State Police Investigation
Evidence we don't collect cant hurt us
In the weeks following the shooting, there were a number of indications that the state's investigation of the killing was fatally flawed. Conflicts of interest were apparent in the individuals and institutions involved. The December 3rd Disclosure belied the competence of State Police to conduct a fair inquiry. The body was destroyed before an independent autopsy could be performed. The autopsy and ballistics reports, promised the public, were never released. Forensic evidence seems to have disappeared without a trace.
Suspicions that the official investigation was neither fair nor complete gave way to hard evidence of critical failures in the investigation, including possible obstruction of justice, following the release of the Attorney General's Woodward Shooting Report .
Some of the failures could be seen in the report itself, such as its admission that it used a near-to-scale depiction of the scene instead of a scale model, and the absence of virtually every detail relevant to the shooting itself, such as the nature of the wounds, the cause of death, or disposition of forensic artifacts.
But the more egregious failures were found by reading the eyewitness interview transcripts in the evidence package released by the Attorney General's office after its report.
The transcripts show that most of the eyewitness statements Sorrell used to "partially corroborate" the police accounts were not the statements of the eyewitnesses at all, but merely detective summaries of interviews taken 3 months after the shooting -- interviews that were neither recorded nor transcribed.
The transcripts also show that the police accounts, effectively endorsed by Sorrell through their prominent placement in his report, were taken from statements contaminated by the lack of supervision of the shooters prior to their completing their reports and interviews.
Furthermore, the transcripts reveal disturbing patterns in the questioning of witnesses. Witnesses were asked at length if there was anything Woody did that could have been taken as a threat, if they were afraid, if they imagined Woody could have hurt somebody, and so forth. But there was virtually no questioning about what the police did after the first shot.