Will the “Real” Killer Please Stand Up
Recently, the editors here at WMRW.com gathered for dinner to discuss the case with a friend who has known the defendants. His take on the case has evolved. When he first heard about the murder in August of 2006, he thought for sure it was an intruder. Over the next two and a half years, he held that opinion.
It wasn’t until the affidavit in support of Dylan Ward’s arrest was released in late October 2008 that his mind changed. He cites many reasons why he doesn’t believe there was an intruder who murdered Robert Wone, but for him, there is one phrase from the affidavit that stands out.
The “real” killer.
On page 10 of the original affidavit, it reads:
Price volunteered that police might not find the “real killer’s” DNA on the knife because the “real killer” might have been wearing a glove.”
The use of the words “real killer” seems to say several things at once.
First, Price uses the term “real killer” when explaining why his DNA could be found on the knife. He is immediately explaining the situation to the police rather than trying to get help for his injured friend.
Forensic psychologists say that people who are guilty will often offer explanations for the situation, and why they are not involved. Where the innocent try to help an injured person, the guilty try to deflect blame.
This isn’t the first time explanations were offered by the defendants that evening. In Victor Zaborsky’s 9-1-1 phone call to the MPD, he explains several times what he says happened in the house. Zaborsky discussed the “intruder”, that the intruder had one of “their knives,” how they “heard a chime.” Price followed up with his own explanations.
Dylan even got into the act when Victor first saw him coming halfway down the stairs and the first words out of his mouth after sleeping through the entire episode were, “Was the backdoor left open?” So much time to offer explanations, yet so little time to get help for their friend.
Second, it sets up a dichotomy between the “real killer” and someone else, presumably the opposite which would be the “fake killer.” Why wouldn’t Joe Price just say that police might not find the killer’s DNA because the killer might have been wearing a glove? Why at that moment did he find it important to insert the word “real” in front of the word “killer”, not once, but twice, according to the affidavit?
The other dichotomy it sets up is real vs. imaginary, which starts down the road of truth vs. illusion. Which is it?
The language we use offers a view into what we are thinking when we say it. Inserting the adjective “real” into his explanation of the killer, we have a window into how Joe Price’s mind was thinking when police arrived. If the “real” killer wore a glove, then what was the “fake” killer doing?
Does it indicate that Joe Price was already thinking of the evening’s events in terms of truth vs. illusion? Was the use of the word “real” a Freudian slip of the tongue that even controlling Joe Price’s mind couldn’t control?
For our friend and host, it was one adjective that forever changed his mind about what happened that night.
-posted by David