Letter M — Means Motive & Opportunity:
We’ve all heard that a killer needs the means, motive & opportunity to commit a crime. What does that mean?
Means: Does the suspect have the ability to commit the crime? Did the person own or have access to the type of weapon used? Could the suspect have physically carried out the crime, e.g. Was she or he strong enough to swing a bat, crushing the victim’s skull. Could he/she have fired the weapon?
Motive: We covered motive under Letter B - for Bad Guys & Villains. A quick recap. Does the suspect have a compelling reason to want the victim dead? Did the husband stand to gain millions of dollars in insurance money? Was the wife planning to divorce him. Did the jilted lover decide ,”If I can’t have you, no one will.” Did the victim’s lover have a spouse who exacted revenge or wanted the lover out of the way?
Opportunity: Was there sufficient opportunity for the suspect to have committed the crime? Does he/she have an alibi? Was the suspect in town or five thousand (5000) miles away at the time of death?
How do the police determine or establish MMO, Means, Motive & Opportunity?
Search for inconsistent statements or lies
Physical evidence that might show a motive: torn lover’s photo, travel documents, insurance policies, emails, text messages, social media
Police will also scour bank records, text messages, vehicle GPS, airline tickets, movie stubs, they will talk to witnesses to see if anyone can recall seeing the suspect at the place and at the time the suspect purported to be at his alibi location.
Gas receipts, toll booth scans, traffic camera photos, surveillance video cameras from the crime scene and places nearby where a suspect claims to have been at the time of the murder.
Hotel records & receipts. Did the person order room service, make a land- line toll call, watch a pay- per- view movie, does their room key card show that they reentered the room later that night or the next day
Wills, custody agreements
Did a husband or wife hire a private investigator
Was one or both having an extramarital affair.
Vices such as gambling, drugs, porn, alcohol, prostitutes
It is time for Detective Coker and his team to assemble and go through all the evidence they have gathered so far. They need to reexamine all witness statements, confirm or break alibis, comb though all the evidence they have obtained from cell phones and other electronic devices. Study the victim and other players social media activity. Examine all financial records. Study the criminal histories of all potential suspects. They need to compare the DNA results. Review the ballistics report that should be out today or tomorrow. Check the test fire of the weapon. Re-examine fingerprints. Re canvas the neighborhood.Re-examine all physical evidence, all circumstantial evidence, all direct and indirect evidence.
They have quite a bit of physical evidence and witness statements to go through. It might take them a couple or a few days. They have to inspect the new evidence they have obtained as a result of their Stingray operation.
The homicide investigation team, lead by Detective Wayne Coker will meet today and begin sifting through the Murder Book.
Detective Coker will share his initial thoughts with those of your playing along.
- Martha was stabbed, drugged, raped and shot
- The first suspect is always the husband. His alibi is shaky, he was having an affair and his wife wanted a divorce.
- The person who “finds” the body is always a suspect, unless & until he/she can be eliminated. Sam Watson, according to most witnesses was a jilted lover and his behavior bordered on stalking. He found Martha’s body, with a gun in her hand. She could not have killed herself. His activity and statements are suspicious and he is clearly a person of interest
- The tenant, Michael Prejean is hiding something. So far Detective Coker has been unable to confirm that he was in Florida at the time of the murder and there is one witness who identified Michael from a photo line up that places him in New Orleans shortly before the murder.But, why did the witness wait so long to come forward? Detective Coker needs more.
- The victim was rumored to have been engaged in an affair with her employer, Dr. Russo. Dr. Russo’s refusal to voluntarily turn over cell phone and refusal to voluntarily submit to a blood DNA test adds to detective Coker’s suspicion of Russo.
- There is something suspicious about Nurse Jenny
- Annabelle Kelly’s husband initially refused to provide a DNA sample. He finally agreed to voluntarily submit to a blood DNA test. Results not back. He is rumored to have been romantically involved with the victim
- Detective Coker is not willing to rule out a woman as the shooter. Not at this time
- The presence of sperm and the signs of rape indicate a man committed this heinous crime.
- However, they have no reason to rule out two co-conspirators committing the crime.
- Detective Coker has sent the note — allegedly left by the husband,Thomas Clinton, to the crime lab for a questioned documents expert and a hand writing exemplar to compare the note to Mr. Clinton’s known handwriting sample. If, Mr. Clinton did not go home prior to his wife’s murder, as he claims, when did he write the note to his wife that told her he would be playing basketball and to not wait up. Was this note a rouse? A countermeasure to throw the police off him as a suspect? Why write the note if he was never there?. Did he write it at some other time and place it there.?
- Does the husband have an accomplice, perhaps his legal assistant, who placed the note in the home?
- Whose DNA is on the freshly smoked cigarette butts located so close to the body?
- Why was a .38 placed in the victim’s hand when she was clearly killed with a much smaller caliber weapon? Someone initially wanted the police to believe she committed suicide
- Who stands to gain from her death? Who had the biggest motive to kill Martha Clinton?
- Who had the means?
- Who had the opportunity
- Finally, his biggest question. Do we rule out the husband as a suspect simply because the victim’s body was found with the presence of sperm from two different men? On first look, the way a lawyer might want it to look, it would appear that Thomas Clinton had consensual sex with his wife and then later that day or the following day, someone else had sex (most likely non consensual sex) and after raping the victim, this second person then killed her. But … Detective Coker’s mind is spinning. He’s not close to letting the husband off the hook. Couldn’t it just as easily have occurred in reverse order? Martha Clinton had consensual sexual relations with someone, a lover, a boyfriend, a one night stand, or even a stranger. Her husband then takes advantage of this act and drugs his wife so she can’t fight back, rapes her and makes the attack so brutal that no one would suspect a husband could do that to his wife. Then he kills her. Has he committed the perfect crime, knowing that there will be a logical explanation for the presence of his sperm? Coker needs to toss all possibilities around in the battle room. They will lock themselves in with some strong coffee, order Pizza or Wings and get down to work
For a daily update on all the facts, witnesses, clues, evidence and status of the case for my Crime Fiction Murder Mystery, click on the Legal Fiction Page of my blog. It is located at the top of my blog in the navigation bar.
Stay tuned. I will announce the week 2 random crime fiction murder mystery challenge winner. I hoped to announce the week 2 winner today, but it will be tomorrow. Each week I randomly select a name from the comment section and that person wins a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
For a list of all the other participants of the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge, click on the link to the left.