Talk:Murder of Danielle van Dam

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This article should be unprotected ASAP. The latest edit is not neutral. Since when do articles have to be anti-prosecution? Furthermore, the user who wants the edit in has a long history of inserting original research, spinning, lying, and a huge bias against Westerfield's conviction. This user has frequently blamed the victim, the victim's family, media, and community for Westerfield's conviction. To them it is EVERYONE'S fault except David Westerfield. He is right and everyone else is wrong. For them, he is the victim and thus their edit should not be allowed to stand. This user has NEVER made an edit in favor of the prosecution, although he "claims" to care about neutrality and balance. I believe the man is guilty as sin but I have still inserted information favoring his defense. I have contributed lots to wikipedia, while this user's only concern is David Westerfield. I believe he did not come to wikipedia with good faith on his mind. Fighting for Justice 22:52, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

{{Editprotected}} removed. This request belongs on WP:RPP, but will likely fail if it is not clear what the original reason for protection was, and why a consensus solution to it has now been found. Sandstein 08:28, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
All right. Fighting for Justice 08:45, 10 March 2007 (UTC)


According to WP:NPOV All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), representing fairly and without bias all significant views that have been published by a reliable source. This basically proves, is wrong on two crucial arguments. First the latest edit in the article is not NPOV. THe line: "the prosecution could not" is not representing the case fairly. It shows a bias for his defense. That's basically my biggest problem with the edit. THe edit that Girdag proposed did not contain that line. That is what I was referring to as a good idea. as usual spins and omits this point. He spins his argument to say that Girdag also wanted "the prosecution could not" line. This is completely deceitful but something I've grown accustomed to in dealing with him. THe second thing he is wrong about is regarding the inclusion of Westerfield's defense. Neutral does not mean we have to give the defense equal weight to the prosecution. What the article must include is viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source. In no way does the npov policy say articles about criminal defendants must contain ALL the main arguments of his defense. can dislike it all he wants but the prosecution prevailed. That's what needs to carry more weight. Wikipedia does not have to give equal weight to the losing side. If he doesn't believe me he can read about it here. This is why I've clashed with him. He dislikes the verdict, so he makes his edits to undermine the verdict and the prosecution. I strongly believe he should be banned from editing this article. Fighting for Justice 07:23, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

The statement "The prosecution could not present any evidence that directly linked Westerfield to Danielle" is TRUE. If you dispute that, then please present the evidence. The fact that it is advantageous to the defense does not mean that it's biased. Your objection is purely because it reveals to readers how weak the prosecution case was. While Girdag's proposal may not have contained those words, neither did he explicitly exclude them - as he explicitly excluded another passage (the police no child porn report). He approved my source (so I don't know why you put "published by a reliable source" in bold), and this is from that source. You previously objected to these words, claiming that they were mine - which they are not - which casts doubt on the sincerity of your next claim, that it's not neutral. You also claimed my quote was from the closing argument, which it's not, and that the information wasn't verified, yet it is. Furthermore, if it really was just these words that you strongly objected to, then you would have removed just them, whereas you removed my entire edit, including what Girdag explicitly included. Girdag's proposal left out the phrase "including sound of the girl struggling", but you didn't remove that from the article. (He also changed "girl being raped by one man while another man restrained her" to "rape of an underage girl by two men", which is not what that source says.) I think you are just using any and every argument you can think of to suppress an uncomfortable truth. Furthermore, even if Girdag had explicitly excluded these words, the fact that you have subsequently added more pro-prosecution arguments, thereby further unbalancing the article, would be sufficient justification for including more pro-defense arguments.

I have explicitly said (not for the first time) I was NOT asking for equal weight for the defense. I would point out that it's NOT an opinion or point of view that I am advancing, but FACTS, and I'm allowing the reader to draw their own conclusion. Making a short statement followed by a couple of examples, as in the case of the lack of evidence in the van Dam house, can hardly be described as "undue weight". It's not a question of my DISLIKING the verdict, it's a question of the EVIDENCE pointing to the verdict being WRONG. What is significant is that it's so EASY to undermine the verdict and the prosecution. An angry community, law enforcement rushing to judgement and not doing their job properly, minimal evidence, innocent explanation for all of it, strong evidence of innocence. I can see why someone who is so emotionally involved would want to suppress the truth. 17:43, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

There you go again trying to turn the discussion into another guilty versus not guilty argument. How many more times do you need to be told the talkpage is NOT for that!?!?! I don't care anymore about Girdag's proposal. Girdag and his proposal are not the end all and be all of wikipedia; Girdag hasn't made an edit since the first week of February. Wikipedia operates on reaching community consensus. Of course that hasn't been reachable here thanks to you monopolizing the article, and everything related to it, since March 2006. I'm also certain you've turned many people off with your disgusting comments about Danielle and her parents. I didn't say your quote was from the actual closing argument. I said it sounded as something a defense lawyer would spew during a closing argument. Circumstantial evidence cases are considered strong, otherwise the Supreme Court would have ruled against using it to convict somebody. Direct evidence is a good thing to have, but circumstantial evidence is the next best thing. If that line is really that important to you then have it in there. I think most people with common sense will see past your spin.
As for the prosecution's case being weak; dream on. There is overwhelming evidence of her in his environment. The circumstances and his activities pre and post the abduction prove suspicion and guilt. And, no, it is not innocently explained. The only explanations given are preposterous. A 7 year old playing alone in the RV; only to leave incriminating evidence of herself behind. She didn't leave any toys behind, or make a mess. She was even nice enough to wipe down the place so the owners fingerprints and DNA are not found. Likely took a nap in his bed and never got caught or discovered missing. A pseudo science that failed to determine an EXACT(not approximate or estimate) time of her death. A cookie sale that yielded blood, dog hair, and carpet fibers. You want to undermine something? Undermine for me that there was no chance of Danielle being in the RV that weekend? None. Completely undermine it. Can you do that? Did Westerfield allow anyone in there? Strong evidence of innocent; dream on. Show me somebody else who can yield stronger evidence then Westerfield? What's his name? Who else but him knew a parent was out that night? Who else but him was unaccounted for during many hours, while they were searching for her? A casino he frequented was close to the dump site. Riiiight he's innocent all right. Thank You for showing me the light <lots of sarcasm> And stop blaming the community, media, and law enforcement for the conviction. It is an insult to anyone who has ever served as a juror. David Westerfield has only himself to blame for being at San Quentin. Stop trying to scapegoat innocent people. Fighting for Justice 03:01, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that 2-line edit IS really that important to me. So, if you are saying you will now accept it, as is, then Thank You, and we can move onto the next point of potential disagreement. In the Pornography section, I want to change “underage” to “apparently underage” (that’s in two places), because the ages weren’t established. Are you agreeable? 03:52, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

No. It is established that they are underage. In other words, minors not over the age of 18. He's been tried and convicted of a misdemeanor charge of possessing images of subjects under the age of 18 in a sexual pose on his computer; underage is a sufficient description. And there is nothing apparent about it. It is like saying John Couey(I suppose you blame the community and media for that too) is the apparent murderer of Jessica Lunsford, when in fact there's been a conviction. Stop trying to undermine the facts. Stop being a disruption to wikipedia. Search for a new hobby already. Fighting for Justice 04:03, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

How was it established? Would you accept “allegedly underage”? The article on OJ Simpson doesn’t state he was, or was not, guilty of the murders, it merely reports the juries’ verdicts. Surely that is the correct way to do it, seeing that juries are known to make mistakes. 04:20, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

No, I will not accept that; never!. Allege and apparently are considered weasel words around here. Neal Westerfield and his testimony establishes they were in fact underage. He disconnected himself from them. Clearly, he knew the images were unacceptable to own. It tells me the girls were not 16, 17, or 18 otherwise why would it be so terrible for Neal to admit the images belonged to him? He was 19 years old, at the time, it wouldn't look so awful if he saw a 16, 17, or 18 year old female nude. The media described them as prepubescent. I trust them. I do not care in the least if you don't. I also don't care for your OJ Simpson case comparison. If you really believe articles should report the juries findings then you'll leave the pornography section as it is. This jury concluded Westerfield had images of underage girls in a sexual pose. It needs to say that without you whitewashing it. THe outcome of other cases is irrelevant. Each case is judged differently, I'm tired, of you trying to paint them ALL with the same brush just 'cause you disagree with this verdict. Fighting for Justice 05:21, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

FFJ, it appears to me that you are the one with a tremendous emotional involvement in this case, and I simply don't see that in the logical explanations from It find it hard to look past the rhetoric and innuendo you put out to try and derive what your point is, while's points are usually very clear. It would make it easier to discuss what should be included in the article by virtue of what was presented in court or another acceptable source, if you didn't keep alluding to poster's motives. Snidley W 08:58, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

FfJ: “allege” and “apparently” are both used dozens of times in the Court TV and Union-Tribune articles, which are overwhelmingly the main sources for the Wikipedia article, so it would not be surprising if they also appeared in the latter. I’d have thought “allege” was an appropriate word in a legal context. Neal had looked through the loose computer media, which is where most of the “questionable” images were (and even admitted downloading some of the contents onto his own computer), and he worked on the office computers, yet he testified that he HADN’T seen any child porn: further evidence there WASN’T any. In addition, some of the “questionable” images shown to the jury were from HIS computer - yet more evidence that the prosecution were FALSELY claiming that ADULT porn was child porn. MOST media reports did NOT describe them as prepubescent: “They [police investigators] cannot determine whether girls in the photos are under 18” “They [detectives] are unsure whether women in the photos are under 18” (Union-Tribune, February 23 and 24). You may place your trust in contradictory media reports, but I can’t, and neither should Wikipedia. But the bottom line is that you CAN’T prove the girls were underage. Yet the present wording of the Wikipedia article states, as if it were a proven fact, that ALL the images shown to the jury were of underage girls. We don’t even know which ones (or how many) the jury THOUGHT were underage. I’m pleased you seem to be drawing a distinction between “nude” and “sexual pose”: nude is not necessarily sexual. I believe that was another of the prosecution’s deceptions. You don’t explain why you don’t care for my OJ Simpson comparison. My argument was that jury verdicts are merely the opinion of fallible human beings, and should be treated as such, not as absolute, factual truth. I don’t see how you conclude from that that the pornography section should be left as is. 04:07, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Listen Westerfield-fan the word "allege" is an appropriate word in legal context IF the person is accused. Westerfield is CONVICTED. I don't read the words allege or apparently when the media describe the images(post conviction). That's why the pornography section should stay as it is. I don't care how much you disagree with it, but it will stay. I will see to it. You want to whitewash it because you don't like it. Stop quoting things from February 2002. The case changed by the time it came for the trial. Wikipedia is not a crime database. It does not have to be perfect. You want the article to your personal perfection, well, you aren't going to get it. I don't have to prove anything to you. If I owe to anybody it is wikipedia. I owe them that my contributions are verifiable. You are a perfect example why wikipedia should have a stricter policy on just who can contribute here. You, who contributes to nothing besides this child-killer article have had a huge influence on it when you really don't even deserve it. I say anonymous IP's, like you, should be forced to register and required to contribute to more then just one article. Wikipedia promises information that is VERIFIED. You describe yourself as a truth fan, right? Well, you are in the wrong place. Wikipedia doesn't claim it contains the truth. Where you get that it says something for a fact is your POV. Your own document "The Body Farm" states child pornography on his computer. Not allege, not apparently. THe wikipedia article states it is one misdemeanor count of images. That suggest one clump of pictures. I know you think the prosecution deceived people and you want the article to say so. You can't do that here! Are juries only fallible when they arrive at a verdict you dislike? This discussion is finished. Fighting for Justice 05:40, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Please cease the personal and ad hominem attacks. --ElKevbo 05:29, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, I've personally seen altered autopsy reports, deliberate alternations of an autopsy cover sheet. The alteration was of the dental records, the first autopsy stating that the deceased had "natural dentition," the next (after notification) stating "full dentures." As the deceased was cremated, all that was gone on was an unknown person's word. Nice, but not good. If a conviction is based solely on dental records and forensics, I've still got proof of coroner alteration. Not anything about this particular case, but an interesting similarity.
Reply to FfJ:
The article states that ALL the images shown to the jury were of underage girls: “EACH featuring underage girls”. You have failed to provide proof that ALL were indeed underage; you have failed to provide proof that the jury thought ALL were underage; you haven’t even provided a media report that goes as far as stating that (not even the one quoted, so THAT contribution is NOT verified). Under such circumstances, “alleged” is an APPROPRIATE qualifier. “Images” might suggest a “clump” of pictures to you, but that merely reveals your mind set: it could mean just TWO images, and certainly cannot be taken to mean ALL of them. The verdict actually reads as follows: “guilty of the crime of possess matter depicting person under eighteen in sexual conduct”. Not very good English, but it makes no mention of the NUMBER of images, so it might just be ONE - and just ONE person.
The situation with the video girl is similar: no proof of age and no proof the jury thought this PARTICULAR girl was underage. Here you do have SOME media reports stating she was underage, but the reports differ wildly, so once again, “alleged” is a safe option. In view of the fact that expert opinion in law enforcement was that there was NO child porn, you should be grateful that I am willing to accept such a small change to the article. In what way did the case change between February and the trial? As I’ve already pointed out, the police had ALL the computer evidence on the FIRST day, and it was concentrated on a HANDFUL of disks. Or are you saying that someone in law enforcement sneakily added a few extra images later to strengthen a weak case?
Statements you made: Wikipedia “does not have to be perfect”; Wikipedia “doesn’t claim it contains the truth”. (Don’t shout that too loudly: Wikipedia fans might object.) I’m trying to perfect it; I’m trying to ensure it DOES contain the truth. And you should be applauding my efforts, not fighting me at every turn. My contributions would be the same, even if I registered. “The Body Farm” is not MY document, I didn’t write it, it’s merely one I quoted. If you look at its list of references, you’ll see it relied heavily on media articles, so it would not be surprising if it repeated errors in those articles. I added a quote from it, so by definition my contribution WAS verified, which is YOUR standard, yet you nevertheless repeatedly REVERTED it anyway. Which reveals a double-standard on your part. I call juries fallible because they ARE. I believe this particular jury was wrong because that’s what the EVIDENCE says. And you have been unable to refute that evidence. 17:59, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't care. The section stays as it is. I applaud you for squat. Because that's what you've done here; squat! You shouldn't even be editing here because you use an open proxy, which wikipedia strongly discourages using. WP:NOP Fighting for Justice

Unless I'm missing something, this cited reference seems to be pretty clear about the fact that Westerfield admitted being in possession of the child porn. I don't know how much clearer it could get than for him to admit that he had child porn: "Asked about the child pornography in his house, he told one friend, former business associate Carmen Genovese, that he was simply collecting the images so he could send them to Congress as examples of smut on the Internet." --ElKevbo 05:29, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your opinion ElKevbo. I've explained that very point to him a million times. And I apologize for some of my comments but it is very frustrating dealing with this user. This user believes he's right and everyone else is wrong. His hijacking of this article needs to seize immediately. Wikipedia shouldn't have to put up with another 12 months of him rehashing the same arguments. Fighting for Justice 05:45, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Whoa, I've been afk for a while (a few personal issues, but nothing big), and kinda forgot this existed. As it is, I feel that reaching a consensus on this is beyond mere mortals such as myself, I think the two of you will keep smashing your heads together for a while yet. I would strongly recommend some kind of official mediation on this, as I can't see any other way to reach a conclusion. Sorry that I can't be more help. Girdag 21:26, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, it appears that the troll's IP address has been exorcised for being an open proxy. Hopefully, this means he'll be gone for good. Fighting for Justice 02:40, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Significance of this case?[edit]

This article needs to do more to explain what it is about this murder case that makes it significant or notable. It does pass Wikipedia's notability guideline, by having been the subject of a considerable amount of news coverage, so I'm not saying it should be nominated for deletion; but the article should make clear why this case was of particular interest to the media, and not 'just another murder'. Robofish (talk) 20:36, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Ignore the above, I was misunderstanding Wikipedia's guidelines when I wrote the above. This article easily satisfies the requirements for inclusion. Robofish (talk) 20:33, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Selby Confession[edit]

what happened to the Selby Confession part? Fighting for Justice (talk) 04:59, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Removed uncited content about dog[edit]

I've removed the following from the article, as it is poorly written and uncited. "It was recently revealed in an animal forensic show from US TV network, Animal Planet, that the girl's dog played a huge witness to the crime. The dog, a weimaraner, was said to have rubbed and played a lot with the young girl and the fur was transferred from her pajamas to the interior of Mr. Westerfield's automobile. Also, clothing and other areas of location including above said bed sheets and comforters contained dog fur. Hinted in the show too, was the evidence of blood and a hand print matching that of Danielle were located within Mr. Westerfield's automobile." The lack of citation is bad enough, but what is a "huge witness"? There is also no citation to the information on animal hair transfer or mention of it in the article on the trial. "Hinted in the show too" is lousy prose, is also non-encyclopedic and uncited. If anyone can provide citations and improved prose on the involvement of the dog, feel free to replace the removed section.Wzrd1 (talk) 13:29, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Done.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 19:26, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Brenda-Westerfield dance[edit]

“At the trial, Brenda said she could not remember if she danced with him or not.[citation needed].”

I couldn’t find any source supporting that statement, so I quoted the closest I found.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 07:42, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Westerfield haggard?[edit]

There is a media report that he looked haggard (Alex Roth, San Diego Union-Tribune, June 18, 2002), but this doesn’t accurately reflect the dry cleaners clerk’s testimony, so I have corrected that with the appropriate citation. Also, the wording “Upon returning home” implies that he first arrived home and then went to the dry cleaners, which is not correct, so I have changed that as well.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 13:47, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Category:American rapists[edit]

Why is Westerfield included in this category? He wasn’t convicted of rape. It is generally believed that Danielle was kidnapped for sexual purposes, and that Westerfield is a pedophile, but there’s no evidence she was sexually assaulted (see Category_talk:American_rapists), and the evidence he’s a pedophile is weak: just 1% of his porn may have been child porn (those images were merely described by the prosecution expert as “questionable”), they had seldom been viewed (from one to five times), and they were mostly old (1999). Perhaps because of this, other theories have been proposed. The prosecution suggested he wanted revenge because Brenda and her friends had ignored him at the bar that night. Even if sex was the motive, Brenda thought he may instead have been after her (an adult) or their babysitter (a teenage boy).TheTruth-2009 (talk) 05:33, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

As nobody objected, I have now removed this category.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 20:00, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Inconsistency between aricles?[edit]

Should this page (or the other) be modified for consistency:

comp.arch (talk) 00:13, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

My concern is that there are conflicting media reports on this case. I’ve been thinking of including a short section on this, giving some examples, which can include the specific one you have raised.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 13:47, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

I have added a sentence to the Pornography section of the Westerfield article, and have begun a section on “Conflicting reports” with further evidence, to correct the inconsistency you pointed out.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 09:53, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

This article needs major work[edit]

I will be updating and wikifying this article, which needs a lot of work - it's been on my to-do list for quite a while. But first I am going to propose a move from "David Westerfield" to "Murder of Danielle van Dam" per usual Wikipedia standard for such articles. If the move request is successful I will recast the article to be about the crime rather than the perpetrator. Are there others who want to help with improving the article? Please do - but let's wait until the move decision since that will necessitate a major change of emphasis and organization. --MelanieN (talk) 15:06, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move to Murder of Danielle van Dam. Despite the verbose response, there is no response to how this article does not meet WP:BLP1E. kelapstick(bainuu) 20:19, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

David WesterfieldMurder of Danielle van Dam – It is the usual Wikipedia practice to name the article after the crime rather than the perpetrator. --Relisted. Armbrust The Homunculus 08:23, 29 June 2014 (UTC) MelanieN (talk) 15:09, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Support as nominator. --MelanieN (talk) 01:24, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I have become familiar with the present title, but I see there are a number of “Murder of” articles, and if that is the Wikipedia standard, then so be it.
But there are two considerations I would raise. The first is: was she definitely murdered? Because the Medical Examiner couldn’t determine the cause of death, and he inferred that the manner of death was homicide from the circumstances: she was removed from her bed in the middle of the night. But how do we know that really happened? We believe it because her parents said so, but they initially lied to the police (to conceal their lifestyle and their activities that night), so there is some doubt over whatever else they have said. However, that said, Wikipedia would presumably treat the fact that someone was convicted of murdering Danielle as sufficient proof that she was murdered.
The other consideration is that, if the emphasis of the article is changed, this presumably means there will be more emphasis on Danielle’s family (particularly what the parents wanted to conceal), and also on the evidence as a whole (including evidence that doesn’t point to Westerfield). I suspect that there will be opposition from those who feel the parents have suffered enough and who believe Westerfield guilty.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 12:31, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, since someone was convicted of murdering her, I think we can safely use the word "murder". (They were charging him with murder even before a body was found.) And I see no reason why the change of emphasis would result in more emphasis on her family, or the evidence for and against Westerfield. IMO there could hardly be more; the allegations about her family's lifestyle are already there, and the article is packed with the most trivial details about the evidence for and against him. In a later discussion I would like to consider trimming some of it; for example, all that detail about the Westerfield's supposed porn collection is garbage IMO. --MelanieN (talk) 15:48, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
P.S. I have been involved in this kind of conversion a couple of times before. It usually doesn't involve adding or taking out material; it's more a matter of rewriting the lead to be about the crime, and maybe putting the sections in a different order. --MelanieN (talk) 17:00, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your response.
Regarding the proposed change of title. The Wikipedia instructions on Article titles say to use titles that readers are likely to look for. I’ve just done a Google search, and I got 35,200 hits for “david westerfield”, compared to only 20,700 for “danielle van dam”.
The resulting change of emphasis. It seems only logical to me that an article about a person (as indicated by the title) should be mostly about that person, whereas an article about a crime (as indicated by the title) should be mostly about the crime - and have a fair amount of detail about it, but not so much about the perpetrator.
The porn was the evidence of motive - the only evidence of motive - and it clearly had a powerful emotional effect on the jurors as well as being fundamental to the case, so I don’t see how it can be drastically reduced.
More generally, while you do have more experience of Wikipedia than I, my feeling is that this was a capital case, and a man is now on death row, due to be executed, so a detailed examination of the evidence is in order.
If you are concerned about the length of the article, I’ve just done some comparisons. While the Westerfield article is much longer than those on Samantha Runnion and Dru Sjodin, it’s about the same length as those on Jessica Lunsford (three articles combined), it’s shorter than those on Elizabeth Smart (two articles combined) and Scott and Laci Peterson (also two articles combined), and much shorter than those on Victoria Climbie (just one article), Natalee Holloway (two articles combined), and Madeleine McCann (multiple articles).
The current Westerfield article doesn’t mention that all six adults present in Danielle’s home during the kidnapping might have had impaired faculties due to alcohol and marijuana. Nor that the three women drew negative attention to themselves by their provocative behavior at the bar that night (and the previous Friday), nor their propositioning of strangers, nor the banter about one of the men having taken Viagra, nor that both parents had been to swing parties. All that is at least potentially relevant in a sex-based crime. It doesn’t mention that the parents initially lied to the police. It doesn’t mention either that the abductor might have been hiding in Danielle’s room when Brenda closed that door, nor that Damon might have twice walked past that door after the abduction without noticing that it was now open - that’s if the dog was in Derek’s room, there were conflicting statements about that. And there were conflicting statements about where exactly Damon and Barbara were from 2:00 to 2:30 on the Saturday morning.
The article also doesn’t mention that there was foreign DNA in a bloodstain on Danielle’s bed - the bed she was abducted from - nor that there were foreign fingerprints in her home - on the route the abductor would have taken. And one of those fingerprints could have been caused by someone trying to regain their balance - as might have happened to an abductor carrying a child down an unfamiliar staircase in the dark.
An article about the crime (if the title is changed) should mention at least some of that - and that the cause of death was unknown, and why the ME ruled it a homicide. And should quote media reports that the recovery site was searched just days before the body was found, but it wasn’t found then.
I haven’t been involved in this kind of conversion before, so you have the advantage over me. It is reassuring that it doesn’t usually involve major changes, which was the first impression I got (as you can see from all the above points), and which did worry me because of the amount of effort involved, even if I was just checking the changes made.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 13:42, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
I forgot to respond earlier to your comment that people may be more likely to search under his name, particularly as the case advances in court. That isn't a problem, because his name would remain as a redirect to the "murder of..." article. --MelanieN (talk) 18:17, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Suggestion. If the move goes ahead, and bearing in mind your opposition to the amount of detail in the article, perhaps it should be split in two: one article about the crime, and the other article about Westerfield, to justify the extra detail. Those people who were only interested in the crime, would then be spared that extra information. My research into the article length of similar cases showed that about half of them do have more than one article. If you consider that Westerfield is not sufficiently notable to have an article on him, then I would point out that he holds several patents, including for medical devices which have improved the life of thousands of people.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 19:26, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
I see that we do have separate articles on Scott Peterson and Murder of Laci Peterson. I'm hard pressed to find any other examples and I doubt if it is warranted in this case, but that can be worked out after the move of this case is decided. I trust that you are not seriously suggesting that Westerfield might have been notable enough for a Wikipedia article even had he not been convicted of murder. Holding a few medical patents is not enough for notability; the standard is WP:GNG which he certainly does not meet before this case. --MelanieN (talk) 21:42, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. As the nom says, this is standard practice. Also a case of WP:BIO1E. Jenks24 (talk) 17:22, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

MelanieN’s changes, June 2014[edit]

I agree that the article needs improvement, and I have made some changes to achieve this over the past couple of years.

Van Dam or van Dam? Some sources give one, some the other. I don’t know which is correct, and I haven’t tried to determine which is the more common in media reports. So, although I personally prefer the lower case, I didn’t try to change the article.

Thought or alleged? (did not lock their door) There was no sign of a break-in, and testimony was that the door was found open, so it is logical to infer that this is how the perpetrator entered. However, there were two explanations why it was opened: one was to air out marijuana smoke, the other was to answer a phone call. But either way, the current wording could be improved: it wasn’t permanently left unlocked, they just failed to lock it after airing the smoke and answering the call.

van Dam’s body or Danielle’s body? I personally prefer to use the first name in the case of a child, but I think I saw a case in which the first name was changed to the last name, which made me think that was the Wikipedia standard. This article still has an instance (in the Selby section) of the last name being used. I did some searching, and discovered that several other similar articles are also inconsistent: Samantha Runnion, Elizabeth Smart, and JonBenet Ramsey.

Girlfriends or women friends? A quick scan revealed that the former term was used in media reports at the time, and it was interesting to see that even Nancy Grace used it. I’ve also had a quick look at Wikipedia, and it is used there too (and is seemingly mostly acceptable, though “lady friend” and “companion” are also suggested).TheTruth-2009 (talk) 13:54, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your detailed analysis. About the letter "v": some news sources did capitalize it; some didn't. I decided to go with the lower case because that's the way the San Diego Union-Tribune consistently did it. I figured that being local, the UT was more likely to get it right - and more likely to have the family make them correct it if they didn't have it right. The book Rush to Judgment [1] and the blog at TrialTracker also use a small V. Many of the other links (Court TV, North County Times) are dead links so I can't see how they did it, but I'm pretty convinced that the small V is correct.
The reason I changed it from "thought" to "alleged" is that it didn't say "thought by whom?" "Thought" is one of those classic weasel words, implying that there was general agreement without actually providing any evidence. "Alleged" isn't much better, since again it's "alleged by whom?", but being in a paragraph about the defense arguments we can imply it's from the defense. (I see you assume that "airing the smoke" was the correct explanation.) Again, that's something we can look at after we decide about the title.
I think Wikipedia may be inconsistent about this. To me it seems strange to refer to a young child by her last name only. Many newspapers use the first name when it's a child, and I see that the Union Tribune (our main source that is still accessible) referred to her as "Danielle" in stories when not using her full name,[2] so I decided to follow their lead. Things like "the van Dam murder" (per Selby section) and "the van Dam residence" seem OK to me.
You are right that the sources seem to be using "girlfriends", "girls' night out" etc. so I will change it back. --MelanieN (talk) 17:25, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your comprehensive response, and for making that one revert. As we are in agreement, I don’t have much to add.
Just to clarify, I wasn’t expressing an opinion on whether “thought” or “alleged” was better: I was commenting on the sentence as a whole. I hadn’t thought about this before, but what may have happened is this. The normal procedure was presumably to go into the garage, unlock and open the outside door, smoke, and then close and lock that door. It would have been either Damon or Brenda, as the host, who operated the door. But on this occasion, Denise received a phone call while the door was open, so she went outside. When she returned, she closed the door behind her, without locking it, as it wasn’t she who normally locked it. When they were finished smoking and were about to leave the garage, Brenda saw that the outside door was already closed, and didn’t stop to think if it was locked: she might have thought she had already automatically closed and locked it. So the problem arose because the normal routine was disrupted.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 13:59, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
None of which belongs in the article (and I realize you're not suggesting it does). It's all speculation. --MelanieN (talk) 17:35, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
You are correct: I was just trying to come up with a scenario which was both plausible and fitted all the known facts. However, I have now found relevant sources, so I am going to improve the wording of the existing sentence, quoting these sources. Thank you for drawing my attention to this.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 11:47, 26 June 2014 (UTC)


I've been trying to restore balance to this article, which seems to contain far more arguments and evidence from the defense compared to the prosecution arguments and evidence which convinced a jury. In particular the "trial" section contains NOTHING about the prosecution's evidence, but two paragraphs about the defense arguments. It will take me a day or two before I can get to that section to add the prosecution evidence; if someone else wants to do it first, be my guest. --MelanieN (talk) 17:31, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes, but ...
I hadn’t noticed this imbalance in the “trial” section, but would point out that the rest of the article does contain much of the prosecution case: he wasn’t at home that weekend, his multiple destinations, he got stuck in the desert, he visited the dry-cleaners (which he didn’t mention at first, and his appearance during that visit), he cleaned his RV, and especially the blood evidence and the pornography.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 06:59, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Chichiri47's edits[edit]

I'm doing some work on this article, and as I proceed I'll place my notes here for what I'm doing and why.

I did some research, and the book Rush to Judgement is a self-published work. Although it bears directly on the Westerfield case, there is no evidence that "C Stevenson," the author, is an expert on the Westerfield case, or on forensics in general. There is no evidence that he has a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy, or that his work was subject to any kind of editorial oversight. Although self-publishing does not automatically invalidate a source, such sources are generally disallowed with a few exceptions, and Rush to Judgement does not meet any of them. Accordingly, I've removed all references to that book from the article. In all cases except (I think) one, the claim for which the self-published book was the source was already sourced by other articles, mostly mainstream media websites. Chichiri47 (talk) 20:00, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

When you removed references to that book, you also removed the primary or only supporting documentation for quite a bit of the information in the article. Also, the book is a primary basis for mentions of this case at numerous other articles, ranging from Mitochondrial DNA to Forensic entomology and the law to Nancy Grace. What do you think we should do about that? --MelanieN (talk) 21:37, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
In instances where the citation is not redundant, I think we should proceed on a case-by-case basis: either find reliable supporting documentation, add a [citation needed] tag, or alter or remove the material. Chichiri47 (talk) 21:59, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

The Conclusion heading seemed jarring, and not in line with similar articles. All the information in that section was preserved, with citations added in a couple of cases, and moved to other sections. The "Arrest" and "Trial" sections have been merged, and "Legacy" has been renamed "Aftermath and Legacy" to include the miscellaneous post-trial information from the "Conclusion" section. Chichiri47 (talk) 22:52, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

I split "Legacy" back out into a section by itself. It has to do with recognition and memorializing of Danielle, and is very different from the post-trial reporting of "Aftermath". If you prefer to call it "Recognition" I would be OK with that. --MelanieN (talk) 23:06, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
"Legacy" sounds fine. Chichiri47 (talk) 23:44, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

I’ve also done some research. You can see from their website that the publishers provide comprehensive publishing services. And you can see from the Amazon website that the book is comprehensive and very detailed, with 50 of the 794 pages being references; it was praised by a respected journalist as a well-researched tome; and no evidence has been presented of errors in it. The fact that, “In all cases except (I think) one”, the book is supported by “other articles, mostly mainstream media websites”, is additional proof that it is a reliable source.

There have been many changes to the article, so it will take a long time to study them.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 13:29, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Comment Either the book is self-published or it isn't; let's figure this out. Here is the reference for the book:

Stevenson, C., “Rush to Judgement”, CreateSpace, June 22, 2011, pages 29-32, 223 and 486. Heading out to do research, will be back. --MelanieN (talk) 17:34, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Analysis 1) This is the only book "C. Stevenson" ever wrote. [3]
2) I have been unable to find out anything at all about "C. Stevenson". I could find no author bio anywhere, or anything to establish who he/she is or what makes him/her an expert on this subject. For all we can tell it could have been written by Westerfield's defense attorney, or a member of Westerfield's family.
3) The publisher's full name is CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. The Google listing [4] ("CreateSpace:Self publishing and free distribution for...", "CreateSpace provides free tools to help you self-publish and distribute your books, DVDs, CDs, video downloads...") and the publisher's own website [5] ("Publish your words, your way") make it very clear that this is a company which simply facilitates authors to self-publish and self-market their own books.
4) The book makes no pretense of objectivity. It is basically a book-length argument for Westerfield's innocence. The back cover excerpt and the "from the author" comments on the Amazon page are devoted entirely to quibbles about and challenges to the evidence against him.
Based on the above I agree with Chichiri47. This book is self-published and there is nothing to establish the author as any kind of authority. This is not a Reliable Source as Wikipedia defines it, and should not be used as a source for anything in a Wikipedia article. TheTruth, if you want to use information you got from the book, you will have to source it to some other, Reliable Source reference. --MelanieN (talk) 17:55, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Extract from the publisher’s website: “we will provide three rounds of editing. Two rounds will focus on strengthening the content of your manuscript, while the third round will fine-tune the technical elements such as grammar, punctuation, and spelling.”
You have presented no evidence of inaccuracies in the book, let alone in the limited information from it which has been used in Wikipedia: this implies good fact-checking.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 05:20, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Self-published works are presumptively unreliable. The burden is yours to show why "C Stevenson's" work should be excepted from this presumption.
You've pointed out that it is a voluminous work with many references, but anyone who's padded a term paper knows that that's not in itself impressive. You've also mentioned a positive comment made about the book by one journalist; I wouldn't think that this qualifies "C Stevenson" as an expert whose work should be taken seriously, but I'll defer to MelanieN or another senior editor on this. Finally, you mention that the work has been cited elsewhere on Wikipedia; for the reasons already given, this simply means that those citations should be removed as well.
As an incidental, the "three rounds of editing" is part of [optional editing package] offered by CreateSpace. I have no way of knowing whether "C Stevenson" purchased the package or not, although I do note that the 4.7 cents/word price tag, times an average of 250 words/page, times 769 pages, yields a cost of over $9,000. Phew! Chichiri47 (talk) 08:17, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
@TheTruth, in many or most of the cases where you cited this book (and I believe every citation of it here was inserted by you), you also cited a media source - presumably getting it from the footnotes to that book. And that's fine; that material has been left in, because it is cited to an independent reliable source as Wikipedia requires. But the book itself cannot be considered an independent reliable source, for two reasons: 1) It's not a reliable source as Wikipedia defines it: "Reliable sources may be published materials with a reliable publication process, or authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both." The self-publication process is not a reliable process, and C Stevenson has no reputation for expertise on this subject - or for anything else for that matter, he/she is a complete unknown. He/she may have cited reliable sources in the book, and those sources can be used, but not his/her conclusions or analysis of those sources. And we need to keep in mind that even those media sources have been cherry-picked; he/she searched out reports that might cast doubt on Westerfield's guilt. 2) Not an independent source: Even more important, there is no way that C Stevenson can be considered an "independent" source, because we have no idea who this person (or persons) is (are). As noted above, it could be Westerfield's defense attorney, or a member of his family. It could even be you! ;-)
@Chichiri, you asked about the quoted praise for the book from a journalist. The key word is "quoted"; that positive comment is found at Amazon and nowhere else. It is used to sell the book, but it does not seem to have appeared in a published review. We have no evidence that anyone ever published a review of this book. We don't even know if she (A. J. Flick) actually said it - we have only C Stevenson's word for it. So, no, this supposed praise does nothing to establish the credibility of the mysterious C Stevenson. BTW I believe I have removed most of the citations of this book from the other articles where it was inserted. --MelanieN (talk) 19:57, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
“You've pointed out that it is a voluminous work with many references, but anyone who's padded a term paper knows that that's not in itself impressive.”
That is a general comment. You provided no evidence that it is applicable in this case.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 14:34, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
You're suggesting that there might be cases where padding alone lends credibility to a document? Also, it took you eight months to think of that comeback? (talk) 00:14, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
I was saying that no evidence was provided that the many references in the book in question were just padding.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 19:02, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

The sentence about Westerfield being in the Handicrafts program at San Quentin was added by "Rogdriggjr" in May of 2008, in his only-ever contribution to Wikipedia. He did not source it, and I have been unable to find a single source on it. I am deleting the sentence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chichiri47 (talkcontribs) 20:05, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Apologies; I really need to learn to sign. :-/ Chichiri47 (talk) 21:19, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

I have removed the Conflicting Reports section as discussed below. I have also removed the Pornography subsection, as this is only marginally related at best to the murder of Danielle. I'd like to leave the Entomology section in place, since I think it's noteworthy given the focus on it during the trial, but it does need an overhaul. Ditto the Selby Confession section. Those are probably next on my list. Chichiri47 (talk) 19:33, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

I have greatly streamlined the Selby Confession section, and will probably move it out of its own section and under "Aftermath." I am trying to find copies of Westerfield's various appeals from 2004 onward, to see if the Selby letter is cited as a reason to overturn the conviction or grant a new trial, but so far I have been unable to find anything. Does anyone know if the defense cited the Selby letter in an appeal or post-trial motion? Chichiri47 (talk) 20:33, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Continuing in the mode of recording here what we have done: I trimmed two paragraphs in the "Aftermath" section. I reduced to a single sentence the paragraph about Westerfield asking for an officer's gun, and I trimmed the "animal forensics" TV episode slightly. --MelanieN (talk) 21:50, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

I have greatly trimmed and relocated the Entomology section to the Trial section. I have also relocated the Selby Confession section as discussed, and did some cleanup on the Westerfield section. Don't want to jinx it, but I think I'm close to done here. :-) Chichiri47 (talk) 01:34, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

Entomology dates

The article now states that “The prosecution's entomologist testified that Danielle's body could have been colonized as early as February 2”. There are sources which state that, but the cited source does not. This source is part of the trial transcript, and so is a primary source, which Wikipedia discourages. And this is an example why: they can be more difficult to understand. On page 8968, Goff states that “post feeding numbers are not reached at the Singing Hills site prior to 2 February ” - which appears to mean the 2nd or later - while on page 8973 when asked if he gave a February 2 date, he said “prior to” - so before the 2nd. A contradiction? No. In the first case, he was talking about the method used to calculate the dates, which is backwards from the time the body is found. So February 27, 26, 25, and so on, accumulating the thermal energy for each day. And when he reached the 2nd, the cumulative total still wasn’t enough to arrive at the stage of development the larvae were at. So the body must have been dumped before then. Which agrees with page 8973. But this is impossible. Because she was still alive on the 1st. Does this mean forensic entomology is worthless? No. There are various problems with Goff’s calculations, especially those using Singing Hills temperatures. For a start, that’s a golf course, and their weather station had been damaged, hit by a golf ball, so their recorded temperatures might be wrong. So Goff rightly discarded those calculations. But some reporters obviously didn’t understand this, and neither did a Wikipedia editor.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 05:17, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Conflicting Reports[edit]

I don't believe that the "Conflicting Reports" section is noteworthy enough for inclusion. Whenever you have voluminous media reporting of a particular event, you will have minor flaws and inconsistencies in these reports; these might be noteworthy in a general discussion about inconsistent media reporting in general, but they do not seem to shed light or doubt on the basic facts of the event of Danielle's murder and Westerfield's trial. There is no suggestion, for instance, that the police investigatory process or the jury was improperly influenced by this or that article overstating the evidence.

I don't know of any proposal process for deleting individual sections of an article, so I'll informally propose this section's deletion here. Chichiri47 (talk) 19:01, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

I concur with deleting this section. Offhand I don't see anything in this section of sufficient weight to be worth retaining. I also think the "pornography" section should be trimmed. The "entomology" section could maybe use some trimming, but maybe not, considering how much of the evidence at the trial related to entomology. And as I noted above, the "trial" section needs to be redone, so as to present the prosecution's case in an orderly way as it was presented at trial. Currently only the defense case is represented in that section. --MelanieN (talk) 21:41, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for fixing the "trial" section! --MelanieN (talk) 01:02, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

So you agree that media reports are unreliable but use them anyway, while rejecting use of a book the accuracy of which you have failed to fault.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 18:44, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Presumptive reliability, like presumptive unreliability, can be overcome by the facts at hand. Show us that a mainstream media source relied on in this article is systematically false -- or, in the alternative, that a media source was provably incorrect about something, and that this error is noteworthy enough to be mentioned in an article about Danielle van Dam's murder -- and I'll change the article myself. Or, to go to the heart of what I suspect is your real complaint here, show us that "C Stevenson" is an expert whose analyses and conclusions are worthy of citation on Wikipedia. Chichiri47 (talk) 23:41, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. You haven’t pointed out any factual errors in the information.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 13:32, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
You still don't understand what Wikipedia means by "Reliable Source". I'll quote again: "Reliable sources may be published materials with a reliable publication process, or authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both." And again: "Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." Or in a simplified version here: "We need reliable sources. Usually this means that the publisher has a reputation for fact checking." Bottom line: a Reliable Source is one with a REPUTATION for fact checking and accuracy, and a PROCESS to ensure same. It doesn't mean a source in which we have not (yet) found any factual errors but which has no reputation or process to establish it as habitually or mostly reliable. Thus, even if the New York Times occasionally gets something wrong, it is still a Reliable Source because of its reputation for fact checking and accuracy. In contrast, an unknown book by an unknown author has no such process or reputation; to the extent that the book quotes reliable sources, we can use those quotes (with appropriate citation to the sources they came from) but not the book itself. --MelanieN (talk) 14:34, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
“presumption”, “presumptively unreliable”: that sums it up well. You are basing your beliefs and actions on presumption; I am basing mine on facts. And “the facts at hand” are that no errors have been pointed out.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 14:51, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
This is the last time I'm going to say this: "Reliable Source" as Wikipedia defines it is based on the reputation of the source. It is not based on "well, we haven't found any errors in the source, at least not yet." You may not like Wikipedia's definition, preferring to talk about whether the source has been found to have errors in it (Original Research?), but Wikipedia guidelines and policy are what hold sway here.
In addition, Wikipedia requires its sources to be Independent of the subject. There is absolutely no evidence that C Stevenson, whoever they are, is independent of the subject.
You can use information you found in the book, but only to the extent that you can cite some Independent Reliable source for it. You have mostly have done that, and so the information is still in the article, cited to something Wikipedia regards as a Reliable Source. So what is the problem? Why the obsession with this one book? --MelanieN (talk) 16:15, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
I have merely replied briefly to some of the comments. My concern is accuracy, and that book is the only reliable source I know of.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 19:13, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid your revision history belies that statement; going over the edits you have made over recent months, I've found multiple instances where you've cited mainstream media pages in addition to (e.g. 07:22, 8 April 2014; 19:22, 23 July 2013; 16:43, 18 June 2013), or even instead of (e.g. 12:18, 26 June 2014; 14:24, 12 March 2014), C Stevenson's book. So I'd like to echo Melanie's question: Why the obsession with this one book? Chichiri47 (talk) 22:19, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
My hunch is that in every case, they got their fact from the book, and added their mainstream citation from the book's footnotes. That's a perfectly valid way of finding sources, even if it does result in cherry-picked information. --MelanieN (talk) 22:45, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

“Whenever you have voluminous media reporting of a particular event, you will have minor flaws” Chichiri47.

Minor? Let’s take just the first example in the now-deleted section.

Sexual images of an 18-year-old are legal.

Sexual images of a teen under 18 are illegal, but at most weak evidence of motive for sexual crimes against a 7-year-old.

Sexual images of a 7-year-old are both illegal and strong evidence of motive for such crimes.

Minor? The difference is huge and fundamental.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 12:46, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

James Selby[edit]

Selby was a proven and convicted serial sexual predator. With his history, his confession to killing Danielle could easily be true (assuming she was kidnapped for sexual purposes). Yet all that information has been removed from the article. So that anyone reading it now would wonder how anybody could believe that confession. All the article contains is that he was suspected of sex crimes, and was convicted of something: a traffic violation, perhaps? The expurgated article even casts doubt (without citing a source) on whether it was even him who confessed.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 06:57, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Given the commonness of false confessions to high profile cases, and the scant attention given it by anyone save Westerfield apologists, the Selby section is barely noteworthy as it is. In fact, I propose deletion of this section.
The alternative, as I see it, is to modify the section to state that 1) Selby was established as the letter writer,[citation needed] 2) his sexual history is relevant because the van Dam case was established to have been a sex crime,[citation needed] and 3) there is at least some independent evidence for Selby's guilt.[citation needed] Chichiri47 (talk) 21:14, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
The information was reduced from a whole subsection (which was WP:UNDUE) to a paragraph. If you are trying to imply that his confession might have been true, I don't think you have a leg to stand on. You said anyone reading it now would wonder how anybody could believe that confession - as a matter of fact, nobody DID believe it, at the time or later; even the defense declined to raise it as an issue. He had a history of multiple convictions for rape, yes. But as far as I can tell he was never accused of murder. We don't know if Danielle was raped; we DO know she was murdered. Selby had a habit of confessing to high profile crimes (do you think he also killed Jon-Benet Ramsey?); serial false confession is not unheard of.[6] [7] I don't think we should delete the item, but I think the current paragraph is all it warrants. --MelanieN (talk) 23:31, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
Just to head off what our friend is almost certainly going to say next, Selby was convicted of attempted murder, and kidnapping. But no, nobody except Westerfield and his apologists are interested in Selby. I've been trying to find a copy of his latest appeal brief, to see if Selby is even mentioned -- perhaps our mutual friend happens to have a pdf laying about? Chichiri47 (talk) 23:53, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
It appears that his 2013 appeal didn't mention Selby. It was based on a challenge to the search warrant that allowed detectives to search his house. [8] --MelanieN (talk) 17:27, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Appeals are about legal errors, not about new evidence.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 14:23, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

You haven’t addressed the fundamental question of why the article was reworded to conceal the fact that Selby was guilty of all those crimes (and yes I was going to mention the attempted murder, so thanks for raising it). Sex was the basis of the case against Westerfield, as can be inferred from the article, yet the article gives no evidence that Danielle was sexually assaulted. By the way, what other high-profile crimes did Selby confess to?TheTruth-2009 (talk) 15:03, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

Sigh. If you're not going to read what we say here, I'm not sure why we are bothering to respond. As I pointed out in this very thread, Selby "confessed" to the Jon-Benet Ramsey killing.[9] According to that same link, he also called his many confessions "hollow confessions" and said that his claim about Danielle Van Dam was "facetious". Selby wrote what he called a “hollow confession” to the Tucson cases, and said he admitted to many crimes while in Colorado, including the unsolved JonBenet Ramsey slaying. “You want me to clean up some cases? We’ll clean ‘em up,” Selby told the Tucson Citizen. “Danielle Van Dam, yep, that’s me, too… . I was being facetious.” A liar is a liar; he even contradicts himself; there is absolutely no reason to take anything he says at face value. BTW as you yourself just pointed out, there is no evidence Danielle was sexually assaulted, so Selby's sex crime convictions are irrelevant. --MelanieN (talk) 16:11, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Even if all you said were correct, it wouldn’t justify the deception. By the way, I asked what other high-profile crimes (plural) Selby confessed to: you have only named one. And are you saying that the sex (computer porn) evidence at Westerfield’s trial was irrelevant?TheTruth-2009 (talk) 07:57, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

MelanieN’s removal of content on 12/25/2014[edit]

The article quoted two statements made by the defense attorney, both of which are correct. Witness Judy Ray testified that at least 600,000 of one of Westerfield’s devices were sold. So if one were to fault the statement MelanieN has removed, then it would be on the grounds that the attorney understated the facts: Westerfield’s patents improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 06:53, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

"The prosecutor admitted..."[edit]

The bit added yesterday by TheTruth2009 appears in the middle of the section about the trial. However, there is no record of the prosecutor making such an admission during the trial. The closest thing I could find to such an admission was the statement, "Only one person knows where she was killed and when she was killed and it is not the police department," and that was made in a post-trial hearing.

If the sense of the community is that this addition is noteworthy enough for inclusion, then I propose moving the sentence to its correct chronological section and placing it in proper context (Judge at the same hearing: "All of the uncontested physical evidence establishes that this little girl was alive in the motor home"). If the sense is that it is not noteworthy -- and let's face it, murders in which the precise time and location of death are unremarkable, and the prosecution of such cases wholly routine -- then I propose deletion. Chichiri47 (talk) 00:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Good point. I was already bothered by the use of the POV word "admitted". Now you point out that the sentence is 1) in the wrong place chronologically and 2) a severe paraphrase, almost a twisting, of what the prosecutor actually said per the source. I'm going to delete it. If TheTruth2009 wants it reinserted, they can come here and convince us it belongs. --MelanieN (talk) 00:13, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Prosecution’s entomology date[edit]

You (MelanieN) have removed the warning message that their entomologist doesn’t say February 2. Have you seen my explanation above? If you have, then please explain why you disagree. The Court TV article cited in the paragraph correctly gives his dates as February 9-14.TheTruth-2009 (talk) 18:26, 20 May 2015 (UTC)


I find a paragraph detailing the results of his conviction that claims:

  "The trial lasted sixty-nine months and concluded on August 8. On August 21, the jury found Westerfield guilty of illegal dumping in the first degree, first degree murder, kidnapping, and possession of child pornography. Westerfield was fined 500 dollars for murder of Danielle, sentenced to death for the first degree illegal dumping."

I think this "first degree dumping" is highly questionable; although that is an actual charge in some states, I can't find a single reference to it being applied the the Westerfield case, or murder cases in general. Being "fined $500 for murder" and "death for illegal dumping" is just ridiculous. I'm going to remove the "illegal dumping" references and change it to only say death for the murder charge. It's obviously wrong the way it is, and I don't know enough about this to do things like flag for vandalism. At least this way I can draw attention to it; if someone else wants to fix it better, be my guest..45Colt 19:23, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

I reverted to a previous version. Apparently the vandalism was inserted last week. JOJ Hutton 19:48, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

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Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 06:46, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 3 external links on Murder of Danielle van Dam. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

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Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 14:26, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Murder of Danielle van Dam. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

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Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 13:09, 15 January 2018 (UTC)