Content Analysis of Gary Giordano
By Laurie Ayers
On Friday 7 April 2017, defendant Gary Giordano was found liable for the wrongful death of traveling companion Robyn Gardener in his civil trial because the plaintiff was able to prove he was responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.
The two traveled together to Aruba in 2011 when Robyn mysteriously vanished. Read details from a 2011 media story here. As of this writing Gary has not been charged with committing any crime. However, Robyn’s sister filed a civil wrongful death suit which was shown on the FOX television show You the Jury with host Jeanine Pirro.
Below is a portion of my forensic statement analysis based on Gary Giordano’s actual testimony from questioning with his attorney, Jose Baez. It starts at 23:16 into the episode. The font formatting are my marks with the explanation and analysis following the testimony.
JB: Walk us through what happened when you were there [Aruba].
GG: “I went to the car, pulled out some towels, and put them near a log where there was some sand. And as I turned around she’d already gotten into the water up to her waist. I sat down on the towel then she came out of the water. It looked like she had lifted her toe on the rocks. There was like blood around the cuticle of her toe. So she laid down. Then at some point it looked like she fell asleep a little bit so I let her have her peace. After a little while she woke and I said, “Hey, do you want to go back hotel? Or jump in and take a look at the fish?”
So we go back into the water, actually she went first. And our intention was just to stand there, and stick our head in and feed the fish and play a little bit, not snorkel. We were just dipping our heads in and she headed out. So I followed her and at some point it got to be where I was uncomfortably too far out – because I still had my tennis shoes on.”
JB: And then did you at any point tell her ‘We’re too far out’?
GG: “Ya, when our faces were in the water, so I grabbed her leg and pulled it. She turned around and I signaled to go in. She signaled yes.”
JB: And then what happened next?
GG: “My socks and shoes are now like leg weights. So I was struggling. And at some point, within seconds, I’m not even thinking, it’s just straight… just survival mode to get back to shore. And I really was at one point thinking about I.. I might, this might be it. I might not get back.”
JB: What was going through your mind?
GG: My kids, y’know? So I make, I make it to shore. And I’m exhausted. My heart is beating out of my chest. And I get up on the shore and I turn, fully expecting Robyn would be laughing at me, y’know? Because I’m the idiot that had his shoes still on. And I learned, I looked and there was nothing, just open ocean. There was nothing. No snorkel tube. Nothing.
JB: People are going to ask, “Why didn’t go you back in and look for her?”
GG: I go back in, I drown. I mean I barely got to shore. Going back wasn’t an option.
And finally, from Gary’s closing statement at the 39:44 mark:
GG: I didn’t do anything wrong. There’s not a single thing that proves I had anything to do with any of what happened. They raided my house and scoured it and they found nothing. I know you seek closure but you never can, when you don’t have a body. And for that I am sorry. If it happened to my loved one, I’d feel the same way you do.
Time Frames: As you examine his statement you see there are time gaps in which he has not told us what he was doing. He accounts for these time periods with three words, “at some point” (3x) and “after a little while.” A deceptive subject will sometimes quicken the pace of his statement to get past those time periods he does not want to talk about. A good interviewer would revisit those time frames to find out what was going on between the time it appears she cut her toe and she appeared to be sleeping; between the time she appeared to be sleeping and she woke up; between the time they were dipping their heads in the water and he became uncomfortably too far out and between the time when she signaled yes to go back in, he was struggling, and he thought he may not make it back in.
Past Tense Verbs: Most statements/accounts of what happened should be written in the past tense. In a deceptive statement, we may find some present tense language. Examining the verb tenses can help you in determining if a person’s statement is coming from memory or from their imagination. In an open statement, the person should be telling us what happened or what he witnessed. Therefore, he should be speaking in the past tense.
When a person is making up a story he has no memory to rely upon. Therefore, present tense verbs may appear in his statement. Consider the following statement again:
“My socks and shoes are now like leg weights. So I was struggling. And at some point, within seconds, I’m not even thinking,
If you quickly read this statement, it may appear that everything sounds all right. However, when we look at the verb tenses we find that something is wrong. The subject began his statement using past tense language. We see this with the words “grabbed,” “pulled,” “turned,” and “signaled.” The problem is he then switched to the present tense with the verbs “are” and “am thinking.” He then continued to use present tense verbs:
…” I make it to shore. And I’m exhausted. My heart is beating out of my chest. And I get up on the shore and I turn,
This is how his statement should have been worded.
“My socks and shoes were like leg weights. So I was struggling. And at some point, within seconds, I wasn’t even thinking … …” I made it to shore. And I was exhausted. My heart was beating out of my chest. And I got up on the shore and I turned…”
Actually: People will use the word “actually” to indicate a person is comparing two thoughts. Consider the following question and answer. “Did you go to the movie last night?” “Actually, we stayed home and watched Netflix.” It’s clear to see what is being compared. However, in Gary’s statement there is nothing being compared. “We go back in the water. Actually, she went first.” If he had said that he started to walk out, then corrected himself that actually she went first, we could see what he was comparing. A suspect may use the word “actually” because in his mind he is comparing what he did (the crime) with his lie (going in the water first.)
Assuming: In conducting a forensic statement analysis we only believe what people tell us. We do not add to their statement. We do not assume anything. Using phrases such as “of course” or “y’know”, the subject wants us to assume we know what they are saying is the gospel truth. These are known as deceptive words or phrases. They’re used in attempt to beef up credibility. There are a number of other deceptive words or phrases as well.
The Denial: When people are accused of doing something they should not have done, they will often deny it. It is important to listen to their denial to see exactly what they are saying. Many guilty people will not deny committing the crime. They will give you a statement that sounds like a denial, but the reality is they have not denied committing the act itself. “I am innocent.” – “I am not guilty.”
A lot of guilty people are very quick to proclaim their “innocence.” In their mind, they are giving a truthful statement. After all, in the United States a person is innocent until proven guilty. However, phrases such as, “I am innocent” or “I am not guilty” are only denying the conclusion and not the act itself. The authorities or the public believe the person is guilty.
In Gary Giordano’s closing statement, he thinks he is denying killing Robyn by telling her sister that he is innocent. He says “I didn’t do anything wrong.” “There’s not a single thing that proves…” “they found nothing.”
Do you know who else used this type of vague non-denial? Jerry Sandusky. O.J. Simpson, the D.C. Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, the Craigslist Killer, Richard Beasley, and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Remember, the only true denial is denying the actual act. Contrary to those mentioned above, Richard Jewell was falsely accused (and later cleared of) the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics. All throughout the questioning, Richard repeatedly said he did not do it – not that he was innocent or that there was no evidence, but that he did not do it.
Believe What People Tell You: A lot of times when we speak with someone who we think is being deceptive we look for the lies. However, since people rarely lie in an open statement you may be wasting your time. While you are looking for something that is not there you miss the other important information the person is giving you. You need to change your way of thinking. The key is to believe what people tell you. In his final statement, Gary Giordano tells Robyn’s sister that she still never have closure because she will never have a body and for that he is sorry.
You the Jury is going to be a mother lode of low hanging fruit for me. We’re only going to get a snapshot of what really happened in the hour-long program but it’ll be full of content for me to analyze. Stay tuned!
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As Managing Director of Concealed Statements I work with men and women who want to increase their deception awareness to avoid wasting time or money and avoid making poor decisions based on inaccurate information.
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