Analysis of some excerpts from an interview Ronald Santiago released to correspondent Erin Moriarty

Bernadette and John Greg Ohlemacher

In June 2006 Ronald Santiago, a loan officer’s assistant at Countrywide Home Loans was accused of breaking into John Gregory and Bernadette Ann Vigil Ohlemacher’s home in Paradise Hill, a suburb of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the early morning of August 2, 2005, and fatally shooting them with a 9- millimiter handgun. Renee Ohlemacher the couple’s 20 year old daughter was at home but the shooter left her unharmed.

On February 26th, 2014 a jury found Ronald Santiago not guilty of the double homicide.

After the sentence Ronald Santiago said: I’m happy that the truth has come out. I had no part of this.

“I had no part of this” is an unreliable denial and the word “this” shows closeness to the crime. 

Ronald Santiago

Here some excerpts from an interview Santiago released to correspondent Erin Moriarty in 2006:

What we look for in the following excerpts is for Ronald Santiago to issue a reliable denial.

A reliable denial is found in the free editing process, not in the parroted language and has 3 components:
1. the pronoun “I”
2. past tense verb “did not” or “didn’t”
3. accusation answered
If a denial has more than 3 or less than 3 components, it is no longer reliable.

“I did not kill the Ohlemachers” followed by “I told the truth” while addressing the denial, it is more than 99% likely to be true. This would be the “wall of truth”. 

The “wall of truth” is an impenetrable psychological barrier that often leads innocent people to few words, as the subject has no need to persuade anyone of anything.

We begin every statement analysis expecting truth, and it is the unexpected that confronts us as possibly deceptive.

Ronald Santiago: I’ve always wanted to help people, it feels so good from inside to be able to help somebody.

Note that Santiago has the need to describe himself as a “good guy” to ingratiate himself with the correspondent. This is the “good guy/bad guy” Principle. He has a desire to appear as a “good guy” to cover up a “bad guy”

Ronald Santiago: Being able to help somebody buy their first home to own their own home was a great feeling.

Note that Santiago has the need to describe himself as a “good guy”, again.

Ronald Santiago: I wanted to do the best possible job I could for them, every single time.

Note that Santiago has the need to describe himself as a “good guy”, again.

Erin Moriarty: How would you describe Bernadette?

Ronald Santiago: The few times that I met her, she seemed to be very nice to me, she was very nice to me.

Santiago says that he met Bernadette few times, this is unnecessary to say, he is taking the distance from one of the victim. 

Ronald Santiago asked about his reaction after the news of the double murder: I was shocked. I mean, I was disturbed.

Note that Santiago has the need to describe himself as a “good guy”, again.

Erin Moriarty: You cried?

Ronald Santiago: Yes ma’ am. I guess I’m an emotional person. I take things serious. When I heard that, it hurt. It was sad.

Note that Santiago describes himself as “an emotional person”.

Note that Santiago has the need to describe himself as a “good guy”, again. This is incessant.

Ronald Santiago is exceedingly manipulative.

In “When I heard that”, “that” is distancing language. Santiago feels the need to distance himself from the double murder.

Ronald Santiago: We were one of the hottest mortgages in the southwest. There was a pressure cooker.

“There was a pressure cooker” is passive language. Passivity is used to conceal identity or responsibility. Santiago is unable to say that someone put pressure on him.

Erin Moriarty: And what was the pressure like on you?

Ronald Santiago: The pressure was incredible. I’ve taken loan applications on holidays, phone calls on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. You were open 24/7. Their motto is “get it done”.

When Santiago says “The pressure was incredible” he doesn’t say somebody put pressure on him. In order to blame his company for what he did, he says that “Their motto is “get it done”.

We can conclude that everything he did was his fault.

On June 12, 2006, Ronald Santiago surrendered himself to the U.S. Secret Service in Albuquerque, claiming that he had been forging checks in his capacity as a loan officer. During the initial interview, he told Secret Service Agent Bryan Nguyen that he needed psychological help. Agent Nguyen sent Defendant to a local hospital for a mental evaluation. During the course of the forgery investigation, Agent Nguyen learned that Defendant had serviced the Ohlemachers’ loan application shortly before their deaths.

Ronald Santiago: I had made a mistake. I’m not denying that… that’s never been a question. I’m not hiding from that. Have I done something wrong? I participated in something that was wrong.

When Santiago, referring to the forging of two checks in an unrelated home loan, says “I’m not hiding from that”, he is telling us that he is hiding from something else, if not from that, from what? 

“that” is distancing language.

Note that he is referring with the word “that” to the fact that he forged two checks.

When he says “Have I done something wrong? I participated in something that was wrong”, he doesn’t specify what he is talking about and he shows a need to share guilt with the word “participated”.

Erin Moriarty: So, what went wrong in that case? What happened in that case?

Ronald Santiago: I overpromised.

Erin Moriarty: What do you mean, you overpromised?

Ronald Santiago: I told them (the Howards’ family) that I can get the loan done within a specific period of time and… I didn’t, I dropped the ball.

Note the pause to think.

Ronald Santiago: But I knew I was gonna get caught, I knew I was gonna get caught.

This is sensitive to him. 

Note that he wasn’t caught for the forged checks, he surrendered himself to the U.S. Secret Service. When he says “I knew I was gonna get caught” Santiago is referring to the double murder.

Ronald Santiago: I’ve never done anything… illegal in my life. To do something that was stupid and lose everything because of that stupidity. That’s very emotional.

Note the pause in this sentence “I’ve never done anything… illegal in my life”, this is not only something not easy to say for him but also unreliable, his denial covers an undetermined amount of time and open to the possibility that he has never done anything illegal in his life until he did.

Note his to describe himself as a “good guy” that only did something “stupid”.

We note that Santiago’s mood in that period was “very emotional”.

Ronald Santiago: Relief of not having to do that anymore, I thought getting out from underneath all that pressure “get it done”, “get it done”. I don’t have to do that anymore.

We note that Santiago in that period was “underneath all that pressure”.

Erin Moriarty: How would you remember it was a Tuesday (the day of the double murder)?

Ronald Santiago: Well, it was a very dramatic event. I mean, again, people that… that I work with… were killed.

Note the position of the pauses to think.

Santiago is unable to say “people that I know”, he chooses to say “people that I work with”“With” shows distance between him and the victims and speaks about their relation. Note also that “work” is at the present tense.

“were killed” is passive language. Passivity in analysis indicates a desire to conceal and this concealment is often responsibility.

Ronald Santiago: I was telling the truth. I denied everything. I had nothing to do with anybody hurting forth anymore a murder… I did not… and I answered all their questions.

“I was telling the truth” is vague, he doesn’t say when he was telling the truth.

Santiago is unable to say “I told the truth”.

In any case, most of the people don’t lie, 90% or more of deception comes from deliberately withheld or concealed information, rather than outright lying. In other words, often everything people say is true, they simply leave out that they had committed the crime.

“I denied everything” is an unreliable denial itself.

There is no consequence to issue a reliable denial about any false allegation.

“I had nothing to do with anybody hurting forth anymore a murder” is an unreliable denial and a sentence that goes against the law of economy in words. He is unable or unwilling to say a simple sentence as “I didn’t kill the Ohlemacher”. The “wall of truth” in not within Ronald Santiago. 

“I did not…” is self censoring. 

When he says “and I answered all their questions” he doesn’t say that he said everything.

Erin Moriarty: You know the Ohlemacher were shot and killed with a 9-millimeter Ruger, according with the police, and you had owned one.

Ronald Santiago: I owned one… but I got rid of it a year… before this even took place.

Note the positions of the two pauses to think. 

He calls the double murder “this” to minimise. 

Moreover “this” shows closeness to the double murder.

Erin Moriarty: So what happened to your 9-millimiter?

Ronald Santiago: I treated.

Erin Moriarty: To who?

Ronald Santiago: You know, we’ve been knocking heads for the last year and a half.

The presence of “You know” tells us of Santiago’s acute awareness of the audience.

When Santiago says “we’ve been knocking heads for the last year and a half”, he doesn’t speak just for himself but shows a desire to hide in a crowd like most guilty people.

Erin Moriarty: You don’t happen to remember the name of the guy you give this 9-millimiter Ruger?

Ronald Santiago: Robert? But I don’t remember his last name, it was just as simple, okay, that’s great.

Erin Moriarty: How did that spent shell casing ended up in his bag?

Ronald Santiago: I don’t know how it got there, I didn’t put it there. Is it a possibility that someone put it there? That could have been part of law enforcement, there is a possibility but I’m not going to accuse.

Erin Moriarty: That’s damaging, Ron, I mean…

Ronald Santiago: Yeah, I know it is. Tha… that’s the whole case. They’re saying because that shell casing was in my gun bag, in my garage, that I was the one that pulled the trigger to kill these people.

When Santiago says “I was the one that pulled the trigger to kill these people”, he framed himself without parroting anybody’s words. This is an “embedded admission”. 

Erin Moriarty: Did you ever expect to go to jail?

Ronald Santiago: No ma’ am, not for murder.

Ronald Santiago: It’s frightening, its scary, I mean, I have not done anything to anyone.

“I have not done anything to anyone” is an unreliable denial.

Erin Moriarty: What was your reaction when you heard this?

Ronald Santiago: I didn’t hurt anyone, I didn’t tamper with anyone’s personal belongings, their vehicles, anything, I‘ve not done anything wrong.

“I didn’t hurt anyone, I didn’t tamper with anyone’s personal belongings, their vehicles, anything, I‘ve not done anything wrong” are all unreliable denials. This answer goes against the law of economy in words. There is not “wall of truth” within him.

Note that Santiago uses the word “hurt” instead of “kill” to minimize, this has to do with the sense of guilt.

Ronald Santiago speaking about his lawyers: I own them everything, they believe in me since the beginning, they’ve shown that I didn’t do this, if it wasn’t for them, I’d still be locked up.

Santiago is unable to say “they’ve shown that I didn’t kill the Ohlemacher” and is again referring to the double murder with “this”, showing closeness to it.

On June 14 2006, Det. Mike Fox and Secret Service Agent Brian Nguyen went to thePresbyterian Kaseman Hospital in Albuquerque to speak with Ronald Santiago who was undergoing a psychiatric treatment.

Ronald Santiago: Sir, I didn’t hurt the Ohlemachers, I didn’t hurt the Ohlemachers.

“I didn’t hurt the Ohlemachers” is an unreliable denial. Santiago is unable or unwilling to say “I didn’t kill the Ohlemachers”.

There is no consequence to issue a reliable denial about any false allegation.

Note that Santiago uses the word “hurt” instead of “kill” to minimize, again. 

Ronald Santiago: I did this. What I’ve admitted. I’ve come to the Secret Service like I was supposed to. I turned myself in for the things that I’ve done wrong. I’ve admitted that. When it comes to the Ohlemachers, sir, I didn’t hurt anybody.

When Santiago says “I did this”, he wants us to believe that he is speaking about the checks he forged but he is unable to specify it.

“I did this” could easily be referred to the double murder.

When he says “What I’ve admitted” he is telling us that there is something he didn’t admit.

Note that he first says “I did this” and then referring to the things he turned himself in for he says “I’ve admitted that”, “this” and “that” are two different things.

“I didn’t hurt anybody” is an unreliable denial.  He uses the word “hurt” instead of “kill” to minimize, again. 

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.

Detective: I can tell it in your eyes that you did it. And it hurts you that you did it. and you don’t want to say it.

Ronald Santiago: It hurt to think that someone thinks I would hurt someone like that.

Note that Santiago shows a need to describe himself as a “good guy” that suffers for being considered a murderer. 

“I would hurt someone like that” is an embedded admission.

Note that Ronald Santiago is not only unable to give a reliable denial but he accepts a possible guilt, something that is not expected from an innocent. There is no consequence to issue a reliable denial about any false allegation. Santiago accepts what the de facto innocent don’t accept: he allows people to believe he is involved. There is no “wall of Truth” within Santiago. This is why he allows blame to be put upon him.

Detective: Nothing is gonna help you until you confess, until you get it out. It’s gonna eat you up.

Ronal Santiago: And I have confessed. I forged, I did forgery.

“And” at the start of a sentence means missing information. 

Agent: Ron, we’re trying to help

Ronal Santiago: I know, Sir, you are trying to help, I did not… hurt the Ohlemachers.

“I did not… hurt the Ohlemachers” is an unreliable denial. Note the position of the pause, Santiago is unable to substitute the word “hurt” with “kill”.

Detective: No, you didn’t, you didn’t hurt ‘em, you kill ‘em.

Ronald Santiago: I did not kill…

Santiago didn’t complete his sentence. This is self censoring. 

Detective: You killed ‘em, you killed the Ohlemachers.

Santiago doesn’t deny.

Detective: What’s gonna happen when the gun matches up, though?

Ronald Santiago: My gun’s not gonna match up.

Detective: You positive?

Ronald Santiago: Yes, Sir.

Detective: 100%?

Ronald Santiago: I didn’t shoot ‘em.

Santiago is able to say “I didn’t shoot ‘em” because in his mind, he “was the one that pulled the trigger to kill these people” but it was his gun which “shoot ‘em .

Detective: 100% positive the gun’s gonna match up?

Ronald Santiago: Right.

Detective: What’s let’s just say that it does?

Ronald Santiago: If it says it does?

The detective catches Santiago off guard, he is unable to answer, he answers with a question not to answer.

Detective: Uh, uhm.

Ronald Santiago: Then, I’m in a lot of trouble, Sir, I’m wanted for murder.

Santiago doesn’t say that it will be impossible to have a match, contra he accepts a possible match and a possible guilt, something that is not expected from an innocent.

Detective: Because it’s gonna match up, isn’t it?

Ronald Santiago: No, Sir.

Detective: There’s not a person in the world that’s gonna look at this and think that you didn’t kill ‘em, so it’s time to quit lying. It’s time to tell the truth.

Ronald Santiago: Sir, when I get discharged from here, I will contact you, so that way you can have me taken in and booked whenever you need to, ‘cause I’m not gonna talk anymore.

Santiago refuses to reply to the detective. He is unable to say “I told you the truth”.

Detective: Ok.

Analysis Coclusions:

Deception indicated.

Ronald Santiago was unable or unwilling to deny the allegation. He never gave a reliable denial, he never said “I didn’t kill the Ohlemacher” and “I told the truth”.

Ronald Santiago showed a psychological need to be seen as a “good guy” because he feels guilt and doesn’t wish to be seen as a “bad guy”.

He is strongly manipulative.

Ronald Santiago has guilty knowledge of what happed to John Greg and Bernadette Ohlemacher. 

Santiago got away with the double murder of the Ohlemachers.

Annunci