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  • File Size: 1010 KB
  • Print Length: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (June 8, 2005)
  • Publication Date: June 8, 2005
  • Language: English

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I actually acquired this book specifically since it mentions the Brian Westerfield-Danielle van Dam situation (San Diego, 2002). All those will be the only parts I have read so far, in addition to this review is fixed in order to that. I wrote the definitive work on that will case, titled “Rush in order to Judgement”, and proof regarding almost all of my statements under can be found inside that book. The webpage references below are in order to Nancy’s book.

Errors inside Nancy’s book:

Here usually are just some of the woman errors. Danielle’s body HAD BEEN found nearby, but that’s NOT in the wasteland (page 126). (That will be significant, because for a lot of the weekend Westerfield was far away, inside the desert, and the body recovery site will be not on the route he said he took, a route which has been confirmed by evidence this kind of as cell-phone records. ) The degree of decomposition was only moderate, yet there was also extensive animal feeding (page 126). (Again, that’s significant, because it points to a new shorter rather than a longer PMI (postmortem interval), which is regular with all the entomology evidence. ) She HAD BEEN found out missing a prior weekend not too long ago morning hours, but that was Feb 2 (page 198). The particular cookie sale referred in order to (page 199) was not Danielle’s only contact with Westerfield, there was also the corresponding sale the previous year and the present wrap sale regarding Christmas, and probably shipping of and payment regarding those items. And the latest sale wasn’t simply “earlier that same year”, it had been earlier that similar week, probably just two or 3 days before she went missing. This is certainly not simply nitpicking, it provides evidentiary value: hairs in addition to fibers shed in their house, not just by Danielle but also by the other van Dams who arrived with, would still possess already been through it when it has been forensically examined. Her hand print had not been on the nightstand in his RV, but on the cupboard above it (page 199). Danielle’s mother, Brenda, has been to the evening with friends, not coworkers (page 199). And Westerfield performed hang out together while there, albeit briefly, in addition to witnesses testified that he did dance with the woman (page 199).

The kidnapping:

I also want to take a new closer look at the prosecution’s kidnapping scenario, which Nancy glosses over (page 199). Danielle’s father (Damon) and brothers might possess been the only other folks in the residence when the kidnapper came into, but not when he (assuming it had been a “he”) left with her. Brenda and four friends showed up while the kidnapper has been still there, and Brenda was still there any time he left. And he left by the again door, an extended and more difficult route than their entry route with the side door, even though he was now hampered by getting a kidnapped child with him. So the kidnapper has been in the house regarding probably over an hours, and for much of that will time there were also six adults, and a couple of other children, and the family dog - which was liberal to roam around for part of that moment. And the house had a burglar alarm, which has been set and working. It gives both an clear and a obvious warning. Westerfield was not acquainted with this house, in addition to it’s different from his. But he, a big man who else sweats a great deal, supposedly has been able to find their way around the residence, in the dark, while inebriated, without bumping into anything and alerting the occupants (human and animal), or leaving a trace - the search dogs couldn’t even discover their scent. So it’s not surprising that neither the police, nor the prosecutor, nor the jurors, may figure out how he made it happen.

Again based on the prosecution scenario, Westerfield then took Danielle, on foot, inside the open, back in order to his house. This will be a short distance, in addition to it was at night time, nonetheless it would have recently been risky: there exists a streetlight, in addition to there’s no destination to conceal. And the search dog did not track the woman to his house.

Afterwards that morning, he allegedly transferred her from their SUV to his RV, again in the available, and he was observed, but Danielle wasn’t observed with him. Never that will weekend, even though he was seen by many diverse people, in a variety of different locations, was she seen with him. Nor did virtually any of those folks think he had a abducted child with him.

The only real person who even discovered anything was the attendant at his regular dry-cleaners, when he stopped presently there on his way residence on the Monday morning hours. He parked his RV in front of their door, in addition to went inside wearing no shoes or socks (page 199). But Nancy doesn’t explain why she thought the no shoes/socks has been relevant.

Plea deal:

Nancy is not just firmly convinced that will Westerfield is guilty regarding kidnapping and murdering Danielle, she is equally particular that his attorneys (Feldman and Boyce) knew this particular, but defended him anyhow, dragging Danielle’s distraught moms and dads through the mud in addition to ruining their reputations (pages 6 and 200). Yet the only evidence the lady gives to back up that belief is that, according to “sources” (which she doesn’t name), Westerfield was seeking to cut a plea deal: lifestyle without parole in exchange regarding disclosing the location regarding Danielle’s body (page 200). Given how strongly the lady condemns his attorneys : “one of the most horrifying samples of the real business of being a new defense attorney” (page 6); “one of the most brutal and unjustified assaults on a victim’s moms and dads I have ever witnessed” - more powerful evidence is needed. She undermines her own argument by claiming that will the deal collapsed any time the body was identified, as prosecutors not needed anymore their information - because getting the body was not the sole advantage to these people. A deal might have provided them a guaranteed conviction, and saved taxpayers a good “immense” amount of cash (page 149).

Victimization regarding the parents by the justice system plus the security:

Nancy is also scathing in her condemnation in the defense’s treatment of Danielle’s parents. While it may be real which they hadn’t done virtually any “swinging” for a yr (page 6), Brenda in addition to her girlfriends had asked strangers returning to her residence for sex that all night. And their sexually attention grabbing behavior at the club, both that evening in addition to the previous Friday night, had attracted attention, in addition to one of the other patrons could have recently been a sexual predator who else thought he could take benefit of their inebriated express. We must also not forget it turned out as a result of their own pot smoking in their own garage that evening, that will an external door has been left unlocked - plus the lock on the inner door was reversed : thus providing easy access to the perpetrator, the person who that was. And inside the hours following the kidnapping, the fogeys lied in order to the police to hide these activities.

Nancy promises that the parents have been thrown out of courtroom for the reason that defense claimed, inaccurately, which they would be known as as witnesses for the defense (page 126). Of which claim surprised me, as the parents were PRESENT in court (after the very first week), and were known as as witnesses for the PROSECUTION. True, Damon has been subsequently banned from the court, but which was because deputies thought he was a new security risk, and he was allowed back following two weeks. I don’t realize if the defense performed a role in the banning: the media reviews I’ve seen mention only that Damon had ignored warnings from deputies in addition to PROSECUTORS. It was several of the JURORS who else didn’t want Brenda looking at them: it made these people uncomfortable, and they did not want her to realize their identities.

The parents’ “decadent lifestyle” (page 200) became public knowledge lengthy before even the Preliminary Hearing in March, 2002. And it was the prosecution which raised the subject in court, not the defense. So they really “opened the door”. This was a new deliberate tactic on the component. To soften the impact regarding the sex and medications, the prosecutor brought this out on direct evaluation and let Brenda explain it, then he ended her testimony discussing Danielle, and the things the lady would miss in lifestyle. This made it hard for the defense in order to attack her, because this would make them appearance bad in the eye of the jury.

Entomology evidence:

There WAS a new forensic entomologist who informed the jury that the fly larvae on the body experienced only hatched after Westerfield was under tight law enforcement surveillance, so he could not be the killer who else disposed of the body (page 7). But this particular local scientist was introduced onto the situation by the POLICE, and is at fact their regular expert. In addition to his testimony was maintained three other nationally-known forensic entomologists, including the 1 hired by the prosecution. While it’s true that will there are factors which could delay egg laying (and therefore also hatching), there was no evidence of this kind of factors in this situation.

Physical evidence:

Nancy provides the following evidence in opposition to Westerfield, which she explains as “overwhelming” (page 199):
in their house (page 199): Danielle’s hair (and clothing fibers) on his bedsheets and washing;
in their RV (pages 126 in addition to 199): her blood, jaunatre hair, and palm printing;
from their RV (pages 126 in addition to 199): her blood on his jacket, plus the truck Dam dog’s hair on his comforter.

All this particular evidence is of the woman in his environment: presently there was no evidence regarding him in hers : either in her residence or at the body recovery site. Two recognized crime scenes, the only certain crime scenes, in addition to no evidence of the defendant at either. Also, she was supposedly transmitted from his house in order to his RV in their SUV, but there has been no evidence of the woman in the SUV. In addition to there are innocent answers for the evidence regarding her in his residence and RV: she has been in his house shortly before the kidnapping, and he or she could have played inside his RV (page 199). She was known in order to have left her own yard by climbing on the gate. I place “clothing fibers” in conference above, simply because there WEREN’T virtually any van Dam clothing fibres found in Westerfield’s residence, unless the orange fibres or the blue fibres came from their clothing - the sources have been never identified. The blood in his RV comprised of just one drop (which wasn’t photographed or measured). The palm printing match to Danielle has been made using rehydrated skin, and was of a good unusual part of the fingers (the rear regarding the knuckles): no facts was produced that this kind of matches are as reliable as the usual complements, of the fingertips. The blood on his jacket has been a single small stain (which wasn’t seen by the dry-cleaners). Your dog curly hair could indicate the dog was with her inside the RV - the family dog was big, in addition to might have gotten apart from Danielle while the lady was walking it, in addition to run into the RV.

It is substantial that will no Danielle pajama or bedding fibers were identified in Westerfield’s environment, so the evidence take into account innocent daytime visits, not really a nighttime kidnapping.

Similarly, the RV evidence points to a previous visit: the Danielle hairs were blond, yet the woman hair was darkening, so that they might have been old hairs; the drop regarding blood initially didn’t provide a DNA type regarding one of the guns, therefore it might have recently been old and needs to degrade; the bloodstain on his clothing was faint, therefore it has been probably an old stain which had previously recently been washed; and the search dogs did not warn to either her fragrance or a cadaver fragrance, so she couldn’t have been there recently, either dead or alive.

It is also substantial that, based on the prosecution circumstance, Danielle is at his residence for several hours following the kidnapping, and has been presumably first assaulted during your stay on island, yet the only facts of her was a new few hairs, without blood.

If she had spent a day or a couple of in his environment, and then you would expect one hundred as well as 200 of the woman hairs to have recently been shed there, yet only fourteen were found: 11 in his house in addition to three in his RV. This points to a new short visit. And individuals in his RV might have been transferred there from their house after the dessert sale. Furthermore, all yet one of the hairs were only mitochondrial DNA matched to Danielle, so that they could have come rather from her mother or brothers.

I actually have heard the promises of a relationship among Brenda and Westerfield (page 200), but wasn’t aware that Feldman had intimated this - I’d have to study the trial transcripts to check that. When he did intimate that will it was Brenda’s curly hair and not Danielle’s inside the RV, then I’d possess thought he did so instead because it weakened the evidence of Danielle in the RV. Not only the smaller number, this would also show just how trace evidence is distribute: finding proof of someone inside one place doesn’t actually prove that the particular person is at that place.

I actually doubt that Westerfield provides written “numerous” letters on death row, still blaming the fogeys (page 200). I actually only know of 3 letters which were published, only two of which pin the consequence on the parents: one regarding those letters goes into detail, the other merely mentions the parents inside passing. I also think it’s misleading to say that he claims they framed him. His standpoint is that he’s innocent, so he was idea for explanations as in order to how the evidence : specifically the blood : may have got there, in addition to that is among the options he thought of. Another probability he gives is that the police framed him : but I can’t observe that he claims that Danielle’s family was in on the plot (page 145).

(He suggests that Private investigator Ott planted Danielle’s blood. Ott’s credibility was asked by the judge, in addition to he and his partner, Private investigator Keyser, were responsible for fake statements within an affidavit inside a murder case inside 2000. And they experienced violated Westerfield’s constitutional legal rights by repeatedly ignoring their requests for a attorney during lengthy hours regarding interrogation, and again by attempting to visit him inside jail without permission. It is a bit suspicious that will the criminalist didn’t photograph the blood drop on the RV carpet. It will be more suspicious that the dry-cleaners didn’t see the blood on the clothing, nor can it become seen on the photograph regarding the jacket after this was seized. It’s also suspicious that the stain wasn’t examined for spatter. Especially as Ott, who else was a customer of that will same dry-cleaners, had the opportunity to see the invoice for the jacket before every other police officer : and apparently DID see it - and he evidently had custody in the clothing shortly after it has been seized. )

Prosecutors:

Much of Nancy’s book will be a diatribe against security attorneys. Are prosecutors blameless? I’ll give two particular examples from the Westerfield trial. The lead prosecutor, Jeff Dusek, had used the actual same local forensic entomologist before in order to secure a conviction (page 7). In that situation (Ronald Porter-Sandra Cwik, 1988/1992), the entomology was the strongest evidence of remorse, and it had in order to be very accurate in order to prove guilt. Like with Danielle, this was a body in a rural area (just a few mls east of exactly where Danielle has been found), the entire body was outside and exposed to the components, there was hot weather, plus the larvae were at the same age (in the third instar). Therefore coming into the Westerfield trial, Dusek had in order to believe strongly in the accuracy and reliability regarding this science. And thus he knew that Westerfield has been innocent. Yet throughout the trial he trashed technology, fighting instead for guilt in addition to the death penalty.

The second example is the child pornography charge (page 199). Westerfield had a pc porn collection, which has been found out within hours regarding him being contacted by the police. If that will had included child adult, he would have recently been promptly arrested, but he wasn’t for the reason that police could not determine if the ladies have been under 18. Danielle has been only 7. The F tried to get a new federal arrest warrant regarding him, but this has been denied for the reason that photos weren’t lascivious. And he wasn’t charged under a child adult statute, but under a legislation that’s so broad that will, as the prosecutor informed the jury, an picture of somebody who is totally clothed could even so become considered illegal. In his starting argument in court, he said that the video clips that they would be demonstrated were regarding a young female, or at least who was dressed in order to LOOK young (so the lady wasn’t actually under 18). Taking all this into bank account, the prosecutor knew that will there wasn’t any real child porn, but asserted anyway that there has been - presumably because this particular was their evidence regarding motive, their only facts of motive, and with out the emotional impact, the public revulsion for child porn, they might likely not have secured a conviction on the serious fees.

More generally, the Region Attorney’s office had a new close working relationship with the police crime lab. Too close. The lab was just trying to find facts to convict Westerfield. Regarding example, unknown DNA inside bloodstains on Danielle’s your bed wasn’t compared against CODIS. An unknown hair under her body was likewise ignored. So were unknown fingerprints found in the woman house. They only checked a few items through her house for your resources of the evidentiary orange and blue fibers. They will didn’t compare the blue fibers using the most powerful instrument available, so they might not even have matched (and would therefore have no evidentiary worth, they might not link your pet for the crimes). They evidently didn’t compare the reddish fibers found with the woman fingernails with any items from her home. In addition to so on. (Similar critique can be leveled at the police. For instance, they apparently didn’t request Danielle’s brothers if the lady had ever been inside Westerfield’s RV; they did not check if a child sneaking into that car could have been observed by neighbors; when they tested TV reception inside the RV, they performed so at the Strand, whereas Westerfield had spent the night at the Cays; and so forth. )

Nancy also rejects the belief that the state will do anything to secure a new conviction: a conviction will not get that prosecutor a raise, or a new promotion, or a big reward (page 145). But Woody Clarke, the co-prosecutor at Westerfield’s trial, was designated a judge to the San Diego Superior Courtroom the following year, in addition to both prosecutors were named “San Diego County Prosecutor of the Year” regarding 2003, by the San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association, while Clarke has been also named 2003 “Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year” by the California District Attorneys Association. And Sean Soriano was promoted from Associate Criminalist to Criminalist inside between the Preliminary Hearing and the trial. (It may also be mentioned that criminalist Jennifer Shen is currently the manager of the lab. )

Stars:

I possess reviewed some other, comparable books: about crime generally but with an area on the Westerfield-van Dam situation. Those books, like Nancy’s, present a distorted image with this case, but I actually gave them a higher rating than I would have for that 1 case alone, as there is certainly good material in the remaining portion of the book. I daresay there is certainly good material inside the associated with Nancy’s guide, but I’m not proceeding to reward her because of it because she spews out so much vitriol, in addition to not simply on this 1 case. I’m sure several of that vitriol will be justified in other situations, but much of this isn’t. So just 1 star for her., Sorry Nancy
I love you and loved your program on Court TV but the book will be much too long and uninteresting with all the current repetitive nonsense all of us know already
regarding our crooked legal system where money talks in addition to killers walk., I'm a big fan of Nancy's in addition to really was interested to read her book. However, following about half in the guide she started to replicate herself and it obtained boring! The editor should have caught that!, Nancy Grace is excellent. The guide kept me interested.

Doubt good book. I suggest it. Good courtroom drama., Not near just like I actually thought it would become., Obviously written well before Nancy Grace made the woman mark by hijacking the justice system by using the media to manipulate public thoughts and opinions. Irony in it's purest form., good, I phone this my informational guide, I like it because I actually learned a great deal of details from that. I actually am not that big of a fan regarding Nancy Grace but I actually acquired the book anyway, I liked it.

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