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Version 3.8
Copyright 2001-2008
JusticeForWoody.net site last revised 1/17/06
fair use notice

Killing Reaction Cases Evidence Analysis Media Woody

Sloppy Work Precludes Verification

The eyewitness evidence packages suggest the investigators intentionally avoided collecting and recording information that might not fit with a pre-ordained conclusion that the shooting was justified. By avoiding making a scale model of the scene, the implausibility of Sorrell's theory of the shooting could be obscured. By failing to record interviews with the eyewitnesses, Sorrell was free to mis-quote them in his report while maintaining deniability.

Close Enough for Government Work

One investigative failure apparent in the report itself is its "near-to-scale depiction" instead of a scale model of the sanctuary. A central element of Sorrell's finding that Woodward made "a forward motion" toward the officers is its discrediting of many of the eyewitness accounts on the basis of their purported lack of a clear view of the action. For instance, the report implies that Tommy Thomas had a poor view of the events, when in fact he had a very good view and was apparently one of the only church eyewitnesses who saw the latter moments of the shooting after Woody fell.

Given the necessity of accurately reconstructing the positions of witnesses and obstructions to their lines of sight in order to determine their views of critical events, an accurate scale model is essential for a credible investigation. The report offers no explanation as to why a "near-to-scale model depiction". Apparently said depiction is the basis for the drawings included in the eyewitness evidence package. A comparison of one such drawings to a more accurate drawing since posted on Sorrell's website is insructive.

March Interviews Not Recorded

Although the eyewitness interviews conducted by the State Police detectives in the hours and days following the shooting were tape-recorded and transcribed, the interviews conducted by the Attorney General's detectives in March were neither tape-recorded nor transcribed. The evidence packet provides only the detectives' summaries of the March interviews. One eyewitness who read the summary of her interview stated that she did not think it accurately reflected what she said in the interview.

The fact that the report relies heavily on the March interviews of selected eyewitnesses, particular in the case of Michael Italia, raises questions about the credibility of the conclusions the report draws from those interviews, and raises red flags about why the Attorney General chose not to record them.

page last modified: 2005-12-14