiry, if in fact it continues and it certainly should, could lead to some very dire consequences for those who made presentations to the judge that were not accurate."
O'Mara reported on the defense team's website Wednesday that Zimmerman's defense fund had less than $5,000 left. The fund had raised almost $315,000 by January.
His attorneys are calculating that Zimmerman needs another $120,000 to put on a good defense, or even another $75,000 to give him a fighting chance.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pop Quiz "I Wasn't Holding Anybody's Hand"

Celebrities, like politicians, are known for two things (among a few others):

a.  Bad behavior
b.  Providing Statement Analysis readers with sample.

c.  Taking themselves too seriously.

Here is George Clooney, dating one model while being seen holding hands with another, along with his denial.

What do you make of his denial?  Is this enough of a denial to call it reliable?  Is the word "anybody" used to avoid a direct denial, or is it something different, such as avoiding using the other party's name?

What is your conclusion?  He was asked about the article in a magazine (context)

 Clooney said, “The story is made up.  I wasn't holding anybody's hand. Stop trying to sell magazines by creating scandal that isn't there.”

Candidwire / Splash News
Monika Jakisic leaving the club

Affidavit Claims Kidnapping To Be Hero of Nichole Cable


 A 15-year-old girl’s death was a kidnapping gone wrong, according to the affidavit released late Wednesday after the Penobscot County grand jury indicted Kyle Dube, 20, of Orono on charges of murder and kidnapping.
Kyle Dube was charged on May 21 in connection with the death of Nichole Cable of Alton and Glenburn on Mother’s Day, the day she disappeared. Her body was found late May 20 in a wooded area of Old Town.
Dube intended to “kidnap Nichole and hide her; that he would later find her and be the hero,” the affidavit, written by Maine State Police Detective Thomas D. Pickering, said.
Dube’s brother Dustin Dube told police that Kyle Dube said he had Cable “meet him down the road [from her house]; that he waited in the woods wearing a ski mask; that he had duct tape; that he jumped out of the bushes and took Nichole; that he duct taped her; that he put Nichole in his father’s pickup truck; that when he removed Nichole from the truck she was dead; that he dumped Nichole’s body in the woods near the Dysart’s gas station in Old Town; that Nichole is in the woods covered in sticks.”
Kyle Dube’s girlfriend told police that he had told her a similar story and also said he had thrown Cable’s clothes out the window of the truck on his way back, the affidavit said.
When interviewed by an investigator on May 15, Kyle Dube said he had a relationship with Cable but was working in Bangor the night of May 12. He said that he had texted her earlier in the day, the affidavit said.
Kyle Dube created a fake Facebook page using the name Bryan Butterfield of Bangor to communicate with Cable, according to the affidavit. Investigators learned of the page from the real Butterfield on May 14 after one of Cable’s friends said the 15-year-old had sent her a text on May 12 stating she was meeting “Butterfield.”
Butterfield told investigators that he suspected Dube had created “this fraudulent Facebook account; that he knew that Kyle wanted to have sex with Nichole, but that she has refused his advances,” the affidavit said.
The document does not explain how Butterfield knew Dube or Cable.
In reviewing Cable’s Facebook account, investigators learned that she had frequent contact online with the fake Butterfield.
“The person posing as Butterfield repeatedly requested to meet with Cable in person,” the affidavit said. “On May 12, Cable agreed to meet with this subject for the purposes of obtaining some marijuana.”
According to their Facebook communication, Cable was to have met the fake Butterfield at the end of her driveway, located in a remote section of Glenburn on a dirt road.
Investigators traced the IP address for the fake Butterfield’s Facebook page to the Orono home where Dube lived with his parents, the affidavit said.
Investigators also were able to link Cable to Dube through DNA evidence, according to the affidavit. A blue hat with a hole cut in it, a sock and black sneaker were found on May 14 in a wooded area near Cable’s mother’s home in Glenburn. Dube’s DNA, obtained May 15, was found on the blue hat and on the sock. Cable’s DNA also was found on the sock. Whose DNA was found on the shoe is not stated in the affidavit.
Cable was reported missing to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office by her mother, Kristine Wiley, at 8:27 a.m. May 13, the affidavit said.
Dube is being held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail. An arraignment date has not been set.
Deputy Attorney William Stokes said shortly before Dube was indicted that the medical examiner had ruled Cable’s death a homicide. He said exactly how the girl died could not be determined until tests are completed by the Maine State Police Crime Lab.
Cable’s funeral service drew about 300 people Monday at Bangor Baptist Church. Her private burial was held Tuesday at a cemetery in Alton.
If convicted of murder, Dube faces between 25 years and life in prison.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Justice for Shaniya Davis!

Fayetteville child killer sentenced to death

Mario McNeill in court

A Cumberland County jury deliberated less than 40 minutes Wednesday before deciding that Mario Andrette McNeill should die for the November 2009 death of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis.
The eight-man, four-woman jury last week convicted McNeill, 32, of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, sexual offense of a child, indecent liberties with a child, human trafficking and sexual servitude in connection with her death.
That decision took almost eight hours over two days, but jurors didn't even have to call out for lunch Wednesday before handing down the death sentence.
"I submit to you, without hesitation, that the only punishment appropriate in this case – for these crimes – is the death penalty," Assistant Cumberland County District Attorney Robby Hicks said in his closing argument Wednesday morning.
McNeill, who is the first person to be sentenced to death in Cumberland County in six years, declined to make a statement in court.
Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, berated McNeill after the sentence was announced, saying he treated the entire trial as a joke and his demeanor made a mockery of the court.
"The media glorifies you as you walk in with smirks and smiles," Lockhart said. "I'm not going to worship you. I'm going to pray for you."
He added: "I think of those last seconds, and you were the last thing my daughter got to look at."
After offering no evidence in his defense during the trial, McNeill told Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons on Tuesday that he wanted no one to testify on his behalf before sentencing. He even forbade his lawyers from offering any closing arguments to jurors.
“My goal was freedom. I lost my freedom. What does it matter after that?” he said.
Lockhart and Shaniya's half-sister wept Tuesday as they described for jurors the difficulty in dealing with her death.
"It's been a long road," Lockhart said Wednesday. "At the end of this verdict, nobody has really won here. I'll never get Shaniya back. You took that from me."
District Attorney Billy West said McNeill showed no remorse for Shaniya's death.
"He showed no regard for her innocence when he kidnapped her from her home in the middle of the night," West said in his closing argument. "He showed no regard for her life when he murdered her and left her along desolate Walker Road."
Before McNeill was taken in handcuffs out of the courtroom, Ammons spoke to him.
"May God have mercy on your soul," he said. "You did not have to kill that child."
Ammons then turned to Shaniya's family.
"I can't give you justice," he said. "The jury has given you what we as humans – the best we humans can do – to give you justice. Justice would be if I reversed all of this, and I can't."
McNeill's mother, Juanita Bell, who left the courtroom in tears Tuesday after her son would not let her testify on his behalf, showed now emotion Wednesday. She and other family members declined to comment.
Shaniya's body was found on Nov. 16, 2009, in a kudzu patch off N.C. Highway 87 on the Lee-Harnett county line, six days after her mother reported her missing from their Fayetteville mobile home.
An autopsy determined that she had been suffocated, and she had injuries "consistent with a sexual assault" shortly before she died, according to a medical examiner.
Assistant District Attorney Rita Cox told jurors that the girl died "a slow, agonizing death," with a "carcass wasteland for her burial site."
Cox said McNeill knew what he was doing the night Shaniya was taken from her home, and he even talked to police a few days later after being seen with the girl at a Sanford hotel "because he thought he could manipulate them."
McNeill insisted in his nearly six-hour interview with police that he merely took Shaniya to the hotel at the request of her aunt, and he then handed the girl off to somebody he thought was a relative who would ensure that she went to school.
"Mario McNeill thinks he's smarter than police," Cox said. "He denies everything – lie, lie, lie and lie."
West and Cox told jurors not to be swayed by McNeill's silence in court.
"It may be to invoke sympathy, it may be a simple act of defiance or it may be manipulation," West said. "I ask you to follow the law in this case.
"There's a lot he'd like you to forget," he said. "He wants you to forget that he had sex with Shaniya after he struck out with the 26 women he texted. ... He wants you to forget that he suffocates the life out of Shaniya Davis."
"Don't let it manipulate you into feeling sympathy for the defendant," Cox said.
Defense attorney Butch Pope said he and his co-counsel, Terry Alford, had never as stubborn as McNeill. If McNeill would have allowed the attorneys to present testimony on his behalf, it may have "put on a human face" and possibly kept him off death row, Pope said.
"As defense lawyers, we can't help but wonder if that would have made a difference, if we would have been able to present the mitigating evidence," he said.
McNeill becomes the 153rd inmate on North Carolina's death row. The last person from Cumberland County sentenced to death was Eugene Johnny Williams, who was convicted in 2007 of killing two people in a dispute over a stolen motorcycle.
No executions have been carried out in the state since 2006.
Investigators say Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, sold her to McNeill to pay off a drug debt. Davis is charged with first-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child, felony child abuse, felony sexual servitude, rape of a child, sexual offense of a child by an adult offender, human trafficking and making a false police report.
She will be tried later this year, but prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty against her.

    Hailey Dunn Case: Where is Texas Justice?

    Texans are fond of their freedom, barbecues, and the fact that if you take a life, you forfeit the right to your own.

    Texans, along with the nation at large, are also wondering:  Where is the justice for Hailey Dunn?

    Thus far, prosecutors have not sought arrest warrants against the two known Persons of Interest in the murder of 13 year old Hailey Dunn, Hailey's mother, Billie Jean Dunn, and her former boyfriend, Shawn Adkins, with Billie Dunn having become emboldened over time with insults and taunts towards law enforcement, and with recent 'suspicion' towards Shawn Adkins.

    I'm not buying either.

    Her taunts and insults are not something that endeared her to anyone.  She mocked the polygrapher of who's test she handily flunked, and even went as far as to say that there was a wide cross county conspiracy in law enforcement against Shawn Adkins.  Was this a ploy to signal to Adkins that she would remain loyal in silence?

    Her loyalty became strained when she learned that there may have been an overture from Adkins' camp (family or attorney) that he would be willing to seek a plea bargain.

    She responded on Facebook that her daughter did not have the opportunity for a plea bargain, whatever that meant, but in her responses, indicated a consciousness of guilt regarding sexual homicide.

    It was a pretty severe 'oops' moment for her that was not likely lost on the prosecution.

    With an abrupt cancellation of appearance by the gentleman who found Hailey's remains on our radio show, we know that this order of silence has an expiration date.

    Of course, it can be removed, but it does suggest that a window of time does exist, leaving the public with the expectation of arrest warrants being issued.

    Statement Analysis has covered this case from the beginning and has indicated, like the polygraph tests, guilty knowledge and deception on the parts of both Hailey's mother, Billie Dunn, and her boyfriend, Shawn Adkins.

    We await arrests so that Texas justice may be served.

    next:  examining the death penalty in a case of mother daughter killing.

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    The Perfect Murder?

    from the NY    Note the commentary on local cops.

    With wife found dead in fire, did EMT pull off the perfect crime?

    In the early morning hours of Dec. 13, 2008, the body of Catherine Novak, a recently separated 41-year-old mother of two, was found in what little remained of her burned-down house in upstate New York. She was in the basement, buried under 2 1/2 feet of debris, burned beyond recognition. Two autopsies were performed, and the cause of death remains inconclusive.
    The blaze was so ferocious and devastating that it took hours to extinguish, the air so frigid that firefighters had ice in their boots. When it was finally out, almost nothing remained; it was impossible for investigators to find any physical evidence or determine what caused the fire.
    JILTED: Michelle La France, now in Florida, will testify against ex-beau EMT Paul Novak.
    Amy H. Schoen
    JILTED: Michelle La France, now in Florida, will testify against ex-beau EMT Paul Novak.

    Photo by Robert Stridiron
    Paul Novak
    HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE: Catherine Novak perished in this house fire in upstate Narrowsburg in December 2008, leaving behind few clues.
    HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE: Catherine Novak perished in this house fire in upstate Narrowsburg in December 2008, leaving behind few clues.

    In 2002, Paul and Catherine had a daughter, and four years later, a son. They moved upstate, and Paul said he couldn’t make as much money up there but it was fine, he’d stay in the city for work and spend two days a week up in Narrowsburg.
    “He would tell her, ‘I picked up extra hours, I’ll be at my mom’s’ — and then he’d swing by his mom’s so she’d see him,” says a confidant. “Everyone knew what was going on” — except Catherine, who refused to see it. “She loved him,” says the friend. “Oh, she loved him.”
    “It was all about him, all the time,” says another friend. Paul had his own buddies — other EMTs, big, burly guys who were just like him — and had no interest in getting to know Catherine’s friends, or in socializing with other couples. He’d spend what little money they had on himself, buying the latest gadgets and splurging on a flat-screen TV, all while insulation was peeling off the walls.
    JILTED: Michelle La France, now in Florida, will testify against ex-beau EMT Paul Novak.
    Amy H. Schoen
    JILTED: Michelle La France, now in Florida, will testify against ex-beau EMT Paul Novak.

    Photo by Robert Stridiron
    Paul Novak
    HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE: Catherine Novak perished in this house fire in upstate Narrowsburg in December 2008, leaving behind few clues.
    HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE: Catherine Novak perished in this house fire in upstate Narrowsburg in December 2008, leaving behind few clues.
    Catherine presented herself as capable and together — yet as co-workers and fellow churchgoers came to know her better, they began to see the wife whose husband didn’t really live with her, stuck in disrepair on a back-country road while Paul partied in the city. She always defended him.
    Catherine’s friends recall her as ecstatic in early 2007. Paul wanted to renew their wedding vows, she said — it was such a big deal to him and he was so excited. They wanted to believe her, but they all thought Paul was doing it to placate her.
    It was like that morning when she came into work — she’d gotten a job at the local summer camp — and announced Paul had just taken out a life-insurance policy on her. It was weird, she admitted — but she did what she always did, warping it into proof of what a good family man Paul was.
    Within a few weeks of the vow renewal, Paul told Catherine he didn’t love her anymore, and on those rare nights he returned home, he’d sleep in the guest bedroom. A confidant says she begged him to go to marriage counseling, and he agreed, going twice before telling her, “This isn’t working — I quit.”
    One night, at 4 a.m., the phone rang three times, and Catherine picked it up to hear the slurry female voice on the other line. Now she knew. Paul told Catherine it was all her fault, and the affair had been going on for only a few weeks anyway. “It was the semi-classic thing of the husband cheating and saying to his wife, ‘You’re no good,’ so he could justify it,” says another confidant.
    Within a week, Catherine had kicked him out, and Paul went to live with his girlfriend, Michelle La France, whom he’d met in 2007 when he was training Michelle to be an EMT. Catherine was devastated, anxious all the time, and one of her friends asked her if she was afraid of Paul. “She made a comment that she was more afraid of the girlfriend.”
    On the last day of Catherine’s life, after Paul and Michelle picked up the kids, she was so distraught that she went to visit her church group; she remained so upset that friends took her home.
    At 6 a.m. on Dec. 13, a neighbor sat on his front porch, up and across the street, enjoying his cup of coffee and watching what he thought was the sunrise. He realized, a few minutes later, that it was an enormous fire, and ran toward it, even as he found there was nothing he could do.
    Paul didn’t attend Catherine’s funeral. Instead, he dropped the kids off at the service and picked them up, and he did the same at the gravesite, walking them up to their mother’s coffin and leaving them with Catherine’s family, making them all come looking for him when it was over.
    JILTED: Michelle La France, now in Florida, will testify against ex-beau EMT Paul Novak.
    Amy H. Schoen
    JILTED: Michelle La France, now in Florida, will testify against ex-beau EMT Paul Novak.

    Photo by Robert Stridiron
    Paul Novak
    HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE: Catherine Novak perished in this house fire in upstate Narrowsburg in December 2008, leaving behind few clues.
    HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE: Catherine Novak perished in this house fire in upstate Narrowsburg in December 2008, leaving behind few clues.
    Not long after, Paul and Michelle had their brand-new life in Florida, happily playing house.
    The Narrowsburg fire was written off as an accident — until one fateful night in 2012, when, at a wedding on her own, Michelle had a feeling. She called Paul. “Are you seeing someone else?”
    “Yes,” he said.
    “I want you out,” she said.
    In September of last year, Michelle La France called Sullivan County police, and suddenly the long-dormant case came alive. Michelle said Novak confessed to her that he’d killed his wife and that their friend and fellow EMT Scott Sherwood helped him do it. Paul and Scott had worked as partners for many years as state-certified EMTs out of Jamaica Hospital, responding to 911 calls just as FDNY medics would.
    On Sept. 27, cops picked up Scott, and he confessed to everything. His detailed account — which he has since recanted — was found in court documents obtained by The Post.
    Scott told police that on the night Catherine died, he drove to Paul and Michelle’s house in Glen Cove, LI, for the express purpose of driving Paul upstate so he could kill Catherine. The two men left their cellphones in the house so they couldn’t be traced, and Paul said he’d been mixing up chloroform to make Catherine pass out. On the way, they stopped at a Walmart in Middletown so Paul could buy a plastic bag and probably duct tape and rope.
    Scott asked Paul why he was murdering his wife, and, according to the confession, Scott said it was “so he wouldn’t end up like me,” broke and divorced and forced to “work 80 hours a week and be miserable.”
    When they got within a mile of the house, Scott said, Paul had him roll the car into a wooded area. Scott said he waited in the car while Paul walked up toward the house, returning an hour later, wearing scrubs and plastic booties on his feet.
    “Paul told me in the car that he went into the basement of the house and disconnected something to make Catherine come down to the basement,” Scott confessed. “He then attempted to make her pass out with the chloroform, but she resisted. He stated that he had to strangle her when it didn’t work. Paul said that Catherine passed out and then he set the house on fire by breaking a gas line. Paul stated that Catherine asked him why he was doing this, and he said that he told her it was for the kids.”
    Michelle La France, the woman who made Catherine’s life so miserable, is now the star witness for the prosecution. She declined to comment for this story, though when asked if she was aware the defense is planning to paint her as an unstable nymphomaniac, smiled and said, “I know exactly what they’re trying to do.”
    Scott Sherwood and Paul Novak are now represented by a father-son legal team. “I’d like to know who’s paying for Scott’s attorney,” says one of Catherine’s friends.
    Scott and Paul are awaiting trial, slated to begin in July, in Sullivan County jail. Paul has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, grand larceny, insurance fraud and arson; Scott with second-degree murder.
    Sources for Paul Novak’s defense say they are not concerned. There is no physical evidence of strangulation. They also maintain that there is no way their client could have committed the crime in the time frame laid out by the prosecution. It’s a three- to four-hour drive from Glen Cove to Narrowsburg. The prosecution’s star witness, they say, is nothing more than a woman scorned, and she has enough erratic behavior in her past to discredit her. “They were in the process of amicably resolving their divorce,” says the source. Catherine “didn’t give a s--t that he was living with his girlfriend.”
    For a time, Paul and Catherine’s children were living with Paul’s current girlfriend, Kathleen Del Grasso, and are now in the custody of Paul’s mother. Del Grasso maintains Novak’s innocence.
    All that remains of Catherine Novak’s home is the red-and-white two-car garage, quaint and barn-like, and a squat brown shed, propped nearly closed by a heavy stone. Wild grass grows where the house once stood.
    “Her life goal was to have a home and a family,” says an intimate. “That was part of her fascination with Paul.”

    Less than one year later, Paul Attila Novak, Catherine’s estranged husband, was living with his two children and girlfriend, Michelle, in Palm Coast, Fla. Paul was working as an EMT — just as he had in New York City — but now he had an extra $800,000, proceeds from homeowner’s insurance and two life-insurance policies on Catherine.
    All of this made Catherine’s friends and family suspicious, but nothing more so than his occupation: Who would know better how to kill someone and set an untraceable fire, wiping out any and all physical evidence, than a trained EMT?
    Plus, he had to know the local cops weren’t the brightest. After one robbery attempt at the town pharmacy, the owner asked the police — who took over an hour to arrive — if they were going to dust for prints. They were not. “This isn’t TV,” one officer said. “This is Sullivan County.”
    For nearly five long years, what happened in the house on 222 County Road 25 has been the main preoccupation of most everyone in Narrowsburg, population 431.
    Catherine’s friends believe that Paul Novak got away with murder.
    In August 2002, Catherine and Paul moved from their cramped apartment in Queens to a two-story house in the burg by the banks of the Delaware River, taking out a mortgage on the $135,000 property.
    Catherine had grown up poor, living with her parents and three older brothers in the same borough, stretched out on the floor in the summer, watching her beloved Yankees on WPIX and wishing that they could afford air conditioning. She wanted more for her children, a big house and a yard and good schools, and Paul agreed.
    They had married on Feb. 14, 1997; meeting after Catherine volunteered for an ambulance service, Paul working as a paramedic for Jamaica Hospital. Catherine was attracted to Paul’s confidence; he was a big guy, good-looking, and had a job helping people — something Catherine, ever the volunteer, deeply admired