A Comment About Witnesses
Today, I will quote a few brief sentences from Chapter Seven of the current draft of Murder in a Small Town: The Tragic Death of Stacey Burns. This chapter centers on the importance of what I’ll call the “forty-eight hour” rule in homicide investigation. A detective told me that this rule does not necessarily include an arrest but, by the end of two days, the investigation should have a clear focus and, preferably, a strong suspect.
From Chapter Seven, page 55: ” . . .An entire litany of aspects of an investigation that can be compromised as time passes exists. It is a litany that carries a substantial degree of sadness along with it. Most of that sadness is caused by human nature and the relative importance placed on events that are in the here and now versus events that are disappearing into the rear view mirror of life.
“Witnesses may have memory of events skewed by publicity or the naturally human tendency to embellish what they observed or heard. Inevitability, as time passes, the opportunity to discuss the case with others presents the chance that perceptions of events may be colored by what a well-meaning friend or relative says.”
The next post will continue with further explanation of the importance of the forty-eight hour rule.