Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the Grounds of Innocence

Hello fellow bloggers, readers, and passers-by,

For sometime, I've been addicted to the idea of crime scene investigation. So much so that I ventured to college to achieve my associates in Criminal Justice. Having graduated a year ago tomorrow, I returned this fall semester to continue my learning in hopes of reaching a bachelors and then a masters in Criminology -- long story short, I'm fascinated by the process and while the majority of crimes scenes are of a grotesque nature, I feel the passion to help solve the crime. With that being said, I must maintain an open mind, looking at all angles and even profiling the case to the best of my slightly-better-than-novice ability.

And this brings me to the tragic death case of little three year old Breeann Rodriguez from Senath, Missouri. At three years old, she was not allowed the opportunity to live because her life was taken so tragically. The police investigated, questioned, followed leads and canvassed the area of her home for what seemed like weeks, only lasting days. The prospect of a white cargo van with a ladder on it had been brought into question, only to be conveniently dismissed. That was easily done, but one thing still remained in my mind: why? Why would someone take this little girl, viciously murder her and dispose of her body in a flood way ditch? Why? Then I started looking at the charges against the suspect.  First degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with evidence, child kidnapping, and possession of child pornography. This caused me to find out 'who' he was. From a previous blog, you can find out that Shawn Morgan was a married man, seemingly of religious faith, with three children. You would also find out that in the early 2000's he was fined for terroristic threatening at Prestolite Wire in Paragould. And aside from being behind on property taxes and a seat belt violation, you would not find anything else of a characteristically negative behavior. So, again, I asked myself, "why?"

Then I began to look at case law and statistics provided by the US Justice System Annual Crime Reports. I was shocked to learn that most men will victimize men and most women will victimize women, leaving a small 26% of men that victimize women. I was also shocked to learn that more men will victimize in an open area, nearly 30% (exp: alley, parking lot, etc.) and women are more likely to victimize in a private location at or near the victims home, nearly 30%.  Just under 1/2 or 46% of child victims are white... 21% are Hispanic. Women are most often the culprit in child abduction and murder cases at a startling 68% worldwide. Most murdered children are not killed by pedophiles or sex-offenders, but by physical abusers, drug addicts, drug dealers, alcoholics, sadists  or those who kill for thrill. This does not sound like Shawn Morgan. In fact, this sounds like someone who would have lost their home, their wife, their family, no job, living off the streets slumming it.

Then I began to look at his behavior while in custody. On file footage, it is easy to see he was not one for attention, shying away from the camera, straightening his hair as he hid behind his arm.  And in watching his behavior, I'm reminded of key behavior signals for that of well seasoned murderers and abductors and the less skilled, but highly motivated -- both represent cocky, arrogant and otherwise self-righteous attitudes who believe they will get away with murder.

But that still didn't truly shed light on why I believe Shawn Morgan may not be 100% guilty of the crime. Rationalization disorder comes to mind when I see his behavior. Someone who wants to have approval without drawing attention to himself. Someone who fears rejection and manifests an event in his mind, trying to solve how it can be greatly justified to his or her fellow friends. Not Shawn, right? Or is it? Many believe the 'hollywood hype' the media has placed on criminals. They are either extremely brilliant or extremely developmentally delayed. The true fact is, they can vary in education, mentality, and religious beliefs. It must be said however that most do suffer from some form of psychological disturbance.

In a study between 1986 and 1995, analytical psychiatrists studied the deaths of 33 children by 27 offenders. More than 80% were family cases, in which a family member committed the crime and of those 80%, 55% were mentally ill. Of the remaining 20%, they were divided into two subcategories. The first profile placed the suspects having been abused themselves as a child and showed deep remorse afterwards, in which suicide rates were high among this profile group.

The second profile were multi-criminal child sex abusers, with a history of previous violent offences - none of these went on to commit suicide.  I found the following and wanted to share.

A Child Killer’s Profile
While mothers, fathers, and other relatives account for the majority of child murders, only 9 percent of all serial killers kill children exclusively. Generally, these offenders sexually assault their victims before or after death. Most offenders are male, but over 25 percent are female with male killers targeting strangers and females targeting family members.
In most cases, women are prone to kill children for financial gain or just enjoyment and make use of quiet means such as poison, suffocation or drowning, as done in June 2001 by mother Andrea Yates in Houston, Texas, who drowned her 5 children in a bath tub because she felt she wasn’t being a good mother, and Susan Smith of Union, S.C., who killed her two young sons in October 1994 by sending her car rolling into a lake with the boys strapped in their car seats. Both Yates and Smith are currently serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Men on the other hand are more apt to use brutal violence such as in the 2001 case of 45-year-old businessman Robert Mochrie, who bludgeoned his wife and four children to death before hanging himself, and Peter Stafford, 30 who in October 1999, stabbed his wife and three children before hanging himself from a banister in the family home.
In the latter example, both men showed extreme remorse followed by suicide. Shawn Morgan does not fit into any part of the three profiles.  However, he does seem knowledgeable of the crime, or so the police state, in informing media officials they had a confession. The only thing that bothers me about the 'confession' is... I've not heard it. I've not heard the questioning, seen the interview room, witnessed the events as they occurred while in police custody. After witnessing a botched confession in the WM3 case, I am more cynical now than ever, when it comes to confessions. In the Criminal Justice system, confessions are so powerful that once a suspect confesses, additional investigation often stops and the suspect is prosecuted and convicted. Although confessions from perpetrators help to solve crimes in an efficient manner, the false confessions of innocents are a known contributing factor in approximately 25% of all DNA exoneration cases.

Enough stats, right? Let's look at proof... Oh, wait, there isn't any. No physical evidence tying Shawn Morgan to that baby other than his confession... and the same brand garbage bag. But didn't we see some crazy case involving a particular brand of duct tape and a missing girl for an entire 30 days before the mother even reported her missing?

So who? Who else could have committed such an act and implicated Shawn Morgan? Perhaps they could investigate those with previous criminal history... say, the 75 sex offenders in a 15 mile radius... Or perhaps the officials could investigate why rather than a quick fix. Often times, the citizens will become hysterical (and rightfully so, this was an innocent child) -- and officials are desperate for a quick arrest to sate the public interest in the case.

We may never truly learn of why or who or even how someone, anyone, could take the life of a child. How they could become so insane with anger or whatever it is that drive them, to kill a child. But I will not settle for OK when justice deserves nothing but the best.

I'm sure many will disagree with this blog and that is OK. I expect you to form your own educated opinions. Tomorrow, I'll argue the reasons why I think he may be guilty... because a true connoisseur of crime solving does not pick one side and run with it... they look at both sides and form an educated decisions.. what so many seem to be lacking these days.

Until tomorrow,


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