On Which Edge, Top or Bottom, Does The Key In This Image Have Teeth?
Look at the image carefully, and before you read any further, mark down your answer.
A piece of evidence that was used to convict Steven Avery for the murder of Teresa Halbach was a key found on the floor of his trailer said to belong to her vehicle. But the key in the only publicly available image taken in the trailer before the key was collected as evidence doesn’t match the keys shown in pictures taken for official trial exhibits. For example, the key would have been to a 1999 Toyota RAV4, and as such, this key would have had matching key cuts on but edges of the blade of the key. But the key in the picture taken in the trailer shows key cuts on one side of the blade, while the other side is flat.
The controversy about this stems from the fact that the key in the picture from the trailer lacks crisp detail at high resolution causing some to think that there isn’t sufficient detail to make a determination one way or the other.
I’ve disagreed with this conclusion because I cannot think of a reason for why any distortion caused by compression, poor focus, artefacts in the image caused by the carpet the key was lying on when the photo was taken, and so forth would cause one edge to appear flat, and the other to appear jagged as you would expect of a key.
So a few days ago, I decided to take a few of my own pictures with a digital camera of a key lying on the floor to see whether it would be possible for a key in an image to turn out like the key in the image lying on the floor of Steven Avery’s trailer.
To begin with, here is a closeup pic of the key on the floor of Steven Avery’s trailer that was presented as an exhibit at trial:
The image has been rotated to show the key in a vertical position. The left side of the blade is flat and uncut, while the other side clearly shows cuts. Here is another image of the same key:
This is a photograph of a key that is kept in evidence which clearly shows cuts on both sides:
Now, for the pictures that I took of an ordinary house key…
The picture below is one of the fuzziest that I took, and most of them are at 4mp of resolution. The year 2005 was the year that you could buy a consumer grade camera for under $200 with at least 4mp. The thing is, no matter what the resolution was, and no matter how in focus the shot is, it is very clear in every single shot that the top side of the key is cut and that the other side isn’t. Most of the were deliberately either out of focus, or taken while the camera was moving, thus creating distortion. Nevertheless, it is always possible to tell which side of the key is cut and which side isn’t.
I did no processing to any of these images, by the way.
The quality of this image is worse than the one taken taken in Steven Avery’s trailer. Nevertheless, you can see that the bottom edge of the key is cut and the top edge is flat.
The quality of this image is a little better than the one taken in Avery’s trailer, but not by much…
Very poor quality image, but you can still see which side of the key is cut and which side isn’t…
Having actually done this experiment, there is no question that the key was planted. In fact, I challenge everyone to do their own experiment should there be any doubt. You will see for yourself then.
By the way, before you began reading this article, did you answer the question correctly?