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  1. #1
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    Science is not biased (in unbiased hands)

    “Science is our best witness in this case. Science is not biased and it does not lie.”
    -Sheriff Bill Gore, SDCSD press conference, September 2, 2011

    That statement makes for a nice sound bite and is undoubtedly meant to impress the uninitiated and the uninformed in criminal investigation.

    What is true is the following:
    Science CAN be our best witness but ALL evidence must be evaluated within the larger case context in order to determine relevance and weight.
    Science CAN be unbiased and not lie, but both bias and spin may be attached to it by those involved in its evaluation and interpretation.

    One of the best examples that I know of to support what I’ve said above is from a study involving DNA evidence:
    We took a mixed sample of DNA evidence from an actual crime scene- a gang rape committed in Georgia, US- which helped to convict a man called Kerry Robinson, who is currently in prison. We presented it, and Robinson's DNA profile, to 17 experienced analysts working in the same accredited government lab in the US, without any contextual information that might bias their judgment.
    In the original case, two analysts from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that Robinson "could not be excluded" from the crime scene sample, based on his DNA profile. (A second man convicted of the same crime also testified that Robinson was an assailant, in return for a lesser jail term.) Each of our 17 analysts independently examined the profiles from the DNA mixture, the victim's profile and those of two other suspects and was asked to judge whether the suspects' profiles could be "excluded", "cannot be excluded" or whether the results were "inconclusive".
    If DNA analysis were totally objective, then all 17 analysts should reach the same conclusion. However, we found that just one agreed with the original judgement that Robinson "cannot be excluded". Four analysts said the evidence was inconclusive and 12 said he could be excluded.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...r-freedom.html

    The only “scientific” evidence that points to any significant degree toward the RZ case being a suicide relates to the relative absence of unidentified DNA and fingerprints and the presence of RZ’s DNA and fingerprints in incriminating locations. (Although, we do know that there was low level unidentified DNA found In mixed samples from RZ’s fingernails as well as from the rope used in the hanging; a large knife used to the cut the rope; the bed frame to which the rope was tied; a door knob on the balcony door; and a pair of black gloves found on a table in the mansion.)
    However, I would hardly suspect that in this day and age of CSI programming that people involved in murder would not take reasonable precautions against leaving significant biological evidence behind.
    Similarly, I think it unlikely that someone would not be able to readily think of ways to leave behind biological evidence and fingerprints from the victim in order to stage the scene.
    I don’t believe that in most cases including this one that it does much good to look at individual elements in isolation. Similarly, a look at the “science” alone does not give an accurate portrait of what may have happened.
    For Sheriff Gore, the “science” that he speaks of in such glowing terms are cherry-picked elements loosely stitched together in order to force the evidence to fit the theory.
    Unfortunately he does not address the numerous elements that point to murder.
    Just as taking things out of context in an interview can paint a false picture, so too, taking evidence out of context and piecing it together can paint a false picture.

    Therefore, only after a thorough examination of the known facts surrounding a case, and a multidisciplinary forensic investigation, should conclusions be drawn."
    -William C. Thompson, Department of Criminology, Law & Society, University of California

    To illustrate the danger of out-of-context evidence, I would like to present the following true case in which “science” plays a starring role, primarily in the form of DNA evidence.
    (My apologies in advance for the length, but this is the best illustration I’ve ever seen with regard to what I’ve been discussing so far.)

    The Alan and Diane Johnson murder investigation.
    A gunman is preparing to murder a couple in their home. He finds the ammo box and retrieves some ammunition. After loading a rifle he tinkers a bit with the scope and heads out. To ensure that he won’t leave DNA, or fingerprints at the scene, he puts on latex gloves and leather gloves over top. Moments prior to shooting his intended victims, he spots a bathrobe and puts it over his clothes to reduce the possibility of blood spatter on his clothing. Two shots are fired, two people are dead.

    In the ensuing investigation, police find the following.
    Matching male DNA:
    On the barrel of the murder weapon.
    On the scope of the murder weapon.
    On one of the spent cartridges found at the crime scene.
    On the insert of a box of ammunition for the murder weapon.
    On the inside of a latex glove found in the garbage outside.*
    On the inside of a leather glove found in the garbage outside.*
    On the collar of a bathrobe.*
    (*Evidence including blood spatter and gunshot residue linked the bathrobe and gloves to the murders.)
    All of the DNA profiles belonging to this “intruder,” were partial, weak profiles.

    Matching fingerprints:
    On the scope of the murder weapon.
    On one of the spent cartridges found at the crime scene.
    On the insert of a box of ammunition for the murder weapon.

    In summary, 7 matching male DNA profiles were found in highly incriminating locations as well as matching fingerprints in 3 locations.

    That is a LOT of physical evidence pointing in one direction.

    Whoever was the donor of this DNA is the shooter, right?
    If the donor was not the shooter, they would, at the very least, be involved, right?
    If, for some inconceivable reason, this is DNA that is completely unrelated to the crime, surely it would prevent a successful prosecution of the real perpetrator, right?

    The totality of the evidence must be the arbiter in evaluating the relevance of a particular piece of evidence.
    With this in mind, consider the DNA evidence that I’ve presented in this example.

    As I’ve indicated, 7 matching instances of DNA found in or on incriminating places or things further corroborated by fingerprint evidence seems overwhelming.

    There is quite a bit that I haven’t revealed. For example, there is more DNA, but it’s from a female.
    On the inside of a right-handed latex glove found in the garbage outside.
    On the inside of a left-handed leather glove found in the garbage outside.
    On the pink bathrobe.
    On hair taken from the .264-caliber rifle used to shoot the Johnsons
    The profile from the inside of the gloves was not a partial profile, (as was the case with the male profile,) it was a complete profile.

    Who’s the shooter?
    There are two possibilities as to the meaning of the DNA that I’ve presented.
    There is a male shooter and the DNA pointing to a female is simply irrelevant, DNA for which there must be an innocent explanation.
    There is a female shooter and the DNA pointing to a male is simply irrelevant, DNA for which there must be an innocent explanation.

    DNA that is relevant to this or any case will dovetail into the rest of the evidence and “fit.”

    Case context determines DNA relevancy, DNA does not override case context (which, of course includes other forensic evidence,) and radically alter the clear direction of a case.

    Case context:
    Alan, 46, and Diane Johnson, 52, lived in an attractive home that sat on two acres of land in an affluent suburb in the small community of Bellevue, Idaho. They had been married for 20 years and were devoted to each other and to their two children, Matt and Sarah. The Johnsons were well liked in the community. Alan was the co-owner of a popular landscaping company and Sarah worked for a financial firm.
    In the early morning hours of September 2, 2003, Sarah Johnson ran out of her home, screaming for help. She told neighbors that her parents had just been murdered.
    When police arrived, they found Diane Johnson lying dead under the covers of her bed.
    Prosecutors would say at trial that the shooter placed the end of the rifle on her Diane’s head and pulled the trigger, a gunshot blast that removed most of her head.
    Based on wet bloody footprints and blood spatter, it appeared that Diane’s husband had stepped out of the shower and was then shot once through the chest from a distance of about three feet. Alan fell to the floor and then stood and walked toward the side of the bed where his wife usually slept. He then collapsed and was found lying next to the bed, having, ultimately, bled to death. The shower was running and Alan’s body was still wet when police arrived.
    The police immediately secured the crime scene including sectioning off an entire block around the house. In a trashcan outside of the Johnson’s home investigators found a bloody pink bathrobe and two gloves – a left-handed leather glove and a right-handed latex glove.
    Inside the home detectives found a trail of blood spatter, tissue, and bone fragments that went from the Johnson’s bedroom, into the hall, and across to Sarah Johnson’s bedroom.
    A .264 Winchester Magnum rifle was found in the master bedroom.
    Two butcher knives, wiped completely clean of fingerprints, which were strategically placed at the end of the Johnson’s bed near the bodies of Alan and Diane Johnson.
    A magazine of bullets was also found in Sarah’s bedroom, which was located around 20 feet across the hall from the Johnson's bedroom.
    There was no evidence of forced entry into the home.
    As investigators removed Alan and Diane's bodies from the house, noticed a coldness and distance from Sarah. (She sat on a nearby fence and with apparent indifference watched her parents come out in body bags.)
    When Sarah Johnson first talked to the police she said that she woke up around 6:15 a.m. and heard her parent's shower running. She continued to lie in bed, but then heard two gunshots. She ran to her parent’s bedroom and found that their door was closed. She did not open the door, but rather called for her mother who did not answer. Frightened, she ran out of the house and began screaming for help.
    Her story of what happened would change several times throughout the investigation. Sometimes she said her parent’s door was slightly opened and other times she said her door was closed, but not her parent’s door.
    Based on the forensic evidence found in the hall and in Sarah’s bedroom, both her door and her parent’s door would have to have been opened during the gunshot blast that ended her mother’s life.
    Sarah also admitted that the pink robe was hers, but denied knowing anything about how it ended up in the trash. When first asked about the robe, her first response was to say that she did not kill her parents, which investigators found odd. She said she thought the killer was a maid who had been recently fired by the Johnsons for stealing.
    The owner of the rifle used to kill the Johnsons belonged to Mel Speegle, who was renting a garage apartment in a guesthouse located on the Johnson’s property. He was away over the Labor Day weekend and had not yet returned home on the day of the murders. When questioned, he said that he did not lock up his guns or ammunition, but hid them in his closet under piles of clothes.
    Sarah Johnson was described by neighbors and friends as a sweet girl who enjoyed playing volleyball. But another Sarah had emerged over the summer months, one that seemed infatuated and obsessed with her 19-year-old boyfriend, Bruno Santos Dominguez.
    Sarah and Dominguez had been dating for three months prior to the murder of her parents. The Johnsons did not approve of the relationship because Dominguez was 19 and an undocumented Mexican immigrant. He also had a reputation for being involved in drugs.
    Close friends of Sarah’s said that a few days prior to the Johnson’s murder, Sarah showed them a ring and told them that she and Dominguez were engaged. They also said that Sarah often lied so they did not completely buy into what Sarah was saying about her engagement.
    On August 29, Sarah told her parents that she was spending the night with friends, but instead she spent the night with Dominguez. When her parents found out, her father went to look for her the next day and found her with Bruno at his family’s apartment.
    Sarah and her parents argued and she told them about her engagement. Diane was very upset and said that she was going to go to the authorities and report Dominguez for statutory rape. If nothing else, she hoped to have him deported.
    (Other than to prevent her parents from acting on these threats, there was evidence that the Sarah murdered her parents to get their money so that she and Santos could go away together. Ultimately, Sarah's boyfriend testified for the prosecution, primarily to show he had nothing to do with the murders and that Sarah had talked about hating her dad and spoke of shooting him because of his disapproval of the relationship.)
    They also grounded Sarah for the rest of the Labor Day weekend and took her car keys. During the following days, Sarah, who had a key to Speegle’s apartment, was in and out of the guesthouse for various reasons.
    Both Diane and Sarah called Matt Johnson, who was away at college, on the night before the murders. Matt said his mother cried about Sarah's relationship with Dominguez and expressed how embarrassed she felt by Sarah's actions.
    Uncharacteristically, Sarah seemed to accept her parent's punishment, and told Matt that she knew what they were up to. Matt did not like how the comment sounded and almost called his mother back, but decided not to because it was so late. The next day the Johnsons were dead.

    DNA testing showed that there was blood and tissue belonging to Diane on Sarah’s pink robe, along with DNA that matched Sarah. Gunshot residue was found on the leather glove and Sarah’s DNA was found inside of the latex glove. Diane’s DNA was also found in blood that was on the socks Sarah was wearing on the morning her parents were killed.

    On October 29, 2003, Sarah Johnson was arrested and charged as an adult on two counts of first-degree murder to which she pleaded not guilty.
    During the trial there was a lot of testimony about Sarah Johnson’s inappropriate behavior and lack of emotions about the brutal murder of her parents. Neighbors and friends who offered comfort to Sarah on the day her parents were killed said that she was more concerned about seeing her boyfriend. She also did not seem traumatized, which would be expected if a teen went through the experience that she had inside the house when her parents were gunned down.
    She had a manicure the day before the funeral, because she didn't want to chip her nails the next day. She told her manicurist that she wanted to get on with her life.
    At her parent's funeral she talked about wanting to go play volleyball that evening and any sadness that she displayed seemed superficial.
    Witnesses also testified about the troubled relationship between Sarah and her mother, but many also added that it was not that unusual for a girl her age to fight with their mother. However, her half-brother, Matt Johnson, gave some of the most insightful testimony about Sarah, although it also proved to be some of the most damaging.
    He described her as a drama queen and a good actor who had a propensity to lie. During part of his two-hour testimony, he said that the first thing Sarah told him when he arrived to their home after finding out his parent’s had been murdered, was that the police thought that she did it. He told her he thought Dominguez did it, which she vehemently denied. She said that Dominguez loved Alan Johnson like a father. Matt knew this was not true.
    She also told him that at 2 a.m. on the night before the murders, that someone had been to the house. Her parents checked the yard to make sure no one was out there before they went back to bed. She had not provided this information to the police. Regardless Matt did not believe her, but did not challenge what she was saying.
    In the weeks after the murders, Matt testified that he avoided asking his sister about the murders because he was afraid of what she might tell him.
    The testimony of cellmates of Sarah's who testified about some of the damaging comments she made regarding the murders was challenged. One cellmate said that Sarah said the knives were placed on the bed in order to throw off the police and make it look like a gang-related shooting.
    Sarah was fascinated with crime stories, and based upon that exposure from novels and from television; she likely would have understood evidence and how to get rid of it

    A summary of evidence against Sarah Johnson:
    Investigators needed to prove that Sarah wore the robe on the morning of the murders.
    To do that, they had to analyze the shirt she had on that day.
    On the day of the murders, Sarah Johnson was wearing a blue cotton t-shirt with green paint smeared onto it.
    Scientists took samples from the t-shirt and fibers from inside the bathrobe and used a scanning electron microscope to compare the similarities.
    They found paint on both the t-shirt and the bathrobe with the same chemical makeup.
    A shower cap, which may have been used to prevent biological evidence to deposit in her hair, was flushed down the toilet. Plumbers found it several weeks later when it clogged the drain. (Although it was strongly “coincidental,” there was no way to definitively tie it to the murders because, for obvious reasons, there was nothing of forensic value left.)
    There was a bruise on her shoulder, “coincidentally,” the day her parents were shot with a rifle
    In a photograph of Sarah, several linear bruises that were approximately between 2 and 4 inches long are clearly visible near the top of her left shoulder.
    Witnesses who testified in the trial could not confirm that the marks were from a gun, but there was evidence of some sort of struggle near the doorway to the bathroom where Alan Johnson was shot.
    Possibly, as Alan Johnson fell, he grabbed the gun from the shooter's hands" and pulled her into the door jam, which would have been in line with the her left shoulder?
    While on the topic of shoulders, at the time of the shooting, Sarah Johnson's shoulder was 51.5 inches from the ground. A prosecution expert testified early in the trial that, based on Alan Johnson's gunshot wound in his upper left chest, the exit wound on his upper left back and the bullet impact point in the back of the shower, the rifle would have been fired from 51.5 inches above the ground, yet another “coincidence.”
    If an unknown shooter committed this crime, it would appear that he was remarkably similar in physical stature.

    Matching DNA belonging to Sarah Johnson found on the following:
    On the inside of a right-handed latex glove found in the garbage outside.
    On the inside of a left-handed leather glove found in the garbage outside.
    (The matching right-handed leather glove was found in Sarah’s bedroom)
    On the pink bathrobe.
    On hair taken from the .264-caliber rifle used to shoot the Johnsons.
    The profile from the inside of the gloves was not a partial profile, it was a complete profile.

    DNA from the parents found on the following:
    A live shell cartridge, in Sarah’s bedroom with her mother's DNA on it.
    The bottom of the wool socks worn by Sarah the morning of the shootings matched her mother's DNA.
    On the back of the pink robe worn by the shooter there was a treasure trove of biological material, (this included high velocity blood spatter, bone fragments and human tissue.) DNA sampling from the blood spatter determined that it was from both parents.
    On the outside of the brown leather glove, Diane’s DNA was found.

    If it was an “intruder,” the owner of the unknown matching DNA, the following would have to be true:
    There would be a conscious decision to take the life of two people, presumably without motive.
    He would go to the Johnson residence without a weapon.

    He would enter both the guest house and the main residence while leaving no signs of forced entry.
    While in the guest house, the intruder would happen upon the Winchester .264 Magnum rifle and ammunition, take them, and take nothing else.
    He would then enter the main residence, navigate through a dark unfamiliar house, ignore taking any objects of value, take the time to find latex and leather gloves to put on, spend more time to find a robe to slip into to prevent his clothes from getting messed up, decide to find a shower cap to prevent his hair from getting messed up, and then walk into the master bedroom to shoot Diane Johnson in the head at close range and a moment later shoot Alan Johnson exiting a shower in the bathroom.
    Having taken nothing of value, and leaving a potential witness in house (Sarah) completely unharmed; he would then flush the borrowed shower cap down the toilet, place two butcher knives at the foot of the Johnson’s bed, leave his borrowed rifle in the master bedroom, exit the house, dispose of the borrowed robe and gloves in the Johnson's garbage can, and slips away into the darkness.

    Plausible? Hardly. Sarah Johnson had the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime.
    Despite unexplained DNA evidence, the prosecutors had the confidence in their case to proceed, and thankfully the jurors weren’t swayed smoke and mirrors utilized be the defense.

    As this example has illustrated, unexplained physical evidence, whether it is DNA, fingerprints etc., that doesn’t fit into the context of the case can and should be dismissed.
    The extraordinary sensitivity of DNA testing allows for the discovery of profiles completely unrelated to a crime.
    Last edited by cynic; 09-10-2013 at 04:07 AM.
    “It saddens me that 20 years after my sister Nicole’s murder, we are still seeing the same crimes, just different names, over and over again.”
    - Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson)

  2. #2
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    Thank you Cynic!

    Would you be interested in discussing and reviewing each of the Coronado Death Investigation FAQ's from the SDSO website?

    • Number 1

    Why didn’t we collect and process the panties in the trash?

    As with many items seized during the service of a search warrant, the panties in the trash at the guest house were seized because we did not know what the significance of that item was at the time. Investigators have one chance to seize items at a search warrant service, so items must be seized even if there is only a possibility it may be related. The investigation revealed this item was likely related to a girl’s slumber party at the mansion in the days leading up to Rebecca’s death. They were not tested for evidence of sexual assault because that examination was conducted on Rebecca herself. No evidence of such a crime was found. They were not tested further because taking into consideration the size of the mansion, and the fact it was open to family and friends, we had to focus our investigation on items directly related to the event in question; items we knew had to be handled or disturbed during the course of the event as it unfolded. Fingerprints, DNA, and other items left behind in other areas of the mansion have limited value in proving or disproving a crime.

    http://www.sdsheriff.net/coronado/faq.html

  3. #3
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    bourne is offline "The truth shall set you free." ~JUSTICE FOR REBECCA ZAHAU
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    Wholly agree with Cynic.

    Science is UNbiased *IF and ONLY IF* the "scientists" behind the science are UNbiased. In other words, the scientists should NOT have prejudicial views of what they WANT the conclusions to be so that they do NOT skew (or cherrypick) the data to be what they WANT (confirmation bias). Instead, UNbiased scientists should work from a fresh, impartial, objective, and open-minded perspective by taking the totality of evidence and examining them ALL in context of various theories before drawing any definitive conclusions.

    The Sarah Johnson example above shows how UNbiased science can draw the correct conclusions and the right culprit is justifiably punished.

    Sheriff Gore and SDLE in the Rebecca Zahau case is a perfect example of how biased science draws the wrong conclusions and is a moral outrage because a crime victim received no truth and no justice. And Rebecca's murderer(s) are not duly punished in the slightest way and are free to kill/harm again. That is the gravest of injustices.

  4. #4
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    The Thompson/Gore "suicide package" presented to the media/public at the final PC on 9/2/11 was what I've come to call "selected science."

    Ann Rule book - page 224 - Nor was every item they (detectives and criminalists) had gathered tested in the crime lab. Ann Rule book - page 269 - Many forensic lab tests were not completed ,or even begun.
    Ann Rule book - page 261,262. - Retired homicide detective Steve Fisk was concerned by
    the substantial percentage of the fingerprints that were dusted and lifted only to be termed "unusable. "They might not have been clear enough for use in a court of law - but they could have been used to see if there were points that matched known persons of interest," Fisk commented.

    Some of the KEY aspects of the Thompson/Gore "suicide package" does not have any forensic science to support their position. For example:
    a).the red/orange towing rope which SDSO suggested that RZ went to the garage and took from the shelf because there was a space on the shelf that looked like something had been recently removed.There were NO footprints,fingerprints or DNA inside/outside the garage to SUPPORT that theory/statement.
    b).the REASON RZ committed suicide that Gore explained to the media was the GRIM voice message JS left about Max's dire condition that RZ retrieved at 12:50 am Wed. morning on 7/13/11. There was no message retrieved because it was erased minutes after by unknown person(s). The Zahau family/lawyers have yet to receive RZ's phone back....over 2 years later. There has yet to be any confirmation by any doctor at Rady hospital or copy of Max's hospital chart to SUPPORT JS Tuesday night (11:48 pm) message that Max's condition suddenly turned GRAVE. DINA, Max's mother, has stated on several national tv shows that it wasn't until Friday that Max's condition turned GRAVE and her sister NINA has stated it was Thursday.
    c).RZ many abrasions on her back have been downplayed and explained faintly by ME Jonathan Lucas from the trees/branches below the balcony YET there has never been any plant/tree material taken from RZ back to confirm that statement. Also, with RZ arms bound behind her....why didn't her arms have similar abrasions?
    d).RZ had 2 fingers that were cut and drew blood yet NO blood was found on the rope.
    e).all the blood found....on the carpet,green/white towel, on RZ thigh,feet, on shower floor....where are all the test results? Was the blood all menstrual or not? Was any blood menstrual?
    f).RZ scalp had 4 separate subgaleal hemorrhages yet ME Jonathan Lucas downplayed this in his AR and later stated that these 4 separate scalp hemorrhages could've come after Adam cut her down.....there has been NO confirmation to ME Lucas wild and irresponsible suggestion. These SAME 4 separate hemorrhages could've been classified as BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA but in the Thompson/Gore "suicide package"....Rebecca acted alone that night/morning so ME Lucas had to "word" his AR very carefully to "fit" the Thompson/Gore conclusion.
    g).ME Lucas at 9/2/11 PC suggested the TOD at 3:00am but science told him to say the TOD was between 1:00am - 3:00am days after RZ was found. The 3:00am TOD "fit" the
    Thompson/Gore timeline to accomplish the intricate suicide after listening to the hearsay voice message at 12;50am. ME Lucas had NO TOD listed in Rebecca's AR.
    h). the troubling MESSAGE painted on the door was never examined or studied by a handwriting expert nor were POI ever required to provide handwriting samples from what we've been told thus far.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Lash* View Post
    Thank you Cynic!

    Would you be interested in discussing and reviewing each of the Coronado Death Investigation FAQ's from the SDSO website?

    • Number 1

    Why didn’t we collect and process the panties in the trash?

    As with many items seized during the service of a search warrant, the panties in the trash at the guest house were seized because we did not know what the significance of that item was at the time. Investigators have one chance to seize items at a search warrant service, so items must be seized even if there is only a possibility it may be related. The investigation revealed this item was likely related to a girl’s slumber party at the mansion in the days leading up to Rebecca’s death. They were not tested for evidence of sexual assault because that examination was conducted on Rebecca herself. No evidence of such a crime was found. They were not tested further because taking into consideration the size of the mansion, and the fact it was open to family and friends, we had to focus our investigation on items directly related to the event in question; items we knew had to be handled or disturbed during the course of the event as it unfolded. Fingerprints, DNA, and other items left behind in other areas of the mansion have limited value in proving or disproving a crime.

    http://www.sdsheriff.net/coronado/faq.html
    We can always start and see how far we get. I’m afraid I don’t have a great deal of time these days, though.
    About the only valid point made in the statement is that, of course, not everything can or should be tested because of limited resources.
    It’s not clear to what degree the claim that the underwear was related to a slumber party hosted by GS was actually investigated.
    I suspect that there was no investigation, but rather the usual acceptance of what JS had to say, just as they accepted his word with respect to the final VM to RZ.

    “DAVID GOTFREDSON/CBS8:
    And what she said on the show about the underwear, that there was no DNA analysis done on the underwear to actually determine whose underwear it was, that’s true as well. Is that right?
    GRUBB:
    That's correct. The underwear was collected but as the sheriff has said it was not examined because of Jonah Shacknai’s statement and the fact that we had better evidence as to whether Rebecca Zahau was sexually assaulted or not and that was her body and the swabs recovered from her body, which showed no sexual assault.
    SDCSD briefing November 17, 2011”

    If so, the SDCSD dropped the ball, (one of many times,) and missed a good opportunity to test the credibility of JS by testing the underwear.
    Given the fact that AS was viewing pornography on his phone that morning and there was a nude dead woman outside, surely the police should have considered that he may have had something to do with that underwear. It may have been something as “simple” as wanting a “souvenir” of whatever happened and not related to a sexual assault. Gore’s view, however, seems to be that testing would only be necessary if there were indications that there was a sexual assault. That isn’t true.
    Needless to say, if the underwear was RZ’s, there would be a great deal of explaining for AS to do.
    Last edited by cynic; 09-12-2013 at 10:29 PM.
    “It saddens me that 20 years after my sister Nicole’s murder, we are still seeing the same crimes, just different names, over and over again.”
    - Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynic View Post
    We can always start and see how far we get. I’m afraid I don’t have a great deal of time these days, though.
    About the only valid point made in the statement is that, of course, not everything can or should be tested because of limited resources.
    It’s not clear to what degree the claim that the underwear was related to a slumber party hosted by GS was actually investigated.
    I suspect that there was no investigation, but rather the usual acceptance of what JS had to say, just as they accepted his word with respect to the final VM to RZ.

    “DAVID GOTFREDSON/CBS8:
    And what she said on the show about the underwear, that there was no DNA analysis done on the underwear to actually determine whose underwear it was, that’s true as well. Is that right?
    GRUBB:
    That's correct. The underwear was collected but as the sheriff has said it was not examined because of Jonah Shacknai’s statement and the fact that we had better evidence as to whether Rebecca Zahau was sexually assaulted or not and that was her body and the swabs recovered from her body, which showed no sexual assault.
    SDCSD briefing November 17, 2011”

    If so, the SDCSD dropped the ball, (one of many times,) and missed a good opportunity to test the credibility of JS by testing the underwear.
    Given the fact that AS was viewing pornography on his phone that morning and there was a nude dead woman outside, surely the police should have considered that he may have had something to do with that underwear. It may have been something as “simple” as wanting a “souvenir” of whatever happened and not related to a sexual assault. Gore’s view, however, seems to be that testing would only be necessary if there were indications that there was a sexual assault. That isn’t true.
    Needless to say, if the underwear was RZ’s, there would be a great deal of explaining for AS to do.
    I do not have a great deal of knowledge of what constitutes sexual assault under the law. It seems to me the scene was very sexual in nature and many terrible things could have been done to her that would not necessarily show up on swabs.

    Gore is an idiot....
    "Time will tell your secrets."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Holmes View Post
    I do not have a great deal of knowledge of what constitutes sexual assault under the law. It seems to me the scene was very sexual in nature and many terrible things could have been done to her that would not necessarily show up on swabs.

    Gore is an idiot....
    There is also the presumption that a sexual assault would be by a man, perpetrated upon Rebecca, a woman.

    IMO, there is a serious lack of imagination from authorities such as Gore, that sexual assault could have occurred perpetrated by a WOMAN upon Rebecca.

    Men aren't the only gender capable of sexual assault. Sex assault by a woman upon a woman yield a whole DIFFERENT quality and quantity of evidence.

    I don't for a minute believe Rebecca was the victim of a random or violent homosexual assault. I believe Rebecca was assaulted in a way to sexually humiliate her, and the evidence POINTS to another woman. That is a whole different perspective, that would NOT show up on a traditional "sex assault" exam. But it is STILL "sexual assault" IMO.

    It's also "regular" assault, IMO. Violent assault.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynic View Post
    We can always start and see how far we get. I’m afraid I don’t have a great deal of time these days, though.
    About the only valid point made in the statement is that, of course, not everything can or should be tested because of limited resources.
    It’s not clear to what degree the claim that the underwear was related to a slumber party hosted by GS was actually investigated.
    I suspect that there was no investigation, but rather the usual acceptance of what JS had to say, just as they accepted his word with respect to the final VM to RZ.

    “DAVID GOTFREDSON/CBS8:
    And what she said on the show about the underwear, that there was no DNA analysis done on the underwear to actually determine whose underwear it was, that’s true as well. Is that right?
    GRUBB:
    That's correct. The underwear was collected but as the sheriff has said it was not examined because of Jonah Shacknai’s statement and the fact that we had better evidence as to whether Rebecca Zahau was sexually assaulted or not and that was her body and the swabs recovered from her body, which showed no sexual assault.
    SDCSD briefing November 17, 2011”

    If so, the SDCSD dropped the ball, (one of many times,) and missed a good opportunity to test the credibility of JS by testing the underwear.
    Given the fact that AS was viewing pornography on his phone that morning and there was a nude dead woman outside, surely the police should have considered that he may have had something to do with that underwear. It may have been something as “simple” as wanting a “souvenir” of whatever happened and not related to a sexual assault. Gore’s view, however, seems to be that testing would only be necessary if there were indications that there was a sexual assault. That isn’t true.
    Needless to say, if the underwear was RZ’s, there would be a great deal of explaining for AS to do.
    -----------------------------------------
    Here we are again....the moment that the possibility someone other than RZ was in that mansion after 10:00pm Tuesday night and the early am Wed. hours is immediately downplayed, dismissed and not thoroughly investigated because the Thompson/Gore "suicide package" would then come under fire and doubt.

    The mere fact that JS statements carried so much weight to where no testing or further testing wasn't done is very troubling to any LE investigation. The GRUBB statement..."didn't need to test underwear because they had better evidence and that was her body and swabs recovered from her body showed no sexual assault." Maybe so or maybe not.....RZ did take a shower or was forced to take a shower given that a CLUMP of hair was found on the back of the shower wall and blood spots on the shower floor. Then you have forensic science literature that says the rape kit swabs can't pick up semen/dna on low level sperm counts, if attacker didn't ejaculate or if woman/victim was menstruating at the time of the sexual assault. Of course, a real thorough investigation would've revealed if SDSO detectives did some medical research on the only male POI to see if he ever had a vasectomy.

    RZ body was found NUDE, there were many abrasions on her back, she had 2 cuts on her fingers, RZ had 4 separate hemorrhages on her scalp, the wicker chair was overturned in the bedroom, there was blood found on her , blood on a green/white towel in the hallway , blood on carpet and blood drops on the shower floor. There was also computer activity of a sexual nature that supposedly involved SEARCH TERMS bondage, Asian women, and I believe rape. There was also a neighbor 2 doors down at 11:40pm Tuesday night that heard screams and a woman yell - HELP HELP. Geez....how quickly GRUBB and his bosses just dismissed not only sexual assault on RZ but any physical assault as well.

    RZ couldn't be assaulted because that would suggest another person(s) presence that night/early morning hours because the Thompson/Gore "suicide package" and selective science wouldn't allow that possibility....in this case more like the probability.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serpico View Post
    -----------------------------------------
    Here we are again....the moment that the possibility someone other than RZ was in that mansion after 10:00pm Tuesday night and the early am Wed. hours is immediately downplayed, dismissed and not thoroughly investigated because the Thompson/Gore "suicide package" would then come under fire and doubt.

    The mere fact that JS statements carried so much weight to where no testing or further testing wasn't done is very troubling to any LE investigation. The GRUBB statement..."didn't need to test underwear because they had better evidence and that was her body and swabs recovered from her body showed no sexual assault." Maybe so or maybe not.....RZ did take a shower or was forced to take a shower given that a CLUMP of hair was found on the back of the shower wall and blood spots on the shower floor. Then you have forensic science literature that says the rape kit swabs can't pick up semen/dna on low level sperm counts, if attacker didn't ejaculate or if woman/victim was menstruating at the time of the sexual assault. Of course, a real thorough investigation would've revealed if SDSO detectives did some medical research on the only male POI to see if he ever had a vasectomy.

    RZ body was found NUDE, there were many abrasions on her back, she had 2 cuts on her fingers, RZ had 4 separate hemorrhages on her scalp, the wicker chair was overturned in the bedroom, there was blood found on her , blood on a green/white towel in the hallway , blood on carpet and blood drops on the shower floor. There was also computer activity of a sexual nature that supposedly involved SEARCH TERMS bondage, Asian women, and I believe rape. There was also a neighbor 2 doors down at 11:40pm Tuesday night that heard screams and a woman yell - HELP HELP. Geez....how quickly GRUBB and his bosses just dismissed not only sexual assault on RZ but any physical assault as well.

    RZ couldn't be assaulted because that would suggest another person(s) presence that night/early morning hours because the Thompson/Gore "suicide package" and selective science wouldn't allow that possibility....in this case more like the probability.
    I'd like to add that I've always been troubled by the rubber dog bone found alongside the knives, as well as the paint found on Rebecca's nipples.

    JMO.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynic View Post
    We can always start and see how far we get. I’m afraid I don’t have a great deal of time these days, though.
    About the only valid point made in the statement is that, of course, not everything can or should be tested because of limited resources.
    It’s not clear to what degree the claim that the underwear was related to a slumber party hosted by GS was actually investigated.
    I suspect that there was no investigation, but rather the usual acceptance of what JS had to say, just as they accepted his word with respect to the final VM to RZ.

    “DAVID GOTFREDSON/CBS8:
    And what she said on the show about the underwear, that there was no DNA analysis done on the underwear to actually determine whose underwear it was, that’s true as well. Is that right?
    GRUBB:
    That's correct. The underwear was collected but as the sheriff has said it was not examined because of Jonah Shacknai’s statement and the fact that we had better evidence as to whether Rebecca Zahau was sexually assaulted or not and that was her body and the swabs recovered from her body, which showed no sexual assault.
    SDCSD briefing November 17, 2011”

    If so, the SDCSD dropped the ball, (one of many times,) and missed a good opportunity to test the credibility of JS by testing the underwear.
    Given the fact that AS was viewing pornography on his phone that morning and there was a nude dead woman outside, surely the police should have considered that he may have had something to do with that underwear. It may have been something as “simple” as wanting a “souvenir” of whatever happened and not related to a sexual assault. Gore’s view, however, seems to be that testing would only be necessary if there were indications that there was a sexual assault. That isn’t true.
    Needless to say, if the underwear was RZ’s, there would be a great deal of explaining for AS to do.
    Thanks again! I thought we could just take each FAQ one by one and discuss the science or lack of. No hurry.

    As far as the underwear not being tested...Just imagine had Rebecca's DNA been found on the panties along with AS's fingerprints. How much would this have changed the direction of the case? I'm not saying this is what happened. Just an example of cherry picking evidence. Science might not lie Sheriff Gore, but people do and someone's word is not science. Jonah's word is not science, therefore your facts Sheriff Gore were not based entirely on science.
    Last edited by *Lash*; 09-13-2013 at 10:07 AM. Reason: Added


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Lash* View Post
    Thanks again! I thought we could just take each FAQ one by one and discuss the science or lack of. No hurry.

    As far as the underwear not being tested...Just imagine had Rebecca's DNA been found on the panties along with AS's fingerprints. How much would this have changed the direction of the case? I'm not saying this is what happened. Just an example of cherry picking evidence. Science might not lie Sheriff Gore, but people do and someone's word is not science. Jonah's word is not science, therefore your facts Sheriff Gore were not based entirely on science.
    Your last sentence really sums up the essence of what is wrong on the science (or lack thereof) on this case. Excellent thread i might add. Bravo!
    All of my posts are simply thought-starters and are not meant to be implications in any way, shape or form.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Holmes View Post
    I do not have a great deal of knowledge of what constitutes sexual assault under the law. It seems to me the scene was very sexual in nature and many terrible things could have been done to her that would not necessarily show up on swabs.

    Gore is an idiot....
    The old axiom, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, comes to mind.
    Violent sexual assaults, including rape have been committed where there has been no biological evidence left behind.

    The following is from an FAQ at surviverape.org
    It is important to know that not all rape kits yield DNA evidence and that the absence of DNA does not mean that no crime occurred.
    [SNIP]
    Can evidence be found on the survivor's underwear following a vaginal rape if the perpetrator didn't ejaculate?
    It is possible for there to be evidence from a vaginal rape on a survivor's underwear even if there was no ejaculation. Other types of evidence that may be present on the underwear include evidence from the crime scene (for example, carpet fibers, if any), or any other evidence the perpetrator may have left behind, such as pubic hair.
    http://www.surviverape.org/forensics...answers-to-faq
    “It saddens me that 20 years after my sister Nicole’s murder, we are still seeing the same crimes, just different names, over and over again.”
    - Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson)

  13. #13
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    bourne is offline "The truth shall set you free." ~JUSTICE FOR REBECCA ZAHAU
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynic View Post
    The old axiom, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, comes to mind.
    Violent sexual assaults, including rape have been committed where there has been no biological evidence left behind.

    The following is from an FAQ at surviverape.org
    It is important to know that not all rape kits yield DNA evidence and that the absence of DNA does not mean that no crime occurred.
    [SNIP]
    Can evidence be found on the survivor's underwear following a vaginal rape if the perpetrator didn't ejaculate?
    It is possible for there to be evidence from a vaginal rape on a survivor's underwear even if there was no ejaculation. Other types of evidence that may be present on the underwear include evidence from the crime scene (for example, carpet fibers, if any), or any other evidence the perpetrator may have left behind, such as pubic hair.
    http://www.surviverape.org/forensics...answers-to-faq
    But if there is no evidence found of sexual assault on Rebecca's body by both ME Lucas and Wecht, then how can the rapist be discovered and charged with a crime? Unless you're saying there is other evidence outside of Rebecca's body?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bourne View Post
    But if there is no evidence found of sexual assault on Rebecca's body by both ME Lucas and Wecht, then how can the rapist be discovered and charged with a crime? Unless you're saying there is other evidence outside of Rebecca's body?
    Do I remember correctly that the autopsy report only stated there was no visible evidence of assault? IIRC, it said swabs were taken and "prepared and transferred to SDSO," but the test results were not noted in the report. If I missed something in the report, please do correct me. Also, I will admit, I have no idea if test results are typically included or if it's standard to simply note swabs were taken and sent to LE with no mention of results.

    All of the above is just my opinion.

  15. #15
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    bourne is offline "The truth shall set you free." ~JUSTICE FOR REBECCA ZAHAU
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinn View Post
    Do I remember correctly that the autopsy report only stated there was no visible evidence of assault? IIRC, it said swabs were taken and "prepared and transferred to SDSO," but the test results were not noted in the report. If I missed something in the report, please do correct me. Also, I will admit, I have no idea if test results are typically included or if it's standard to simply note swabs were taken and sent to LE with no mention of results.

    All of the above is just my opinion.
    Thanks! The swabs, in my mind, would be considered evidence outside of Rebecca's body by direct examination from the two ME's (Lucas and Wecht).

    I want to ask those who are familiar/perform autopsies:
    Q. Wouldn't Dr. Wecht have been able to obtain sex assault swabs from Rebecca's boy independent of ME Lucas? It was my understanding that DNA tends to be preserved for long, extended periods of time, unless someone intentionally destroyed it. What I'm saying is that if there were DNA of another party inside Rebecca's private parts, wouldn't Dr. Wecht have been able to swab and test that DNA using his own labs?

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