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  1. #1
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    The problem with profilers...

    While I really do respect and value the work of people like Douglas and Ressler when it comes to assisting in the process of catching killers, I'm finding quite a few problems with the majority of profiles offered in this case.

    1 -- the biggest problem of all.. profiles offered by profilers who already have a strong existing opinion on who the killers were (or were not), and the profiles exhibiting this bias.

    2 -- profilers hired not by LE to help identify an unknown killer, but by heavily biased legal teams, and those profiles reflecting the bias of said fee-paying teams.

    So what I'm after here is two things:

    A/ Your opinion on the various profiles offered, for good or bad.

    B/ Your own profile of a possible killer (and for the sake of the exercise, let's just TRY not to base those on a bias toward any one particular suspect? I'm asking what the -evidence- at the crime scene tells you.. ) which we should all, of course, take as layman's opinions rather than expert and thus graciously allow for the fact that not everyone has a degree in psych, let alone expertise in criminal behavior.

    Thus, all observations are very welcome.

    Anyway, here's John Douglas' profile:

    http://media.commercialappeal.com/me...er_profile.pdf

    Brent Turvey:

    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/b_turvey_profile.html

    Pat Brown:

    http://womenincrimeink.blogspot.com....his-three.html

    If there's any other professional profiles out there that I've missed, please do link them!

    I'll give my own opinions etc, in another post below.
    _____________
    Everything I have posted at this website, past or present, represents my opinion or my understanding of events based on facts that are publicly available.

  2. #2
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    Dogulas and Turvey's profiles are scapegoat biased, while Brown's is biased by her familiarity with the evidence which proves the convicted guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  3. #3
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    Starting with my opinion on the profiles, in brief..

    I think Douglas does the best job of remaining relatively neutral, out of the three linked. He offers reasoning for his conclusions, and I don't see a heavy bias toward one particular suspect. Douglas did walk the crime scene, and had access to all the documentation.

    I think Turvey needs a jolly good slap upside the head for presenting his profile as a 'profile' when in it he is not-very-subtly pointing directly at Mark Byers as a suspect. I feel this sullies the point of profiling. I approve of the sheer amount of detail in the information he offers up, however.

    I think Pat brown's "profile" is by and large a sketchily slapped together farce, as I've elaborated on the post linked below:

    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9971502&postcount=44"]Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community - View Single Post - Timeline of Events[/ame]

    I actually think there's a dozen posters here who could do a better job of it, albeit not 'professional'.
    _____________
    Everything I have posted at this website, past or present, represents my opinion or my understanding of events based on facts that are publicly available.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    I think Douglas does the best job of remaining relatively neutral, out of the three linked. He offers reasoning for his conclusions, and I don't see a heavy bias toward one particular suspect.
    Who else would you consider a suspect working from Douglas' profile and what had already been determined by prior investigation at that point, aside from Hobbs?
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    Who else would you consider a suspect working from Douglas' profile and what had already been determined by prior investigation at that point, aside from Hobbs?
    I have too many things to more carefully consider and weigh before I superglue myself to a suspect theory -- and perhaps I never will.

    I am also not aware of every potential suspect in the case, as I am sure there are people who fit the profile and would make spectacular suspects, who were never identified or questioned by police.

    That said, Hobbs was actually not foremost in my mind after reading Douglas' profile, as I was not led by the nose toward that conclusion.

    I frowned at the 'animal' references, however, as I find that conclusion fairly questionable. Not ridiculous, mind you -- just not very convincing, at this point. Plus, it alludes to a suspect theory regarding Hobbs, and this disappoints me greatly IF Douglas presented the information for that purpose, and not merely to bolster his opinion that Satanic activity was not a factor.
    _____________
    Everything I have posted at this website, past or present, represents my opinion or my understanding of events based on facts that are publicly available.

  6. #6
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    So who was foremost in your mind after reading Douglas' profile? I mean of course Byers fits the bill better than Hobbs, but Byers had a well established alibi long before Douglas came on the scene, so he doesn't rightly count.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  7. #7
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    Actually - neither. And as I did not read the profile with the intention of gleaning points toward proving or disproving any particular suspect-based theory, I didn't end up with a particular suspect in mind.

    I did, however, gain cause to re-think a few things, particularly the potential for a single killer as opposed to a group, the possibility that the victims knew their killer/s extremely well, and that the killer may have lived in very close proximity to the crime scene.

    Things I questioned were JD's opinion that the killer was not a teenager, and the issue of the animal bites, as well as JD's intentions in including these things.

    However, I did not feel co-erced into acceptance of a bias toward any particular suspect, so that was a bonus, given the rest of what's on offer.
    _____________
    Everything I have posted at this website, past or present, represents my opinion or my understanding of events based on facts that are publicly available.

  8. #8
    When I read three profiles that are so different, it makes me think that maybe "profiling" isn't much of a science! That being said, I agree that Douglas' profile is the most professional of the three. The other two are just trash! As to what suspect the Douglas profile indicates, Hobbs is (of course) at the top of my list. However, Jacoby should not be left out nor should James Kenny Martin.

  9. #9
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    ^ I actually had some thoughts on Martin after reading Douglas, CR, regarding the 'close proximity' and 'knew the victims' part. As well as the fact that a single killer more than likely had to have had an element of trust..

    Martin was regularly visiting a woman nearby who knew the boys.

    The woman was the ex wife of a police officer - somebody a child might trust when it comes to safe choice of company (no matter how wrong they might be..)

    Both the woman and Martin had previous contact with at least one of the boys, and all of the boys probably knew the woman. I do suspect there was more contact/knowledge than was admitted to.

    Martin was experienced and predatory pedophile, who knew damn well how to groom kids and get what he wanted.

    Martin inserted himself into the investigation - and in a way that gave him obvious gratification in reliving past crimes.

    The one factor that hasn't got me going BING BING BING is that evidence of sexual penetration isn't obvious.

    This is not to say I believe conclusively that sex wasn't a possible motive - it's possible anal assault wasn't the choice of sexual assualt that day, and all relevant fluids were washed away in the stream - which might well have been the point of putting the bodies in there.

    I find the bindings DO look sexualised to me. There's many ways of binding a child to prevent escape - one that splays buttocks and exposes genitals is a most interesting choice.

    I don't wish to argue Martin's validity as a suspect here, just saying that he does fit several points of the profile, as well as being a skeezy pedo convicted and labelled as "violent".

    I am hm'ing about Hollingsworth. Need to read more on that one, I think. Jacoby too!

    ETA: On profiling .. I do believe that in a purer form, it has the potential to be of great use to LE, as it has done in many instances. But these? Bleh. I hate that suspect-bias happens at all. Does nothing toward credibility of the science OR the profiler. Makes me sad.
    _____________
    Everything I have posted at this website, past or present, represents my opinion or my understanding of events based on facts that are publicly available.

  10. #10
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    First, in my very humble opinion as I'm just some poster on a message board, of the three links provided, there is only one true profile that was done.

    Again, IMHO, Turvey came off to me as a wannabe. To be fair, I did not just now re-read it, so these thoughts are based off my reading from some time back but that's how little he impressed me. Maybe it was his youth or lack of experience but he seemed to spout the concepts without understanding what underlies the concept. The result is he could be right on some things without understanding why he was right and just as often could be wrong.

    Personally, I don't consider what Pat Brown did a profile. Unless I missed it, she wrote a blog or an article or whatever you want to call it. It might have contained elements of an actual profile, but that is a whole lot different than being asked to do an "expert" profile. I only give what she wrote the same weight I'd give an article by a journalist for the commercial appeal or maybe the more fair comparison is the documentaries. I'll read it, I'll find it interesting or not and then I'll consider it for what it is.

    Douglas, by far, is the most credentialed. His profile reflects that as well. I too thought he relied to heavily on the issue of animal predation. I have little doubt that animal predation occurred but I also think, at times, it may have been overplayed. I don't think the question is whether all of the injuries seen are the result of animal predation, but I think for his purposes the genital mutilation is of importance to know. Overall, I thought he did a pretty good job of taking the suspect bias out of it and I find myself saying yes, I would agree with that, when I read his profile more than anything else I've read.

    Full disclosure that my own thoughts may be biased - While I've never met him or directly worked with him, I have worked with others who worked with him while at the FBI and now do similar work and have attended seminars they've put on. I have always found the work to be done professionally and objectively and if it doesn't help our position they don't hesitate to say as much.

    Regarding profilers in general, I find the work they do can be invaluable, when used properly. While I think it can be an extremely useful investigative tool, I think they can provide an even greater benefit to LE when determining how to handle a situation once a suspect has been identified. Advice on how to approach or how to word questions posed to suspects can be as useful. Having said all of that, I too am not sure how much of a "science" it is. I know it has become more generally accepted for Courts to allow them to testify as expert witnesses, but I'm just not sure I'm comfortable with that.

    It is a true shame that the WMPD did not follow through with their request to the FBI at the very outset. True shame.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    Things I questioned were JD's opinion that the killer was not a teenager, and the issue of the animal bites, as well as JD's intentions in including these things.
    Well I certainly agree with you on those points, but hope you might consider the details of this Report of the Kaufman Commission on Proceedings Involving Guy Paul Morin regarding a grave miscarriage of justice in Canada in which Douglas played a key role. There's a lot of interesting information in that report, the statement that "the wisdom of not conducting a profile once a suspect has been identified is obvious" being perhaps the most notable as it's a lesson Douglas clearly didn't apply to this case, though of course neither did Brown nor Turvey.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    Well I certainly agree with you on those points, but hope you might consider the details of this Report of the Kaufman Commission on Proceedings Involving Guy Paul Morin regarding a grave miscarriage of justice in Canada in which Douglas played a key role. There's a lot of interesting information in that report, the statement that "the wisdom of not conducting a profile once a suspect has been identified is obvious" being perhaps the most notable as it's a lesson Douglas clearly didn't apply to this case, though of course neither did Brown nor Turvey.
    Interesting read. First and foremost, I didn't see any criticism Douglas or of his profile. It appears there was criticism of how the profile was subsequently used and modified by LE. Morin tunnel vision appears to have been the problem (I say appear because I've read nothing more about the case to know if Morin was ultimately innocent of the crime) and the profile was only used to the extent it pointed towards Morin and otherwise ignored. Apparently WMPD isn't the only LE agency to suffer from tunnel vision.

    As for profiling in general, though, I think everyone would agree, it's preferable it is done before a suspect is in mind. And if one is in mind, to provide the "raw data" to the profiler in a way that is not suggestive of a suspect.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by reedus23 View Post
    didn't see any criticism Douglas
    Do you see nothing wrong with what is described here?:

    Douglas also recommended that the suspect should be interviewed only when it appeared he had been affected by the press releases and the pressure brought to bear by the investigation. He also made other suggestions on how to interview a suspect. He recommended, for instance, that a blow-up of a fingerprint, supposedly taken from the victim or her possessions, be displayed prominently in the interview room, and that the suspect be told that the print matched him. He further suggested that filing cabinets, with the suspect’s name clearly written on the outside, be placed in the room. In this manner, pressure would be brought to bear upon him, hopefully inducing a confession.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    Do you see nothing wrong with what is described here?:
    In Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731, 739 (1969), the officer was able to extract a confession from the criminal defendant by lying about the strength of the case.
    Police officers are also allowed to fabricate evidence to support a deception. In re D.A.S., 391 A.2d 255, (D.C. App. 1978) the police pretended to compare the defendants fingerprints to a fingerprint on the victims checkbook and pronounced them a match when in truth, no fingerprints were recovered from the checkbook.
    I believe LE is permitted to do those things whether I have a problem with them doing it or not.

    ETA - Obviously, the problem arises when they push it too far and induce false confessions.

  15. #15
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    So do you have no issue with such tactics as long as you consider whatever confessions obtained from them to be true?
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

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