Let’s Talk About Murder

Placard with miniaturized, gold plated weapons: knife, gun, and wrenth

It’s astonishing how little we know about murder given it’s central role in all forms of entertainment, including the news.  And most especially the local news–if it bleeds, it leads, as the saying goes– so we all know that Action Team! 6, or whatever it is called in your area has perfected turning cold bodies into cold cash, all for the titillation of the masses who, as Thoreau once opined, lead lives of quiet desperation.

But watching the local news day and night won’t ever help you understand much about murder, and neither will crime novels, movies, television programs or video games.  You’re lucky if you happen to stumble an even rudimentary statistic showing a longitudinal trend.  You will learn about, and be exposed to hundreds, and probably thousands of individual, usually horrific, cases, but you will be left to your own wits to discern any patterns that may be lying beneath the surface.

Anyone who has nothing more than a tenuous grasp of the power of information can attest that a sufficiently large corpus of data can sharpen a faint spectral outline of a phenomenon, in this case murder, into the very picture of a grinning skull with all of the verisimilitude of the real thing.  Without prosthetic, we might easily work out that a thirteen-year-old is far less likely to be a murderer than an eighteen-year-old, but what if we compare a twenty-five-year-old with someone more than twice that age?  A sufficient quantity of data reveals that the comparison isn’t even close.  It turns out that the twenty-five-year-old person is far more statistically like to commit murder than someone twice his age.

Then there are murder scenarios to consider.  How does murder usually go down in the real world?  How often is a knife used?  How often a gun?  How often a hammer? Turns out it’s almost always much different than how it’s usually depicted in popular media.  Usually it’s done with a firearm and is over and done with very quickly.  Even when the weapon is something other than a firearm it’s usually the result of a gin-nurtured explosion of rage.  People might be having fun playing cards one minute, and in the next be either dead or a murderer.

If we know what the usual scenario is, what about the one that isn’t usual?  If Rape and torture are both present characteristics of a homicide, than it belongs in a very rarefied category that comprises maybe one or two percent of all murders.  This is even more true if a rapist, torturer and murderer is working together with another person.

Every year in the United States there are roughly 15,000 homicides.  And to put this number into a little bit of perspective, suicides are about three times as common, and deaths from auto accidents falling somewhere in the middle. In about eighty-five to ninety five percent of homicides,  both the killer and the victim are male.  In the majority of cases where the victim is female, she is know by her killer.

To understand the probability of female homicide even better, it is necessary to know the nature of the relationship she had with her killer.  Was she in a romantic relationship with this person?  Did that relationship come to an end after the woman called it off?  Were there any incidents of stalking behavior, be it electronic or otherwise?

In short, a young woman who jilted a young man after a protracted relationship is at far greater risk, statistically, to be killed in a crime of passion by her former lover than she is by a forty-something who she barely knows in a rape, torture, murder scenario involving two killers.  

If we were just to crunch data, I would confidently state that there is a probability that is ten to twenty times greater for Ryan than there is for Steven.  And even that is probably being overly conservative.  Nate Silver, are you out there? 



  • I read most of what this guy has written of his “professional” analysis of avery “unreliable denial”. And i must say its a boat-load of maggot-infested tuna.

  • wow, these statement analysis people are friggin nuts! Just spent an hr or so reading some of their stuff and looking at their “Scientific” content analysis training. LOL!

    Say the word child and you’re an abuser or a victim of abuse… all I gotta say is, Child Please!!!!!!


  • For God's sake, please redact those phone numbers from the police report that you (i.e. our intrepid investigator) posted. Have you no decency at all?

  • “DNA—which wasn’t from blood—was found under the hood of Teresa Halbach’s vehicle. That matched Steven Avery,” he disputed.

    Pretty sure that was disproved and could be thrown out since the evidence tech/blood guy did not bother to change his gloves when he opened the hood himself.

    Man I hope they solve this damn case so we can all find out what really did happen.

    Kudos again to making the news article over at wbay.com abc channel 2 in Retardville, WI.

  • What's sort of funny here is that this article is from today January 12 and this dumbass sheriff says your trespass happened "a few days ago" like it just happened. We all know your crazy ass was there on Christmas day, so this sort of shows yet again how inept MCSO is. Good work, soldier.

  • Daniel, I think you have now been referenced by the Sheriff's Department on the local news:


    “The series would have you believe police have a bad relationship with the Avery family,” said Hermann, adding that a few days ago a trespasser was on the Avery’s property. “And guess who they called? Manitowoc County Sheriff.”


    Dan The Man – You have officially made the "news".



    “The series would have you believe police have a bad relationship with the Avery family,” said Hermann, adding that a few days ago a trespasser was on the Avery’s property. “And guess who they called? Manitowoc County Sheriff.”

    C L A S S I C!!!!!!!!!

  • I think law enforcement found the vehicle and hinted to the brother, Hillegas, and the search party where to look. it's better for them to find the car.

    The defense said he could have just crushed the car. I think a lot of fluids need to be removed and other prep needs to be done before crushing a car. Could take a some time. Avery would have had to do it without his other family members being around. I'm starting to think he may have obscured the car more from his family members than from anyone else.

    There is a point in the Brenden testimony where he switches from saying "we" (during the supposed killing) to "me and steve." I think this is a result Avery actually called him over to help burn the body but Brenden was NOT there when she was killed. "What if my story is different from his," asks Brenden to his mom after the interrogation?

    That kid saw and did something and I think his testimony is a mess because there is some truth in his guilt and I think the prosecution manipulated that too.

    -Anonymous #1

  • This an addition to the post I made above and it includes the URL I intended to post. It gives a fascinating review of Avery's sentencing statement to the court and helps point to his guilt.

    I'm interest in your response.
    -Anonymous #1

  • I'll watch, but for the moment, I'll comment just saying, first, Steven Avery had eighteen years of practice saying he didn't do it. It had to be automatic for him at some point. I seem to recall that he said "I got nothin' to do with it", but I'll check. But even if that is what he said, you still have to explain the weird way that Mike Halbach was acting, and the very strange comments he made, and the even weirder way, arguably , that Ryan Hillegas was behaving.

  • Can we talk about murder and how people respond to it when they asked if they did it?

    I have posted this before but you may be interested in how a guilty person talks about what they supposedly didn't do.

    I request you read this before you respond constructively to the rest of my post.

    Steven Avery has never given a reliable denial. In fact Steven Avery said he didn't "do it" before the body was found – the victim was only missing when he was giving interviews.

    He was asked on two occasions about the disappearance and offered two seemingly unreliable denials. Watch these full clips that weren't in the documentary:

    It's a peculiar answer to say you "didn't do it" when talking about a disappearance. The answer of a likely innocent person is "I don't know where she is."

    Isn't it possible Avery did it AND Brenden helped his uncle burn the body AND law enforcement also tampered with evidence to ensure a conviction? I think the evidence and the statements made by accused point that way.

    • I watched the clips. Be careful because as with the documentary they are edited to fit time and intent of the TV producer. Context is missing as to what he was asked and when.

      Also, speech patterns aren’t universal. There are regional dialects and also education level influenced language. It’s not just about “ain’t”. Double negatives, even Brendan saying ‘yeah’ on the phone to greet his mother, are part of language in different areas. I think it’s unfair to dissect Steve’s speech without taking into account the influence of stress, the pressure of the process, spending months and months in jail already before the trial, knowing once again he’s screwed.

      Did he do it? Is there a story that could include Steven as the killer? I can think of some, but they are NOT what was used to convict him. And that is the problem in the case as it stands now – major evidence holes and ignoring the time it takes to do what the prosecution said was done. Science won’t support it. Common sense won’t support it. And as I’ll bet every person who watched the documentary said: where is the blood?

      Can you provide any citations to support what you’re basing your analysis on?