On October 11, 2003 at 10:30 a.m., Timothy Permenter called 911:
Operator: 911, what’s your emergency?
Timothy Permenter: Please, come, send the police (crying). Karen is death.
Note the word “Please”, a signal that Permenter has a need to ingratiate himself with the operator.
Note that Permenter doesn’t introduce Karen properly. We always note the incomplete social introduction, usually a signal of a poor relationship. Anyway we assume that during an emergency call the reason for an incomplete social introduction could be the urgency.
Operator: Is that your wife?
Timothy Permenter: Uh, my girlfriend. I just came over here and I found her. Please, please, hurry.
Note that, before answering, Permenter needs to take time to think with a pause. The word “Uh” shows that the question is sensitive to the caller.
Note that Permenter doesn’t just answer the question but adds “I just came over here and I found her”.
Note the use of “just”. “just” is a dependent word used to comparison. Its communication is found in dependence upon another thought and as other dependent words reveals withheld information.
“I just came over here and I found her” is alibi building.
Note the words “Please, please”, another signal that Permenter has a need to ingratiate himself with the operator.
Operator: Is this suspicious?
Timothy Permenter: I would say so, yeah, I opened the door and she’s in the kitchen and there’s blood everywhere.
Note that Permenter doesn’t say that he reached Karen on the floor inside her house but that he just opened the door, saw her and the blood.
Operator: I have paramedics on the way. What’s the problem?
Timothy Permenter: (crying) I don’t know. She’s just laying there.
Note the word “there”. He doesnt say “here” but “there”, this word means physical distance between him and her.
Operator: She’s what?
Timothy Permenter: She’s laying there.
Note the word “there” again.
Operator: Is she conscious?
Timothy Permenter: No.
Operator: Is she breathing?
Timothy Permenter: I don’t know. She’s laying there on the floor and there’s blood everywhere.
Note the word “there” again.
Note that Permenter didn’t check on his girlfriend. He says that he doesn’t know if she is breathing but his first answer to the 911 operator was “Please, come, send the police (crying). Karen is death”. How does he knows she is dead?
Operator: There’s blood everywhere?
Timothy Permenter: There’s blood everywhere.
Operator: And where’s the blood coming from?
Timothy Permenter: I don’t know.
Permenter confirms to the operator that he didn’t even touch his girlfriend Karen.
Permenter felt the need to ingratiate himself with the operator in two occasions.
During this short phone call Permenter tried to establish an alibi for himself.
Permenter didn’t even touch Karen, he knew she was death because he had stabbed her few hours before this phone call and when he went back he found her in the same position she was when he left her house after the attack.
He never introduces his girlfriend Karen as expected. The social introduction is a key to understand a relationship. His linguistic disposition towards Karen tells us that they had a poor relationship at the time of the call.
Timothy Permenter has guilty knowledge of what happened to Karen Ann Pannell.
On October 24, 2007, a jury convicted Timothy Permenter of the first-degree murder of Karen Pannell. The jury voted seven to five in favor of the death penalty, but the trial court sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Ursula Franco, MD and criminologist