Thursday, November 10, 2016

75% Chance of a Conviction

When Fred Murray sued the state of New Hampshire to get access to records related to the disappearance of his daughter, it led to court testimony and affidavits from investigators. In defending his office's reluctance to release any info, Assistant AG Jeffrey Strelzin explained that there was a 75% chance that they will prosecute someone based on what they'd found so far.

A lot has been made of this, with people pointing to this as proof that the prosecutors have a suspect for Maura's murder but not enough evidence to convict. But I do not believe this is what he meant. Here's a snippet taken during his cross examination by Fred's lawyer.

Question: Based on your involvement with this investigation and your knowledge of the file, do you have an opinion as to whether or not it is more likely than not that this investigation may lead to criminal charges?

Answer: I do.

Q. What is your opinion?

A. I would have to say it's more likely.

Q. That it will lead to criminal charges?

A. Yes.

Later, Strelzin goes on to say:

I could give a percentage of what I think that likelihood is, but I acknowledge that there's also a likelihood that this could simply be a missing person's case that doesn't have criminal overtones.

In other testimony, it is revealed that the investigation kicked up info on criminal activity that was possibly tangential to Maura's disappearance - an arson, etc.

So what does he mean by the 75% conviction? I believe he's talking about things other than murder. That 75% chance of a conviction could refer to things like identity theft, money laundering, fraud, assault, etc. But none of it is able to be pursued until Maura either steps forward or her body is found.

But don't assume the 75% chance refers to murder.

22 comments:

  1. Didn't a former cop say they have a good idea who killed her and won't bring to trial because they don't want to lose?

    This is the best example of our flawed legal system and makes sense.

    That said, the span of time between her being an unstressed college student and being overly emotional is pretty short.

    It is strange that she'd continue committing crimes when there was no need. She wasn't impoverished. She had a job and booze money. I hate spoiled white kids. HATE them. Maybe she did feel judged by daddy over withdrawl from WP and that caused her repeat minor criminal behavior.

    She bought a lot of alcohol though en route to NH(or wherever she wanted to end up). That doesn't point to runaway. A runaway doesn't waste money like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It is strange that she'd continue committing crimes when there was no need. She wasn't impoverished. She had a job and booze money. I hate spoiled white kids. HATE them."

      Bloody rude, and UTTER conjecture. From all I've read, they are FAR from wealthy. This gal worked HARD.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. That whole paragraph seemed unnecessarily rude and judgmental

      Delete
  2. That is so true. We no what happens when we ASSUME anything............. Very insightful!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's true that all angles need to be pursued, but it's possible Strezlin was pressured. Good points I'd not really considered but I always thought the extraneous cases were crimes utterly unconnected to the case itself but to persons whose names were connected, even if they were innocent in her disappearance.

    Further, didn't these suits go down before LE searched the trailer? So at the time, Strezlin may have been referring to that specific person.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wouldn't the statute of limitations on a lot of those other crimes you mention have run out by now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good Point! Answers, James?

      Delete
  5. Why couldn't conviction for the criminal activity be pursued until Maura's fate is known? Because Maura is the culprit of said activity? If the activity was undertaken someone Maura knew, how would successful prosecution of that crime hinge on what became of Maura? Arson is arson, whether committed in furtherance of a plot to help somebody disappear or a plot to kill somebody.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Does this mean to you that the comment about the 75% conviction, Strezlin may have been talking about this as in against Maura herself? Crimes she was involved in? If she finally was to show out of nowhere?

    ReplyDelete
  7. If you read on in the testimony given by Strezlin, he immediately refers to two 20 year old murder cases, and a 35 year old murder case. He also refers to there being no statute of limitations on murder cases. James, whilst it doesn't sit with your own opinion, I think it's pretty apparent that the 75% chance comment is in reference to this case being a murder case.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Did he mean Maura would be convicted or the person associated with her disappearance would be convicted, and not necessarily murder? I wish there was access to all the info the police have because what good is it doing them after all this time?

    ReplyDelete
  9. And what did Kathleen mean when she said even if it's someone in the family, or whatever. Why would she say that if she didn't have suspicion of someone being involved in Maura's disappearance? Who says that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never read that before. Interesting ...

      Delete
  10. After going over this testimony, Strelzin is equivocating his answers to please the court.
    What I get from this testimony is that the state doesn't want to turn over the case file for fear that it MIGHT turn into a criminal case. By making the file public any prosecution at a later date would be compromised. Pretty standard stuff by LE. The criminal charges statement could mean anything including someone lying to the police. I don't think that you can read anything into the 75% claim. The court asks Strelzin what percentage he could make, in his opinion, that it will end up as a criminal CASE. He clearly states through out his testimony that this is a missing persons case. Without evidence that a crime has been committed it is likely to remain that way. However, I also get that it is his experience in missing person cases, that the longer the case goes the more likely foul play was involved. I think that is a logical conclusion.

    I was thinking about the last interview on the podcast. Have to say that I don't share the view that the cases are connected. This is not a simple missing persons case. It is not that Maura was headed between point A and point B, had a car accident and disappeared. If that where the case, I would be pretty confident that foul play was involved. We don't know where she was really going and why. What is known is a series of events and actions by Maura that lead to the car accident scene in Haverhill. The fact that she hasn't surfaced for many years tend to add to the conclusion of foul play (at some point) or suicide. However without any evidence except for the passage of time, you can't entirely rule out starting a new life somewhere else. In fact over the past year a few people that where missing person cases surfaced after many years. So it is not impossible for a person properly motivated to do the same. One thing all of the people who surfaced had in common is they all had family, financial or legal problems.
    I have always assumed that the family just can't accept that if Maura was alive that she wouldn't make contact with someone. And no one wants to accept that a loved one is driven to suicide. So that only leaves one conclusion of foul play. There is a good amount of logic to that train of thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "After going over this testimony, Strelzin is equivocating his answers to please the court.

      "What I get from this testimony is that the state doesn't want to turn over the case file for fear that it MIGHT turn into a criminal case. By making the file public any prosecution at a later date would be compromised. Pretty standard stuff by LE."

      Ding!

      Delete
  11. This case is so frustrating. Let's go with the theory she ran away and is still alive. What would be the most likely method of getting her to come out? If she is alive, I'm certain she is aware of your blog and all the activities around the case over the years.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't understand. It's been so long. How could they have not gone after anyone for either Maura or some odd related information they found that lead them to another crime?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Why did you say "an arson". Just random, or did you had anything in mind. Because I am picking up some vibes...

    ReplyDelete
  14. I just read through the entire transcript. To me, it seems like the 75% was in direct reference to a criminal charge for *Maura’s* disappearance/murder, not other crimes surrounding it. It seems pretty clear however, that they have no suspect (or really any idea what happened), but he’s implying that based on the investigation and his experience as a prosecutor, the evidence and circumstances make it appear that it was a criminal disappearance (75% chance she was taken against her will). But then he goes onto say while that is what he thinks, there is always a chance it could be voluntary and straight up admits “It’s unknown at this point”.

    Even though he says there is a 75% chance that it was a criminal disappearance, I don’t think that number means anything. He’s just basing that on is past experiences, and how strange the circumstances are. As said above, he even said that it’s totally unknown what happened and admits she could have walked on her own. The entire testimony was in regards to getting the records released. The police obviously don’t want to make them public, and usually don’t. Not only could it tip someone off if it WAS criminal and give them the upper hand, but releasing records also opens up the department to criticism on how the investigation was handled. It’s a high profile case so as soon as those records are released the public and media will go over them with a fine tooth comb. He has personal motivation to keep them sealed, and thus exaggerate the likelihood of charges even though the police are likely as baffled as we are. I really don’t think this will ever be solved based on evidence. Sadly it’s going to either take a body or legit sighting of her. Hate to say it, but I lean towards the first.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This reminds me of the Long Island Serial Killer case
    (Gilgo Beach murders). The police have a way of sitting on valuable evidence. If certain things are made public maybe the concerned citizens of this great country would be able to solve these cases instead of dragging them on and on and hoping the public forgets about them? Where are the good investigative journalists these days? I say, after all this time, show the evidence and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe the perpetrator will get street justice if the other type of justice fails!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I believe the "powers that be" don't want this case solved. They want it to just go away. Even David Paulides, an ex cop< says police hate working on missing persons cases.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree with James on this. Put yourself in Strelzin's shoes, testifying in a case where for whatever reason you do not want the files released. You are going to choose your words carefully, with the goal of getting what you want. The way the questions are asked, and the way he answers them, its clear to me that he was referring to 75% chance of charges from this investigation. He did not say for what, he did not say which crime, he just said charges. If he was trying to say that there was a 75% chance of charges being brought in the disappearance of Maura Murray, he had ample opportunity to actually say those words, and yet chose different words. Strelzin was a politician as part of his job, and a seasoned veteran of the court system. He knows the words to use, and he used them masterfully. He clearly meant charges in general based on information gathered during the investigation and he listed some of them. It is likely some of them did lead to charges, we would never know since they were unrelated to Maura Murray, even if some leads came from the Maura Murray investigation.

    ReplyDelete