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Rush to Judgement: a critical examination of the David Westerfield, Danielle van Dam child kidnapping and murder case, San Diego 2002

Stevenson, C

Verlag: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011
ISBN 10: 1460956974 / ISBN 13: 9781460956977
Gebraucht / Soft cover / Anzahl: 1
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Titel: Rush to Judgement: a critical examination of...

Verlag: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Erscheinungsdatum: 2011

Einband: Soft cover

Zustand: Used


This Book is in Good Condition. Clean Copy With Light Amount of Wear. 100% Guaranteed. Summary: On Saturday morning, February 2, 2002, 7-year-old Danielle van Dam was reported missing by her mother, Brenda, who had been out partying with friends at a local bar until almost 2:00 a.m. Danielle's father, Damon, had been left behind at home to babysit their three young children, and their dog, a sleek gray Weimaraner. He said that he had put the kids to bed, cracked their doors, and fell asleep in the master bedroom, along with the dog, and with the door closed. Shortly before 2 a.m., he opened the bedroom door, and let the dog out to greet his wife, knowing she would be home soon. Some people, like KFMB talk show host Rick Roberts, began to question the parents' behavior, after it was reported in the media that they were "swingers", and they did not check on their children, even after they said they found two outside doors open that night. Danielle's body was discovered at Dehesa on February 27. The police had almost immediately suspected neighbor David Westerfield, as he went away that weekend, leaving his garden hose lying untidily across his neat front yard. Was he responsible for Danielle van Dam's death, or was he the victim of a "rush to judgement"? What does the evidence say?* No evidence was found that he was ever in her home, nor that he had been at the body recovery site.* Why were no fibers from her pajamas or bedding found in his house or vehicles?* Had she ever played in his motor home while it was parked in their street?* Did his pornography collection include child porn?* Did he fail his lie detector test?* What is the truth about the plea deal story?* Was the body rapidly mummified by a warm dry wind that hadn't yet begun to blow? * What happened to the photographs the searchers took of the body?* Did the orange fiber in her hair come from something in her own home?* Whose hair was found under her body? It was neither Danielle's nor Westerfield's.* On February 15, Brenda received an anonymous phone call that Danielle was abused but alive. Who made that call? The insect evidence indicates she died soon afterwards.* A year later, James Selby, a convicted serial rapist, confessed in writing to killing Danielle. Was he just a "quack"? One of his victims was a 9-year-old girl, whom he abducted sleeping from her bed.This book examines these questions and many more. This was a high-profile case, with an enormous amount of public attention; the trial was broadcast live on radio and TV, so a book on it is long overdue, and this is an authoritative book. There are books with titles like "MS-DOS Bible" and "Windows 7 Bible". This book is the Westerfield-van Dam case "bible". It is a comprehensive reference source about the case, and a "must read" for everybody interested in it, and especially all those who were personally involved: the jurors, the police, the crime laboratory, the DA's office, the defense lawyers, the neighbors and other witnesses. This case has similarities to the OJ Simpson case, not only in the intensity of public and media attention, but also in the fact that George "Woody" Clarke was a prosecutor on both cases, and Jo-Ellan Dimitrius was a jury consultant on both, but for the defense in the OJ trial, and for the prosecution in the Westerfield trial. Did clever juror selection contribute to a miscarriage of justice in either case?David Westerfield's automatic appeal is due soon, making this book timely. Buchnummer des Verkäufers ABE_book_usedgood_1460956974

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Inhaltsangabe: An overview of the case is in From the Back Cover. Here are more reasons for doubting Westerfield's guilt.

Stranger kidnappings are rare and Westerfield - middle-aged, no history of sexual or violent crimes - was an unlikely suspect. Yet just 2 days after Danielle was missing, the police excluded the usual perpetrators and decided this was a stranger kidnapping and he was that stranger.

He behaved like an innocent man: only left home hours after the kidnapping and returned twice that day. Nobody saw her with him or any place he went. Eye-witnesses, cell-phone records and gas receipts confirmed his alibi.

The kidnapping scenario is implausible. Danielle's house had an alarm. Several people and a dog were in it, and the kidnapper was inside for an hour, yet they suspected nothing.

The van Dams had recently visited him so some evidence of her there is expected. The police didn't ask her brothers if she had been in his RV while it was unlocked in the street: one visit could account for that evidence. The quantity was far less than from a weekend kidnapping, murder and sexual assault: in particular, just 1 drop and 1 small stain of blood. Testing of the drop initially didn't give a result for one DNA marker, so it might have been old and degrading. The stain was faint so it might have been old and had previously been cleaned. Her hair was darkening yet her hairs in his RV were blonde suggesting they were old. He vacuumed his RV after that weekend but his vacuum cleaner contained no evidence.

There was no evidence she was sexually assaulted. The only evidence for that motive was "child porn" on his computers, but some in law enforcement said it wasn't child porn (the jury wasn't allowed to hear that), there wasn't much of it, and most was old and had been seldom viewed and not recently.

The bloodstain on his jacket wasn't seen by the dry-cleaners, couldn't be seen on the photo in court, and wasn't examined for spatter: was it only applied afterwards? The drop of blood on the RV carpet wasn't photographed or measured: did it exist? Her print was only the fifth one found in his RV, yet they stopped searching: how did they know it was her's? The forensic people only examined a few items from her house, so the orange evidentiary fibers might have come from there.

The police used dogs to detect his scent in her home and her scent in his, but the strongest evidence this gave was the claim by dog handlers, made weeks later, that a cadaver dog alerted at his RV - which wasn't seen by the detective and that dog hadn't alerted there 2 days earlier.

The police's entomologist calculated that insects didn't colonize the body before the 16th - nearly 2 weeks after Westerfield was under surveillance (4th). Insects usually colonize a body in hours so he couldn't have dumped it. The prosecution entomologist gave an earlier date (9th) but still after the 4th, and he used recent Canadian insect data that might not apply to southern California.

Someone else's DNA was in bloodstains on her bed (it wasn't checked against CODIS), and red fibers with her fingernails didn't match to him.

Failing a polygraph played a role in him being suspected. Yet the examiner kept the heater on making Westerfield uncomfortable, constantly adjusted his equipment, and changed the questions, all of which could have caused him to appear to fail. The police leaked his "failure" to the media, contaminating the jury pool and inflaming the community. Jurors weren't sequestered so they were aware of the hostility. Was their verdict due to the media having "convicted" him? The media reported that he offered to reveal the body location in return for no death penalty, but evidence is that the prosecution offered him a deal which he rejected.

The prosecutor implicitly admitted that he didn't know how, where, why or when, and the jury foreman that they couldn't figure out what had happened. Seemingly the prosecution scenario didn't make sense to them.

Vom Autor: The opening brief in Westerfield's appeal was filed on December 28, 2011. It contains 448 pages, and gives nearly 30 reasons why his conviction should be overturned. The responding brief was filed on October 9, 2012. It contains 267 pages. A supplementary opening brief (9 pages) was filed on February 26, 2013, and the response (8 pages) on March 26. Finally, the Appellant's Reply Brief (155 pages) was filed on May 14, 2013.
Brenda thought the cookie sale was on the Tuesday (29th), whereas Westerfield thought it was most likely on the Thursday (31st) (page 187 of the book). The hailstorm referred to on page 131 occurred on the Tuesday evening, so it's extremely unlikely that the cookie sale was on that date.
Correction (page 10): the father-daughter dance was scheduled for the 7th not the 14th, and therefore before the trip to Italy, so that trip would not have had to be cut short to attend the dance.
Correction (page 242): the (Bean, June 25) reference is to his article "Prosecutors trot out more fiber evidence in case against accused child killer".
Pages 140 and 142: Detectives Ott and Keyser were probably in Westerfield's SUV for less than half-an-hour.
Denise Kemal died in December, 2011, and George "Woody" Clarke in November, 2012. May they rest in peace.
The media reported that Westerfield "steam-cleaned his motor home, using heavy amounts of bleach" (page 193). states that bleach is dangerous to use in a steam cleaning machine, it will damage carpets and upholstery, and can damage the actual machine. Steam from bleach will cause burning and red eyes, gagging, blistering and pains in your throat.
The LA Times reported (May 8, 2002) that the judge refused to order the van Dams to let Westerfield's attorneys and investigators into their home to look for evidence that might help in his defense (pages 215-217).
On May 8, 2002, the polygraph operator testified that, if Westerfield had passed the test, "that would have been the end of it". This shows an absolute faith in the reliability of polygraph results (pages 176-184).

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