Did Scottsdale Police Error in Their Investigation
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Responsibilities of a Detective/Case Agent
o Assess the scene
o Delegate responsibilities
o Write an initial report
o Conduct follow up investigation
 Interviews
 Collection of evidence
 Scientific analysis
o As trial approaches
 Locate witnesses
 Assure that all analyses have been completed
 Tie up all loose ends
 Serve witnesses with subpoenas
Generally, you collect all evidence and make a decision later or make a decision and collect
evidence to support your decision
o Investigations tend to evolve over time
 Some for the better and some for the worse
o If you are thorough in the beginning, a wrong direction to an investigation may not be
fatal
 You can change directions and seek other suspects
o Why wasn’t this done? Error??
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At the time of arrest
o No scientific findings
o No observational findings
o Why not? Error?
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Dave Rich
o He was drunk
 We don’t know how drunk because Scottsdale Police Department never took a
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this would poorly affect the credibility of their key witness. Why??
Was he on any other drugs?
 We don’t if he was on drugs because Scottsdale Police Department never took a
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blood sample to determine. Error??
Scottsdale Police Department didn’t want to find out how drunk he was because
blood sample to determine. Error??
Scottsdale Police Department didn’t want to find out that he was on drugs
because this is poorly affect the credibility of their key witness. Why??
David Rich had abrasions on his right neck and shoulder
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This tells you that he was very likely in the front passenger or back right
passenger
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Detective never looked for injury on Pamela Robinson. Why??
 Detective never looked for injury on Justin Thrasher. Why??
Up until trial (approximately 20 months), David Rich has been telling Scottsdale Police
Department that there were only two people in the car. Why??
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Detective never followed up on this to see why he was lying. Why??Error??
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Detective never confronted him about this fact. Error??
 Detective glossed over it. Why??
Pamela Robinson could have been a suspect or a victim and you decided that she would be a
victim. Why??
When determining who you want as a witness or suspect, you will consider:
o Whether or not they appear to be concealing information
o Pamela Robinson has been uncooperative and deceitful since the accident
 She gave a false name of Stephanie
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 Why give a false name and run from accident if you were a
passenger/victim??
She gave stories that did not make sense. Why??
She was inconsistent with her stories. Why??
She could not provide details with her story. Why??
Failed to show up to court. Why??
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After realizing how difficult Pamela Robinson was being, Scottsdale Police Department
never attempted to conduct a follow up interview with her. Why not??
 Detective never sat down with her to chat about her version of the story.
Why not??
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that night. Why??
She was drunk
 We don’t know how drunk because SPD never had a blood sample taken to
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determine it. Why??
Scottsdale Police Department didn’t want to find out how drunk because this
would poorly affect the credibility of your key witness. Why??
Was she on other drugs
 We don’t know if she was on drugs because SPD never had a blood sample
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Detective never confronted her with inconsistent versions of what happened
taken to determine it. Why??
Scottsdale Police Department didn’t want to find out that she was on drugs
because this would poorly affect the credibility of your key witness. Why??
We have no idea whether she had abrasions on her left neck, shoulder, back, etc…
 In fact, she wore a winter jacket which covered her neck and ARMS.
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SPD didn’t even bother asking her to remove jacket to look for airbag burns on
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arms or seat belt mark on neck. Error??
Scottsdale Police Department didn’t want to have her checked because that
would have been devastating for their case if she had similar marks to Dave
Rich, but on her left side. Error??
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After all the weirdness between Dave Rich saying two passengers and Pamela Robinson and her
inconsistent stories, did Scottsdale Police Department ever try to see if there was something
between the two? No, why not??
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Did you ever ask around to see if Pamela Robins was at the party? No, why not??
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Why didn’t SPD consider all parties involved a possible suspect?? Error??
Injuries Associated with Drivers if High Impact Collisions
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Justin Thrasher
o Seat belt injuries
 Cuts
 Bruising
 Internal bleeding
None of the above found on Justin. Why not??
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Airbag injuries
 Chemical burns
 Thermal burns
 Friction burns (rug burns)
 Broken facial bones
 Chipped or broken teeth
 Partially or fully severed tongue
 Broken capillaries in the nose (bloody nose)
None of the above found on Justin. Why not??
o
Impact injuries associates with the driver side (unique)
 Fractured sternum
 Broken wrists from wheel
 Fractured knee
 Fractured leg
 Friction burns from steering column
None of the above found on Justin. Why not??
o
When an airbag deploys it also deploys a dry lubricant
 Most typical dry lubricant is talcum powder or cornstarch
 The dry lubricant is seen on the turn signal switch
None of the above were found on Justin. Why not??
 SPD didn’t even bother to check if any were located on Pamela. Why not?? Error??
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After the scene is cleared, the additional elements of the investigation begin
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In the vehicle
o Justin’s cell phone was in the backseat of the car
o Someone else’s cell phone was found by the SPD under the gas & brake pedals.
o SPD didn’t even bother to check to see whose cell phone it belonged to.
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Fingerprints
o However, prints of Pamela Robinson would be devastating for SPD case
 For one reason or the other, SPD chose not to examine for fingerprints.
 Why? Error??
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Hair
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High impact collision can cause front passengers and unrestrained back passengers to
hit the windshield
In examining the windshield you may find the following:
 Blood
 DNA
 Remains of skin
 DNA
 Hair
 Microscopic examination
 DNA
 Saliva, skin, or any other substance that would trace DNA
 Nobody bothered to check the windshield for anything and it was
removed without any testing.
 Why?? Error??
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DNA
 Eventually, DNA became a part of the investigation
 Not because of your intuition
 Not because of your desire for complete fact finding
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 **Only because DNA was the Defense’s idea**
Defense conducted an interview with the SPD several months after the accident
 The interview was at Defense’s request
 During this interview, DNA had not been submitted for analysis.
Why not?? Error??
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DNA for Pamela Robinson had not been collected. Error??
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DNA for David Rich had not been collected. Error??
DNA for Mr. Thrasher had been collected three times, but SPD claim that
you did not have access to this. Why is this??
During interview, Defense asked why there had not been an analysis performed
 Detective Strohmeyer told Defense because the Prosecutor had not requested it.
Why is that??
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 The Scottsdale Police Department’s job is to do a full investigation and a
collection of all of the evidence—not just the stuff that helps their case and
ignores the stuff that does not.
 Scottsdale Police Department didn’t even bother to get an analysis because the
prosecutor never told them to. Error??Why is that?
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Then In February of 2009, more than three months after Mr. Thrasher was
arrested, SPD asked for a court order to get DNA from Justin Thrasher and David
Rich
Yet, Scottsdale Police Department did not seek the DNA of Pamela Robinson.
Why??
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Several months later, Scottsdale Police Department learned that there was a presence of at
least three donors on the airbag
 Dave Rich, Justin Thrasher
 All other individuals were unknown
After these findings, Scottsdale Police Department still didn’t seek out Pamela Robinson’s
DNA. Why?
 Because a match would have been horrible for Scottsdale Police Department’s case
that was designed to point only one direction (towards Justin Thrasher)
Almost two years later during the Defense’s second interview, Defense asked if SPD ever
retrieved the DNA of Pamela
 SPD said, “No.”
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SPD’s reason is, again, the Prosecutor didn’t ask for it. Why??
Defense asks the SPD to do their own, independent DNA tests on Airbags.
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Defense finds out the SPD DNA Expert destroyed parts of the Evidence and Defense is unable to
re-test sample.
Why was it destroyed without consent of Defense??
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Scottsdale Police Department never tested the driver’s side seat belt for DNA.
Why not?? Error??
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Testing the seat belt could reveal multiple donors
This is the first and only time that Pamela was inside of the vehicle
The presence of her DNA on the seat belt would guarantee SPD that it
came from that early morning, yet the SPD did not want this
information, Why??
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How many errors did SPD make during their investigation?? Countless??
Should the SPD have considered everyone involved a suspect instead of jumping to a
conclusion immediately???
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Did Scottsdale Police Error in Their Investigation