Michael Iver Peterson: a pathological liar and a murderer

Real-crime-feature

Michael Peterson

Last year I published an article explaining how Michael Iver Peterson killed his wife Kathleen, the big mistake of the consultant of the Durham D. A. was to think that Peterson used a blow poke or something similar to kill his wife Kathleen, Michael Peterson killed his wife and his friend Elizabeth Radlif simply using his bare hands.

On march 2016 I wrote an analysis of Michael Peterson’s 911 call, an incriminating call incredibly used by Peterson’ lawyer David Rudolf, as something useful to save his client.

Michael Iver Peterson’s personality is interesting, he is obsessed with himself, he has a grandiose sense of self-importance, his goals are always selfish and self-motivated, he is unable to establish healthy relationships, he believes to be unique and special, he requires extreme admiration and has unreasonable expectations of special treatment, he thinks to be more intelligent than others, he takes advantage of others to further his own needs, he has zero empathy, in other words he is a Narcissist.

He built a very sick Narcissistic Family: his children and wives (he had two) were mentally abused; just Kathleen’s daughter, Caitlin Veronica Atwater, escaped this pathological environment.

Durham District Attorney and prosecutor in this case, Jim Hardin, now Judge of the Supreme Court, said about Peterson: “On every aspect Michael Peterson life is a lie, this case is about pretends and appearances”.

Michael Iver Peterson lied all his life. He thinks to be a good liar and more intelligent than others, that’s why he agreed to act with his lawyers and consultants in a pathetic and incriminating documentary The Staircase (2004) by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. The representation of a sad Narcicisstic Family emerges in the chapters 8 of this documentary. Liars usually speak too much and Michael Peterson is one of them.

Here, two statements that Peterson released to the journalists outside the Durham County Courthouse before his trial:

– “Kathleen was my life, I whisper her name in my heart thousand times, she is there but I can’t stop crying. I would never have done anything to hurt her, I am innocent of these charges, I will prove it in court. People I do know wonder how I can go out (of prison) but I said I didn’t do anything, I am truly innocent of these charges”.

Peterson was speaking freely and he had the occasion to say that he didn’t kill his wife but he was unable to lie.

“I would never have done anything to hurt her” is an unreliable denial.

He said hurt instead of kill to minimize. Minimization is a distancing measure, it’s a way to avoid of dealing with negative emotions by reducing the importance and impact of events that give rise to those emotions, it’s a common strategy used by guilty people to deal with feelings of guilt.

“I am innocent to these charges” is an unreliable denial. Peterson said the truth, he was still “innocent de iure” because he hadn’t be judged yet, but he was not innocent “de facto”. Anyway, to affirm to be innocent is different from saying “I didn’t kill”, which is expected. To say, “I am innocent” is to deny the judicial outcome, not the action. An innocent de facto is someone who did not “do it” and is able to say “I didn’t do it” and eventually to add in the judicial conclusion. When people say they are innocent, they are just denying the conclusion that they are guilty not the action. Peterson, speaking about “charges”, deliberately left out what these charges were to take distance from the murder.

“I didn’t do anything” is not a reliable denial but a vague assertion.

In “I am truly innocent of these charges”, the use of “truly”, a qualifier, tell us that Peterson believes in degrees of innocence; for him, someone can be “truly innocent” or just “innocent”

Guilty people usually don’t lie but make statements which only sound like a denial, this is the case.

Another statement:

– “I didn’t do anything, I am innocent, I was wrongly convicted, I didn’t harm Kathleen and I didn’t believe into the jury clerk produced that I will be convicted, my immediate reaction was, let’s end it and I told them that I didn’t want an appeal, I wanted just end it right now, forget, enough was enough, we all suffered enough and that… that wonderful, awful life from Romeo and Juliet, all are punished, I mean, I don’t know what we were punished for, I don’t know why my children had to suffer with it, why they were being punished but I did feel that: Let this end right now”.

“I did not do anything…” is not a reliable denial because Peterson, to reduce the stress, deliberately left out the accuses. 

Again, when Peterson said: “I am innocent”, he was just denying the conclusion not the action.

When he said: “I didn’t harm Kathleen”, he substituted “kill” to the softer “harm” in an attempt to minimize to reduce the stress.

When Peterson said: “… that wonderful awful life from Romeo and Juliet”, he was telling us that the wonderful awful is just fantasy like the shakespearean drama Romeo and Juliet.

Peterson was able to say: “I was wrongly convicted” because the consultant of the District Attorney failed to reconstruct the homicide. He didn’t kill Kathleen with the blow poke, he killed her with his bare hands, that’s why in the following statement he says: “Truth is lost”. 

– “This case is no more and no longer about Kathleen. The D.A. has to win, that’s it, he doesn’t care how and basically… and by the same token my lawyers, they want to win. Truth is lost, you know all of this now, truth has no meaning or whatsoever, this has became a show and has got all momentum and we are just going along, I don’t think the D.A. cares about truth anymore, all he wants to do is win and I understand, that I mean sure aaa… in the same way with David, he do… he wants to win, well I want to win too, but I’m still very concerned about the reality of what happened that night”.

Peterson said that he “understand” the District Attorney, an innocent is unable to accept to be framed, no way. When he said “Thuth is lost” and “I’m still very concerned about the reality of what happened that night” he told us that he knows exactly what happened that night and that he knows that his lawyer David Rudolf, that support the idea of a fall down the stairs, is wrong too.

Peterson is recounting the facts and is telling us exactly when he killed his wife:

– “Kathleen and I… we were here watching a movie, I have gone to blockbusters and rented a video and we were watching American Sweet Hearts and I think is probably around 11 o’clock that the movie ended and we took our glasses, left… left the dinner plates as [unintelligible] on there, we will clean up the next day, went into the kitchen, we usus… we would talk for hours, Kathleen and I, in the night time, would talk for two three hours about the movie… ee the kids, what we were going to do and we came in here I think there was… I, I, I’m not sure, we probably had another bottle, I know we were drinking two bottle that night aaa was a nice night, I guess was 55, 60 degrees, very nice night… aaa and I gone outside aaand we were talking here forr… an amount [unintelligible] of time and then what we usually do in a nice night we would go down the pool which I always think the nicest place on the property. I don’t know if the chairs were like this or not but I mean probably some like this aaand she was… we were both right here and you know the dog would come over andd we were just talking anddd finishing our drinks, and thennn she said: ‘I gotta go in because I got a conference call in the morning’, anddd she started walking out that way andd I stayed right here… don’t think I anything special to her, sure not thinking this is, you know, the last time I gonna see her, I said: Goodnight, I gonna be able to see you later and stayed here, she walked and the last I saw her was… I was there and she was just walking… walking here, and that’s it. That was the last time I saw Kathleen alive, no, she was alive when I found her… but barely”.

Peterson said: “(…) we were watching American Sweet Hearts and I think is probably around 11 o’clock that the movie ended and we took our glasses left… left the dinner plates…”, something is missing, why Peterson said “(…) we were watching American Sweet Hearts” and not “(…) we watched American Sweet Hearts”? I suppose that something happened while they were watching the movie, what we expect him to say is “(…) we were watching American Sweet Hearts while (…)”. After that the use of “I think” and “probably” shows a lack of conviction, he said “is probably” not “was probably”, he used the presente tense not the past tense because he was not speaking from his memory; then, he said twice: “left… left the dinner plates…”, the use of “left” as a connecting verb is a stop of the brain and tells us that some information are being left out of the statement, in this case he repeated twice, the first time he use “left” as a connecting verb, the second time describing an action.

Right after that he said: “We will clean up the next day, went into the kitchen”, the use of the future “we will clean” isn’t the right tense after “took” and “left”, Peterson was thinking at the present, he was not  recalling from experiential memory; the omission of the pronoun “we” in the second sentence is significant, the pronoun “we” is gone and I guess that at the same time Kathleen was gone too, dead, they were not anymore a “we”. A change in language indicates a change in reality or is an indicator of deception as the subject does not speak from memory and is not able to track down his own words.

When Peterson says “We usus… we would talk for hours (…) we usually do in a nice night we would go down the pool (…) , he is recalling what they usually did in a nice night and not what they did that night. By telling us what usually happened, Peterson is revealing that something most unusual happened. The need to normalize tells us something not normal took place. 

Peterson was trying to built a story but being a very bad liar, he reveals a lack of conviction from saying: “I think there was… I, I, I’m not sure, we probably (…), I guess (…), I don’t know if (…), I mean probably (…)” , furthermore the presence of a stuttering “I” discloses tension and anxiety. 

Peterson tells us exactly when he killed his wife and that after the homicide he went outside alone: ” I guess was 55, 60 degrees, very nice night…aaa and I gone outside”.  He gave us unnecessary information about the temperature of that night to justify his presence outside for a long time in a night of December. He said “and” before “I gone outside”, when a subject start a sentence with an “and” he leaves some information out of the statement.

– “I can vividly remember finding Kathleen, I can remember opening the door, I can remember calling 911, I can remember… I particularly remember Todd just… ho… holding me as tight as possible, I think in order to contain me, I can remember Heather, the doctor, Ben’s girlfriend, taking my pulse and then I can remember and it must have been very early, I was still in the kitchen, the cops were on me instantly, every where I went a policeman was there I, I, I went outside and… with band and a policeman was there and I remember walking down there, a policeman was there, there was always a policeman with me”.

This is a very sick statement, Kathleen died but everything is just about him. There is not prologue, the critical event is “I can vividly remember finding Kathleen”, no desperation, no pain, no regrets, nothing about what Kathleen went through, just “finding”. The aftermath is all about him, he “particularly” remember his son holding him, the doctor taking his pulse, the cops on him. The critical event, the most important occurrence in the narrative is gone. His statement is suspiciously out of balance. In this statement as in the previous the presence of a stuttering “I” discloses tension and anxiety.

 “… when I think of Kathleen my… I remember… unfortunately its her dying in my arms eh… that’s always overwhelming imagine, if I look at something, oh, ya, there is Kathleen, these are funny things or pictures on the refrigerator where she is in the imperial gardens in Tokyo or there… so… so many things that always if I stop and think no one thing comes out never one thing or or i might think it’s a shine moment or I see pictures or something else or another incident that might occur, oh, ya, there is that one so there is no one identifying thing with Kathleen no ehm…”.

“I remember… unfortunately its her dying in my arms”, this is truth, Kathleen died in his arms, killed by his arms, but not after he called 911 at 2.40 a.m. that morning, as he wants us to believe, she died between 11.08 p.m. and 11.53 p.m., the night before. At 11:08 p.m. Helen Prislinger, Kathleen co-worker, spoke to her, at 11:53 p.m. she sent an email to Michael Peterson’s e-mail address that Kathleen was supposed to read but the attachment ‘readiness’ was never opened. Probably Kathleen while was at the computer read Peterson’ e-mails and found evidences of a homosexual relation with a male prostitute, a motive for murder.

Peterson recounting the facts of that night says that Kathleen left him at the pool to go inside, his words are:

– “…and the last I saw her was when I was there and she was just walking here, and that’s it. That was the last time I saw Kathleen alive…. no… she was alive when I found her… but barely”.

Analyzing Peterson’s 911 call I realise that after almost 15 seconds from the start of the phone call, the operator asked Peterson about the number of stairs, he wasn’t able to answer the question because he wasn’t close to the scene. In the first 15 seconds of the phone call Peterson wasn’t approaching his wife, he was close to her just around 25 seconds after the beginning of the call, he went there just to look at the number of the stairs and because asked. We can hear Peterson walking to the scene to look at the stairs. I guess Peterson picked up the cordless phone in the kitchen, just behind the corner, very close to the service stairs where Kathleen’ body was, so why he had to walk for around ten seconds to be close to his wife to be able to look at the stairs? And, how came that he wasn’t close to her to give information about her conditions to the operator? How could she have died in his arms in the early hours of that morning if he was far from her during the 911 call, as he said, after he found her she was alive but just barely? 

Usually, when people call 911 they stay very close to the victims to give the operator information about their real conditions and to be able to help following the suggestions the operator may give them, like how to perform CPR.

Michael Peterson had no intention to help his wife, that’s why he was far from her when he called 911 and went back to the scene just to look at the stairs to give the operator an approximate number.

Michael Peterson was far from Kathleen because she was already dead for hours and he was not interesting in helping her or in giving any real information to the 911 operator about her condition.

When Michael Peterson called 911 he was quite far from the victim, instead, when the paramedics arrived, he showed a different behavior, he was on her body trying to resuscitate her, he was acting, he knew she was already dead for hours. Peterson was not just acting as a grieving husband for the paramedics, he was also trying to justify all the blood on his clothes, touching and hugging the victim, in other words: he was trying to cover evidences.

– “I went out to turn off the pool lights, I came back and there she was. 
When I called 9-1-1, I thought she’d fallen down the stairs.
As far as I know, that’s what happened.
Well, of course, I thought, well, that’s the only thing he’s basing his case, on this blow poke, and then it wasn’t the blow poke, so of course I thought, well for all of these other reasons including the fact that I certainly didn’t kill Kathleen, well, I certainly didn’t kill her with the blow poke, so, I thought of course, this solves the problem for the case. And then I find out it didn’t even make any difference to the jury. Something else must have caused those injuries, but nobody knows what”.

“I went out to turn off the pool lights, I came back and there she was”, this is a different version, Peterson is speaking just about himself outside and for few minutes.

“As far as I know, that’s what happened”, shows a lack of conviction. Peterson is playing with the story of the blow poke, a mistake of the prosecutor, this can help him but doesn’t make him innocent de facto at all. When he says: “I certainly didn’t kill Kathleen, well, I certainly didn’t kill her with the blow poke…”, he is trying to deny the allegations but saying “well, I certainly didn’t kill her with the blow poke…” he tells us that he killed her.

Peterson and one of his lawyer are recorded while simulating an out-of-court oral testimony:

Mr peterson you are under oath, correct?
Yes.
You aspect the jury to believe you?
Yes.
Treat you as a honest person?
Yes. But the truth is: there have been times in your life when you lied because it benefited you!
I would say probably that’s a good characterisation although I might say it’s easier, it was just easier sometimes to let the lie come out.

Peterson is unable to say: “But the truth is: there have been times in my life when I lied because it benefited me!”, instead he is speaking in third person and he is expecting the jury to believe him because he used to cheat on people for his entire life, he built his life on lies. His lawyer affirms that Peterson is a liar and Peterson replied that “it’s easier”

You married Patricia in 1966, is not correct?
Correct.
And during your marriage, you had a number of affairs?
Yes.
They were not all woman, were they?
No.
And you did continue to have affairs even after relationship with Kathleen began?
That’s, I mean the word affairs to me means…
Sex?
How do you describe one incident or affairs…
The word affairs is confusing?
Yes.
Make simply, you had sex with other people after relationship with Kathleen began?
That’s correct.
Men?
That’s correct.
And women?
No.
Just men?
Yes.
So now, this was different from when you were married to Patty?
Yes.
Ok, as you never talked about that with Kathleen?
…..… Well, we did talk about.
Did you, having sex with other men during the marriage?
In a sense, yes, she understood that.
She understood you with men?
Oh yes… I think there was enough awareness on her part of me as a person, who I was which is what made this relationship so good that yes, she understood these aspects about me and was not bother by that because I loved her but yes I did have sex with other people but had absolutely nothing to do with not loving Kathleen or… loving her less.

During this simulation Peterson fell:

Ok, as you never talked about that with Kathleen?
…..… Well, we did talk about.

He waited too long to answer.

Did you, having sex with other men during the marriage?
In a sense, yes, she understood that.

“In a sense, yes, she understood that”, is a weak statement.

Oh yes… I think there was enough awareness on her part of me as a person, who I was which is what made this relationship so good that yes, she understood these aspects about me and was not bother by that because I loved her but yes I did have sex with other people but had absolutely nothing to do with not loving Kathleen or… loving her less.

 His narcissistic ego is huge.

– “No and I told you guys from the beginning my ass life is in your hands and I know that and I’m not gonna smart you, I’m not gonna smart anybody and I want to tell you this”.

Just guilty people put their “ass life” in the hands of their lawyers acting as spectators. With “I’m not gonna smart you” and I’m not gonna smart anybody”, he is telling us that he is trying to smart everybody.

Peterson his speaking about the articles he wrote before the homicide:

“… but everybody knowsss and I should certainly know better, that when you make fun of people, they don’t like it, its just that simple aandd if you make them silly or ridiculous, ohh, they remember that”.

He shows us how manipulative he can be, he wants us to believe that the District Attorney is framing him because in his articles he attacked the establishment.

Peterson is speaking with his lawyer David Rudolf about the exhumation of the remains of Elizabeth Radliff:

David Rudolf: On the exhumation, apparently Holland told Barbara, in a email to her told that they will exhume Liz’s body, right now we are just basing it on what Barbara…

Michael: Right.

David Rudolf: .. told us that Holland told her…

Michael: Right.

David Rudolf:… and I don’t want…

Michael: Right. What I would like you to do then, its time to Hardin [unintelligible] Jim, we don’t personally have any objections, again wha… you know, what the fucking round [unintelligible] dig graves?

David Rudolf: What Holland claims was… they had permission from Liz’s mother and sister.

Michael: Well are le closest relatives [unintelligible] , what about their daughters?

David Rudolf: I don’t know, you know tha… it maybe ugly, it maybe terrible but the bottom line it’s going end help, you know?!

Michael: I understand.

David Rudolf: If everything is as we think, it is, it’s going help us.

Michael: I know but normally, look, I mean, I have seen enough dead bodies, corpses and graves, it doesn’t… you know, I have no moral problem with this, but… you know, again, as I watch, this was a very good friend of mine and I, I… you know, I have been with that family, the Ratliff family, since George died in… Jesus, 19…, the Granadian invasion, 1981 to [unintelligible] and it’s just… I just don’t know and I can imagine what Margaret and Martha will think, oh, by the way, you have the morgue decide to dig up your mother, aaa, just because, oh Christ, so if you can work with Hardin, Holland or Hardin, Holland [unintelligible] look so that I won’t tell the girls but before they do it, I’m certainly would I have to tell the girls and you might say, you might also, Jim want to talk to the girls, you know the sister is one thing but the daughters are another matter and…

David Rudolf: I don’t want to get into that. I don’t want to get into a pissing match with Hardin over who did they get permission from and who should they have got permission from, that I mean actually is a battle that I don’t want to fight. We are not going to win.

Michael: Fine, but I mean, I guess now, we are not strictly talking about a war here, can people just go and dig a grave? Its one thing when I go in on Holland and go swabbing Kahleen’s vagina [unintelligible] , now we are talking [unintelligible] sick they go in after Kathleen autopsy, two days later, she is in there, all rush into her body and [unintelligible] are doing that, that was disgusting and now they are digging a body, I just… I don’t like it, what I mean, I understand it so just working out with Hardin at least I can notice Margaret and Martha that their mum is going to be dig up.

Peterson is trying to convince his lawyer David Rudolf to stop the exhumation in a quite confused way, he has no arguments. Peterson knows that the result of a new autopsy can put him in a corner because he killed Elizabeth and his wife in the same way. 

Michael Iver Peterson with his right hand grabbed his wife Kathleen by the hairs of her frontal area and slammed with force the back of her head against the wooden stairs, again and again, till she died. During the assault, he once grabbed her contemporary by the hairs with his right hand and by the throat with his left hand and his thumb produced the fracture of the superior cornu of the left thyroid cartilage of her throat. According with her post mortem examination Kathleen suffered multiple lacerations of the head consistent with a flat object, that flat object were the stairs against which her head impacted several times, not because a fall down the stairs but because Michael Peterson slammed her head against those stairs.

In 1985, Elizabeth Ratliff was killed in the same way but by a younger and stronger Michael Peterson. She was found dead at the bottom of the stairs of her house in Germany, she suffered a fracture at the base of the skull because Michael Peterson was younger and stronger and the surface she was slammed against was a floor made of terra-cotta tiles, not wood, like in the Kathleen case.

Peterson’s short novel about Elizabeth Radliff’s exhumation:

Liz’s Last Trip

The last trip Liz made was in a hearse. She had ridden in several others. The first time after she die in 1985 she had been transported from her home where she died to the hospital for her autopsy then there was the hearse ride from the hospital to the airport for her return to the United States. Then there was the hearse trip from Houston to the mortuary in Bay City and what would presumably been hearse journey from the mortuary to her grave. However, eighteen years later, she made another ride, this one a twelve hundred mile longer across middle America in the back of a hearse travelling from the grave to North Carolina for another autopsy.

Michael Peterson has no empathy, Elizabeth Radliff, a woman he killed in Germany, is just an inspiration to write about, he is able to ironize about a drama.

A conversation after the results of the second autopsy on Elizabeth Radliff:

Michael: I mean do you have any doubt that this was collusion? It was just choreograph, it was just completely choreograph.

David Rudolf: I have been in front of a lot of Judges, with a lot of Prosecutors, in lots of situation and I get tell you, I had never ever see something like that before, never.

Michael: I… I don’t think David and I don’t think Tom, you know, believe me or anybody from the beginning but when I say this isn’t Chapel Hill, this isn’t Rhode Island, this isn’t Charlen, this is Durham, it’s unique, it’s particular, it’s dirty, it’s corrupt, it’s small. You know, I don’t think anybody knows this town better than I do and I… that’s where I lived here for years and I told you guys from the beginning that is it… I just found it disgusting… soo.

Peterson, despite the evidence, is still trying to convince his lawyers that the District Attorney is building a case against him because his past, he is using strong words against the establishment without any shame.

– “I can have the presumption of innocence, the reasonable doubt they get over came that the… the bar of the reasonable doubt is been raised significantly now in related to the Radliff so instead of being there which played safe or didn’t prove this as a result of things this coincidences its now up to here. This case is no more and no longer about Kathleen…”.

In this statement he says that the similarities in the two autopsies are just coincidences, but in the moment he says “coincidences” he manually writes in the air two quotation marks admitting that the similarities in the two cases are not coincidences.

Peterson at the phone with his lawyer David Rudolf:

“I understand that but I think, I have been honest with you from day one, meet me in the jail”.

“I think, I have been honest” is a weak affirmation for the presence of “I think” that shows a lack of conviction. He shows a needs to persuade with “I have been honest”. He didn’t say the truth to his lawyerRudolf, he hasn’t been honest with him either.

At the phone:

– “One: I didn’t do anything, number two: there is no murder weapon, number three: there is no motive, Jesus”.

Why if he didn’t kill his wife, should he worry about a murder weapon or a motive?

He is right when he says: “there is no murder weapon”, he used his bare hands.

Peterson is speaking with his two adoptive daughters Margareth and Martha about Kathleen sister, Candice:

“Two times in my all life I have seen that stupid woman andd she said I have a terrible temper”.

After this statement, Peterson pretends to choke one of his adoptive daughters to make them laughing, very sad! This narcissistic human being was able to fool both of his first victim’s daughter too. His black humour shows his lack of empathy and is a way to take distance from the fact.

Peterson is discussing with his lawyers and consultants if he should take the stand at the trial:

– “That’s what I do for living that… It’s tell stories and and everybody wants to hear story, from the [unintelligible] little baby, this is the story andd it’s better a nice story than a scary story and we do see, we have a told story expect in a sense that here the forensic and has told what and what not, but I don’t know how you get in the story, anybody story, without going into the other side, the band staff that everybody doesn’t particularly want have come out in their life because for every good thing [unintelligible] if there is not at least the bad thing some back there, there is a spine can come back, I don’t know I don’t know…”.

Peterson knows, because he is a liar, that people are believers and he is telling his lawyers that he is used to tell stories, this is the reason he feels comfortable to take the stand.

Todd, Martha and Peterson found a blow poke in the garage, here what Peterson tell his lawyer David Rudolf:

“We were terrified, we were freak th… you know literaly freak… asked what happen so we got… Martha got the video camera, I got the … she got the tape recorder [unintelligible]. I called Tom at this time and, you know, if can’t show up we are going to, you can’t come in this house until my attorney who I thought he would show by motorcicle appear… We went in the [unintelligible] and Todd said: I want to talk you dad and I want to ask you, would you put picture life on that blow poke? And I know exactly what he was doing, what he was saying, so, you know, I said: No, absolutely, I would bet my life on that blow poke unless le cops because are still going through this conspiracy thing, unless the cops come get put them God damned thing”.

A tirade, a pathetic show for his children and for his lawyer David Rudolf. 

“You know, I think one of the most strange comments and actually I have two comments, was when Candice was on the stand and she sa… ‘I don’t know who that Michael Peterson is’, you know, I don’t know who that person is either, who has been on trial hearing all these things, listening all of these stories.. mmm this is incredible thing, I don’t know who that person is either, but it’s me, I know that I know who I am and I can live with that and I told you at the beginning, I have never been terribly concern what other people think and I know that come across an arrogance but I think that a lot has to do with peace that I have never really ever hurt anybody, yes I have been… have done bad things, yes, you know I certainly in a verbally way hurt I haven’t lived the most exemplary life but I never had consciously going out hurt anybody and I can in a very loose definition live in peace with myself and if you can do that it really doesn’t make any different where where there is so I just probably not be any different Thursday, Wednesday if I come back to this house or go somewhere, it’s not going to change who I am and who I know I am. It would be still me and the trappings certainly could be very, very different, the environment certainly could be very different but that just… environment”.

Saying: “I don’t know who that person is either, but it’s me, I know that I know who I am and I can live with that (…) I have never been terribly concern what other people think (…)”, Peterson recognise that during the trial they painted a real portrait of him. 

“I have never really ever hurt anybody (…)” is not a reliable denial, he is unable to say: “I didn’t kill Kathleen”. 

A reliable denial has 3 components:

1. the pronoun “I”
2. past tense verb
3. accusation answered

If a denial has more than 3 or less than 3 components, it is no longer reliable.

“I did not kill her” followed by “I told the truth”, while addressing the denial, it is more than 99% likely to be true. A deceptive person will alter his denial to avoid a direct lie.

In this case, we look for peterson to say “I didn’t kill her” or “I didn’t kill Kathleen” using the pronoun, “I”, the past tense “didn’t” or “did not” and add in the specific accusation.

“I have never really ever hurt anybody” is not a reliable denial either he doesn’t deny the action of killing, he uses “never ever” a way to avoid a specific time frame. He substitutes “kill” to the softer “hurt” violating component three of a reliable denial and he substitutes “I didn’t” to “I have never really ever” violating component two of a reliable denial. “Never” seeks vagueness and is unreliable as this was a single specific event. “Never” is, itself, sensitive, it becomes even weaker as it combines with the need to persuade that we find in his few unnecessary words “really” and “ever”.

“I never had consciously going out hurt anybody” is different from “I never hurt anybody” or from “I never killed anybody” or from “I didn’t kill anybody”, the use of “consciously” and of “going out” make this statement very weak. He shows a deep lack of conviction that opens to the possibility that “unconsciously” he could have hurt someone. Peterson is telling us that nothing can change the way he lives with himself, not an homicide, not a conviction, nothing, showing us what a self-obsessed narcissist is.

Ursula Franco, M.D. and criminologist

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