Talk:Murder of Danielle van Dam/Archive

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No references

No sources, unnerve tag added.--FloNight 18:51, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Neutrality disputed

Evidence casting doubt on guilt has been repeatedly removed - see previous versions.

Protected

Due to constant edit warring, the page is now protected from editing. Please resolve your disputes here. Remember that all information that goes into the article must be verifiable from reliable sources. Once you have reached a compromise, please request unprotection. If you cannot come to some sort of compromise, you should see Wikipedia:Dispute resolution. Thanks. howcheng {chat} 23:30, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I like this current version of the David Westerfield case. At first, I believe 196.15.168.40 had good intentions and was making worthy contributions. But then they kept introducing new stuff every single day and the notes were getting ridiculously long. The article got all messed up and seemed to lean towards the fact that Westerfield was set up by the police. The inclusion of the James Selby confession, is worthless because the police didn't believe him. It did not exonerate Westerfield; he is still in jail. I think the current version is balanced and summarizes the case.

TripleH1976 09:52 p.m., 24 April 2006 (UTC)

It is understandable that you like this version, you authored it. However you also misstated some things and 196.15.168.40 did a very good job of making the corrections to the article.

I am new to this site and I don't know how to sign my comments....sorry - FreedomRings

Accuracy

Everything I added IS verifiable, mostly directly from the trial transcripts (including unsealed documents, also the autopsy report), which are more authoritative than media reports.

The version which has been protected contains errors. This has been stated many times, as can be seen from the History file (March 29, and April 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 14, 18 and 20), and those accusations have gone unchallenged. (I haven’t included March 21 and 25, because those corrections haven’t been undone.)The corrected versions were much more accurate than the protected version. —Preceding unsigned comment added by FreedomRings (talkcontribs)

If anyone wants to now dispute that, then please provide proof that Danielle and Brenda only sold cookies to Westerfield once, that Brenda returned from the bar with only two friends (I won’t be impressed if you merely argue that the men arrived in a separate car), that Westerfield was the only neighbor who “was not home on a Saturday” (that’s a strange statement), that he arrived home driving his RV (unless this was a reference to the Saturday afternoon, but the context implies it wasn’t), that he said he was driving around the county all night, that he was seen in a casino during the weekend Danielle went missing, that he gave his RV an intense cleaning, that her body was badly decomposed, that the video was of a 7-year-old, that he spied on his neighbors with binoculars, that his lawyers revealed that he was going to take police to the dump site - and that he was born on June 16, 1949.

Oh give me a break! Danielle and Brenda DID once sell cookies to Westerfield. It is open to interpretation if it was 2, 3, or 4 times. It happened at least one time. It doesn't say it was ONLY one time; it says it happened at least once. You're arguing about semantics here. Overall, the case is about Westerfield murdering the girl, not cookie sales. And why do you insist on including the time the surveillance began? This article is a summary of the case, not the entire case from start to finish. Your version wants to include EVERYTHING. If everything you say is verifiable, where are your footnotes then? The reader does not need to know what one neighbor said about Westerfield and his binoculars. They don't need to know about his former wife's statements either. The James Selby confession is worthless, because the police didn't believe him. It's not uncommon for criminals to confess to stuff they didn't do. Such criminals, who have nothing to lose will lie to police in order to confuse them and misdirect them. Westerfield was NOT exonerated by anything Selby had to say. If the reader needs to know ALL the details they can follow the links to the case. The wikipedia article does not have to include EVERYTHING. TripleH1976 07:24p.m., 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

Number of sales: This is an encyclopedia, so a high standard is required. The words chosen must be precise and permit no ambiguity. Twice is not once; three times is not once. And there IS evidentiary relevance. One possibility, if there was only one sale, just days before she was taken - meaning that this was the first time Westerfield had contact with her - is that he was smitten by her, hence the kidnapping/murder - behavior which was totally out of character for him. But the previous sales rule out that possibility. And Van Dam hairs and fibers in his house were used as evidence against him: some could have been left over from previous visits. Brenda Van Dam also stated on Larry King Live June 3, 2003 that they had also sold gift wrap at a previous time and this was never mentioned in court. Keep in mind that any order previously made also requires a delivery date. —Preceding unsigned comment added by FreedomRings (talkcontribs)

Time surveillance began: (This wasn’t one of the points I listed.) As surveillance began less than 24 hours after they first interviewed him, this is relevant to the allegation that the police were guilty of a rush to judgement.

Spying: The old version of the article states, as if it were a proven fact, that Westerfield spied on his neighbors with binoculars. I listed the only evidence I could find - and it’s very weak evidence. I could have added a comment to that effect, and concluded that the allegation is almost certainly not true, but refrained from doing so.

Including everything: Given your concern about the greater length of the new version of the article, I could have simply replaced the original “spying” statement with something like: “The police believed that Westerfield spied on his neighbors with binoculars, but this is probably not true”. But by giving the actual evidence, the reader can decide for themselves whether or not this was proved. I like evidence. This point is also relevant to the Neutrality issue, which I discussed separately.

Selby: It’s not uncommon for criminals to confess to stuff they DID do. And Selby did confess to crimes he committed. Based on what is known about him, he might well have been responsible for Danielle’s death. It is the job of the police to INVESTIGATE leads and evidence, but in this case they failed to do so - not only Selby’s confession, but any evidence pointing away from Westerfield, giving as their excuse a lack of time. Westerfield WOULD have been exonerated IF Selby’s DNA had been compared to the unidentified DNA in the blood on Danielle’s bed and found to be a match. And the same is true of the unidentified prints on the Van Dam’s staircase and by her door, and of the evidence at the dump site especially the hair.

Verification: The existing article didn’t include footnotes, so I merely followed that example. My source was the San Diego Union-Tribune, especially the trial transcripts on their website, which I added to the External links but which was repeatedly removed.

Conclusion: You did not respond to most of the points I listed, and for those you did respond to, in no case did you dispute the truth of what I said - your objections are on various other grounds. I therefore conclude that you accept that the accuracy of the article will be greatly improved if my edits are reinstated.

Westerfield birthday

I just want to say that I was not the one, who put the birthday information. I assume somebody who knows him may have put that in. TripleH1976 08:11 p.m., 25 April 2006 (UTC)

David Westerfield, born February 25, 1952 —Preceding unsigned comment added by FreedomRings (talkcontribs)

Neutrality

Articles must be neutral. That means giving both sides of an argument. In a court case, it means giving the evidence both for and against the defendant.

The old article (up to mid-March) contained only evidence of guilt (except perhaps Westerfield’s explanation for the porn and the “suggestions” by his attorneys about the police’s rush to judgement and the parents’ lifestyle). It was therefore not neutral. So the current, protected version is also not neutral.

I added evidence of innocence to balance the article, creating the desired neutrality. This consisted of the entomology evidence, the search dog evidence, the red fibers found with Danielle’s fingernail clippings, the failure to find any evidence that Westerfield had been in Danielle’s home, and so on.

I didn’t remove any evidence of guilt, I merely corrected errors in it (e.g. the plea bargain), or pointed out if it was incomplete or misleading (e.g. the blood evidence, the hint at suicide, and his niece’s testimony), thus creating a balanced and neutral article. Nor have I attempted to correct/improve the article about Danielle: I saw, for example, that it also contained the wrong date for the discovery of her body, but I left it alone.

In stark contrast, TripleH1976 completely removed all I added (apart from the first two small corrections), thus reverting the article to its previous, non-neutral state.

Until his comment above (April 24) about Westerfield possibly having been set up by the police, he did not challenge the neutrality of any of my edits. Let the facts speak for themselves.

Sorry but, I feel, the article is neutral enough. If there is more mention of the guilty evidence, then that's no fault of mine. I mean, the man was convicted by a jury of his peers. Clearly, they thought the evidence of guilt out weight the evidence of not guilty. It seems to me like you wanna use this wikipedia article as your platform to retry the case. You saturated and convoluted the article with so much information that it started to resemble a novel. If someone came here and just wanted a brief description of the case, your version would have left them confused and regretful they ever read anything. There's no reason for the reader to believe the abduction happened on the day Westerfield bought cookies. Because the next paragraph goes into the crime, clearly indicating the cookie sales happened before. Perhaps, the Van Dams and Westerfield don't even remember how many times they bought and sold cookies from each other. Only they know; anything we say is speculative. This article is not a court room. You do not need to overwhelm a reader with every single itty, itty, bitty piece of evidence. TripleH1976, 10:30 p.m., 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

The article isn’t neutral at all. It was you who wrote it, so it was you who selected what to include and what to exclude. The jury had nothing to do with that. I have not said that Westerfield is innocent: I am trying to be neutral, so I have merely presented the evidence. If you find that threatening then you should examine your standpoint - and it would be a good reason to “retry the case” here. If you were confident of your conclusion, then you would welcome the evidence, secure in the belief it would confirm you are right.

I detect anger in your responses. One reason I decided to study this case is the public anger that surrounded it: that is not conducive to an objective verdict. Now might be a good time to re-examine the evidence: the time which has elapsed has given tempers a chance to cool down a little. You do not have the right to prevent that.

Given the public anger, I wonder if it is really so clear that the jury thought the evidence of guilt outweighed the evidence of innocence: was it the evidence or the angry crowd that was responsible for their verdict? That by itself is a good reason to “retry the case” here.

I don’t find the article convoluted at all. Nevertheless, I don’t object to a copy editor revising it - whether to shorten it or to improve the readability.

Novels are fiction: everything I added is fact.

Part of your reply actually refers to length, not neutrality, and so belongs in the next section.

Someone who came here wouldn’t necessarily want such a brief description, which might leave them dissatisfied: they might instead want more detail and more facts - and neutrality - but not have the time to wade through numerous media articles and lengthy trial transcripts. So they might be extremely grateful to me - they would certainly be better informed. One idea I had was to have the evidence in a separate section within the article. That would result in both a brief summary (which you want) and more detail (which I want).

I don’t understand your point about the abduction not happening on the day of the cookie sale. I never said it was, nor that that was implied by the original version. For your information, neither Westerfield nor the Van Dams could remember which day the sale was on: every day from Tuesday to Friday was suggested at one time or another. I didn’t introduce the cookie sale: it was already in the article, but incorrect - I merely corrected it. Accuracy is important.

In fact I introduced few new topics, but they were extremely important ones, such as the entomological evidence, the lack of evidence that Westerfield was in the Van Dam house, Danielle having prior access to his RV, and so on. How can you have an article about the case without including those topics? Or the kidnapping scenario. That permitted the “special circumstances” carrying the death penalty to be invoked, so it is justifiable to include details of it. It’s not my fault that the story is implausible, I didn’t make it up.

One can argue that, with such important topics now having been added to the article, the previous topics should be reviewed with a view to possibly removing some of them. I have no objection to that.

An alternative solution, for the specific topic of the cookie sale (though this solution could possibly be applied to other topics as well), is simply to reword it so that it doesn’t say “once”. It would then be correct and my correction would not have been required. And I wasn’t speculating on the number of sales: I quoted what was testified to in court.

Those solutions fall far short of the draconian removal of nearly everything I added.

There are over 10,000 pages in the trial transcripts. It is obvious therefore that my 3-page article does not contain “every single itty, itty, bitty piece of evidence”. Far from it. There is - rightly, in my opinion - no mention of Westerfield’s porch light being on, his blinds being closed, his supposed nervousness and sweating, the refund at the Strand, him doing his laundry after returning from a dusty place, his RV getting stuck in the desert, the voice the tow-truck driver thought he heard, and so on. More serious omissions - again, in my opinion - are the inability to determine the cause of death (mentioned in Danielle’s article), the drag trails at the dump site, the lack of a body silhouette there, the failure of the police to investigate DNA found in the blood stains on Danielle’s bed, that her parents initially lied to the police, the fact that Westerfield doesn’t fit the FBI profile, and so on.

There’s a lot about this case that is truly troubling.

Length

The increased length of the article has been criticized several times: on April 12, 14, 18, 21, 24 and 25, but no guidelines/regulations were ever quoted supporting this criticism or indicating what the appropriate length should be. (I am new to Wikipedia, and this is the first time I have contributed to it, so I would welcome being pointed to any such rules.) The latest extended version (April 20/24) is only just over two pages in length, including all the Notes.

After the first criticism, I said (April 14) that the length could be addressed after the required quality standard was achieved (which was just a week later, on April 20); and I virtually repeated that on April 18, when I also pointed out that the extended version of the article was still shorter than certain other articles I named; while on April 20 I pointed out that there is a difference between conciseness and suppressing evidence - I had begun to suspect (and this suspicion was reinforced by comments on April 24) that length was not the issue, and that it was just an excuse to justify a biased article.

If length is genuinely a problem, then the article can be shortened by removing things other than just evidence pointing to innocence.

I have no objection to a professional copy editor removing any verbosity (the criticism on April 18) while keeping the article balanced, i.e. retaining a neutral point of view. So any removal of evidence must be done evenly to both sides.

If the objection is to the length of the Notes (April 12 and 24), then they can be incorporated into the article.

A related objection was that the article is supposed to provide only an outline of the case, and no detail (April 21) - just a summary of the case (April 24 and 25) - but no reference was given to any guidelines/regulations on this point.

That is one option, but there is an alternative. This was a very high-profile case, so extra information can be justified. It can also be justified on the grounds that there were distinctive aspects of this case. If entomological evidence is as inaccurate/unreliable as the prosecution argued - and the jury believed - then its use in criminal cases should be reviewed. This case may have been the first time the rear knuckle area of the finger was used to make a match. The police failed to investigate evidence pointing away from their only suspect. There was public and even media pressure on the jury to render a guilty verdict.

The article could examine such issues, thereby greatly increasing and broadening its value.

The fact it was a high-profile case does not mean the article has to be lengthy. Take a look at the Alejandro Avila article. It is short and to the point, the way an article should be. The case of Charles Ng that is a massive case, but look at the length of his article. You just wanna retry the case in here. It is the defense attorney's job to defend the defendant not the job of a wikipedia article. Stop trying to persuade people into thinking Westerfield is innocent. If people wanna know the whole case then let them follow the links. Notes are not meant to be long and boring the way you made them. They're only suppose to be tidbits of the case that didn't fit in the larger article. The part of the binoculars is not stated as fact. It is mentioned because it was discussed at the trial. If we had to mention every refute evidence, then every single crime article would go pages, and pages and pages long. Again, the article is suppose to outline the case not give you the WHOLE CASE! What don't you understand about that? You are like a defense attorney trying to refute anything to get your client off. You're treating the article like a courtroom. As for Selby he is a liar. Time will show that, and considering how slow California is to carry out the death sentence maybe Westerfield will get out(assuming DNA evidence exonerates him) someday in the future. Afterall, he's entitle to a whole bunch of appeals. If the article looks like Westerfield is guilty it's because a jury found him guilty. His presumption of being innocent until proven guilty is long over. The defense side is mentioned. Is it mentioned to your satisfactory? I assume not so you should take that up with his defense council, for not putting on a stronger defense. TripleH1976 11:15 p.m., 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

The fact it was a high-profile case may not mean the article HAS to be lengthy, but does mean it CAN be lengthy. I don’t consider 3 pages to be lengthy, but I suggested several reasons why THIS article could justifiably be longer. And my version is only 1 page longer than it was before, that’s what all the fuss is about - totally out of proportion. And I would again request you to show me the rule it now violates (if any).

Just because some articles are short doesn’t mean that all have to be. If somebody were to increase the length of the other articles you named (Avila and Ng), I wouldn’t object. If anyone thought there was sufficient reason to do so, that would be fine with me, I certainly wouldn’t try to stop them, as long as their facts were correct. I see there’s also an article on Ng’s accomplice and one on his extradition. So there’s a total of 4 pages on him. If they filmed themselves committing some of the crimes, then my guess is that there’s not much doubt about his guilt. Similarly, according to the Avila article, his DNA was found on Samantha’s body, whereas the DNA of somebody other than Westerfield was found with Danielle’s body. The article on OJ Simpson is just over 5 pages.

It’s not so much a case of IF I want to retry the case here, but SHOULD it be retried? If you can’t refute the evidence of innocence, then the answer is clearly YES. However, I’m not sure that what I have done goes as far as “retrying” the case: I have merely presented some evidence of innocence, most of which was simply correcting errors or misleading statements.

Given that there will be an appeal, that’s a good reason for having more detail, so people can get more information, quickly and easily, when the appeal is heard.

I could equally argue that it is the prosecutor's job to prosecute the defendant, not the job of a Wikipedia article, so stop trying to persuade people into thinking Westerfield is guilty. Instead, just give the evidence of guilt and evidence disproving the evidence of innocence.

If the article doesn’t contain any mention of entomology, for example, then how will any reader know that it even played a role in the case, much less go to the links to look it up? If the links are a good reason to leave out evidence of innocence, then they are also a good reason to leave out evidence of guilt.

There are now 5 notes more than before: 2 of those were placed there by someone else who also removed 1 old one (which mentioned the defense and pointed to possible innocence). So I added 4 notes, 2 of 2 lines each, one of 3 lines and 1 of 4 lines (total 11 lines). The 7 notes I changed are now just 8 lines in total longer than before. By comparison, I noticed one of the Avila notes is 5 lines long. So the accusation that they are long is unfounded; I’ll leave you to justify your other allegation, that they are boring. And I have already said that I won’t object if they are incorporated into the article (which some originally came from), if this really is a problem.

The binoculars WERE stated as a fact - the trial REVEALED that he spied on his neighbors with binoculars (not “suggested” or “pointed to”). I only mentioned them because the statement was WRONG. If they hadn’t been mentioned in the old article (now the protected version), then I wouldn’t have mentioned them. If they were included in the article because they were discussed at the trial, then why wasn’t the entomology included? After all, it was also discussed at the trial, and at far greater length than the binoculars.

Most (about two-thirds) of my edits were related to topics already in the article, few (only about one-third) were new topics: I was mainly just correcting erroneous or misleading statements.

I have already disproved your allegation that my extended version of the article contains the whole case (see my response in the Neutrality section).

I could retort that you are like a prosecutor trying to refute anything to get the defendant convicted - but that wouldn’t be true as you have not responded to most of my points. What would be wrong with “treating the article like a courtroom”: that could be highly educational - especially if it were a first for Wikipedia.

Selby may be a liar, but so are Damon and Brenda, and that wouldn’t mean he was lying about killing Danielle - which is really all that concerns us here.

What will you do if Westerfield does get out (whether exonerated by DNA or something else, such as police misconduct - remember Detective Ott? - or failure to follow standard procedure - remember the drop of blood in the RV?)? Will you then completely revise this article so that it only shows evidence of innocence? Won’t that be embarrassing for Wikipedia, that they got it so badly wrong?

If the article (the protected version) looks like Westerfield is guilty, it's because the author thereof thinks he is guilty, which may or may not be because a jury found him guilty, and may or may not be because his defense counsel didn’t put on a stronger defense. Did you believe him guilty before or only after the jury’s verdict? Before or only after the defense case?

My edits to this article had nothing to do with his presumption of being innocent until proven guilty: all I am doing is giving the evidence, so the article now has evidence both for and against (or did until it was all removed).

The defense side may be mentioned in the article, but only briefly and weakly. In fact, the old (but now protected) article even implies - incorrectly - that his lawyers knew he was guilty. So is the defense mentioned to my satisfaction? Of course not. The first priority is to get the facts correct.

Third opinion

This article needs sources. Keep in mind the standard here is verifiability, not truth. This isn't a court of law, so nobody should be proving any cases here. We should be summarizing others' reports of what happened, not creating our own. Unreferenced statements should be removed from the article along with information that is not important to this case. Fagstein 02:03, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Reply to Fagstein:

Thank you for your input.

I’d be happy to provide sources for my edits (it would just take a bit of time because there are a lot of them), but they have been removed - repeatedly. And the version of the article which has been protected does not contain them. What is therefore needed is for the article to be unprotected, for my edits to be reinstated, and for them NOT to be again removed. If anybody objects to any of my edits, then they should do so in an acceptable manner, such as flagging the article as POV (better still would be to flag just the individual edits), or to “improve the edit, rather than reverting it” (see Resolving disputes).

I’m not sure that anybody is “proving any cases here”. I have no objection to having a detailed analysis of the evidence here - and I would be willing to contribute to that - but that’s not what I was trying to achieve. When I found the article two months ago, it contained errors and lacked neutrality. In other words, it was not of an acceptable standard - and so should not have been protected. All I was doing was correcting those flaws.

What you may have meant was that the article must not advocate guilt or innocence. My goal was to correct an existing imbalance, so I was consciously trying to keep my contributions as neutral as possible.

By summarizing “others’ reports” of what happened, I presume you are including testimony at the trial, as witness reports are more comprehensive and reliable than media reports.

If information that is NOT important to the case should be removed, then I take that to mean that information that IS important should be included/reinstated. Such as the entomology.

You haven’t said anything about the length of the article or of the Notes, so I presume you don’t think my extended version is too long (which was the main stated objection to my edits).

Taking all the above into account, I conclude that you are agreeable to my edits being reinstated, but I must then add my sources - and the other contributors must add theirs. 196.15.168.40 04:39, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

You've been out to do way more then just correct flaws. Your version of the article clearly looks like you believe Westerfield was wrongfully convicted. If all you were concern about was mistakes you would have corrected them once or twice and be over with it. But, instead, you added details every single day. The article was convoluted; you challenged each piece of evidence as if we were in the court room. It was like you trying to retry the case. You gave your own analysis about why the jurors didn't go to the dump site or the Van Dam home. Did the judge tell you that? How do you know? You mention it like it was fact. You make moot points like the children being unsupervised, so that's why there was blood on the RV's carpet. That's an example of spin. TripleH1976 1:24 a.m., 15 May (2006)

Reply to TripleH1976:

The flaws I was referring to were not just errors but also the lack of neutrality (which I know you dispute). And I was adding details every day because there were so many flaws. If I was just pointing out where the flaws were, then that would have been quick and easy, and I could have done that “once or twice and be over with it”. But I was CORRECTING the flaws which meant that, to maintain a high standard, I had to check my sources to ensure my facts were correct and then word my changes carefully.

I don’t agree that this made the article convoluted. I’m sure an experienced copy editor could make small improvements here and there, but I don’t believe that major changes are necessary.

I was merely presenting the evidence. If that makes it look like Westerfield was wrongfully convicted, then so be it: you are free to dispute the accuracy or neutrality of anything I have written. However, I would point out that I did not dispute that there WAS evidence consistent with guilt: I was just showing that it is WEAK evidence - I’m sure some people would still consider him guilty.

That may make the article look like it is retrying the case in a courtroom, but it also makes it look like a balanced article, presenting both points of view, as one would expect in an encyclopedia.

I would argue that some of my changes had little, if any evidentiary value, one way or the other: I was concerned merely with accuracy. Such as the date the body was discovered. Or the time she was discovered missing. Or that he arrived home in his SUV not his RV.

I only challenged evidence I thought needed challenging. I didn’t dispute that Damon put Danielle to bed around 10:30, though I have also seen an earlier time: 10:00 (Damon Van Dam, trial testimony, March 14, 2002). (It was someone else who removed that statement.) I haven’t disputed the length of Westerfield’s RV, even though I have seen different figures: 33 feet (Neal Westerfield, July 24); 37 feet (Harriet Ryan, Court TV, June 17). I was tempted to change the description of Westerfield’s children from “adult” to “college”, for greater precision (Neal Westerfield, July 24; Lisa Westerfield, September 4). And I was certainly tempted to change the statements that he first said he drove around the county (implying aimlessly), then said he drove around the desert and the beach (implying he changed his story) - but I didn’t feel like searching through reams of pages trying to determine if there was any truth in those statements. In any case, no record was made of his initial statements. If you think the article convoluted, then changing that section would help simplify it.

I don’t know whether the jurors went to the dump site or not: they might well have done so individually before they were selected as jurors: I was referring solely to the Van Dam home. Did the judge tell me why they didn’t go there? Actually, yes, he did. Not me personally - I’ve never met him. But he stated this in court (on June 24, page 5905 of the trial transcripts). Admittedly not open court, but that document was subsequently unsealed, along with many others, and it is available on the Union-Tribune website to anyone who wants to see it for themselves (Greg Moran, “Mudd given time line to unseal transcripts”, September 24, 2002, Document No. 14, westerfield12.pdf ). So it IS a fact.

I didn’t say there was blood on the RV carpet BECAUSE the children were unsupervised. In fact, I didn’t attempt to link the two together at all - and there are two paragraphs in between. Had I linked them, I would have said that, because the children were unsupervised at times, and the RV door was unlocked and open at times, they had the opportunity and COULD have entered the RV (even Nancy Grace of Court TV can imagine a little girl doing that (Larry King Live, July 15, 2002)), and while inside it, they COULD have left behind a drop of blood (and other evidence). I might have added that this is “reasonable doubt” that the blood was left there the weekend she went missing. I wouldn’t have phrased it the way you have, partly because I am trying to be neutral (so I’m trying to present the evidence WITHOUT drawing conclusions), and partly because I’m not convinced that there was a drop of her blood there: I find it suspicious that it wasn’t properly documented (Annette Peer, June 20) - I also find it suspicious that the forensic specialist was told there was something interesting in that area of the carpet (Karen LeAlcala, March 12). I could understand that a police officer might notice a large blood stain and direct the forensic specialist’s attention to it, but this one was TINY. 196.15.168.40 17:28, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

What the new article should look like.

Ok, so, this is what I've been thinking. To make the article neutral I think the following should be added/deleted.

In the first paragraph remove the entire stuff regarding the cookies, since it's hard to prove if he bought cookies once, twice, or three times. Westerfield and Brenda might have forgotten how many times they sold/bought cookies to each other. However do mention that, as a neighbor, he was acquainted with Brenda and Damon Van Dam. The rest is ok. The length of time his RV was parked is highly POV and doesn't deserve to be mentioned. To state the RV was sometimes locked or unlocked and the Van Dam children having access to it, is misleading. It is what I like to call "spin". That's what defense lawyers do, wikipedia is NOT A COURT ROOM. Another good reason for removing the cookies sales is the fact that the kidnapping didn't happen on a day they sold cookies to him.

The second paragraph looks pretty good. The rest of the stuff concerning when Westerfield entered the home and if he was trapped in a closet or not is way too detailed and unnecessary. The article is designed to summarize the case. And should a person want to know these details they can follow the links and/or read the court transcripts.

On the third paragraph, it should be stated that Westerfield and another neighbor were not home when the police started interviewing the neighborhood. The rest is ok. I agree that, currently, the article makes it seem like Westerfield was the only one and fact is he wasn't.

On the fourth paragraph, it should be stated that police found one blood stain on his jacket and another drop on his RV's carpet. The statement about the blood stain being faint is highly POV and doesn't belong in the article. The stuff about the blood not being photographed or measured should be included only IF you can provide proof law enforcement did not do those thing.

It should be mentioned that the autopsy report showed moderate decomposition and superficial mummification, but extensive postmortem animal feeding. It could not be determined if she had been sexually molested, nor could a cause of death be determined. It's a moot point to say there was no semen, because sperm doesn't survive on a death body for over 25 days. And if you can't tell she was sexually molested then it goes without saying that there wasn't any semen. You need one to prove the other and vice versa. In addition, Danielle was found nude and partially burned.

Include a paragraph 5, or extend paragraph 4 for information regarding the site where Danielle was found. It should be mentioned that the only links, between the dump site and Westerfield, were one dull orange fiber tangled in her hair and necklace, which was otherwise microscopically indistinguishable from many bright orange fibers in his house and SUV; and a number of blue fibers which were microscopically the same as ones in his house and RV. However, they were not tested.

Now the topic of the child porn. He was convicted of having child porn; end of story. You glossing it over by saying police only found 1% of the porn questionable is highly POV. If he got charged(and convicted of possession) for it, it's because he had a massive amount of it. Hell, he even had CD's of it.

Your paragraph regarding entomology is good, so state that entomology was a major focus of the defense; mention that 4 entomologist testified that the flies on Danielle's body laid eggs, sometime by mid February while Westerfield was being watched. But that's it. The stuff about Danielle - being alive or dead in his RV - so the dogs should have detected her is simply your interpretation/analysis. It is clear evidence that you want to try the case in here. How do you know the dogs would have found her scent? What if Westerfield preselected a site he could take her? I believe you're trying to cram your version of evidence to a reader. And don't accuse me of trying to do that either, this is the discussion area. I do not put my interpretations into the main article. And no kidding that the parents were cleared as suspects. You aren't telling people anything new here. They never got charged, so it's moot; keep the focus on Westerfield. The sex offender information is also needless.

Now to the notes. The note about Westerfield being a conservative is not something I put in. However, I do know for certain that Westerfield told the cops the suspect who murdered Danielle should be put to death. The second note about the defense trying to link the child porn to his son is true and shouldn't be altered. The third note should say something like: "During the trial, the prosecution portrayed Westerfield as a "peeping Tom" spying on his neighbors with binoculars". Statements from the neighbor or his former wife does not need to be included. The fourth note regarding suicide it should be mentioned that Westerfield later said he was joking about it. And that the police were depriving him of sleep.

The fifth note about the civil suit should be kept as it is. The sixth note about the Van Dams and their lifestyle should stay as well. For the seventh note, I propose that at the end it should be stated that neither the defense or the prosecution confirmed or denied this to the media. In the very last note it should be stated that Westerfield placed his finger in his niece's teeth and rubbed them when she was seven years old. And to even things out I think one of your notes should be included. Law enforcement were unable to find any evidence that Westerfield had been in Danielle’s home - no fingerprints, hair, DNA or fibers. However, your POV statement that that's why the judge didn't take the jurors anywhere(Van Dam home, dump site) doesn't belong in the article since you aren't the judge.

That's how, I think, the new article should look like. Many of your notes are verbose. For example, it doesn't need to be mentioned that Danielle and Westerfield were NEVER seen together during the weekend of the murder. Normally kidnappers don't walk around with a child they abducted. Also mentioning that his RV and home showed no signs a murder took place indicates very little if anything. The cause of Danielle's death was very likely suffocation or smothering. That's the easiest and cleanest way to kill someone. So, because the cause of Danielle's death was undetermined, it is safe to assume she wasn't shot or stabbed to death; both methods tend to leave an awful mess. Next, you say Westerfield didn't clean his RV as well as the police claim. How do you know? Did you inspect it too? Are you privy with regards to what the police examined when they tested the RV? Then you try to say some of the pictures on the computer were linked to Neal, which one's? The adult photos, or the photos of children? State which ones you think they were, because you make it sound like Neal looked at the kiddie porn. Well, until Neal Westerfield goes to jail for possessing child porn I don't think you should go around linking him to that type of garbage. Neal stated he looked at adult porn only. The scope of the child porn charge goes way beyond just the pictures from the internet. His father was the owner of the CD's containing child porn and he was the one who viewed the video of a girl being raped. That's not MY opinion it is a fact; a court of law determined that.

And finally, James Selby. I think it should be noted that he did write to the police and confessed to Danielle's murder in 2003. It should be mentioned that he has a violent history of sex offenses, but police don't believe his claim that he murdered Danielle. Selby's arrest warrant being granted on the day Westerfield was convicted is not important to the article.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, in the external links include the link to the San Diego Union Tribune special coverage of the Westerfield trial.

That's how the new unprotected article should look like. TripleH1976 Sun 10:56 p.m., 14 May 2006 (UTC)


Acknowledgment:

Thank you for your positive and constructive - and comprehensive - suggestions. You obviously put a lot of thought into them, which I appreciate. I will also put a lot of thought into my reply, which will therefore take a few days. 196.15.168.40 04:00, 16 May 2006 (UTC)


Reply to TripleH1976:

First paragraph: (and first Note of revised version)

(I wasn’t the one who, on April 8, moved the cookies statements from the text into the Notes - and you moved them back again.)

The article might not need ALL the detail about the cookies, but your proposal goes too far. They were MORE than just acquaintances: the Van Dams had VISITED Westerfield, and they did so shortly before Danielle went missing, and that wasn’t the first visit either.

I don’t understand why you are disputing - or at least are uncertain about - the NUMBER of cookie sales: there was uncertainty and disagreement about the DAY of the last sale, but Brenda was very clear that there were TWO cookie sales (testimony, March 14 and June 6). We only heard about the gift wrap sale afterwards, and we don’t know how many of those there were, or of any other fund raisers. Nor do we know which and how many Van Dams visited him on those other sales, or to deliver the items and collect payment for them.

There wasn’t much physical evidence in this case (or at least evidence LINKING the suspect to the victim), and much of it consisted of Van Dam hairs and fibers in Westerfield’s environment. Their visits could explain ALL of it - in both his house and his vehicles (through primary and secondary Locard transfer). It could also explain the orange fiber tangled in Danielle’s necklace (if that matched the ones in his environment).

Brenda wanting to see his remodeled kitchen also has evidentiary value: she WANTED to go inside his house. If Westerfield really was a pedophile (or was fixated on Danielle), then he made remarkably LITTLE effort to attract potential victims.

Regarding your comment about the kidnapping not being on the day of the cookie sale: If someone who met her could be so infatuated by her that he would kidnap her the same day, then suspects would include anybody she met that day: at the passport photo shop, Post Office, and Mervyn’s (Brenda, March 14 and June 6) - and the new next-door neighbor, to whom she sold cookies Friday night (Joe Hughes, Union-Tribune, February 7, 2002).

I don’t know why you describe the length of time I said his RV was parked in the neighborhood as “highly POV”: perhaps you were influenced by inaccurate media coverage. For example, according to Court TV, it was Steven Feldman (the DEFENSE attorney), who said it was “often” there (Harriet Ryan, June 4 and August 7, 2002) - implying we should take that with a pinch of salt; and according to the Union-Tribune, the RV was only “sometimes parked in the neighborhood” (Alex Roth, August 22, 2002); it “hadn't been parked in the neighborhood for several months” (Alex Roth, December 12, 2002); Westerfield “usually kept his 35-foot motor home parked in a rural area of Poway ” (Alex Roth, June 27, 2002). In fact, it was mid-November - just two months before the kidnapping - that he started storing it there (Keith Sherman, testimony, June 12). Or perhaps you were influenced by the Prosecutor, Jeff Dusek, who objected to this information as “irrelevant” (March 14), to which the Judge replied : “Overruled. I find it relevant. ” And so do I. The Wikipedia article must not merely be a mouthpiece for the Prosecution.

In fact, Westerfield’s RV was parked in the street so much that the neighbors COMPLAINED: that’s why he had to find an alternative storage area, miles away, shortly before the kidnapping (Damon, March 14 and June 5; Brenda, June 6; Richard Brady, June 10; Mark Roehr, July 2). What I said about the RV sometimes being unlocked and open was ALSO based on trial testimony, mostly by neighbors (Mark Roehr, July 2; Stephanie Escadero, July 9; Christina Hoeffs, March 11 and June 12; Barbara Crum, June 12; Angela Elkus, June 13; Janet Roehr, July 2; Susan L., July 10; Christina Gonzales, July 9). And I don’t understand why you describe it as “misleading”: the children DID have access. We don’t know if any of them ever entered it, but they COULD have. How can a NEUTRAL article NOT mention this?

Once again, perhaps you were misled by poor quality - one might even say biased - media reporting. For example, although the Union-Tribune correctly reported that WITNESSES had testified to the vehicle being unlocked (Alex Roth, July 3, 2002; Steve Perez and Jeff Dillon, August 7, 2002), it MOSTLY stated only that the DEFENSE said it was unlocked (e.g. Alex Roth, August 9 and December 12, 2002). And Perez and Dillon NULLIFIED the witness testimony by promptly ADDING that Feldman “didn't point to any testimony that showed Danielle or her mother had been in the vehicle”. Court TV used the same technique (anonymous, July 2, 2002; Harriet Ryan, July 9, 2002).

If you want examples of spin, you need look no further than those media articles. One could say that I am not trying to put my own spin on the facts, but am trying to COUNTERACT the spin of others.

General point:

The article contains very little biographical information about Westerfield, it’s almost entirely about the case. I can understand that members of his family might not want to be mentioned because of the public anger against him, but it should at least have details of his patents, the medical devices he has developed and the benefits people have experienced as a result (Carmen Genovese, August 29; etc.), as well as personal information such as that he raised birds (e.g. Diane Hill, September 3; Lisa Westerfield, September 4), and viewed the stars at night during his trips to the desert (Dave Laspisa, July 8). 196.15.168.40 17:58, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Second paragraph:

I’m pleased you consider this paragraph “pretty good”. (I’m assuming you are referring to the revised version, which is TOTALLY different to the protected version.)

Regarding your sole criticism, there are only three-and-a-half lines about Westerfield being in the Van Dam house. As this is the actual kidnapping, and therefore of CONSIDERABLE importance to the case, I don’t see how it can be left out, and I would be interested to see how you propose shortening it. I would not be in favor of omitting the amount of time he was supposedly inside the house as that has evidentiary importance: such a long stay makes it difficult to believe that he didn’t leave any evidence behind. Even the REASON for that long stay - the return of Brenda and her friends - has evidentiary value, not least because it was PREDICTABLE. I DIDN’T include the theory that he hid in Danielle’s tiny closet, so I don’t know why you mentioned that. Nor did I say anything about the open doors, the alarms, the lighting, the dog, one of the female friends going upstairs to Damon’s bed, Brenda closing Danielle’s door without checking on her, the unidentified blood on her bed, the unidentified fingerprints and blood along the route the kidnapper would have taken her, the drag marks outside the house, the open gate, and so on. And someone else removed the details about the number of her friends (which I had corrected). So this IS a summary. And much of the testimony on June 5, 6 and 10 revolved around events in the house that night, with three of the four friends (plus, of course, Damon and Brenda) testifying about it.

(Now that I look at that long list of evidence in the Van Dam home, I think the article should be EXPANDED to include it. Reminder: nobody has yet informed me of the regulations restricting the length of articles and the amount of detail they can contain.)

I would make one very small change to my existing wording, and that is to add that Westerfield would have had to take Danielle back to his house ON FOOT. 196.15.168.40 04:03, 21 May 2006 (UTC)


Third paragraph:

Once again I am assuming that your comments refer to the revised version of the article. As I have previously pointed out, there are factual errors in the third paragraph of the protected version, in particular Brenda not dancing with Westerfield, him being seen at a casino that weekend and giving his RV an intensive cleaning. You have not disputed this, and I presume you don’t want any Wikipedia article to contain errors.

You only have one comment on this paragraph, and it is favorable.

However, I’ve been thinking, and I wanted to share my thoughts: I am not necessarily saying that anything below should be included in the article.

The address of the other neighbor not home during the initial police search was given at the Preliminary Hearing (Johnny Keene, March 11), and I had never given any further thought to that: how far away was that house, who lived there, why were they away, when did they return? But I’ve now done some investigating. I think the house was three doors up the road from the Van Dams (the opposite direction to Westerfield), so it was on the route of the cookie sale earlier that week. I also think that it was occupied by a classmate and friend of Danielle’s (Joe Hughes, Union-Tribune, February 6, 2002). So if Danielle got up early Saturday morning, and left home to play with a friend - which was one of the initial theories - then it’s quite possible that that’s where she went.

My other thought was about something else Keene said: there was a vacant residence, with a “for sale” sign in the yard, next to the Van Dams. Now that is perfectly correct. But Danielle and family found someone there Friday night when they sold cookies, and Damon found someone there Saturday morning when he went looking for Danielle (Joe Hughes, Union-Tribune, February 7, 2002). So why did Keene mention it was empty: did the occupants leave soon after Damon came? Did they perhaps run out of paint? That would mean that THREE very close neighbors, all of whom Danielle was acquainted with, were missing.

Particularly interesting is that, on page 1 of Attachment ‘A’, search warrant 27818, it is stated that the house the police wanted to search had a RED tile roof (page 37 of document SCN_20030109152845_001, under May 7, 2002 on the list “Previously sealed court records”, Union-Tribune, January 9, 2003). That is true of the VACANT house, whereas Westerfield’s house has GRAY shingles. So was it actually the OTHER corner house they were interested in, or rather its new owner, the OTHER Dave, and there was a miscommunication? 196.15.168.40 11:25, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Fourth paragraph: and sixth paragraph of revised version

Again, your points are mostly favorable. And I am agreeable to the addition you have suggested, that the cause of death could not be determined.

The blood stain being faint is not POV: when the criminalist showed the photo in court, he could only point to the APPROXIMATE location of the stain (Sean Soriano, June 20). Why would he do that if the stain could be SEEN? (This was Exhibit 121. One of the photos shown in The Evidence sequence on Court TV’s website, near the end, must be of this scene. Can you see the stain on the jacket in that photo?) We must simply accept that it was there - which I’m sure you do, but I like proof, especially after it wasn’t seen by the dry-cleaner (Julie Mills, June 17); and the owner of the dry-cleaners, Sung Choi, said Westerfield didn't ask for any stains to be removed (Alex Roth, Union-Tribune, February 28, 2002). So I think that is important enough to warrant inclusion in the article, given that this was quite possibly THE most influential piece of evidence. And yes, I CAN provide proof that LE didn’t photograph or measure the RV stain: the criminalist, Annette Peer, ADMITTED this under cross-examination (June 20). The fact that I gave an EXPLANATION (or, rather, her weak excuse) for it not being photographed or measured - it could not be clearly seen after it was tested for blood - in itself suggests that I had proof.

And I also have proof of the other criticisms I made (not examined for blood spatter and perfect DNA match), which you didn’t mention. And I could have mentioned other problems as well, such as the jacket was booked into the cleaners under the wrong time and someone else’s name; and Detective Ott, who violated Westerfield’s rights, was a customer of the same dry-cleaners; and no one testified to seeing Westerfield wearing that jacket the entire weekend. All of which proves that my revised version of the Wikipedia article IS a summary, and does NOT resemble a courtroom.

I didn’t say there was NO semen but that none was FOUND. Sperm might not “survive” for so long, but I don’t believe that’s what’s important: Dr Blackbourne (March 11) merely talked about it being “detectable”. Sperm IN a body would decompose, but sperm ON a body COULD “last” (again using Blackbourne’s terminology), as it would dry and there was negligible rain during that period (David Faulkner, July 10; Neal Haskell, July 22). And the forensic people tested for both sperm and semen. (I said just “semen” in my edit in an attempt to be inclusive and concise, but perhaps to make it clearer I should change my wording to reflect that NEITHER was found.) And they didn’t test ONLY her body, in fact they tested “numerous” items (Kristen Green, Union-Tribune, June 21, 2002) - as I had indicated.

Molestation covers a wide range of activities, as can be seen in the article on child sex abuse, so it doesn’t necessarily involve semen. I would grant you that not finding any doesn’t PROVE there hadn’t been any, but it should cause one to pause: a sex-based case in which there was NO evidence of sex. Maybe they were looking in the wrong place. Maybe this wasn’t even a sex crime.

Although it is generally believed that Danielle’s body was naked, there is evidence to the contrary. According to the Union-Tribune’s initial report, her body was CLOTHED: it quoted an unnamed detective close to the investigation who said “The clothing looks like hers” (Steve Schmidt and Joe Hughes, February 28); the person who found her, Chris Morgan, couldn't tell if there was clothing (June 4); and neither could the first officer on the scene, Larry Alston (deputy sheriff) (June 4). I would add that, even if the body was naked, it wouldn’t prove a sexual assault: the clothing might have been removed before it was dumped to minimize the amount of evidence.

Although initial reports were that the body was burned (anonymous, Court TV, February 28, 2002; Karsten Heimburger, June 4; Larry Alston, June 4), this was just the discoloration caused by decomposition (Jim Collins, March 11; Norman Sperber, June 5).

Child porn. Your response is most revealing: he was convicted, therefore he was guilty. Presumably you are using the same “reasoning” with respect to the murder and kidnapping convictions. Are you of the opinion that juries NEVER make mistakes? And that NO innocent people have ever been freed after years in prison? But to return to the child porn in this case.

I would agree that whether an image is “questionable” or not is “highly POV” - though I don’t think that’s what you meant. Detective Chris Armstrong examined the computer images and didn’t find any child pornography (using his definition, which according to Watkins is prepubescent - which I find surprising) (James Watkins, March12). Armstrong wasn’t allowed to testify to his conclusion (Greg Moran, “Mudd given time line to unseal transcripts”, September 24, 2002, Document No. 19, document westerfield17.pdf, July 9, page7664) - even though Watkins was allowed to testify to his. FBI agents attempted to obtain a Federal arrest warrant for Westerfield for possession of child pornography, but the Assistant U.S. Attorney they consulted concluded that the photographs shown to her did not meet the Court of Appeal standard for lascivious conduct (page 85 of document SCN_20030109152845_001, under May 7, 2002 on the list “Previously sealed court records”, Union-Tribune, January 9, 2003).

A double rebuff, but Law Enforcement continued to pursue Westerfield.

Did you see any of that in media reports?

What did those “questionable” images consist of? The public didn’t see them - when shown to the jury, the TV monitor was positioned in an attempt to ensure that (George Clarke, June 25) - and few details were given. But two sets of images were described (Watkins, March 12). First was a rape CARTOON. Watkins was then asked if there were photographs of “real people, young girls”, upon which he described the set of photos of Danielle L., the teenage daughter of Westerfield’s ex-girlfriend, relaxing in a bikini in a jacuzzi and by a pool. The former is nasty and violent but hardly illegal; the latter are just ordinary FAMILY photos. Even three months after Westerfield’s computers and computer disks were seized, the media still reported only that the pornographic images included “cartoon rape fantasies” (Alex Roth, Union-Tribune, May 8, 2002).

(Yes, I know subsequent media reports implied that ACTUAL rapes of REAL girls were depicted, but based on the trial testimony, I am skeptical of those reports - so it was a MAJOR concession on my part to NOT challenge the Wikipedia article on that point. The wide range in the estimated age of the victim - from 7 to teen - does not instill any confidence in me in the reliability of those reports. When were the movies of actual rapes found? Or weren’t there any? The media was not very accurate. For example, in an anonymous article on March 12, 2002, and another anonymous article on June 3, Court TV reported that 64,000 pornographic pictures were found on Westerfield’s computers (in fact that was the total number of ALL pictures, not just the pornographic ones); and on June 25, 2002, Matt Bean of Court TV reported that “Watkins also found more than 200 video files” - he found more than 200 all right, in fact he found about 2600, again only a tiny proportion of which were considered “questionable”.)

“Questionable” can refer to either age or pose/activity (Watkins, March 12). Pose is highly subjective, and in this case, so was age: Law Enforcement apparently made no attempt to determine the ages of the people depicted, and the Prosecutor was careful to say “dressed like little girls” and “dressed to look like a young female”, rather than firmly state that they were definitely underage (Jeff Dusek, June 4). (So even if they were under 18, I seriously doubt they were as young as 7!)

According to the jury instructions (August 6), straightforward nude photographs of children are NOT unlawful if they were NOT “taken for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer” - which is also highly subjective: how do you know what the PURPOSE of the photograph was? The jurors were free to use their imaginations. The instructions also state that “virtual depictions”, such as cartoons, are NOT prohibited.

Taking all the above into account, Westerfield’s conviction on child pornography charges was “highly POV”. If we were talking solely about a misdemeanor, then that might be acceptable, but this was the BASIS for his death penalty: would he still have been convicted of kidnapping and murder without the porn? Perhaps, but perhaps not. And the jury might have taken even longer than two weeks to reach their verdict.

But what is NOT “highly POV” is the 1%: that was the figure given by Watkins, the PROSECUTION expert (June 25). And the “massive amount” was just 85 still images and 39 digital movie clips (Watkins, June 25 and July 24; Rochelle Steinhaus, Court TV, June 26, 2002). 196.15.168.40 04:13, 25 May 2006 (UTC)


Fourth paragraph: and third and fifth paragraphs of revised version

I moved (April 4) the sentence about Westerfield’s vehicles being impounded to the third paragraph, to place it in its correct chronological sequence, and I still maintain that that’s where it belongs.

I listed the different types of evidence found at the body dump site, without going into detail: in particular, a VARIETY of different fibers were found there. Nor did I mention some of the other evidence, such as the wooden pallets and the mysterious drag trails (which didn’t match the body), the rapid removal of the trash (which might have included significant evidence), and the absence of a body silhouette (which would normally be considered proof the body hadn’t been there for long). And I didn’t mention the large body of water opposite and the close proximity to well-watered golf courses (making the drought irrelevant), or the proximity to a housing development (which would have provided food for flies (David Faulkner, trial testimony, July 10)) and to an elementary school (the perpetrator might have had connections to that). So the revised article contains very little about the body dump site.

Nevertheless, and even though that would make very little difference to the length of the article, I might be agreeable, as a compromise, to leaving out some of the items listed, namely those not having strong evidentiary value, such as the tire tracks and the vegetation on his RV, as it’s unlikely he drove it up the dirt road (though that would have afforded privacy). I would not have been happy omitting the soil, because he would have had to walk there, but although the criminalists tape-lifted the soles of all his shoes, they apparently were looking only for hair and fibers (Jennifer Shen, July 9), and I haven’t seen any evidence that they tried to find soil samples in the RV, specifically on the carpet. (I don’t think they did a very thorough job.) I would certainly not be happy to omit the red fibers found with her fingernail clippings (Jennifer Shen, June 25), as that is usually considered evidence of the last environment a victim was in, so the fact that NONE were found in Westerfield’s environment is highly significant. I am also not happy about omitting the hair found under her body (Shen, June 25): even though that might already have been there, and not been connected to her killer, it nevertheless would have contained DNA, which is such a powerful tool, so it should have been investigated.

I would also not be happy about leaving out the REVISED statement about the casino (the original one in paragraph 3 is WRONG), as it is a good example of how people STRETCHED the evidence: ONE known visit to a site two miles away and four months earlier (Erin Miller, June 4), was enough to convince some people that Westerfield knew of the dump site - which was not even on the direct route from his home (according to MapQuest). (But I didn’t draw that conclusion in the article, I merely gave the facts, and not all of them either.)

I did not say that the blue fibers were not tested, but that they were not FULLY tested: they were examined with the infrared spectrometer, but not with the microspectrophotometer (Jennifer Shen, June 25). They weren’t subjected to the melting point test either, but NONE of the fibers were. And I don’t think they did any fluorescence testing on the blue fibers (Tanya DuLaney, July 9; and possibly also Shen, also July 9).

But the criminalists did spend a lot of time trying unsuccessfully to prove that the orange fibers came from an afghan sweater they thought was Westerfield’s (it came from a storage place in Poway). Even though the infrared spectrometer revealed differences, they nevertheless examined it with the microspectrophotometer (Shen, July 9): one wonders why? (She said for completeness, but once it’s excluded, it’s excluded. If it had matched on the microspectrophotometer examination, would they then have tried to play down the lack of a match on the infrared spectrometer?) 196.15.168.40 04:40, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Fourth paragraph (concluded): and seventh and eighth paragraphs of revised version

Thank you for your praise of my entomology paragraph. I note, however, that you want to link this to the defense, which could devalue it at least in the eyes of some. You haven’t similarly linked the blood evidence or the porn to the prosecution (e.g. law enforcement SAID they found Danielle’s blood on his clothing and in his motor home). WHY was entomology a major focus of the defense? Because it is strong and objective scientific evidence (unlike, for example, the emotional speculation that he fantasized about little girls). I would point out that entomology would have been a major focus of the PROSECUTION if only their usual expert (David Faulkner) had arrived at dates that fitted in with their only suspect. One might have expected that, as soon as he in effect EXCLUDED Westerfield, the police would have started looking elsewhere. But they didn’t. (Entomology is used far more often by the prosecution than by the defense: by a ratio of 5:1 in the case of Faulkner (testimony, July 10).)

Furthermore, the entomologists DIDN’T testify that the flies infested Danielle’s body “sometime BY mid February” (emphasis added). That is just “prosecution spin”. If you consult Court TV’s “Time of Death” web page, it is clear from their graphic that infestation did NOT occur before the 9th (according to the prosecution witness, Madison Lee Goff (testimony, July 30)), and not before the 12th (according to the defense witness, Robert Hall (August 1)), or even later (not before the 16th according to Faulkner - Neal Haskell (July 22) gave the 14th as the earliest date, but was pressed into extending it to the 12th). The brief information accompanying the graphic reinforces this conclusion in the case of the three defense entomologists, but not the prosecution entomologist, where your version is supported. However, if we study the actual testimony, we see that it is the same: Goff gave February 9th as “the first, initial oviposition of the bugs”. (So this is yet another example of inaccurate reporting which made Westerfield appear guilty.)

So all four entomologists, including the prosecution’s own experts, EXCLUDE Westerfield as the perpetrator.

By your “But that’s it”, are you saying that my statement about the delay in infestation should be omitted? I’d have thought you’d WANT that in, as it provides SOME room for doubt: for example, maybe there was a very tight body covering (and it was somehow removed and blown away in its entirety), AND the body was doused in acid or bleach (but not so much that it caused damage) - and maybe a couple of other undetermined factors as well, to account for the huge time gap.

Law enforcement used both trailing, area search, and cadaver dogs (Jim Frazee, June 26), so that’s why they should have been able to detect her whether alive or dead.

If it is unreasonable to expect the search dogs to have been able to detect Danielle’s scent, then why were they used? It would have been a waste of time. And why did the prosecution introduce the dogs into evidence? Do you completely reject the use of dogs, or just in this case? Why?

Perhaps you were misled by inaccurate reporting of the case. The Union-Tribune reported that “Investigators have testified to smelling the odor of bleach in Westerfield's garage and motorhome. Authorities allege the cleaner was used to cover up evidence of the crime.” (anonymous, June 18), and “Investigators said they smelled bleach in the defendant's garage and motor home” (Jeff Dillon and Steve Perez, June 20, 2002). (The theory being that this masked Danielle’s scent.) In fact, only Maura Parga smelled it in his garage (June 11) - even Johnny Keene, who was with her but on the opposite side of the garage, didn’t smell it (March 12); and NO one smelled it (or any cleaning products) in his motor home or his house (Keene, March 12 and June 11). Or perhaps you were misled by prosecution spin: “THEY smelled that odor of bleach ” (emphasis added) (Jeff Dusek, August 6).

Your wanting to exclude all this is clear evidence that you don’t think the verdict can withstand close examination.

This is not MY “version of evidence”, it is just THE evidence - uncomfortable though that may be for you. It’s not my “interpretation” that the dogs didn’t give a clear alert, that’s what the testimony shows. If Frazee believed his dogs had given clear alerts, then he should have clearly said so at the time (and put it in writing, with his signature), NOT waited until the trial to claim that. And he most certainly should NOT have expressed DOUBT three weeks after the searches (and to do so in writing!) (Jeff Dillon and Greg Magnus, Union-Tribune, June 26, 2002; Alex Roth, Union-Tribune, June 27, 2002; Jeff Dillon and Steve Perez, Union-Tribune, July 2, 2002).

I don’t understand your point about Westerfield preselecting a site. Please explain. Are you saying that he did not take her into his house and motor home, but someplace else entirely?

The point I was making was NOT that the parents were cleared as suspects, but that they were cleared so QUICKLY. Is that really normal? And in this case, the parents LIED to the police (Damon, June 5; Brenda, June 6), until early Sunday morning (the day after Danielle went missing). Logically, that SHOULD have caused them to become the prime suspects, and it should have taken a LONG time before they were cleared - far LONGER than normal. As you want the focus of this article to be on Westerfield, are you saying that this should instead go in the Danielle article?

The sex offender information, like the parents information, was prompted by the accusation that the police were in a rush to solve the case and never considered other suspects. I laid out the facts (as reported in the media), leaving it to the readers to decide if the accusation was justified. What is relevant is the question: given the large number of sex offenders in the area, did the police really do a proper investigation to eliminate them as suspects? 44 offenders were cleared in just 6 days: they must all have had very good alibis (Joe Hughes and Brian E. Clark, Union-Tribune, February 5, 2002; Joe Hughes and Elizabeth Fitzsimons, Union-Tribune, February 8, 2002).

How many officers were investigating the known sex offenders? I ask this because so MANY were following Westerfield. On Thursday morning, February 7th, “About a dozen undercover officers in unmarked cars were stationed outside Westerfield's home before dawn, then followed him as he drove to Feldman's office in Golden Hill, east of downtown, about 8:30 a.m.” ( Joe Hughes and Elizabeth Fitzsimons, Union-Tribune, February 8, 2002). There couldn’t have been that many officers free to investigate the sex offenders. And does it really sound to you as though the police were seriously considering anyone other than Westerfield? 196.15.168.40 08:54, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Notes in protected version:

First note (sixth note of revised article): Westerfield conservative? My focus is on the evidence in this case, so I haven’t checked this note, but it could be correct as I have seen something like this. But it does require a source (as stated in the Third Opinion). So, as you apparently consider this article to be your own personal property, I suggest you find out who added that comment, and ask them to provide their source. And while you are about it, please provide the sources for your own contributions. Over the past month, I’ve provided MANY sources for what I have written: you have yet to provide your FIRST source. Strictly speaking, therefore, in accordance with the Third Opinion, all your contributions should be removed, and mine should remain.

If the article is deemed too long (which I don’t believe), then this note is the type of thing I would remove because of my focus on the evidence (though Westerfield’s statement that the killer should be executed seemingly points to his innocence - though I’m sure you’d put a prosecution spin on it).

Second note (seventh note of revised article): Neal responsible for the porn? It is NOT true that the defense tried to link the child porn to his son: the EVIDENCE did that. The defense merely pointed to the evidence, as was their DUTY. The defense’s job is to DEFEND their client. If they don’t do so vigorously, then a guilty verdict can be overturned - and RIGHTLY so. When it became apparent that the computer porn was going to be used against their client, they HAD to employ an expert to examine this evidence (Marcus Lawson, testimony, July 3). Once he discovered that someone other than the defendant ALSO used those computers, AND could be linked not only to porn but also to some of the “questionable” images, they (the defense) could NOT keep quiet about this. Had they done so, the guilty verdict would probably have been overturned, which I don’t think you’d have been at all happy about.

So it wasn’t necessary for the defense to try to link the alleged child porn to Neal: all they had to do was ask their expert what he had found - and the evidence did the rest.

You expanded on this topic later when you discussed my notes, so I will reply to your additional points when I respond to that section.

Third note (eighth note of revised article): Peeping Tom? I dispute your statement that the prosecution portrayed Westerfield as a “Peeping Tom”, spying on his neighbors with binoculars. They WANTED to do that, but were PREVENTED from doing so by the judge, because the only evidence they had - from the neighbor and his ex-wife - was not allowed due to its distance in place (the ex-wife was referring to a totally different neighborhood) and especially time (over a year earlier in the case of the neighbor, and much longer for the ex-wife) (April 29, page 2 of document SCN_20030109150457_001, on list “Previously sealed court records”, Union-Tribune, January 9, 2003; also linked on the article “Documents detail police suspicions Westerfield was ‘Peeping Tom’”, by Steve Perez, January 9, 2003; May 2, page 2 of document SCN_2003010912709_001, on list “Previously sealed court records”, Union-Tribune, January 9, 2003; June 13, page 4705, document westerfield6, Document No. 8 on the list “Mudd given time line to unseal transcripts”, Greg Moran, Union-Tribune, September 24, 2002; July 23, pages 8304, 8319, 8321 and 8322, document westerfield19, Document No. 21 on the list “Mudd given time line to unseal transcripts”, Greg Moran, Union-Tribune, September 24, 2002). And the neighbor identified the WRONG window - NOT the one with the bent screen.

Perhaps you could say that the prosecution HINTED at this spying on neighbors, but I think even that would be an overstatement. All they could do was to emphasize the binoculars he had, one pair of which was in a drawer in the bedroom outside the bathroom, and point to the bathroom window screen which looked as if it had been pushed out (and which the police officer pushed out further to enable him to see the Van Dam’s back yard!) (Jim Tomsovic, June 18).

So the prosecution could only imply that Westerfield spied on Danielle with binoculars, but could produce no eye-witnesses to support even that. In fact, to do so, he would have had to stand in or on the bath and lean out the window, and even then his view would have been at least partially blocked by palm trees (Tomsovic, June 18). Honestly, does that really sound plausible to you? Especially for an overweight middle-aged man. It’s just prosecution spin. (A photo of the bathroom can be seen in The Evidence sequence on Court TV’s website, near the middle of the sequence.)

Perhaps the jurors would have done a bit of speculation of their own, and deduced from that that he was a “Peeping Tom”, but it really is a stretch, they would have needed fertile imaginations. It was only AFTER the trial that the relevant documents were unsealed, giving the media a field day, with sensationalistic and salacious reports.

Nobody explained how looking at a mature woman exercising on a treadmill was evidence that he was a pedophile besotted with a particular 7-year-old; nor did anyone explain what he could see with his binoculars while supposedly wandering the neighborhood at night: most little girls are by then asleep in bed with the lights off and the curtains probably closed.

It should be remembered that neither Westerfield’s ex-wife nor his neighbor testified to any of this. All we have to go on is what the prosecutor told the closed court they would say. He might have misunderstood them, and they weren’t subjected to cross-examination. His ex-wife was estranged, so her opinion was likely jaundiced. The neighbor (Angela Elkus) is an interesting case:

The first claim made for her was that Westerfield had himself TOLD her HE had seen HER exercising on a treadmill in her bedroom (April 29, page 2 of document SCN_20030109150457_001, on list “Previously sealed court records”, Union-Tribune, January 9, 2003). Nothing was said about HER having seen HIM looking at her, whether with or without binoculars, merely that she “suspected” he was watching her (which would not be too surprising after what he told her, if she was at all the suspicious type). Which implies she HADN’T noticed him at all. Those details were only added later (June 12, page 4695, document westerfield5, Document No. 7 on the list “Mudd given time line to unseal transcripts”, Greg Moran, Union-Tribune, September 24, 2002), after which the original story disappeared. Coincidentally (?), the prosecutor had included the binoculars and bathroom window in his opening statement just days before (Jeff Dusek, June 4). So the question arises: DID she him looking at her with binoculars, or did she just IMAGINE this (or just lie)? Furthermore, her house was elevated compared to his - it’s on the hill behind him - so SHE could have seen inside HIS house, but how much would HE have been able to see inside HERS? Just the ceiling and someone at a window?

If any revised note omits the details about his ex-wife and the neighbor, then it must instead state that the evidence for this belief was weak.

How did the media report all this? Let’s take a couple of examples:

Alex Roth, Union-Tribune, January 10, 2003, reported the prosecution’s belief that he spied on Danielle, and his ex-wife’s suspicions (but they greatly exaggerated the frequency to “often”), but made no mention of the flaws as detailed above (Danielle) and in the notes of the extended article (ex-wife).

Court TV, in an anonymous article on the same date, also reported the spying on Danielle theory (but exaggerated the number of binoculars he had to “several”), and also failed to report the lack of supporting evidence.

So their coverage was inaccurate and biased (whether intentional or not). Not much better than tabloid journalism. My guess is that this misled even more people, and stirred up even more anger towards Westerfield.

Fourth note (ninth note of revised article): suicide? It sounds as though you accept the addition I made to this, with the possible exception of the police refusing him an attorney. If so, I would not be happy with leaving that out. It has evidentiary value: it shows that certain officers were so overcome with emotion that they were prepared to break the rules (that was Detective Mike Ott’s excuse - May 13 (page 1650 etc. of document 030114-020513-02, under Day 4 on the list “Unsealed court transcripts from the trial of David Westerfield, Union-Tribune, no name, no date)). And if they were prepared to break one rule, who knows what other rules they might have broken?

Fifth note (tenth note of revised article): civil suit As was the case with the first note, I haven’t checked it but it could be correct (though I am surprised that his motor vehicle insurance policies paid for this, making a source even more important). Once again, this is one of the things that could be left out, if necessary.

Sixth note: Van Dam lifestyle This was removed by someone else, because it wasn’t about the subject of the article (April 8) - I disagree with that, it has strong evidentiary value - and it was removed just after I had corrected the bias in it (also April 8). I would therefore argue that my version should be reinstated. The current revised version of the article does not contain this note, but there is a brief mention of their lifestyle in the article itself (where I quote the prosecutor’s description: drugs, alcohol, sex (Jeff Dusek, August 6)).

Seventh note (eleventh note of revised article): plea bargain? It sounds as though you accept my modified version. But if not, and you are instead proposing an addition to the protected version of the note, then I must point out that it doesn’t make much sense to start the note by saying that Westerfield’s lawyers revealed the plea bargain, then end it by saying that they didn’t confirm or deny it. (You don’t mention my comment about the DA, but I’d have thought you’d WANT that in.) If the article is to be shortened, then it’s not necessary to mention who found the body.

Eighth note (twelfth note of revised article): his niece I’m not sure if you are accepting my wording. If not, then I have a problem with your wording. I would not state as a fact that Westerfield placed his finger in her mouth because there was no corroborating evidence: she didn’t tell anybody this until the trial was well under way (even though she had plenty of opportunities during the intervening 12 years, including being interviewed by the police!), and she also said she bit him (as hard and as long as she could), but no evidence was led of any injury having resulted; also, she was half asleep at the time (which is when people are highly suggestible) and might just have imagined it or even dreamt it (Jenny Lynn N., August 28).

A 49-year-old man, one who has a daughter (who undoubtedly had many friends) and nieces, and many little girls as neighbors - and who was therefore surrounded by little girls - yet that was the strongest - in fact, the ONLY - evidence they could find against him. Makes one think. 196.15.168.40 18:06, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Notes in revised/extended version:

How generous of you to allow ONE of my notes to be included. But at least that gives everyone a good idea of what you mean by “evening things out” - I think few would agree with you that that provides a balance.

The specific note you will so graciously permit is the third one, that no evidence was found that Westerfield had been in the Van Dam home. However, it is NOT “POV” for me to give the judge’s REASON. As I’ve said before (under Third Opinion), that is what he SAID. His ACTUAL words were (June 24, page 5905, document westerfield12, Document No. 14 on the list “Mudd given time line to unseal transcripts”, Greg Moran, Union-Tribune, September 24, 2002): “At this point in time I see absolutely no reason to go to the van Dam home. There isn't any evidence whatsoever at least that I'm aware of at this point in time that ties Mr. Westerfield to the house. And we've got adequate diagrams and coverage of where the rooms are. And we’re not going to be there at night in pitch black which I'm sure the defense would dearly like for us to do.”

Notice how he appears to identify himself with the prosecution, instead of being neutral.

As I’ve already stated (under Third Opinion), I didn’t say the judge refused to allow the jury to visit the dump site - I don’t know whether that was requested or not: I doubt it, as it had changed so much: the trash removed, no sign of the drag trails, steps built, memorial added. So, as they would say in court: Objection; asked and answered. The court: sustained.

Let’s now go through the rest of my notes:

First note of revised article: cookie sales This is in the main text of the protected version of the article (first paragraph), so I discussed your comments there. I will just state here that there are problems with it.

Second note: Brenda dancing with Westerfield This is in the main text of the protected version of the article (third paragraph), and it is incorrect, so it must be changed, irrespective of whether it’s in the main text or in a note.

Third note: no evidence of him in Van Dam home This is discussed above.

Fourth note: lack of evidence You are correct that kidnappers don’t normally walk around with a child they abducted (Elizabeth Smart was a notable exception), but Westerfield wasn’t seen COMMITTING the kidnapping either (unlike with Elizabeth, Amber Hagerman, Polly Klaas and Samantha Runnion). It should be pointed out that the victim is usually killed and dumped within HOURS (as with Samantha and Patricia Kuzara), whereas Westerfield supposedly had Danielle for 2 days. And the longer the time, the greater the chance of escape or rescue (as with Elizabeth and Midsi Sanchez). Danielle’s hand print on the cabinet above the bed in the motor home shows she wasn’t bound at the time (making escape easier), and Westerfield spent most of the weekend in close proximity to other people - and went to places frequented by his friends: it would have been most awkward for him had he encountered any friends and they wanted to visit him inside his vehicle with Danielle there. I would also point out that the amount of evidence of Danielle in the RV was FAR less than one would have expected from a two day stay, and was instead consistent only with a SHORT visit.

So, while this may not be STRONG evidence, it’s much more significant than you seem to think.

When someone dies (I believe even more so in the case of violent death), the sphincter muscles relax, releasing any available body waste (feces/urine) - which would “leave an awful mess”. There was no sign of that either. If Danielle was raped, there would surely have been bleeding, and not just the two small stains they found. What concerns me most is that large (5 inches by 5 inches) defect in her abdomen (page 5 of autopsy report), and the missing left foot and part of the ankle (page 6 of autopsy), also the missing teeth (page 5 of autopsy). These were all airily dismissed as being due to animal activity (Dr Blackbourne, March 11 and June 5), and that may have been the cause, but apparently no other possibilities were investigated.

Were her teeth dislodged at the time of her death, and fell out in the perpetrator’s environment? Was she tethered by her left ankle resulting in damage there (and possibly bleeding), making that area one of the first to be invaded by egg-laying flies? As a result of which it was weakened and a carnivore was able to remove the foot? (not an easy task) That’s not the most nutritious part of the body, so it is surprising that an animal would be attracted to it so early when far more nutritious food was available. And was the abdominal defect caused by torture (such as in the case of Amanda Gaeke and Megan Kanka). Damon said Danielle was tortured (Larry King Live, June 11, 2003). Nancy Grace of Court TV stated, as if it were a proven fact, that Westerfield “sexually tortured” her (Larry King Live, August 28, 2002 ). Again, that would “tend to leave an awful mess”.

Did they rule out such possibilities after investigating them, or merely because the evidence they would have left behind - the “awful mess” - wasn’t found in the environment of their only suspect? (But would have been found if they had looked in someone else’s environment.)

Fifth note: cleaning of RV I stated that Westerfield has been accused of giving his RV an intense cleaning, but did NOT attribute that accusation to the police - I wouldn’t have attributed it to them because they were my source that he HADN’T done so. No, I was accusing the PROSECUTOR and the MEDIA. In particular, Jeff Dusek, in his closing arguments, stated: “He was cleaning like a dervish, almost like Hazel on steroids.” (August 8); and Nancy Grace claimed (incorrectly): “he had his RV steam-cleaned, OK, before the police could look at it” (Larry King Live, July 15, 2002).

I know he only did a quick, superficial cleaning, because of the EVIDENCE I presented, which you failed to mention. No, I didn’t inspect his RV - I didn’t need to because I AM privy to what the police found: and so are you and everyone else, because they TESTIFIED to it in court!

So here are my sources: The fine layer of dust inside the RV: Jim Tomsovic, June 18; Tanya DuLaney, June 24; the many animal hairs: DuLaney, June 24; the fingerprints from the teenage girls: Jeffrey Graham, March 12 and June 19; Danielle L., July 9; Jennifer L., July 9; and the absence of a smell of cleaning products: Johnny Keene, March 12 and June 11.

Sixth note: political conservative? This was discussed under the First note of the protected version.

Seventh note: Neal responsible for the alleged child porn? This is the Second note of the protected version, and was discussed there, but you subsequently raised some extra points.

First of all, there were four computers in the house, not just one computer (you used the singular). The computer I was mainly referring to was Neal’s own computer, the one in his bedroom (a Gateway). The prosecution expert, James Watkins, stated that five of the questionable images shown to the court and jury were found on that computer (June 25). And Neal (July 24) testified that he HAD downloaded some images from the loose media (CD-ROMs and Zip disks) - which is where most of the questionable images were found (Marcus Lawson, July 3) - and LOOKED at them afterwards. He admitted to an interest in animation, and many (perhaps even all) of the more graphic images were animation. The defense expert, Marcus Lawson (July 3) testified that the common theme of the images on Neal’s computer was bondage - but animation, NOT real life - and the rape cartoon I have mentioned (in my comments on the Fourth paragraph) involved bondage. Screen print 69, called “extreme Asian bondage”, obtained from one of the office computers, was nevertheless linked to Neal because he had accessed his e-mail just 4 minutes later (Lawson, July 3). On January 7th, 2002, he received what was probably some spam porn e-mail with links to “schoolgirl” websites, and he clicked on one of them (Screen Print 84) (Lawson, July 3). (But don’t get angry: the website carries a disclaimer that it does NOT contain images of minors.) Among the images shown in court was an “attack” series. Remnants of that were found on one of the office computers (they had been DELETED (Watkins, July 24)), and Lawson linked them to Neal because an animation image had been created on that same computer two hours earlier, and Neal was interested in animation. (Yes, I KNOW that’s not strong proof, but that’s what happens in the case of SHARED computers.) Finally, the websites named in Neal’s e-mails on Monday, February 4th, 2002, included “teen dream” (Watkins, June 25) (or “teen dreamer” (Lawson, July 3)). He might not have GONE to that website on Monday, 4th, while his father was being interrogated by the police, but it is a bit of a stretch to accept that he NEVER went to such sites: after all, he couldn’t resist the temptation to take a peek at his father’s porn (Neal, July 24).

So I am not linking him to the questionable images, the EVIDENCE does that. The starting point is always the evidence.

If Westerfield was found guilty of possessing child porn, then why wasn’t Neal also? The evidence against him is at least as strong as that against his father. The simple answer is that he wasn’t CHARGED with that. Why not? If law enforcement GENUINELY believed this to be illegal (kiddie porn), then they WOULD have charged him - after all, some of it was found on HIS computer. Only law enforcement can answer that, but I am free to speculate and draw inferences. I think that, initially, Neal MIGHT have been suspected of kidnapping and murdering Danielle. If he hadn’t had an alibi for that night, then they might well have charged HIM for those crimes rather than his father (or in addition to). In that case, I’m sure they WOULD also have charged him with possession of child porn. Call me cynical if you wish, but they wanted him to testify against his father, so he was too valuable to them to risk charging HIM with any crime, that would have risked losing his cooperation.

All the porn on the CDs was PRESUMED to have come from the Internet (Watkins, June 25) - they didn’t know for sure, but some of it certainly did - there were many references to Internet Explorer and do you remember Neal’s e-mails? - no evidence was presented to the contrary, and the common file name prefix of “IE” (Watkins, June 25), which could stand for Internet Explorer - tends to support that (Watkins, July 24). So I fail to see the distinction you are drawing. Are you saying that he obtained it from other sources? Or produced it himself? If so, please provide the evidence. (I am excluding the photos of Danielle L., as they appear to be just ordinary family photos, probably taken by her own mother, who was apparently in one of the pictures (Watkins, March 12).)

In case you think I am accusing Neal of a crime (“looking at kiddie porn”), I would repeat that I am NOT convinced that there was ANY illegal porn anywhere in that house - as I previously argued (I gave the evidence in my comments on the Fourth paragraph). (Incidentally, the crime is not LOOKING at kiddie porn but POSSESSING it (Jury instructions, August 6).) In further support of this opinion, I would quote Marcus Lawson (June 27, page 10 of the document SCN_20030109142737_001, on list “Previously sealed court records”, Union-Tribune, January 9, 2003): “None of the images in the computers themselves or the loose media are of the type normally presented for prosecution for child pornography cases. We feel certain that the law enforcement personnel of the San Diego laboratory are aware of this, which in our opinion, calls into question the governments initial refusal to allow the defense to have copies of the media.”.

Strong criticism of law enforcement, which the evidence I have presented suggests is justified.

I am also not convinced that the images included an actual rape, rather than just an animation (see my comments on the Fourth paragraph) - or paid adult actors (Lawson, July 3). But whatever it was, how do you KNOW that it was Westerfield (the father) who was the one who viewed it? (The prosecution computer expert admitted he didn’t know who had downloaded the images onto the CD’s and Zip disks (Watkins, March 12).) I would repeat: the crime is NOT viewing, but POSSESSION. So the court did NOT determine that any particular person VIEWED them. So that IS merely YOUR opinion. (Admittedly it IS plausible that they believed that, IF we take into account their verdict on the other charges.)

Eighth note: Peeping Tom? This is the Third note of the protected version and was discussed under that.

Ninth note: suicide? This is the Fourth note of the protected version and was discussed under that.

Tenth note: civil suit This is the Fifth note of the protected version and was discussed under that.

Eleventh note: plea bargain This is the Seventh note of the protected version and was discussed under that.

Twelfth note: his niece This is the Eighth note of the protected version and was discussed under that.

Thirteenth note: Selby It seems you are accepting my note but with some small (but important) changes in the wording. But I have problems with your suggested revisions. I am happy to add that the police did not believe his confession, but not to omit that they failed to investigate it: they have a DUTY to investigate evidence, even if they don’t believe it, because they aren’t always right, and far too many innocent people have been wrongfully convicted - see the Innocence Project. And in this case a large portion of the investigation would merely consist of matching his DNA and fingerprints to the unknowns found in the Van Dam house. They would also need to establish where Selby was for the first two weeks of February, but especially the first weekend and also the middle of the month (based on the entomological evidence, the body was most likely dumped around the 16th). So law enforcement’s disbelief would be given as the REASON for them not investigating the confession. It’s not sufficient to merely say Selby had a violent history of sex offenses: the fact that these include kidnapping a 9-year-old girl from her bedroom in the middle of the night (!), and that he was active in San Diego shortly before the crimes against Danielle (the Banker’s Hill Rapist in 2001), make it MUCH more likely that he was the perpetrator.

Selby’s arrest warrant wasn’t GRANTED on the day Westerfield was convicted, but the NEXT day: it was REQUESTED on the day he was convicted. The distinction is important because it gives the appearance (rightly or wrongly) that the police thought he MIGHT have been guilty of Danielle’s crimes, and WOULD have investigated him for that if the jury had found Westerfield “not guilty”.

General comment:

You appear to be mistaking comprehensiveness with verbosity - that’s why my notes (and edits in general) are long. Of course, that makes it more difficult for you - many more points to respond to - and more difficult to maintain your original “guilty” position because of all the contrary evidence I am presenting. 196.15.168.40 12:45, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

External links:

I am of course pleased that you are agreeable to the link to the Union-Tribune being included. But the links to websites discussing the case - the ones I added to the Danielle article - should appear here as well.

This concludes my series of replies to your suggestions for a new, compromise version.196.15.168.40 12:50, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

reply about first paragraph

Oh give me a break! Just because you invite someone into your home doesn't mean you're buddy-buddy with the person. The Van Dam's have never said anything to suggest they were more then just an a neighbor/acquainted with David Westerfied. He didn't come to there home for dinner every night. He didn't spend weekends and holidays with them. You're making a big deal out of Brenda wanting to see the remodeled kitchen. It's something done between two acquainted people, because they live so close by. How is it evidentiary value, when it never convicted him or exonerated him? The RV stuff is defense spin. To include that stuff in makes the article a mouthpiece for the defense. To say the kids may have had access is leading. I don't go out of my way to say he's guilty because a droplet of Danielle's blood was in the RV. I kept it neutral(the proposed version I suggest above) What more do you want? You want Westerfield to come out nice in everything? Don't pretend that you don't. I believe you are a family member of his, otherwise you wouldn't be doing all of this. You once mentioned the Danielle Van Dam article had the date of the body discovery wrong. You did nothing to correct it, however, you have done EVERYTHING to alter the David Westerfield article. I look at your contributions and almost all of them is invested in the David Westerfield article. Enough stuff is mentioned about his personal life. The article is about the David Westerfield the convicted child killer, not David Westerfied the engineer, a father, blah, blah, and blah.

Reply to TripleH1976:

You are exaggerating what I said. Westerfield and the Van Dams were only acquaintances, yes, but HE hadn’t been in THEIR house, and your revised wording is silent on the fact that THEY had been in HIS house - which even the protected version clearly states. That was the extent of my objection. It is important because hair that could have come from Danielle, and fibers that could have come from her house and bedroom, were found in his environment - house and vehicles (e.g. Rochelle Steinhaus, Court TV, June 26, 2002). How did they get there? If she and her family had never been in his house, it would be very difficult to explain, and would almost certainly mean that he was guilty of the crimes. But they HAD been in his house, recently and more than once. That’s why it’s so important that the article INCLUDE this - if it is to be neutral.

The importance of this evidence can be gauged by the following extract from a Court TV article (Matt Bean, June 25, 2002):

“According to police criminalist Melvyn Kong, who also specializes in trace evidence, none of the fibers found in van Dam's bedding and home matched the orange acrylic fiber. That the key fiber did not likely come from the most likely source - van Dam herself - could further link Westerfield to the crime in the eyes of jurors.”

That extract contains an ERROR. Kong (June 25) DIDN’T test fibers from ELSEWHERE in Danielle’s home, he ONLY examined her bedding (but curiously NOT a flat sheet - I believe that was used to scent the search dogs - Howard Labore, June 3, 2002, page 3256, document westerfield2.pdf, linked to the article by Greg Moran, Union-Tribune, September 24, 2002, Document No. 4). (Kong also examined the contents of their vacuum cleaners, but curiously he was looking for the earring backing and hairs, NOT fibers.)

This can also be seen from Court TV’s list, “Witnesses for the Prosecution” (the link to it is on their “Full Coverage” page), which ALSO contains an error, albeit a different one - and I’m not referring to the misspelling of his name.

So he did NOT exclude the possibility that the KEY fiber came from her own home, and the Court TV article was NOT justified in drawing that STRONG link between Westerfield and the crime.

And we also can’t exclude the possibility that those many distinctive orange fibers in Westerfield’s environment actually came from the Van Dam home, and were deposited in his house by them during the cookie sale. Remember, the SOURCE of those fibers was never found: if it was in the Van Dam home, and the criminalists weren’t looking there for it, then that would explain it not being found.

Trace evidence (hair and fibers) can be powerful in linking a STRANGER to a crime, but it has LITTLE value when there was known and recent CONTACT between the victim and the suspect, and I DON’T get the sense from media articles that the reporters took this into account (one would hope that CRIME reporters are at least aware of this factor).

Including ONE sentence about Brenda wanting to see Westerfield’s remodeled kitchen is hardly “making a big deal”. If you know of any evidence showing him actively seeking out victims - such as hanging around schools or participating in online chat rooms - then please inform us. The total absence of such evidence casts considerable doubt on the belief that he is a pedophile. Did the jury take this into consideration? I don’t know. But if they didn’t, then why not?

The “RV stuff” is FACT, not spin. I included only one-and-a-half sentences in the article, and this did NOT include stating that the children may have had access (in fact, they DID have access but I didn’t SAY so), and it did NOT include stating that Westerfield was innocent. In other words, I DID handle it in the same way as you handled the droplet of blood in the RV. If your argument is that readers can follow the links, then my response is that, by drawing attention to the children being unsupervised at times, and to the RV being unlocked and open at times - neither of which is mentioned in the protected version - the readers will realize the existence (and hopefully also, relevance) of these factors, and will then look them up in the links, where they can decide for themselves if that evidence creates reasonable doubt - otherwise it would likely never occur to them.

You may not have SAID he was guilty, but I don’t see how anyone, reading the protected version of the article, could come to any other conclusion. Neither would they be inclined to follow the links to learn more about the case - unless perhaps they were left scratching their heads wondering why the jury took so long to reach a decision in what appeared to be an open-and-shut case. Admittedly, the suggestions you have now made are a step in the right direction, and I thank you for that.

The fact that I left IN the porn - unlike you who removed everything - disproves your allegation that I want him “to come out nice in everything”: I am content with the truth, whatever that is, whether nice or not, whether I like it or not. Incidentally, I do think it was nice of you to include his explanation that he was accumulating it for the authorities: a lot of people would not have done so. (I haven’t checked old versions of the article to confirm it was you who included this, but even if it wasn’t, you at least allowed it to remain in.)

I am NOT a family member of his: I just have a passion for truth and justice. And I enjoy a debate: I think I’m rather good at it.

I had my hands full without also correcting the article on Danielle. I haven’t even studied that article, I just had a quick read. And with the strong adverse reaction to my corrections to the Westerfield article, I was not inclined to risk the same happening with Danielle, with consequent waste of my time. I suspected that someone else would correct that error in the body discovery date, and that is what happened: you fixed it. If that hadn’t happened, then I might well have corrected it myself, AFTER I had completed my improvements to the Westerfield article.

As I have previously pointed out, I have NOT done “EVERYTHING” to alter the Westerfield article: there are NUMEROUS other additions I could have made (I mentioned some in the Neutrality section), but didn’t make and didn’t even intend making.

I have already given (in the Length section) some arguments for a longer article, such as reviewing the use of entomology in court if it’s really as unreliable as it would HAVE to be (a 100% error!) for Westerfield to be guilty (unless he had an accomplice). Here’s another argument for a longer article:

How strong should the evidence be for the state to execute someone? (Or even imprison them for the rest of their life.) In the Westerfield case, there was public outrage over the crime, the police jumped to conclusions, they ignored evidence pointing away from him, and there is objective scientific evidence of his innocence. (None of that PROVES he is innocent, though it certainly points to it.) If the defendant were someone you knew, would you consider that sufficient to execute them? This debate therefore has far wider implications than just the Westerfield case.

It’s not true that “almost all” of my contributions are invested in the Westerfield article: ALL of them are. You make that sound a negative; I view it as a plus: I know the case very well.

The title of the article is “David Westerfield”, NOT “David Westerfield the convicted child killer”, so one CAN justify including more about his personal life. 196.15.168.40 06:02, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

reply about second paragraph

Just how long do you wanna make this article then? My God! This isn't a persuasion article. The evidentiary value is for the court. It doesn't have to be in here. We are not trying the case in here! What don't you understand about this? This case didn't get enough attention to warrant an additional article about evidence. And when I said the second paragraph is "pretty good" I meant the protected one. The fact you don't see a regulation restricting length isn't permission to make a long article because YOU think it deserves one. You are just using this to further your agenda. It is wrong. You're trying to lead and persuade people with statements like he had to take Danielle to his house on foot. This is clearly a leading statement. No one knows how the actual kidnapping took place, not even the police. It is speculation and it isn't correct to make one up for people. A wikipedia article is not intended for that. You speak of the article not being a mouthpiece of the prosecution, but understand the same goes for the defense.

I've suggested ways to make the article more neutral, and yet it is still not satisfactory for you. I clearly believe we will NEVER agree on what an appropriate article should look like. Therefore, the article should stay protected until you realize that you can not spin or make subtle persuasions so people can think Westerfield was wrongfully convicted.(personally, I think he was rightfully convicted) Till then Cya!

TripleH1976 SAT 10:24 p.m., 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

When I began this, my sole goal was to correct factual errors. And I’m a stickler for accuracy. Then I realized that there were major omissions (specifically related to neutrality) which ought to be rectified. Both of which I did. (Put in other words, initially I was being totally reactive, but later I became partly proactive.) Once I’d had a chance to review the revised article as a whole, I might have made a few more changes or additions (or I might not). But basically, I was finished.

But by then you had intervened. And it was while replying to your points that I had more ideas. I don’t believe I have said that I WOULD implement those ideas, merely that they COULD be justified. I may or may not implement them, and even if I do, it won’t necessarily be straight away, that would depend on my other commitments and my priorities.

Just think: if you hadn’t suppressed ONE page of facts - only some of which you didn’t like - I wouldn’t have added a DOZEN pages of facts you don’t like (and I haven’t yet finished responding to your points). Not just facts about the case but also facts about the poor quality media coverage - something I’d been wanting to do for a long time, but hadn’t got round to.

In a recent response, I referred to the article on child sexual abuse. Study that. After listing the activities which constitute abuse, it states “The majority of experts believe that CSA is innately harmful to minors.” Then follows a long paragraph justifying that statement. The next paragraph begins with “Some studies have reached other conclusions about CSA.” That is followed by a long paragraph justifying the OPPOSING point of view.

Two paragraphs further on, the male/female victim experience difference is discussed, albeit much more briefly, and again TWO differing points of view are given. A little further down, TWO views are given about regressed offenders. And there are MORE examples.

That article was NOT about a court case, but it nevertheless gave a detailed presentation of DIFFERENT points of view. Which is all I am trying to do. A tabloid article would give only ONE point of view; Wikipedia is not a tabloid and I am aiming for a higher standard.

What you see as retrying the case, I see as high quality. Encyclopedia quality.

Evidentiary value is relevant to article length: something of high evidentiary value (whether for or against) should be included; something of low evidentiary value should be excluded.

The justification for extra length or an extra article would not be - or would not be primarily - the amount of attention the case got - though that was considerable in the Westerfield case - but would be the other factors I have mentioned, particularly the weight of evidence required to justify execution (or life imprisonment). And I would add another reason. The mere fact that the verdict is disputed SHOULD be sufficient reason to discuss the evidence in more detail.

You might consider the second paragraph of the protected version “pretty good”, but it contains factual errors (related to the number of friends), which I corrected, as well as information NOT about Westerfield, which someone else removed (for that reason). So you appear to be in a minority of one on that score.

This article shouldn’t be short just because YOU think that’s all it deserves. Your opinion would carry more weight if you would only address the REASONS I have given for it to be longer. To quote your own words, you are just using it to further your agenda: which is wrong.

If Westerfield didn’t take Danielle to his house on foot, then HOW did he get her there? Are you arguing that he parked his SUV outside the van Dam house, and neither Brenda nor any of her four friends that night noticed it there? Or do you reject the Prosecution scenario, and believe, for example, that she was only kidnapped several hours later? And/or was not taken to his house at all? The Prosecutor himself seems to suggest my “on foot”, when he said “and then walk to wherever you have to walk, and then take her down to Dehesa ” (Jeff Dusek, closing arguments, August 7), especially coupled with his statement “he goes out the back door, out the side gate back to his house” (August 6).

If the Prosecutor can make up a scenario, when the defendant’s LIFE depends on it, then why can’t I “make up” a scenario when all that will happen is that it will go on a web page as a very small part of an article? What I “made up” is purely a logical consequence of the Prosecution’s scenario. If you find it implausible (I’m not clear if that’s the reason you are objecting to it), then you should consider how plausible or otherwise the Prosecution’s scenario is.

You are quite right that no one knows how the kidnapping took place. That’s one of the things that disturbs me. It would have been far easier for a FRIEND of the van Dams to have kidnapped Danielle. They would have been more comfortable moving around inside the darkened house at night, they might have known about the alarm system, the dog might have been less likely to create a disturbance, and Danielle might have gone willingly with them. I would be much more willing to believe that Westerfield was the culprit if the Prosecution had argued that Danielle had gone outside early Saturday morning and then been snatched.

It troubles me when the Prosecutor ADMITS that he doesn’t know (and can’t prove) how, where, why and when (Jeff Dusek, closing arguments, August 6). It troubles me even more that the jury returned a guilty verdict, and decided on death, when it was so obvious that there were such ENORMOUS gaps in the evidence. I can’t help wondering if the community anger had something to do with their verdict. Little evidence, angry crowd, killing: what does that remind you of?

I have already said that I appreciate your constructive suggestions (though the fact that you were basing them on the protected version means they are not as positive as I thought). But I would point out that this is a DISCUSSION. Just as you found fault with my edits, you can’t expect me to just automatically accept your ideas. It is quite possible that we will never agree on what the article should look like - but it’s too early to come to that conclusion.

But one thing is certain: the article CANNOT stay as it is - I am of course referring to the protected version. There are factual ERRORS in it and that cannot be permitted to continue.

I am just presenting the evidence, without drawing conclusions. If that points to Westerfield having been wrongfully convicted, then so be it. We must face up to the truth, whatever that may be. If you cannot refute the evidence - as appears to be the case - then it is wrong for you to suppress it in an attempt to persuade people that he was rightfully convicted.

I had already guessed you believe Westerfield guilty - and are passionate in that belief. But I would have more confidence in your conclusion if your knowledge of the case were better. 196.15.168.40 04:49, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

196.15.168.40

You are a Westerfield apologist. If you are so concerned about accuracy you would have corrected the date Danielle's body was found in the article about her. Your sole concern has been with the Westerfield article. Why don't you check other articles, on subjects you know so well, and check them for errors? If you care soooo much about accuracy <sarcasm>. But, hey, maybe you edit other articles with another IP(LOL). Who says the verdict is disputed? You seem to be the only one disputing it or family members, which in all likely-hood you are. You probably came to wikipedia entered Westerfield's name and decided, since anyone can edit a wikipedia article, that you can use it as a platform to defend his unjust conviction <sarcasm> <sarcasm>. You turned it into a verbose article. Laced with your POV that only 1% of his porn was objectionable. Another of your POV statements that the Van Dam children were unsupervised. You know that for a fact? Not only that you place it right next to the statement his RV was sometimes locked or even opened. As if saying only the naughty Van Dam children could get into it then. A more neutral approach would be, "the RV was sometimes unlocked or even opened". It suggest the same thing, but in a neutral way. The blood stain being faint is POV, because you didn't provide a picture of it. Therefore it should be seen as your opinion that it was faint. If it was indeed faint, back it up. How did Westerfield get around the darkened Van Dam home? Ever heard of a flashlight? Night vision goggles???? Joseph Duncan had night vision goggles and used them to stalk the Groene family last year. How did Westerfield know which room was Danielle's? Who says he went to it directly? Maybe he opened each of their rooms, and found that the one painted pink must be Danielle's. It's not rocket science. As for the dogs; the Van Dams' owned Weimaraner dogs. Although intensely loyal they are not overly aggressive. Maybe Westerfield took time to pet them, give them a treat - there are lots of ways to get a dog to think you're a good guy. Yes, the dogs barked but how was Damon Van Dam to know they barked because an intruder was in the home? It's common for dogs to bark even for no reason at all. And let me also add, that just because the family dog didn't tear apart an intruder doesn't mean an intruder WASN'T there. Danielle's hair and fingerprints were in his RV. And don't tell me the RV was unlocked and accessible to the children; that is spin by the defense and setting up smoke screens. Did they find the other neighborhood children's fingerprints in the RV? If it was sooooo likely the neighborhood children sneaked into the RV lots of their fingerprints should be there. But, oh wait, of all the neighborhood children Danielle's fingerprints show up. And now she's missing. Danielle was 7 years old it would take a considerable amount of strength for her to open the door. Remember Elizabeth Smart? She was twice as old as Danielle and she went with someone, whom she barely knew. So you are erroneous to say a family friend is the likeliest that abducts a child. Like Elizabeth, Danielle was most likely threatened(with a gun or knife) to believe her family was going to be harmed if she screamed.

Anyhow your responses, much like your edits, are verbose and tired-some. I suggest you type less. You are wrong in saying the article was not neutral. I know of many users and administrators alike, who've read it and never found a reason to put an NPOV tag to the article. Until you came along that is, you, a Westerfield apologist. The article didn't mention anything blatant or derogatory about Westerfield. It was not sensationalized like a tabloid. The article never says Westerfield is a pedophile. The article states he had no criminal record. The article mentions he was a successful man. It never says Danielle is an angel and Westerfield is the big bad wolf. Furthermore, the article suggest it wasn't a quick verdict. Do the math; the trial ended August 8 and a verdict was announced August 21. I agree, the article should change but not to the extend you want. Yes, mention Westerfield came driving in his SUV. Mention that the RV was unlocked(unlikely that Danielle had the strength to open it and climb in but, whatever, if it makes the article more neutral put it in). Mention that someone did testify Westerfield and Brenda danced. Drop the word "intense" and just say he cleaned the RV. And add all the other stuff I proposed. But I will fight tooth and nail to see the article isn't laced with your commentary and spin on the evidence. TripleH1976 Mon 01:43 a.m., 29 May 2006 (UTC)


Reply to TripleH1976: first paragraph

Your edit begins with a long personal attack, most of which I have already answered and denied, so I will ignore that.

You said I seemed to be the only one disputing the verdict, so I posted links to FIVE websites disputing it. So SEVERAL people spent a LOT of time and energy casting doubt on the verdict. This proved you wrong, but you promptly deleted those links.

I didn’t say that 1% of his porn was “objectionable”: some people find ALL porn objectionable - like Juror No. 38 (Juror Profiles, Court TV). I said 1% was “questionable”, in other words, POSSIBLY illegal (“What the new article should look like”, “Fourth paragraph”). And I presented evidence - including the professional opinion of two members of law enforcement - that NONE of it was illegal - or even close to being illegal (see “What the new article should look like”, “Fourth paragraph” and “Notes in revised/extended version”).

It’s NOT my POV that the Van Dam children were unsupervised - in fact, I said “sometimes unsupervised outside” - I was relying on testimony by Brenda herself (March 14) and neighbors Julie Hennes (June 4), Barbara Crum (June 12) and Mark Roehr (July 2), while Janet Roehr (July 2) testified that she had seen Dylan alone outside AFTER Danielle’s abduction and death. Apart from the last-mentioned, this should not cause any surprise, as this was considered a SAFE neighborhood, one with lots of children. And Brenda admitted to leaving Danielle alone in Mervyn’s early that Friday afternoon (and the boys alone at the toy shop), and to leaving all the children at home alone later that afternoon when she went out to get pizza (March 14 and June 6).

I discussed the question of the children’s access to Westerfield’s RV in the section “reply about first paragraph”. I don’t want to repeat myself here, so I will just say that I have already proved that my approach IS neutral, whereas leaving out the bit about the Van Dam children being unsupervised would NOT be neutral. Coupled with the Van Dam’s attempts to claim that their children were very closely supervised - for example, Brenda stated that, when Danielle visited her friend Taylor, “I stand at the corner and watch her go up, and then I call to make sure everything's okay” (June6) - that would make the evidence of Danielle in the RV explicable only by Westerfield being guilty - which I think is what you want. (I am referring to only the blood spot and the hand print; the hairs and fibers could be explained by Locard transfer.)

I did not say that ONLY the Van Dam children could get into the RV. Many other, unidentified prints were found in it - 16 cards, presumably representing several dozen prints, were lifted on April 17 (Jeffrey Graham, June 19) - and these COULD belong to other neighborhood children. The Van Dam children may be more likely simply because they lived closer to the RV, while the Roehr’s children, for example, were too young - the eldest was only 4 (Mark Roehr, July 2). Or maybe the other children weren’t as “adventurous” as Danielle - to quote Damon’s description (video clip, Larry King Live, August 28, 2002 and December 3, 2002). On February 2, Damon had told Officer Steve Flores “my kids are playing out front all the time” (Steven Feldman, June 5), so maybe they just had more freedom (less supervision) than the other neighborhood children.

This highlights another reason for including this aspect in the article. At the beginning, the Van Dams were happy to acknowledge that their children played freely outside; later, they did all they could to downplay this. Why? Because Westerfield was now a suspect/defendant, and the children’s freedom could explain the evidence of Danielle in his RV, which in turn could result in a jury having “reasonable doubt” as to his guilt, whereas they were determined he be convicted?

I did not describe the Van Dam children as “naughty”. Even if they did explore the RV, I think they were just being normal, ordinary children - and curiosity and playfulness are characteristic of children. One of the links I added - and which you promptly deleted - in fact contains a survey of 27 children, aged 6 to 21

http://users3.ev1.net/~2ntense/RV%20Survey.htm

When asked, “if you saw an RV in your neighborhood, that was just sitting there, would you try to go in, even if you didn't know the neighbor?”, nearly ALL of them said they WOULD do so. (This shows how much knowledge you are missing out on. Instead of removing the information I add, read it, study it, think about it, learn from it.)

With regard to the blood stain on the jacket being faint, I have already given both the relevant testimony and instructions to where a photo can be found on the Court TV website (see my response in the section “What the new article should look like”, “Fourth paragraph”). I think the link to the photo is:

http://www.courttv.com/trials/westerfield/photogallery/evidence26.html

I didn’t say it was IMPOSSIBLE for a stranger to have kidnapped Danielle, merely that it would have been much EASIER for a friend of the Van Dams to have done so (section “reply about second paragraph”). And this is not merely MY opinion, it’s ALSO the opinion of the FBI profilers who were consulted on the Monday, February 4: “it is highly unlikely this abduction was completed by a stranger because of the high risk of entering an unknown residence to take a victim. The profilers believe the abduction was completed by someone familiar with the interior of the residence of the victim” (May 7, page 44 of document SCN_20030109152845_001). It is also the opinion of Officer Steve Flores, who on February 2 told Damon that someone knew the layout of his house, knew how to get in and out, knew where Danielle’s room was, knew they had a dog, knew the dog wasn't going to bite him or bark, and in the officers’ view the dog would have been familiar with whomever might have been in their house earlier in the day (Feldman, June 5). I’d have thought that any dog would have been LESS likely to tear apart an intruder it already KNEW.

I would also mention the article “Rarity of abductions outside family raises interest in such cases” (Anne Krueger, Union-Tribune, February 10, 2002), in which it is stated: “In San Diego County, of the 6,342 children reported missing in 2000, two were kidnapped by strangers”. That’s a VERY small percentage.

I can’t find any mention that a flashlight (much less night vision goggles, let alone a gun) were seized from Westerfield. Perhaps law enforcement didn’t think of those possibilities: the prosecutor argued instead that he found his way around inside the house by the light of the TV in the master bedroom (Jeff Dusek, August 7). (Damon must be a very heavy sleeper. Not hearing the kidnapper with his door closed is bad enough, but with his door open, as Westerfield tried each room!) (That’s the problem when you start with the suspect and then try to make the evidence fit.)

The Van Dams did NOT own Weimaraner DOGS - they only had ONE, and she was more likely to be over-FRIENDLY than aggressive, jumping on all visitors (Denise Kemal, June 10; Richard Brady, June 10), like she did on Keith Stone, one of the visitors that night (Brenda, June 6; Keith Stone, June 10).

And their dog DIDN’T bark (Brenda, March 14; Damon, March 14). That was one of the strange aspects of this case: a dog that hardly ever barks - or so we were repeatedly assured.

It’s interesting that you suggest - but without any proof - that Danielle might have been threatened with a knife or a gun. I’m sure Westerfield had knives - kitchen knives if nothing else - but a gun? An old shell casing was found in Danielle’s bedroom (Dorie Savage, June 18). If Westerfield didn’t have a gun, then that points to a third party being the kidnapper - or would do if it had been found straight away. (That’s another strange aspect of this case: it seems that the crime scene wasn’t secured.)

Yes, I remember Elizabeth Smart. Her abductor HAD been in her house before, the abduction was WITNESSED, and they DIDN’T have a dog. Nor did they have guests in the middle of the night, while the kidnapper was still there.

Only ONE hair of Danielle’s was definitely found in the RV (Item 77 from the motorhome sink (Mitchell Holland, June 26)). Another hair MIGHT have been hers, but was only mitochondrial DNA tested so it could have come from ANY “maternal” Van Dam (Q8.1 from Item 80D the bathroom rug (Catherine Theisen, June 20)). (There may have been a third hair: the testimony is unclear.) And NONE of these were from the bedroom, where she supposedly spent most of the time. Such a small number is NOT consistent with anything like a two-day stay, but IS consistent with a very much shorter visit - OR Locard transfer from his house after the recent cookie sale. As Danielle’s hair was changing color from blonde to brown, any all-blonde hairs of hers were likely OLD hairs left over from an earlier visit. And hair 77 was blonde (Tanya DuLaney, June 24).

Law enforcement did testify to having found her fingerprints in the RV. This consisted of one hand print - which curiously was the ONLY print they took TWO lifts of - the only portion of which that could be used being the pad between the palm and the first knuckle of one of the fingers (Jeffrey Graham, June 19). This is NOT what is normally meant by a fingerprint, and is the ONLY case I’ve been able to find of THIS area being used. So the question arises: is there as much individual variation in this area as there is in the fingertips? Because, if not, then that print might have come from someone ELSE - such as one of her brothers. And remember, they had to cut off the skin, rehydrate it and then flatten it in order to make a match. That hand had been exposed to the elements and dragged around by feeding animals for supposedly nearly a month: how fortunate law enforcement were that it hadn’t suffered any damage.

And I WILL tell you the RV was unlocked and accessible to the children: that is NOT defense spin, but witness TESTIMONY, as I have quoted above. And the testimony was not just that the door was sometimes unlocked but also that it was sometimes OPEN (Christina Hoeffs, March 11 and June 12; Barbara Crum,, June 12; Angela Elkus, June 13; Janet Roehr, July 2; and Susan L., July 10). So the supposed difficulty in opening the door becomes IRRELEVANT. Hoeffs’ testimony is interesting. At the Preliminary Hearing, she merely stated she had seen the RV door open (and the garage open, while the trailer doors were open “most of the time”); at the main trial, she qualified this, and without being asked: she THOUGHT it was open when people “were out there loading”. It was as though she, too, WANTED Westerfield convicted, so she was trying to play down the children’s prior access to the RV.

If you think it can’t be a coincidence that, of all the neighborhood children, only Danielle’s prints were found in the RV, then I can reply that it can’t be a coincidence that, of all the neighborhood children, the only one kidnapped was the daughter of the only known swingers there.

I would add that Danielle L.’s fingerprints, and Jennifer L.’s fingerprints, were ALSO found in the RV, and NEITHER of them is missing.

The difficulty in opening the RV door is just prosecution spin, and is too reminiscent of OJ Simpson and his gloves. Only SOME of the jurors had difficulty opening that door: “some of you had to pull once or twice” (Dusek, August 6). Which ones: the 83-year-old? (Juror No. 65) “Once or twice” doesn’t sound like it was THAT difficult. And that was 5 MONTHS after February. A lot can happen in that time: had the door suffered any damage in the interim? When Westerfield opened the door for Detectives Keene and Parga, NEITHER mentioned him having any difficulty (both testified on June 11).

It is also reminiscent of the gate. Brenda (March 14) denied that Danielle had opened the gate to their back yard and walked away from their house, saying she couldn’t open the gate. Damon (March 14 and June 5) also denied she had done that, and said it was too difficult for a child to open, the wood was tight and swells, and a child was too small to reach up (about four feet) and pull it open with the force needed. But on February 2, 2002, both Dylan and Derek had told Detective Gene Bojorquez that Danielle COULD open it and HAD opened it (Robert Boyce, March 14). Also on February 2, Damon told Officer Steve Flores that Danielle had gone out that gate when it was left open (Damon, June 5).

You really don’t have a good knowledge of this case - yet you are CONVINCED that Westerfield is guilty: WHY? Because the jury found him guilty? Read the Innocence Project article. A claimed 180 wrongfully convicted people exonerated. The Department of Justice itself estimates a 5% failure rate in the justice system, which suggests 100,000 falsely convicted prisoners. How can you be so SURE that Westerfield isn’t one of them?

The fact that you, with so much erroneous information about the facts of this case, considered yourself qualified to write an encyclopedia article on it, is yet another reason for the article to contain extra information. I’m sure a LOT of other people are also seriously misinformed. 196.15.168.40 08:58, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976: second paragraph

The problem is not that I TYPE too much but that I KNOW too much. For each point you raise, I have to provide an ADEQUATE reply. I have now discovered that the maximum DESIRABLE length works out at around 18 pages full of text, and my revised/extended Westerfield article, at its miserly 3 pages, is nowhere near that, so there’s no point in your voicing this particular criticism yet again.

I have already given my reasons for saying the article (protected version) is not neutral: basically it gives only evidence of guilt, not of innocence. If other users and administrators haven’t challenged its neutrality, then I would conclude that they are just as ignorant of the facts as you are - they probably saw the same poor quality media reports.

How can you claim that the article “didn’t mention anything blatant or derogatory about Westerfield”, when it contains, for example, the statement that “His computer contained graphic child pornography, including a video of a 7 year old girl being raped”? (Even if you think that’s true, which it probably isn’t - see my reply under “Fourth paragraph” of the section ”What the new article should look like”.)

It was the MEDIA I accused of “sensationalistic and salacious reports” (“Notes in protected version” section). My “tabloid” criticism in that section was in relation to inaccurate and biased reporting; and in the section “reply about second paragraph”, it was in relation to presenting only ONE point of view. So you are exaggerating my criticism of your article.

The article might not SAY that he is a pedophile, but that IS the implication; it might not SAY he is “a big bad wolf”, but that is certainly a logical conclusion. I DIDN’T say that the article said either of those things (so you are putting words in my mouth), nor that it portrayed Danielle as an angel - though it doesn’t say anything bad about her (and you aren’t at all happy about criticism of her parents, judging by your “smear her parents” remarks). I agree that the article COULD have been worse - so I can thank you for that - but that’s no excuse for resisting improvements.

In case my position isn’t clear, I DON’T object to negative comments about Westerfield (or anyone else) provided you can SUBSTANTIATE them.

I am fully aware that the article suggests it wasn’t a quick verdict, in fact that was PART of the point I was making (in the section “reply about first paragraph”). I was saying that anyone reading the article would THINK it was an open-and-shut case; but if they then looked at the dates and did the math, they would see that the jury took a long time to reach a verdict, and they would wonder WHY? I am merely incorporating an explanation into the article, so they won’t be left scratching their heads.

The revised article doesn’t HAVE to mention that he arrived home driving his SUV - that can be left out if you really want to shorten it - but it must NOT state that he was driving his RV.

I have just answered your points about the RV being unlocked: it was also sometimes OPEN, the door wasn’t as difficult to open as the prosecutor made out, and Danielle showed unexpected strength and ingenuity in opening the yard gate.

Changing “intense cleaning” to just “cleaned” would certainly be more accurate - but “quick cleaning” would be more accurate still.

I have commented elsewhere on the “other stuff” you proposed. And I have also provided proof that the article is NOT laced with my “commentary and spin on the evidence”. All I added is true and can be verified. So you have nothing to “fight tooth and nail” against. 196.15.168.40 04:48, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

what source?

Excuse me, but my source is COURT TV. What you placed in doesn't link to anything. Why should anyone take your word for it, since you're a child-killer apologist? You are biased towards the killer. Just because you put in fancy numbers and dates and people connected to the case(in your parenthesis) doesn't mean a thing. Get over yourself! Your information doesn't take me anywhere. Also, why are you vandalizing the Danielle Van Dam article? I know you don't give a damn about her(your concern is for the convicted child-killer) but leave the article alone. It is strictly about her short life. The links you put are personal websites. Notice there is no link to a memorial; that's because wikipedia isn't meant to be a memorial or an advocacy for any one person. That goes for a victim and for a perpetrator. TripleH1976 Mon 12:45 p.m., 05 June 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

“Full Coverage”, the main page for Court TV’s coverage of this case, contains almost 100 articles/links in the central column, while the narrow column on the right-hand side contains another 30-odd links. (The Union-Tribune’s coverage is similarly structured, but has about TWICE as many articles/links.) With so many to choose from, it is not sufficient to give just “Court TV” (or Union-Tribune) as the source: you must specify WHICH of these articles/links each piece of information came from.

And THAT is what I was doing.

I’m sorry for not having given the direct links - I downloaded those files a long time ago, and work from that, so I don’t use the links anymore. But I would point out that you can access the articles and trial transcripts by manually navigating from the main pages for this trial of both Court TV and the Union-Tribune: I gave sufficient information in my edits for you to be able to find them, it will just take a little longer to do so. I put a lot of time into each of my edits, so it’s not unreasonable for you to put a bit of time into finding the sources - and you should become more knowledgeable about the case in the process.

Do so, and you will see that everything I said is supported, so you are going to have to eat your words. (I won’t ask for an apology: just moderating your attitude will be sufficient.)

To take an example. In the Third Opinion section, I refer to a Court TV article by Harriet Ryan on June 17, 2002. If you look at the Full Coverage page, in the Prosecution’s Case section, you will see two articles for that date. If you look at both, you will see that I got my information (length of RV) from the second one. For your benefit, the direct link is:

http://www.courttv.com/trials/westerfield/061702_ctv.html

Another example, this one from the Union-Tribune. In the “What the new article should look like” section, under the Third paragraph, I refer to “document SCN_20030109152845_001, under May 7, 2002 on the list “Previously sealed court records”, Union-Tribune, January 9, 2003". Go to the main page of the Union-Tribune coverage, click on the link to “Documents detail police suspicions Westerfield was ‘Peeping Tom’”; that page in turn contains a box including the link “Other documents released January 9, 2003 ”; click on that and it takes you to the list “Previously sealed court records”. There are four entries under May 7, and this one is the second. The direct link is:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/SCN_20030109152845_001.pdf

The article “Mudd given time line to unseal transcripts”, which also has a number of links on it, is also on the main page of the Union-Tribune: its link is:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/20020924-9999_1n24access.html

I downloaded the trial transcripts from the Unposted.com website (which I added to the Danielle article, but which you promptly deleted). There’s a link on its main page (on the left-hand side) “Click here for Transcripts”, the direct link being:

http://www.unposted.com/trial/

That gives a list by day. You click on the required date (which I gave each time), which gives a list of the sessions for that day, together with the names of the witnesses who testified during each session, and you click on whichever session(s) included the required witness (which I gave each time).

An example of a link, for the first morning session on June 17, is:

http://www.unposted.com/links/jump.cgi?ID=38

The transcripts are also available on the Union-Tribune website. Again, there’s a link on the main page (in the narrow column on the right-hand side, under Trial Transcripts, you click on “here”), the direct link being:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts.html

This provides a list by day and session, but not witness name, so you have to guess which one(s) you need. As an example, the link for the first afternoon session on Day 1 (June 4), is:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/20020604-9999-pm1.html

You can work out most of the other links from that.

There are only five transcripts for the Preliminary Hearing, so each one is individually linked from the main Union-Tribune page (in the narrow column on the right-hand side). The link to the first one (morning, March 11) is:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/20020311-9999-morningprelim.html

You can work out the other four from that: the afternoon of the 11th, 12th, and 14th, and the morning of the 12th.

Given all that information, you should be able to find all my references, and work out the direct links to many of them. (I hope I got all the links and instructions right.)

I would point out that not all source references I’ve seen in Wikipedia have links. The child sex abuse article, for example, has many references: most have links but not all.

Calling me a “child-killer apologist” is not at all helpful. I can just as easily retort that the evidence points to Westerfield NOT being guilty, so by attacking him, you are defending the REAL killer, making YOU the “child-killer apologist” and “biased towards the killer” - and it’s YOU who “don’t give a damn about her”.

I did NOT vandalize the Danielle article. As I pointed out a day or two later on the Danielle Talk page, I ENRICHED that article.

You attacked me twice for NOT correcting that article, but when I do edit it (even just adding links, leaving the text unaltered) you attack me again. I suspected that would be your reaction, which is one of the reasons I left that article alone. I would have added those extra links to the Westerfield article, but as that has been protected - thanks to your vandalism of it - I was unable to do so.

My concern is truth and justice. So I am a truth-and-justice apologist.

I asked you, on Danielle’s Talk page, to substantiate your claim that personal websites are not acceptable: you have still not replied.

I can understand that a link to a memorial website might be discouraged - though I personally would have no objection to it - but a memorial website does not discuss the FACTS and EVIDENCE, so any prohibition on a memorial website (if there is such a prohibition) would NOT apply to the websites I gave.

I have previously given examples of media bias. I would like to use this opportunity to give more examples. Take the two Court TV articles for June 17 mentioned above. The first one is referred to on the Full Coverage page as “Drycleaners: Westerfield not himself”, and the heading on the actual page is “'He wouldn't look at me eye to eye,' a witness said of Westerfield”; the corresponding titles for the second article are “Witnesses describe Westerfield’s conflicting accounts” and “Campers describe seeing Westerfield after girl's disappearance”. Three of those four are damaging to him.

However, if we look at the CONTENTS of those articles, the title of the first article could, instead, have stated that the dry-cleaner testified that she WOULD have spotted blood on any of his items, if there had been blood on any of them. And the heading of the second article could instead have stated that a video of the RV in the desert showed the windows and curtains open - in stark contrast to other witnesses who claimed they were closed that weekend (which the prosecution spin portrayed as suspicious).

Which has greater evidentiary value: Westerfield being tired on that Monday morning (which could have had a variety of causes), or Danielle’s blood not being seen on his jacket? Him being embarrassed at not having his “sand toys” with him (or trying to gain the sympathy and assistance of the other campers), or the interior of his RV being visible to passers-by?

With anti-Westerfield examples like that in the two links you left, one can readily justify having links to pro-Westerfield websites, to provide a balance in the references. But I have consistently tried to be neutral in the edits I made to the actual articles.

So my revised version of the Westerfield article is NOT an advocacy for him. If anything, it’s an advocacy for truth and justice: which you should support. 196.15.168.40 08:56, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

oh, wow, so now Court TV is pro-Westerfield because they reported Westerfield guilty. Well, it's true he is, the jury thought so. It doesn't make them pro anything for saying that. If you disagree that's fine, but don't shoot the messenger. You are the one who vandalized the two articles regarding this case. In the Westerfield article you added new content several times a day.. You are not suppose to do that. The right way to edit is to use the show preview button to see what the new info will look like and then finally saving it when you're happy with the changes. You don't go saving every single edit and re-edit again, because the article's history file piles up. Some people want to see the older edits, which are constantly buried by people, like yourself, who can't edit in one single shot. Then you go into the Danielle Van Dam article and you insult everything about her by putting links to sites, who defend her killer and smear her parents.
If you are so interested in truth in justice, then why are you so vehement in defending him and making sure that everything you believe is told in your way? Because you are on his side, right. Well that hardly makes you neutral. At lease I offered to make the article neutral, but you didn't like it. I see this case is very important to you. Is there anything that might make you think he's guilty? And what two anti-Westerfield sites did I put up? I do not go into any, anti this or pro that, I go to reputable sources available to me in the media. There is nothing to balance in the references, because they are not promoting a POV. Your sites are also personal sites. You're in an encyclopedia not a place to put your fandom on. You have nothing to balance out. The sites you link are smear campaigns against the Van Dams and law enforcement; nothing more. What an outrageous retort to say, I'm the apologist for the real killer. He must be a ghost then, because as far as the police is concern they caught their man. Westerfield is in jail for Danielle's kidnapping and murder not some ghost. The fact that I'm happy for Danielle's killer to be in jail makes me a lot more caring for Danielle then you will ever be for defending Westerfield.
Anyhow, you really should be thanking me for providing you with a place to talk about this case. I mean, I came here last year and neither a Westerfield or Van Dam article existed. Three years after the crime, I was rather surprised so I created the article anyhow. There was a period of time when someone suggested the case wasn't notable enough. You should thank me for making him change his mind too.TripleH1976 03:40a.m., 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

I said Court TV was ANTI-Westerfield, not pro-Westerfield. That was probably just a slip on your part, but what is more serious is that I gave my REASON and it was NOT that they reported the jury’s “guilty” verdict. Please don’t MISREPRESENT what I said.

I have given examples where both Court TV and the Union-Tribune lacked neutrality, so please don’t ask WHAT anti-Westerfield sites you put up: the answer should be obvious - especially as you haven’t disputed my facts. The media SHOULD be reputable, but they aren’t always. They can also get caught up in public hysteria, and then further fan the flames themselves - a vicious circle. Or they can light the fire.

It is BECAUSE this is an encyclopedia that it should not merely reflect the bias in the media - which is what the original article did. I think that was the sole source of your information. With my in depth knowledge of the case, gained after a long period of studying it, I was able to rectify that. There was seldom any depth to the media reporting of this case. That Anne Krueger article quoting abduction statistics was the exception. The media generally just regurgitated what law enforcement fed them. I would have liked to see, for example, an expert opinion on whether Locard transfer following the cookie sale can account for the distribution of Van Dam hair and fibers in Westerfield’s environment (I am confident it can); or whether animal feeding can account for the state of Danielle’s body (particularly the abdominal defect, and the missing left foot and teeth), and the drag trails (I have grave doubts).

In the Talk page for the Danielle article I explained WHY I accused you of vandalizing these two articles. I am not going to repeat myself. You have not disputed my reasons, so it is not acceptable for you to merely reject my conclusion. Until you can disprove my reasons, my conclusion stands.

I have NOT added new content several times a day to either article: that’s what YOU do - REPEATEDLY. So please address that condemnation and advice to YOURSELF.

I have now TWICE referred to the Innocence Project, and the second time I quoted some figures from that Wikipedia article. MANY innocent people have been WRONGLY convicted. So it’s NOT sufficient to merely argue that the jury found him guilty. We are entitled to query their verdict, and to present evidence that it is wrong. And that’s all I’m doing.

Do you remember Richard Ricci? And how CONVINCED the media and law enforcement were of his guilt? Yet they were all totally WRONG. The article “Who was Richard Ricci?” http://www.geocities.com/northstarzone/RICCI.html eloquently condemns that injustice. And Court TV is explicitly mentioned as one of the culprits. I saw Nancy Grace on Larry King Live, so I agree wholeheartedly.

If Westerfield is one of the wrongfully convicted - and you have failed to disprove the evidence I have presented - then the inescapable conclusion is that you are the apologist for the real killer (whether you care to admit it or not), and I am a lot more caring for Danielle than you will ever be for attacking Westerfield.

With regard to the links I added to Danielle’s article (and which you, as usual, promptly removed), her parents were far from being angels, and law enforcement’s performance left much to be desired: to ignore evidence pointing away from their suspect is utterly INEXCUSABLE. Do you want to suppress these unpleasant home truths, or do you just want the uncomplimentary information to appear on the Westerfield page and not the Danielle page?

Those sites are NOT smear campaigns, against either the Van Dams or law enforcement: they looked at the facts and drew their conclusions. You can’t reject the facts just because you don’t like them. Why don’t you try to debate the issues with the authors of those websites?

It’s the TRUTH I am defending, not Westerfield as such. Until someone can disprove what I have said, I will continue to believe I am right. And you don’t really try, you instead merely remove, reject, ignore - and insult. That’s NOT the way to persuade anyone.

My version of the article WAS neutral - as close as I could make it, as close as the facts allowed. For example, I can’t argue that the entomology points to Westerfield being guilty when it clearly points to his innocence. I have to be intellectually honest. So I can’t leave out the entomology either. But instead of suggesting improvements to my wording, you just deleted my edits wholesale. I acknowledge your subsequent attempts to make your version more neutral, but I gave my reasons for disagreeing with them. It is now up to you to respond to my arguments. Because the protected version of the article contains a number of factual errors, it is better to start with my version - fewer changes will be necessary.

Is there anything that would make me think he’s guilty? That’s not really the point: a neutral article should be possible irrespective of what I (or you) personally believe - and I thought I had achieved it. But, as you’ve asked the question, show me how so many respected entomologists could be so badly wrong. Show me how all the dogs could be so wrong. Show me that those red fibers found with her fingernail clippings came from him.

At present, I have no desire to thank you for providing me “with a place to talk about this case”. It’s not the only place, and you are so resistant to improving the article. You even repeatedly reinstated a version that has known ERRORS!

I haven’t spent as much time as usual on this edit, because it contains basically little that’s new, it’s mainly a repetition of what I’ve said before, and the reason is that you have ignored my previous arguments. That is not good enough. It’s not a productive use of my time. 196.15.168.40 04:36, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Put your replies in chronological order

I place my replies immediately after what I am replying to. I’d have thought that was perfectly logical.196.15.168.40 04:24, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Good God you have so much arrogance. It is sickening. Well, excuse me for not sugar-coating child porn and a video of a child getting raped. I don't know about you, but most of the world DOES think ANY child porn is graphic and if a grown man is forcing himself on a 7 year old child IT IS RAPE. Even if the child said, "ok let's have sex", it is still rape. What better wording do you support? That it was "dirty sex"? But all right, to satisfy you, drop the word "graphic", however, you'll have to leave rape as rape. Law Enforcement saw these videos and pictures and so did the jury. I will believe them, before I believe Westerfield's slimy lawyers. This article does not have to be neutralized to your satisfaction all right? Get over yourself. If the article came across as guilty; tough! The guilty side won. He isn't the "accused" anymore. We do not have to afford him the innocent until proven guilty BS. Until the case changes it stays that way. Yeah his defense does deserve to be mentioned, but it doesn't have to equal the guilty side. Why? Because the guilty side won. That should be emphasized. The encyclopedia isn't the innocence project, nor a support group for David Westerfield. By the way your replies are horribly out of order. In every article about a criminal, who was found guilty, you'll find the guilty aspect's of the case dominate. You might like calling the media biased, salacious, however, they were not the jury. Westerfield was given his due process and it failed. You wording the article to suggest the media was biased to Westerfield has no place in the article, because other people might think the media was accurate. This article is not your platform to discuss your problems against the media.

Reply to TripleH1976 and 66.183.147.123:

I presume this is a reply to my second set of comments in the section 196.15.168.40.

Confidence that comes with knowledge is not the same as arrogance.

You said “The article didn’t mention anything blatant or derogatory about Westerfield”. I proved that it DID: the allegations of child porn. Your diatribe against child porn proves my point. Thank you.

Are those allegations justified? I gave evidence that they are NOT, and you haven’t disputed that evidence. And my evidence did NOT include “Westerfield’s slimy lawyers”. In fact, it included THREE members of law enforcement (one past, two present). Please provide PROOF that the child was 7. (Assuming it was a real child and not just animation.)

That adjective, “slimy”, indicates to me that you are so emotional about this case that you are not capable of producing a neutral article on it. Your subsequent statement, “innocent until proven guilty BS”, is even more disturbing. Such a person is NOT FIT to work in law enforcement. I fear that Detectives like Ott fall in that same category.

And your adjectives of the Van Dams being "liars", indicates you are so emotional about Westerfield defense that you're prepared to blame Danielle's parents for her death. TripleH1976 10:16 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I don’t mind if the guilty side is emphasized; what I want is for the WEAKNESSES in that side to be exposed. It is OUTRAGEOUS that law enforcement didn’t investigate evidence pointing away from Westerfield. And how do you justify to yourself that a critical piece of evidence, the blood spot in the RV, was admitted into evidence even though it wasn’t properly documented? (Or documented at all?)

I don’t ask that Wikipedia be the Innocence Project or a support group for Westerfield; but I DO expect it to tell the TRUTH - the WHOLE truth, and not just that part of the truth that is popular.

I called the media biased and salacious because that is what the EVIDENCE points to - and you haven’t disputed that evidence. I’m quite happy to criticize the jury as well. For example, “The bug experts didn't have much impact on their deliberations ” (Kristen Green, Union-Tribune, September 17, 2002). Entomology is objective scientific evidence which has long been accepted in court, yet they just ignore it?! That tells us a lot about them - and their verdict.

Where do I word the ARTICLE to suggest the media was “biased to Westerfield”? (you presumably mean against him). That is what I have said - and given examples which PROVE - in this DISCUSSION. Other people might THINK the media was accurate, but if they can’t DISPROVE my examples then they are WRONG. However, you do raise a good point. This aspect CAN be included in the article. And one can JUSTIFY doing so because of the media feeding frenzy, because the jury was not sequestered (despite REPEATED requests), because of apparent attempts by the media to influence the jurors to vote guilty (the broccoli heads), because they had asked a bailiff to keep reporters farther away, and so on (Jeff Dillon and Steve Perez, Union-Tribune, August 15, 2002). 196.15.168.40 04:24, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Also let me tell you this: The only reason, people(thank god they are in the minority) might doubt Westerfield's guilt is because Danielle was found nearly 27 days after the kidnapping. I'm pretty confident that if she had been found a day later(like Samantha Runnion) her body would have contained Westerfield's DNA. The pervert should be thankful she wasn't found much sooner. If that had happened her blood on his jacket, hand print, entomology(or lack thereof) would have been gravy for the prosecution. You certainly have an inflated opinion of yourself if you think you know the facts more then everyone else. Do you REALLY know the facts? You seem hell-bent he didn't have child porn? Yet the facts state he was convicted of it. You seem hell-bent on believing a 7 year old had the strength to open and lift herself up on Westerfield's RV? Westerfield's lawyers did a good job on trying to prove reasonable doubt, however, circumstantially the evidence pointed only to Westerfield. That's what convicted him. If he had stayed home that weekend instead of driving his RV he NEVER would have brought suspicion upon himself. Also, his interviews aren't good examples of an innocent man. Why did he change his description about his trip so many times? How come he couldn't give a concrete explanation for the trip? If he did nothing wrong, he would have only ONE story. Why did he cry suicide, not once but twice to the police officers? What a lame excuse that he was joking. Him wanting to commit suicide reeks of guilt. IF he indeed was innocent he would welcome the day to clear his name. He would want to live. Why didn't he make a stronger effort to show them he was innocent? Why did he say his life was "over"? If he was indeed innocent he was giving up way to easily, don't you agree? All David has is "reasonable doubt". Danielle's hair was in his RV, it is defense spin to say it was really her brothers. Give me a break! Right! The fact that Damon and Brenda swaped sex partners killed Danielle. What a lucky killer eh? He decided to kidnap Danielle on the same evening David Westerfield travelled the county in his RV aimlessly. Wow. You can't find luck, like, that everyday now. As a result, the SDPD cooked up an elaborate scheme to frame Westerfield. This is what the Westerfield-apologist of the world would have us believe. So elaborate is this scheme they allowed Danielle's body to decompose 27 days after the kidnapping. There is no reason for Danielle's blood to be on Westerfield's clothing. It doesn't matter if it was a pool of blood or a faint stain. This is why he was indicted.

Reply to TripleH1976:

Based on the entomology, Danielle was only killed and dumped around the 16th, so if she had been found “a day later”, it would have been blatantly obvious she hadn’t been dead for two weeks. Which would have given the prosecution a big problem.

Danielle's body showed far too much decomposition to have been there for just 11 or 12 days. Nice spin though. I hope it didn't make you dizzy. TripleH1976 09:52 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Interestingly, Brenda received a phone call on the 15th stating that Danielle had been abused but was alive (July 22) http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/SCN_20030109150608_001.pdf As a result of this call, the police obtained a search warrant for a “trap and trace” to be installed to trace calls to the Van Dam house, showing they took this seriously.

So if Danielle had been found sooner, there’s a 50% chance she would still have been alive.

Wow! Did you tell that to the Van Dams? I bet it gave them a lot of hope. I certainly hope I never have you to comfort me if a child of mine goes missing. <sarcasm>

TripleH1976 9:31 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Even more interestingly, the initial “trap and trace” (search warrant 27800) had expired. It was almost as if the caller knew this. If so, how did he acquire this inside knowledge? Was he a friend of the Van Dams (one of their sex partners, perhaps?), or did he work for law enforcement? Or both? In other words, the perpetrator, or someone known to the perpetrator, was an insider. That could explain how he knew his way around the Van Dam house, and/or how the Van Dams were cleared as suspects so astonishingly quickly.

You are jumping to conclusions. You don't know what the caller knew. Why are you so quick to rule out the possibility the caller was a prankster? Missing parents sometimes receive prank phone calls telling them their kid is alive. Don't believe me? Ask Marc Klaas about it, or ask Patty Wetterling. You think it's genuine, because it helps Westerfield, right? Yeah that's what I thought. TripleH1976 09:28 a.m., 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Strange, but I can’t find this mentioned in media coverage of the case. I hope they weren’t trying to suppress information that would have raised doubts about Westerfield’s guilt.

Are you saying that, if Westerfield’s DNA had been found with Danielle’s body, it would have been powerful evidence against him? So if somebody else’s DNA had been found with her body, would that be powerful evidence against them? (and evidence of Westerfield’s innocence) Because somebody else’s DNA WAS found with her body, in the form of a hair under it: "dark medium brown coarse approximately seven centimeters in length" (Item T. E.-J. S.5, from Item 169, Property Tag 850125) (Jennifer Shen, June 25). She did NOT compare it against anybody else, other than Westerfield and Danielle. So it could belong to a known pedophile or serial rapist. If so, would you argue that that was just a coincidence, that person had nothing to do with Danielle’s death? I found this hair mentioned only ONCE in the Union-Tribune coverage of the trial (Steve Perez and Jeff Dillon, August 7, 2002), and NOT AT ALL by Court TV - compared with NUMEROUS mentions of Danielle and maternal Van Dam hairs found in Westerfield’s environment. Impartial reporting?

The numerous facts that I include in my edits, are ample proof that I have an excellent knowledge of the case. And you don’t even try to disprove them.

I am fully aware that he was convicted of child porn, but I’m still waiting for you to disprove the evidence I presented that he didn’t have any. Almost all of the people exonerated by the Innocence Project were convicted of sexual assault (that was the foundation of the prosecution’s case against Westerfield, though they couldn’t actually charge him for it), and about 25% involved murder - so Westerfield fits into that type of conviction.

I have provided evidence both that Danielle had sufficient strength to open the RV door and that it was sometimes already open so NO strength was required, and you have made no attempt to dispute that evidence. Nor have you produced any evidence of a 7-year-old attempting, but failing, to open that door. Danielle was able to lift herself up to climb on top of the yard gate, which is pretty high, so she was certainly NOT lacking in strength.

I’m glad you admit that the evidence against him was only circumstantial: “No one saw the 50-year-old engineer abduct Danielle, nor dump her naked body along a roadside 25 miles away” (Harriet Ryan, Court TV, July 1, 2002). That means it’s inconclusive and he could easily be innocent.

The evidence DIDN’T point only to him: there is blood, fingerprint, hair and fibre evidence pointing AWAY from him, which I have repeatedly mentioned but which you repeatedly IGNORE. That does you no credit. And that’s not mentioning the evidence of innocence such as the entomology and the search dogs. The fact that he TWICE returned home on the Saturday is also evidence of innocence.

He didn’t know that Danielle was going to go missing that weekend, so why should he have stayed at home? Why do you think he bought his first place, if not to USE it RV in the?

And when he discovered she was missing, he wanted no part of any search effort. Why? Because he knew she was dead. He made one pathetic comment about checking his pool; that's all. I don't believe he checked it either. He didn't have to. He knew where Danielle really was. TripleH1976 9:46 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

He was open, honest and helpful in his interviews, so I think they were good examples of INNOCENCE.

No, it does not. Lots of criminals begin as nice, helpful, and cooperative in the first police interview. It's when the police shake their story when they become different. TripleH1976 09:24 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

What different descriptions did he give of his trip?

I have read Westerfield's 17-page interview (on February 4) with Paul Redden http://www.courttv.com/trials/westerfield/docs/police01.html and I thought he had perfectly GOOD reasons for everything he did.

And he DID have only ONE story:

Mr Feldman: And specifically you noted that Mr. Westerfield never changed his stories, correct? Detective Tomsovic: That's correct.

(May 9, Page 1440 of trial testimony, page 17 of Document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/030114-020509-03.pdf

Which, using your logic, implies he did nothing wrong.

I know of one suicide story, in the interrogation room, which I have referred to previously. The unsealed documents point to a second and similar incident, at Glamis

(May 13, Page 1633 of trial testimony, page 52 of Document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/030114-020513-01.pdf

But this is from the lips of Detective Ott, whom I would consider a suspect witness, and I don’t know of any independent confirmation. The Union-Tribune seems to share my caution, as they referred to it as an “alleged statement out in the desert” (Alex Roth and Anne Krueger, January 14, 2003).

Are you saying that YOU didn’t make a suicide joke when the police were grilling YOU as their only suspect in a high-profile child kidnapping/rape/murder case, and you were innocent of the charges, so you don’t believe that Westerfield is innocent because he reacted differently? Or haven’t you been in that same situation, and you are instead basing your belief on scientific evidence? Please quote it.

People who are being tortured can be tempted to commit suicide, even if they are innocent, so don’t jump to conclusions.

The statement that Ott attributed to him was NOT that “his life was over”, but “he thought his life was over as he knew it”. The differences are important, and what he said is TRUE. There are two differences: “thought”, which softens the statement, he was open to persuasion that he was mistaken; and “as he knew it”, so he wasn’t talking about his life in the sense of death (and therefore possibly suicide), but the QUALITY of his life. Once you have been accused of something like this, even if the accusations are proved to be unfounded, your life will NOT be the same. Some people are always going to suspect you.

What is relevant is that the police had made it VERY plain to him that they believed he was guilty, and NOTHING he said made any difference to them. (This was confirmed by subsequent events, such as evidence of innocence being ignored.) Coupled with their HARSH (and ILLEGAL) treatment of him, he probably concluded that they would stop at nothing to have him convicted, even if he was innocent.

Have you any evidence that Westerfield has actually attempted suicide in the 4 years since he became the suspect? If not, it casts considerable doubt on your theory.

What “stronger effort” could he have made to show them he was innocent? He repeatedly denied guilt, and did everything he could to cooperate, yet that was seen instead as evidence of guilt!

I see his lack of assertiveness as evidence of a peaceful nature, a gentle man, someone who could never have committed crimes of violence. His friends say he “is incapable of doing harm” (Kelly Thornton, Elizabeth Fitzsimons and Joe Hughes, Union-Tribune, February 9, 2002).

“Friends and acquaintances of Westerfield have said they are certain police are focusing on the wrong person. "Dave is a puppy dog; a real sweetheart," said Wes Hill, a Utah resident and close friend, after a short visit at the Westerfield home yesterday. "He is innocent of all this. I've known him 35 years. People who know him are 100 percent behind him."” (Joe Hughes, Union-Tribune, February 15, 2002).

David has far more than “reasonable doubt”: the entomology alone is PROOF of innocence.

Neither the defense nor I said that Danielle’s hair was her brother’s. Please read what I said about this in the “196.15.168.40” section, I’m not got to repeat myself. Perhaps you are not familiar with mitochondrial DNA.

As the evidence indicates that the police didn’t seriously consider anyone other than Westerfield, we can’t be sure that it wasn’t one of the Van Dams’ sex partners who committed the crimes. Did the police compare the unknown blood and fingerprints in the Van Dam house - or the hair under Danielle’s body - against all their sex partners?

And the killer WAS lucky. Not because he committed the kidnapping on the same evening Westerfield traveled the county, because Westerfield DIDN’T travel the county that evening, it was many hours later that he started his travels. No, he was lucky firstly because one of the Van Dams’ sex partners didn’t lock the garage side door, which enabled the perpetrator to easily enter the house; and secondly because the Van Dams had reversed the lock on the garage door to keep their children out while they indulged in their illegal pot smoking. (How did Westerfield know about any of that? But their friends did.

No his trip did not start many hours later. He was more out of the house, then in it that weekend. The important thing is he doesn't have a concrete alibi for many unaccounted hours. He spent many hours alone. No, the unlocked garage door is a careless mistake, however, it did not kill Danielle. A pervert did; his lastname is Westerfield. Do you think all home invaders have to know EVERYTHING about a house? TripleH1976 10:35 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

So the Van Dams’ “lifestyle” DID kill Danielle.

And who said Westerfield’s RV trip was aimless? You’ve been listening to too much prosecution spin. As he was on holiday that weekend, an aimless trip would actually have made perfect sense - he could go where he wanted, when he wanted, as the fancy took him. But if he had a kidnapped child with him, whom he wanted to repeatedly rape, and then murder and dispose of the body, then his trip would have been anything but aimless. It would have been designed to meet those needs. Which his actual destinations didn’t - quite the contrary, in fact. So by saying his trip was aimless, you are saying he is innocent.

And you totally ignore defense spin? Riiiight! TripleH1976 10:36 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

The SDPD didn’t have to cook up an elaborate scheme to frame him. Because he was a neighbor who had recent contact with the victim, they could be certain there WOULD be evidence linking her to him. And the evidence that was found is consistent ONLY with them being neighbors, it does NOT rise to the level of anything more than that, let alone a crime, never mind the specific violent crimes he was charged with.

How would they know there was evidence at his house when their visits with him were so brief. You've turned this visitation into the equivalent of Danielle rolling around the entire home; leaving a trail of her hair, skin, blood, and the whole works. It didn't happen. TripleH1976 10:43 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

The police were already convinced on the Monday (4th) that Westerfield was guilty, that’s why they spent most of that day with him, and why they began a round-the-clock surveillance that night. They didn’t need the blood on the jacket to convince them. That just gave them the confidence that a trial would be successful.

Westerfield acted like a guilty person. They put him on surveillance, because maybe Danielle was still alive and he would go to her. Perhaps, they could discover him throwing away her clothes or something else incriminating. TripleH1976 11:43 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Given the number of blood spots in the Van Dam home, we shouldn’t be surprised if Danielle left some blood behind in other places she had played, including Westerfield’s RV. And the fact that it was a faint stain on his clothing (Item 94-D-2 or 94D-2) and not a pool, IS significant. A pool would be difficult to explain; but a small amount could just be from a scratch - and Danielle was scratched by the family dog in the week she went missing (Brenda, March 14) - or from a bleeding nose (which perhaps could explain the blood on the cuffs of the left sleeves of her pajama top and shirt - Items 2-1 and 3A-1 (David Cornacchia, June 24; Mitchell Holland, June 26)). The fact that it was so faint is also significant. That is more consistent with an old stain that had been cleaned before - or with it having been planted (until her body was found, they didn’t have much DNA). The fact that it gave a perfect DNA match, even though so faint, is also suspicious. And why did they send a SWAB to the laboratory (Lewis Maddox, June 20), instead of the actual material (as was done with the other samples): that swab could have come from ANYTHING, not necessarily the jacket. 196.15.168.40 11:37, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Oh and in reply to the fact that Westerfield didn't fit the FBI profile. You don't have to fit an FBI profile to a "T" in order to be the right perpetrator. Did you know the FBI's profile on the Unabomber stated he was very clean, meticulous, affluent, dresses conservatively, and was easy going??? The actual Unabomber turned out to be, Ted Kaczynski, a hermit. When he was arrested he was dirty, unshaved, and he smelled. His home was a mess and financially he was dirt poor. The FBI profilers couldn't have gotten it more wrong. So somebody who entered the Van Dam home doesn't necessarily have to be a person the family knew. A would-be perpetrator is capable of taking risk. The BTK Killer took risk. He prayed on one of his neighbor and didn't get caught. He killed a family of four; that's a risk. His risk was even bigger by doing it during the day. What's so special about David Westerfield that he could NEVER have taken a risk and enter a house at night? He's so educated right? Well, guess what? So was the BTK Killer and he took lots of risk and didn't pay for them until a long, long time.

Reply to TripleH1976:

Strange, I did a Yahoo search on “FBI profile unabomber”, and the first “hit” I got included the statement by a retired FBI agent: “Absolutely, he [Kaczynski] fits the profile”.

But even if the profile was totally wrong, are you saying that FBI profiles are USUALLY wrong? Or was this just one of the few occasions they were wrong? Westerfield doesn’t fit the Death Row profile either (defense attorney Jan Ronis, Larry King Live, August 28, 2002; Kristen Green, Union-Tribune, September 1, 2002). Another exception. Nor does he fit the profile of a sexual predator - they arrange their whole lifestyles around finding victims - or a pedophile - they very rarely kill (forensic psychologist Victoria Thomas, Ph.D., Larry King Live, August 5 and August 21, 2002). And the entomologists are usually right, but not this time. The search dogs are presumably usually right, but they too got it wrong this time. And so on. One exception after another. That’s what is necessary for Westerfield to be guilty. It really stretches credulity.

What I in effect said was that the perpetrator was not NECESSARILY a friend, but this was just much more LIKELY because it would have been much EASIER for a friend. So we are dealing in probabilities here, not certainties. The same is true of jury verdicts. And I gave more evidence than just the FBI profilers, including statistics on the RARITY of stranger abductions. Which outweighs your anecdotal evidence.

The problem was not merely that it was a strange house, but also that the house had an alarm, it had a dog, and there were people up and about, and coming and going, in the middle of the night. So there were MULTIPLE dangers. And Westerfield is a BIG man, and was drunk at the time. If he were an experienced burglar, then it would be far more believable that he would take such risks. And it’s not just a question of TAKING risks, but doing so successfully. There was a good chance he would have been caught, like when the alarm went off. So luck was really on his side. And he left behind no evidence whatsoever, even though he was supposedly inside the house for perhaps 2 hours. You’d think someone would have heard him when he used the bathroom after drinking too much at the bar.

I’m not too familiar with the BTK Killer, but as far as I know, he didn’t kidnap his victims, he just killed them. So it didn’t matter too much if he was detected, he could just kill the witnesses, because killing is not just what he was going to do anyway, it was the ultimate objective. So you are comparing apples and oranges, chalk and cheese. The following extract from the Wikipedia article on Dennis Rader is relevant: “he would stalk the person until he knew the pattern of their lives and when would be the best time to strike ... At the time of the murder, Rader would break into the house, cut the phone lines, and hide until his victim came home”. Sounds to me as though he did a lot to minimize the risk.

Was the Van Dams’ phone line cut? Whoever kidnapped Danielle either ENJOYED danger, or didn’t know that Brenda would be returning home - but Westerfield could easily have figured that out.

Incidentally, although people tend to refer to it as a PROFILE (e.g. Joe Hughes, Union-Tribune, February 15, 2002), technically it was merely the OPINION of the FBI profilers: May 8, page 9 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/SCN_20030109150851_001.pdf

Offender profiling is an “investigative tool that helps investigators to profile an UNKNOWN subject” (emphasis added). But in this case the police had already DECIDED who the culprit was, so there was no point in expending all that effort on doing a proper job. All they wanted was some extra ammunition they could include to establish “probable cause” when they requested a search warrant, and thereby ensure the warrant was granted. 196.15.168.40 09:43, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

And don't tell me about qualifications. Nobody here has to submit qualification papers. Including, you so you can inflate, your ego all to your liking, but WE still don't know just how knowledgeable you really are. All we can really do is give you the benefit of doubt. I see that you make no mention on the possibility of Westerfield petting the Van Dam's dog thus easing the dog into thinking he was a nice guy. A flashlight is very easy to get rid of. That it wasn't found, in his home, doesn't mean he NEVER had one. The dog didn't bark, because the kidnapper(Westerfield) petted the dog and made it believe it he wasn't a threat. It is not beyond impossible this could happen. The defense alleges the dog would have barked; not true. Dogs don't respond like humans. Dogs are like young children naive. They think because you treated them nice then you must be a nice person. Oh and produce evidence there was a shell casing in Danielle's room. Also if his porn was not objectionable, according to the two LE, why did he get charge for child porn? Why did Westerfield's lawyers try to pin the child porn on Neal? Did these two allege law enforcement people view the video of two men raping a girl? What porn did they see? The adult one or the kiddie one? If they saw the kiddie porn, I find it hard to believe two professional LEO would say it was legal.

Reply to TripleH1976:

I am fully aware that nobody has to submit qualification papers, but the consequence is that someone who is not knowledgeable in a topic, even if they are well-meaning, can vandalize the work of someone who is knowledgeable. If you still don’t know how knowledgeable I am, then you can’t be checking the facts I am giving.

As I said the dog was FRIENDLY (section “196.15.168.40”), there wasn’t any reason for me to mention the possibility that Westerfield (or whoever the intruder was) petted her: she would automatically have assumed he was a nice guy. But even if he did do that - and you can’t prove he did - her attitude might have, and SHOULD have, changed radically when he tried to take her playmate Danielle away. Unless, perhaps, the intruder was someone she (the dog and Danielle) already knew. And why didn’t the dog follow? The sliding door was left open by “maybe 10 inches” (Damon said that wasn’t quite enough for her to get through, but he also underestimated his daughter’s abilities), and the side gate was also open: “about a foot open” (Damon, March 14). (Can you visualize a drunk man taking a reluctant child out that door and gate, while at the same time preventing the eager (and rather large) dog coming with, all the while maintaining absolute silence, not just by himself but also Danielle and the dog?)

As we don’t know what time the intruder entered the residence, and left it, we don’t know if your scenario is relevant. Layla was initially in the master bedroom with the door closed, until around 1:45 (Damon, March 14). So to pet her, the intruder would have had to open that door - while Damon was inside that room.

I don’t believe anyone can say with any certainty how a particular dog would behave in particular circumstances. But, while I can’t rule out your scenario, I do think two things: one is that it is highly LIKELY that the dog would have done SOMETHING (whether friendly or aggressive) in response to first an intruder and then her friend and playmate being taken away; and the other is that the intruder would have EXPECTED the dog to react in some way, a way that COULD have been extremely harmful to him.

For your scenario to be true, there had to be NO audible reaction from the dog (barking, whining, scratching), AND the intruder was REALLY confident he could handle whatever reaction there was. I’m sure that is why the law enforcement source I quoted considered it FAR more likely that the intruder KNEW the dog.

I’m sure Westerfield had a flashlight, if not at the time of the crime then in the past, but the prosecution scenario, as I indicated before, was that he DIDN’T use it in the commission of this crime, so not only didn’t they seize it, they apparently didn’t even attempt to look for one - I haven’t seen it mentioned in their search warrants (notably 27818).

As I quoted a source - forensic specialist Dorie Savage - for my statement that there was a shell casing in Danielle’s room, I fail to see why you challenge it. Perhaps it’s because you are not familiar with the trial transcripts, so I will quote media sources: anonymous reports in both the Union-Tribune and Court TV on June 18. It was Item 7, Exhibit 99. (Notice the difference between us: your edits contain lots of speculation, while I give lots of facts.)

The logical reason for law enforcement charging Westerfield with child porn, even after two of their members declared his images NOT to be child porn, is that they NEEDED the emotional impact of the porn in order to secure convictions on the more serious charges. The evidence against him was not strong enough to be confident of a conviction without the emotion.

I have already answered your claim that Westerfield’s lawyers tried to pin the alleged child porn on Neal: it was the EVIDENCE that linked him to it - see the section “What the new article should look like”.

Why do you refer to Detective Armstrong and the Assistant U.S. Attorney as ALLEGED law enforcement people?

I’m not convinced there was a VIDEO of two men raping a girl, but there WAS an ANIMATION of that. And if there was a video, in addition to the animation, I’m not convinced it was of a minor: as I have previously stated, the estimated age of the victim ranged from 7 to teen. If that was a real girl, then the quality of the images must have been pretty poor for the reporters to differ so widely. And how could they know the child was 7, and not say 8? Was she identified and her date of birth confirmed? I think the reporters were just using their imaginations, and were overcome by emotion.

Armstrong was asked by Lieutenant Collins to look at the images, and he examined some 67-68,000 stills and video files from the computers in Westerfield’s house (Watkins, March 12). I’m not aware that any images were withheld from him, and I would be most surprised if any were. Could he have missed these ones? I suppose so. But if Watkins was aware of genuine and undoubted child porn being found anywhere in his house, why wouldn’t he have told Armstrong about it, and even insisted he view it?

The Assistant U.S. Attorney only saw what was shown to her. And my reading (pages 84 and 85 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/SCN_20030109152845_001.pdf is that they HAD these particular videos but chose NOT to show them to her (that was Attachment D, James Hergenroeather, 13th February). But again the question arises: why would they not have shown her the strongest evidence?

As I previously indicated, there was no mention of this alleged child rape video at the Preliminary Hearing, or until the trial started some 4 MONTHS after they seized his computers and the loose media. (The above-mentioned Attachment D was sealed at the request of law enforcement.) And even during the trial itself there’s nothing in the testimony stating that there was a video of an actual rape of a real little girl. The strongest evidence of the existence of such a video is media reports - and they are not reliable in general, and in this specific case, the reporters could barely see the TV monitor.

If there had been any genuine kiddie porn, then it would have been SHOWN to both Detective Armstrong and the Assistant U.S. Attorney, and they would have AGREED it was kiddie porn - AND it would have been introduced into evidence at the Preliminary Hearing. Right from the beginning, there would have been absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that it existed. And Watkins, the prosecution expert, would not have described the images as merely “questionable” - he would have stated emphatically that they included undoubted child porn. And the prosecutor wouldn’t have said in his opening statement: “you will see what is going on on those videos. And what you will see is basically adult males sexually assaulting a young female. Certainly dressed to look like a young female” (Dusek, June 4). Is that how YOU would describe a 7-year-old actually being raped? I wouldn’t. I would say: “you will see a video of a 7-year-old girl being raped”.

I would add that the jury were not required to specify WHICH of the images they considered to be illegal (Mudd, August 6). For all we know, it might have been the photos of Danielle L.- which they also asked to see during deliberations (Harriet Ryan, Court TV, August 14, 2002) - and not the alleged rape video clips. As the judge said: “it does appear that some of the images by definition may not be prohibited images” (Mudd, August 6). 196.15.168.40 04:46, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

When I stated that only YOU dispute the conviction, I meant right here in Wikipedia. You, the child-killer apologist, are the only who objected to this article. I never told you you said the Van Dam children were naughty, what I said, was that you implied it by saying, "the RV was sometimes locked or unlocked" and then next "The Van Dam children were sometimes left unsupervised" that's an example of implication. The reason I removed your survey was because it was not a scientific poll. Polls are hardly accurate, especially when children are involved. A child might say they will act a certain way, but end up doing something completely opposite. For example, I remember once in 20/20 they interviewed 20 children, various ages 5-12, all 20 of them said they would never let an unknown adult convince them into looking for a lost puppy or kitten. So the 20/20 people used staff members to find out if the children would really not go with the stranger. To make the stranger's story believable they would show the child a picture of the lost kitten or puppy. The setting would be in a park, while the child was playing. Seventeen of the children helped the stranger look for the "lost" puppy/kitten. When asked why they went with the stranger after saying they wouldn't. The children responded that the picture of the puppy/kitten convinced them the stranger was honest. My point being that, perhaps, the children in your survey were not being honest. Not because they are malicious but maybe they felt that's what the adult wanted to hear.

Reply to TripleH1976:

FreedomRings has also disputed the verdict, and now Currious1. Around April 24, 24.41.57.188 reinstated my version of the article, which suggests he or she also disputes the verdict.

The Van Dam children were only being naughty if they were TOLD not to go inside Westerfield’s RV and then disobeyed that instruction. And I don’t know of anyone forbidding them to do that: perhaps the parents didn’t think of it. So yes, I was implying something, but I was implying that the children (or at least Danielle) WENT in the RV, NOT that they were being naughty in doing so. Though I do think a lot of children would have gone in anyway, even if forbidden, simply because it was an adventure. And I implied it, but did not state it, because I was trying to keep the article neutral while maintaining its integrity.

I didn’t say you had accused me of SAYING the children were naughty, but I think my wording was justified because you were implying that I had IMPLIED it. (This debate can get quite complicated!) But this is now descending to the level of nitpicking.

It wasn’t just “my” survey you removed but the link to the entire website, which contains far more than just the survey. It also includes, for example, the experience of an RV owner, which supports the survey findings. ( And I know of other people who claim to have had similar experiences with children entering their vehicles without permission.) In case you suspect otherwise, I didn’t conduct that survey myself, someone else did, I merely gave the link. It may not have been “scientific”, but you haven’t provided anything better. So, for now, it’s the best we’ve got, and I will believe it.

I am aware that polls are not always accurate, and they have a margin of error (somewhat like the entomological results). The error might well be larger in the case of children. However, you don’t give any evidence to substantiate that, so it might be smaller. (I am thinking of claims that children don’t lie about being molested - I haven’t seen any proof of that either.)

One problem with your 20/20 example (and I have seen similar tests on other shows, giving similar results), is that the children said they would be good, but then were naughty - which is the other way round from what you are arguing about the survey I quoted. I think it unlikely that the children would have told the adult conducting the survey that they would be naughty simply because that’s what they thought she wanted to hear. (And would they really have thought that?) Some might have said that out of bravado (especially the boys if their friends were present at the time), but not so many of them.

The other problem is that there would have to be a HUGE error to invalidate that survey’s results (again like the entomological results in this case): even if only HALF the children would actually DO what they said and enter a neighbor’s RV, that’s still 46%, which is a significant proportion of children who WOULD enter an RV. And don’t forget that there were THREE Van Dam children. Even if two would not have done so, the third one might - and might have persuaded the others to join him or her.

There’s also the possibility that the Van Dam’s dog ran into the RV, and one or more of the children followed to retrieve her - and it was one of the children’s chores to walk the dog (Damon, August 28). (That’s something else we only learnt after the “guilty” verdict. Previously, we were told that the dog was hardly ever walked (Brenda, June 6).) And the dog was the same size as Danielle - around 60 pounds (Brenda, March 14; Damon, March 14) - even Derek would have had difficulty controlling it. 196.15.168.40 04:45, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Furthermore, the bulk of the prosecution's case did not hinge entirely on the RV. This case, like the Scott Peterson case, hinged on circumstantial evidence. The RV evidence is only a small part of it. The defense can spin all they like. Such as Danielle getting inside and pulling one strand of her hair, cutting herself and leaving the evidence inside. But common sense, dictates most children don't do such things. I guess Danielle wanted to frame Westerfield as well. <sarcasm> What makes you apologist so certain Danielle was never bound while in the RV? Because of a partial hand print? Give me a break. You're grasping at straws. Westerfield must have moved the child around. She was too decomposed to check for indications of being bound. Why would David invite his friends inside, when he didn't even plan the trip? Doesn't Westerfield know how to say "No", or "I'm busy"? Westerfield cleaned up the place; however big or small only he knows. When I clean my home I know I'm not picking up every single hair and junk from the floor. Who convinced you he had Danielle for two days? When a stranger abduct a child he/she often kills the child within hours. I believe Westerfield kept her alive 2-4 hours, not two days. Your survey tells us nothing spectacular, and since when is a 21 year old considered a child?

Reply to TripleH1976:

I never said the prosecution’s case hinged entirely on the RV, but that WAS a crucial aspect of it (certainly NOT a “small” part). If there had been no evidence of Danielle in the RV, then it would have been MUCH more difficult to obtain a conviction. And it was immediately after the RV blood was identified as Danielle’s that Westerfield was arrested (Karen Kucher, Union-Tribune, February 23, 2002). According to the prosecution scenario (though they were rather vague), Danielle spent most of that weekend in the RV, and it’s the only place the jury were taken, they weren’t even taken to the only DEFINITE crime scenes, the Van Dam house and the Dehesa dump site.

Danielle getting inside it is not defense spin: it IS a possibility. In fact, given how CLOSE it was - just feet away from where she so often played and went to school, visited her friends and went to the park - I would say it was highly LIKELY. She didn’t necessarily “pull” one strand of her hair, as hair falls out all by itself - maybe 100 strands a day (Tanya DuLaney, June 24). (Similarly, with regard to fibers, “in dancing, 100 fibers could transfer” (Jennifer Shen, June 25).) And the hair didn’t necessarily come out while she was IN the RV, it COULD have come out while she was in his house during the cookie sale (primary Locard transfer), and then been carried to his RV on his laundry or clothing (secondary Locard transfer). The blood I have already discussed. The many blood spots in her own house, that she was scratched by the dog in the week she went missing, and the fact that she was adventurous, make it entirely plausible that she would have left a little blood in his RV had she ever previously been inside it. And the other aspect is that the drop on the RV carpet (like the jacket stain) was suspicious: the criminalist was told where to look for it, she didn’t document it, it could not be clearly seen after being tested, and it wasn’t examined for spatter. And it can’t be dated. (All of those have already been mentioned.) And the total amount of evidence of Danielle in the RV was MINIMAL, while other evidence that you would have EXPECTED to find in it - notably the orange fibers, the red fibers and pajama fibers - was absent. If the blood in his RV is evidence of a crime, then the same can be said of the blood in her own home. I would have considerable difficulty sending someone to Death Row with that RV blood as one of the main pieces of evidence.

Most children DO do such things. The survey and other evidence I quoted shows that they WOULD enter the RV; EVERYONE who has hair sheds hair (not just children); and children DO cut and scratch themselves (so do adults at times). Perhaps you don’t have much contact with children. Or view them through rose-colored spectacles.

No, sorry, you didn't lend me YOUR rose-colored spectacles. The rose-colored glasses you view Westerfield from. I don't buy it that Westerfield left his RV unlocked either. But you keep on dreaming that Danielle went inside uninvited. Perhaps, if you click your shoes, like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, it'll become true. By the way, I have 6 cousins who are under the age of 12. When they play outside they don't go around trying to open up random cars or RV's. And even if it was clear that a car or an RV was open/unlocked they wouldn't dare enter it because it isn't their property. Not only that they take the risk of the owner possibly showing up and they get caught. They are not into that type of stuff. In my opinion, Danielle NEVER entered that motor home until Westerfield placed her there. I know 7 year old girls. They have no interest in going into an RV's. That sounds more like an activity for a teenager, not 7 year olds. But I'm certain you'll bring up your lame survey. As if it means anything.

TripleH1976 10:07 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

All I was trying to say about the hand print was that she wasn’t bound at the time she made the print (assuming it was hers). This means that, for at least part of the time, her hands were free, which would have made escape easier. I was thinking specifically of the prosecution scenario (Jeff Dusek, August 6) that the print was made while she was lying on her back on the bed (Jeffrey Graham, March 12) - which is most unlikely, I don’t think her arms were long enough! (based on measurements given by Graham, June 19) So that print is instead more consistent with having been made at an earlier time, when she played in or explored the RV.

I wasn’t trying to say that that proved she was NEVER bound at any time in the RV (though that is a possibility, and certainly would have been the case during a previous visit). And I am puzzled by your comment that he must have moved her around. Are you thinking of a different kind of binding, such as being tied to the bed?

While technically it CAN be termed a “partial” hand print, it was NEARLY all of the hand. So I’m not sure why you made that point. Perhaps you were thinking of the fact that only a tiny portion of it was clear enough to be usable in making an identification - and with such a tiny portion, the identification becomes dubious.

Law enforcement were granted a search warrant (#27830) for ropes in Westerfield’s house. This was logical, particularly in view of the bondage animations on the computer, but I never heard anything further about this during the trial. So much so, in fact, that in closing arguments, Feldman said: “There’s no rope” (August 6). (Yes, I know what you think of “defense spin”, but try to prove him wrong on this.)

I think it’s an overstatement to say that she was too decomposed to find indications of having been bound. Much, perhaps all, of the relevant skin (the wrists) was still intact (page 5 of autopsy report) (and maybe the ankles as well, certainly the right ankle - page 6 of the report). And the prosecution scenario was that the body rapidly mummified, which would have toughened it.

According to Dusek (closing arguments, August 7), Westerfield is on tape as saying it was a spontaneous trip (he didn’t expand on that, and I haven’t been able to find confirmation), but David DID plan the trip, as testified to by some witnesses (Glen Seebruch (July 8); Neal Westerfield (July 24)), but even if he hadn’t, I don’t see what that’s got to do with inviting or not inviting his friends inside. He went to places that his friends also went to, and he might well have encountered some of them there. Sure, he COULD have said No to them - though he didn’t know how to say No to the police - but he was a friendly person - he even invited the Van Dams inside - and they would have thought that strange. And his friends would have expected to spend time with him, whereas he would rather have continued assaulting Danielle and cleaning up afterwards. What would he have said he was busy doing? Viewing the stars through his binoculars from inside the RV in broad daylight? No, if he really had her in his RV, it would have made far more sense for him take her somewhere he was sure he WOULDN’T find anyone he knew.

It’s not only Westerfield who knows how big or small a cleaning he did, we all know it was a small cleaning because of the many hairs (human and especially animal) and fingerprints and fibers found in it, and the fine layer of dust. He only took his vacuum cleaner to it on the Monday afternoon, and “wiped down the deck”, AFTER the police had already been inside it that morning (Johnny Keene, March 12).

It seems quite a coincidence that his cleaning left behind just enough evidence of Danielle in the RV to be consistent with a short visit and transfer from his house.

I thought it was the prosecution scenario that he had Danielle alive for most if not all of the 2 days, based partly on him saying “we” while out in the desert late on the Sunday afternoon (page 9 of Redden interview):

“He [Dusek] said Westerfield spent that weekend sexually assaulting Danielle and then after killing her, searching for a place to dump her body” (Harriet Ryan, Court TV, August 6, 2002).

If he kept her alive for only 2-4 hours, that would mean she was dead by around 5-7 a.m. on the Saturday - before he even got to the RV. So how did her hand print get on the RV cabinet? During an earlier visit? And did he dump her body at Dehesa before embarking on his trip, or did he keep it in the RV for a couple of days? If the latter, then why didn’t anyone comment on the smell, and why weren’t flies swarming around the vehicle? That would also make it even more difficult to explain the entomology dates, because quite a bit of decomposition would have occurred during those two days (or did he have a large quantity of ice with him?).

I agree that the RV survey I quoted doesn’t tell us anything spectacular, it’s just commonsense, that’s how children behave.

I don’t know why the person who conducted that survey included 21-year-olds, but 21 is the traditional “age of majority”. Perhaps it’s because she is older or a mother - and parents tend to view their children of whatever age as children. If the survey results for the oldest group had been any different to those for the two younger groups, then you might have a point, but they weren’t, so I have to dismiss your criticism as mere nitpicking. 196.15.168.40 04:28, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

In conclusion, I think a neutral third party should change the article. I do not entirely think you don't have good points. I even once told you that you were making the article better. The reason I started objecting to it is because the article looked overly disorganized and it looked like a persuasion essay. I also suggest including, in the external links, the 4 or 5 links about Westerfield and the argument he might be innocent. But only for the Westerfield article. The Van Dam article shouldn't have them. I'm changing my stance on this only because, I came across an article(not a crime one more like an accident one) that linked to an alternative theory. So, perhaps, those sites you have might fall under that. You might wanna talk to an administrator to see if they're appropriate. Also, I am sick of the disorganized way you reply. It's a complete mess, just as you were making the article. TripleH1976 Sun 01:21 a.m., 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

I am agreeable for a third party to change the article - though I see you haven’t waited, as soon as it was unprotected you started editing it again, though admittedly you are trying to be more neutral, for which I thank you.

Thank you also for (almost) saying that I have made good points. Yes, you did once say I had vastly improved the article and it now looked great. That was after some 20 edits of mine. Then, just 5 more edits later, you removed not only the 5 new edits, but also nearly all of the 20 edits you had so recently praised! I simply don’t understand how your mind works.

You said nothing at the time about the revised article being disorganized. Had you done so I would have given the same reply as I did to your length criticisms, which was basically that cosmetic improvements were a lower priority and could be done later (but you were impatient and didn’t wait). However I do agree that this discussion (and I am referring specifically to the discussion, not my revised/extended version of the article) has become a mess. But that’s because your replies are so distant from what you are replying to that confusion is inevitable. You should rather use my system, it’s much simpler. An alternative would be for each topic, such as each piece of evidence, to have its own section, which would discuss that topic and only that topic - but I didn’t realize when we began that this dispute would continue for so long and would include so many extra arguments.

Thank you for agreeing to the inclusion of the argument that Westerfield might be innocent, together with the external links to the relevant websites. I am happy to limit that to the Westerfield article. It is only right that, in the case of something that is disputed, whether a criminal case or an accident or something else, both points of view should be given.

The Westerfield article contains a link to the article on plea bargains. This includes a section titled “Pros and cons of plea bargaining”. In other words, it gives TWO points of view. The article on the Waco Siege (8 pages in length) contains what could almost be described as a vigorous debate, and is certainly not limited to an official standpoint. The article on abortion (14 pages) similarly openly gives opposing points of view; while the one on homosexuality (19 pages) also contains a variety of views. Significantly, the article Wikipedia (13 pages), Wikipedia’s article on itself, has a section titled “Criticism and controversy”. It doesn’t suppress criticism of itself.

(I have listed the lengths of those articles to show that my revised/extended version of the Westerfield article (3 pages) is not excessive in length.)

I like Currious1's suggestion below for a footnote to the effect that not everyone agreed with the verdict. Perhaps that should be in the form of a short section: the above articles include precedents. This would be equivalent to a "Minority report". 196.15.168.40 04:32, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

You disproved nothing my dear! The allegation of child porn on his computer were proven. Nothing allege about them anymore. If you wanna stick your head in the sand over it that's your problem. If you have a more colorful term to describe child porn, then share it with us. Moreover, courtroom observers and the media reported the child being raped, by two men, was no older then 7 years old. But let us say it was a 14 year old or a 16 year old. Do you think that's appropriate? If not, then why the hell do you defend this convicted child-killer? You must be as sick as him, if you think rape material, animated, or real, is ok. It speaks volumes about you. You must think the jury convicted him of it just for the fun of it. Well, I do not think like that. I trust the jury and I trust the prosecution. I call Westerfield's lawyers slimy, because that's what they are. What else are you gonna call two individuals who defend a pervert, even though they were trying to negotiate a plea deal for the pervert; he leads them to the body and he gets life without parole. What do you call people like that? honorable? No, sorry, you might but not I. And don't tell me that never happened or it was fabricated. Because, if it was a lie Westerfield's lawyers could have sued the San Diego Union for libel. However, they didn't because they knew it was true and knew it was a lost cause if they did sue. I just have to chuckle every time you say, "prove this", or "disprove that". You act like the case is before the courts again. No body has to do anything like that, especially if you ask for it. I don't care how much media bias you prove, it will not appear in the article. I won't let it. It is your POV that they are. I know you don't say "the media was biased to Westerfield", but you carefully insinuate it. Somebody else might think it was fair, and they don't have to show you anything to prove their view. As if you control what's in here. You sure have a massive ego if you believe that.

Reply to TripleH1976:

I have made 6 edits since you posted these three paragraphs, in which I discussed some of the topics in these paragraphs, but I will try not to repeat myself.

If, by saying the allegations of child porn were proven, you mean that the jury returned a guilty verdict on that count, then you are correct. But I am not taking a legal point of view, I am talking about the truth. The jury were under pressure, from both the community and the media, to return a guilty verdict, whereas the legal experts I quoted weren’t, so their opinion is more likely to be correct.

Only ONE media report I saw gave the age of the apparent rape victim as 7: “girls who appeared to be as young as 7 years old” (Rochelle Steinhaus, Court TV, June 26, 2002); all the others gave or implied HIGHER ages:

Court TV: “young girls and teens” (Harriet Ryan, July 1, 2002); “young girls” (Harriet Ryan, June 4, July 24 and August 14, 2002, and January 8, 2003); “young teens” (Harriet Ryan, July 3, 2002); “child” (Harriet Ryan, August 7, 2002); “a girl of 11 or 12” (Matt Bean, June 25, 2002; “a young girl” (anonymous, June 3, 2002).

Union-Tribune: “young girls ” (Alex Roth, June 27 and September 17, 2002); “a young girl” (Alex Roth, July 4, 2002); “a child” (Jeff Dillon and Steve Perez, July 3, 2002).

I would challenge anybody to be able to come to a definite conclusion from that conflicting variety.

In stark contrast, based on the trial transcripts, she could easily have been over 18.

If, instead of saying it was “a 14 year old or a 16 year old”, we said it was an 18-year-old, then would that be acceptable to you? Do you think that’s appropriate? It would then no longer be child porn - which seems to be the aspect most people are so upset about, and which is illegal.

If, instead of a rape, this had been a murder - as is all too common on TV and in movies nowadays - would that have been OK with you? And if so, would that make you sick? Would that speak volumes about you?

Your strong emotional response could provide the reason the jury voted guilty, not just on the porn charge but also on the more serious charges - they were blinded by emotion. And that’s why they convicted him, certainly not just for the fun of it. Why do you think the jury would have been immune to the emotion that you succumbed to? The community anger, and the consequent danger of an unjust conviction, is a major reason why I have taken an interest in this case.

Why do you trust the prosecution? It’s their job to secure a conviction, irrespective of whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

Why do you trust the defense?TripleH1976 11:19 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

It is part of the justice system, I think in every civilized country, that the accused has a lawyer defending him or her. But you would apparently do away with that. That is frightening. It’s almost like reverting to lynch mobs.

The prosecutor in this case, Jeff Dusek, had not only previously used entomology to secure a conviction, but had used the same local entomologist, David Faulkner, and even made an episode (“Insect Clues”) of Forensic Files with him, to show how it was used to convict a murderer (serial rapist Ronald Porter in the Sandra Cwik case, 1988/1992): http://web2.courttv.com/store/videos/forensic_files/ff_insectclues.html http://www.srpublications.com/criminology/ (mentions Faulkner) http://www.mayhem.net/Crime/greenriver.html (mentions Dusek)

But when this same entomologist came up with a date that excluded Westerfield, and excluded him by a huge amount of time, this prosecutor not only dropped him, but also spent DAYS during the trial trying to trash not just the dates the entomologists gave but also the very science! That prosecutor knows perfectly well how valuable and trustworthy entomology is, so he knows Westerfield is innocent, but he did his level best to have him executed anyway. Can you get any slimier than that? That makes him an attempted murderer. He is most certainly not honorable. Nor are you for supporting such behavior.

Holy cr@p! Can you say exaggerations? Dusek and and Pfingst have helped put countless of rapist, murderers, and child molesters behind bars, and yet you have the audacity to accuse them of attempted murder. You have some nerve! They don't think Westerfield is innocent. The slimeball are Westerfield's lawyers, because they did know their client was guilty. But I can forgive them, because they did have to make a living. They also have to uphold their oath to defend. So, maybe, they are partial slimeballs. The defense also shopped around for an entomologist as well. They were not going to put one on the stand that said Danielle decomposed for 3 weeks. They wanted one that said it was 2 weeks or less.

TripleH1976 11:28 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

And there is more such evidence. On April 15, 2002, the prosecution (Paul Pfingst and Jeff Dusek) stated: “Neither logic nor common sense help prove that an adult male involved in consensual non-monogamous relationships with consenting adult females would be sexually attracted to a four-foot, 58-pound, seven-year-old girl.” (Page 4 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/SCN_20030109150542_001.pdf

Seems to me that they are saying that Westerfield was not a viable suspect. But they argued loud and long that he should be found guilty and executed anyway.

Similarly, there was apparently pornography on the Van Dam computer (Feldman, June 6, 2002; George Clarke, June 25, 2002). The prosecution argued that pornography on Westerfield’s computer showed motive, but they (Clarke) argued that any pornography on the Van Dam computer was not admissible, implying that it did not show motive in their case, and instead it would cause “an emotional, Jerry Springer-type reaction” to Danielle’s parents (also page 4 of the above-mentioned document). Seems to me that’s what they WANTED in the case of Westerfield. Hypocritical double-standards, it’s “win at all costs”.

Did the Van Dam's computer contain child porn? If there porn was legal why should it be admissible in court? They were not on trial. TripleH1976 11:04 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Currious1 and FreedomRings have already commented below on the reported plea deal, particularly the ethical aspects of pleas, so I’m not going to say much. But if either side confirms or denies a media report or public rumor in ONE case, then they will have to confirm or deny them in all future cases, otherwise they will be assumed to be false or true, respectively. So future plea deals would no longer be confidential, and the element of trust would be gone. So how could Westerfield’s lawyers deny the stories, much less sue the local newspaper? See also the articles by Alex Roth (Union-Tribune, September 18, 19 and 22, 2002).

The only thing we know for certain is that NO deal was concluded. Which casts doubt on the reports. And it is so melodramatic for the media to claim that a deal was only “minutes away” (J. Harry Jones, Union-Tribune, September 17, 2002). That, in itself, makes me suspicious: it’s too much like a Hollywood movie.

What I suspect happened in this case is as follows. Law enforcement were convinced Westerfield was guilty, and they feared they would never find Danielle’s body. So they went to the defense lawyers with an offer: they would drop (or not seek) the death penalty in return for the location of the body. This is highly plausible because Brenda said she ASKED them to do that: “We went to Pa Finks (ph), and we said, you know, We need to know where our daughter is. Could you at least try to bargain with him and use the death penalty as your bargaining chip?” (Larry King Live, June 11, 2003). (Yes, I know she also said she knew nothing about a plea deal (Brian E. Clark, Union-Tribune, September 18, 2002), but all that does is to confirm we can’t believe anything she says.) Westerfield’s lawyers then took the offer to him, but he turned it down because he didn’t know the location.

So yes, there WAS such a deal on the table, but that does NOT prove that Westerfield was guilty. Quite the contrary, in fact.

It’s revealing that you believe the approach came from Westerfield, because the FIRST report implied that it was Westerfield who aborted the deal: “Feldman and Boyce took the map back to Westerfield and later telephoned to say they no longer "had anything to discuss regarding a plea bargain." ” (J. Harry Jones, Union-Tribune, September 17, 2002 ). The media, of course, promptly turned this around - starting with the closing sentence in that same article! (They certainly didn’t waste much time to put a prosecution spin on it.) Westerfield himself stated “it was the prosecution that approached the defense with the suggestion and that his lawyers simply listened to the offer” (Alex Roth, Union-Tribune, January 3, 2003).

Westerfield had nothing to abort. He didn't receive a plea deal, it was talked about. Why don't you mention where they got the map from? Why don't you mention it was the prosecution who gave it to them? More importantly mention that prosecutors circled the area, where Danielle was located. The prosecution was sending a message to Westerfield, "we found your victim". Knowing prosecutors would pursue the death penalty against him he decided to go for trial and try beating the charges. TripleH1976 11:09 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

If he was suicidal, as you are arguing, then wouldn’t he rather have welcomed the death penalty, and therefore been opposed to the reported deal?

Although Wikipedia is not a court of law, academic publications operate on the same principle: everything they contain must be PROVED - verified. So the fact that he was found guilty is irrelevant, and instead of chuckling when I ask you to prove something, remind yourself that this is a Wikipedia requirement, grit your teeth, and then do the hard work that is needed for your work to be of the required standard to appear in Wikipedia.

It’s ironic that you imply that, while cases are before a court, they need to be proved. As I previously pointed out, the prosecutor in this case admitted during the trial that he couldn’t prove how, where, why and when (Jeff Dusek, closing arguments, August 6). So this was a trial in which the accused was deemed to be guilty (not even guilty until proven innocent). That’s what happens when the community is angry.

You admit I have proved media bias, then say it’s my POV that they are. That’s not logical, it’s a contradiction. (But that’s what happens when people become too emotional.) So even though I proved they are biased, someone who believes otherwise doesn’t have to prove their belief - which anyway would not be possible. So the media is innocent, even though proven guilty.

You said I have a massive ego if I think I control what’s in the article - and you said that just after you said YOU control it. Which surely means you have a massive ego - or perhaps it’s just a reference to your vandalistic propensity.

This case was extensively covered in the media, in fact it was broadcast on TV in its entirety: “gavel to gavel”. That doesn’t happen with many cases. That, in and of itself, is reason for mentioning the media in the Wikipedia article. Furthermore, because few people could watch for so long every day, I’m sure MOST people got their information about the case from media reports. And I think you are one of those people. And, until I came along, media reports were the ONLY source of information for the article. Any bias or lack of quality in those reports is therefore very relevant indeed and so SHOULD be included in the article. 196.15.168.40 04:32, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

You don't give me evidence, you give the same BS the defense gave the jury. You are here to push an agenda. I know you have one, because you think the jury got it wrong. You've proven that's what you believe. And you want to put every possible idea you can think of to prove it and persuade the rest of world. You want to push that view onto others. Don't deny it. I know better. I do believe you about the 3 law enforcement officers, who viewed Westerfield's porn and saw nothing wrong with it. Because I believe they looked at the adult porn only. No respecting officer would say child porn was legal. It is safe to assume Westerfield looked at the CP, because it was his home, his computer, and thus his property. You can be charged for CP possession even if it's only on your computer cache. So even if he didn't view it just having it at his home is enough to warrant a CP possession charge. Media frenzy or not, the coverage of a case doesn't mean you can add certain things. Again, if you have a beef with the media take it up with them. Wikipedia isn't going to be your platform to yell it for the world to hear. The police did consider other suspects. Westerfield brought the attention on himself. The police did look into the areas sex offenders. Brenda and Damon were cleared, so was Brenda's friends. They interviewed an entire neighborhood. Is it their fault Westerfield stuck out like a sore thumb? No. Now, since, you enjoy asking people to prove stuff to you - how about you do some proving as well. Please prove that Damon and Brenda Van Dam's lifestyle had something to do with Danielle's murder? Please prove the video of the girl being raped WAS NOT 7 years old? And most importantly, please prove that Westerfield was doing innocent things in his RV the weekend Danielle disappeared.

Reply to TripleH1976:

I don’t give you evidence??!! That is the most astonishing claim. My edits are full of facts, together with my sources, and not just media sources but also the trial transcripts even the unsealed documents, I even give actual quotes, the very words spoken by the people involved. By contrast, you give nothing.

What I believe is not the point. The question is: can I verify everything? And I can. And do. Whereas you don’t. And that’s your problem. It must be very frustrating for you to be unable to justify your beliefs, especially such strongly held beliefs.

Unlike you, I don’t simply remove what I don’t like, I disprove it. Another difference between us is that you make repeated (and unfounded) personal attacks against me. I don’t want to spend my time defending myself; I want to concentrate on the case.

I fully agree that no respecting officer would say child porn was legal. I have recently given details of the porn the law enforcement officers looked at, and it’s now up to you to explain how they could have missed any child porn. And that wasn’t my only reason for saying there wasn’t any child porn in Westerfield’s house: I also based it on what was testified at the Preliminary Hearing and said in opening arguments at the main trial. Here’s something else: Westerfield’s attorneys noted in court papers that "police officers – in one report – state they did not find child pornography on Mr. Westerfield's computer" (Alex Roth, Union-Tribune, March 7, 2002).

There is one possible explanation for all this - which you won’t like. Maybe, after the trial began, somebody in law enforcement thought the evidence might not have been strong enough for a conviction, so they added some more porn. (I”m not saying that is what happened, but it should be considered. I really do find it suspicious that MONTHS elapsed before we heard about what, according to media reports, is genuine and unmistakable child porn. Unless the media was mistaken. Which, given the circumstances, is possible.) Law enforcement knew there were bondage animations, so perhaps they added some bondage videos. Or there were bondage videos, but of adults, so they replaced some with children. Or added rape scenes. Or added realistic sound. (I mention that because the defense expert, Marcus Lawson (July 3), hadn’t listened to the sound. By the way, he, as usual, was only given COPIES of the disks, which opens the possibility for law enforcement to be deceitful - or for errors to occur.)

Taking a step back, what I suspect may have happened initially is this. The police thought the most likely reason for the abduction was sex, and I’ve heard that sexual predators tend to have a lot of porn. (Though I understand that researchers have looked for, but been unable to find, a causal link.) So they were looking for pornography. And they found some in Westerfield’s residence. It wasn’t child porn, but they believed that if they looked further they would find that as well. So they said some of the images were “questionable” - a very subjective opinion - and used that as justification for further searches. (Not very honest of them, but they believed the end justified the means.) They still didn’t find any child porn, but by then they had already focused so much public attention on Westerfield that it would have been hugely embarrassing for them to have backtracked. And there was public pressure on them to “solve” the case. And the DA was up for re-election.

Even if there was child porn there, it is NOT safe to assume he looked at it simply because it was his home and his computer. (In fact, two of the computers WEREN’T his, they were his son’s.) It’s possible, for example, to download a file, look at only part of it, and not realize that there is objectionable material in another part. Or somebody else might have given him or his son a computer disk and he had only seen a small part of it. And some disks come free with magazines. (Talking of which, we never heard anything about porn magazines or books, or exchanging porn with others. It would seem that the internet was his ONLY source.)

I believe you are correct that someone can be charged with child porn possession simply because it is in their home. Even though they might not be aware of it. That seems rather harsh to me. And open to abuse. Someone with a grudge against you can visit you and leave it behind, then notify the police. Or you see it, don’t like it, and delete it, but they retrieve it and charge you with it anyway.

I have already justified including something about the media in the article, and it could be criticism. And this can be done irrespective of whether I have taken it up with the media or not - that’s irrelevant.

I didn’t say the police DIDN’T consider other suspects, I queried whether they properly and thoroughly investigated anyone else - and there were NUMEROUS other possibilities: the MANY sex offenders in the neighborhood; the Van Dams themselves, who LIED to the police; and the Van Dams’ MANY friends: “That's a pretty long list” (Damon, June 5) - which suggests it was never even drawn up. The evidence indicates they DIDN’T investigate anyone else thoroughly: their focus on Westerfield, right from the start, was just so intense. From 8:30 Monday morning, he probably spent no more than about 3 hours NOT with or being watched by the police (based on Keene’s testimony, March 12). I challenge you to produce evidence that anyone else received anything like as much attention as that. I’ve already mentioned the DOZEN officers who followed him on the Thursday morning (was that just a show for the media?). In addition, no fewer than SEVEN officers, apparently all armed, were outside his house on the Monday morning, before they had even interviewed him. (These were Johnny Keene, Mo Parga, Sgt John Wray (also misspelt Ray), Mark Tallman, Cindy Stetson, Dave Morris and Lucious Mobley (Keene, March 12 and June 11; Parga, June 11). Keene seemed a little uncertain about Mobley, but Parga mentioned him.) And MOST of them went with him to his RV a few miles away.

How did Westerfield draw attention to himself and stick out like a sore thumb? By going away for just part of a weekend? By leaving his hose lying on his front lawn? By being cooperative with the police? By sweating profusely while the police were talking to him initially? (Keene, March 12) A photo taken that morning showed it just wasn’t true (Court Exhibit 156; Keene, July 2). Keene estimated that the temperature was between 50 and 55 degrees - “it was a cool morning”. Based on the temperatures at the nearby official weather stations (Lindbergh Field, Brown Field, etc.), it was probably 10 degrees warmer - so not quite so cool.

Judging by media reports, the most important reason the police focused their attention on him was that he was away for part of the weekend:

Union-Tribune, 2002: “Detectives initially said they talked to him because he was the only person in the neighborhood they had not contacted over the weekend” (Kelly Thornton, Elizabeth Fitzsimons and Joe Hughes, February 9); “Police started looking at him because he was the only neighbor away from home the weekend the search began” (Jeff McDonald and Joe Hughes, February 23; Agnes Roletti and Steve La Rue, February 24; J. Harry Jones, February 25). (I didn’t look at subsequent articles.)

Court TV, 2002: “Officer Keene said he first became suspicious of Westerfield because he was the only resident of the van Dam's neighborhood not home the Saturday morning she was discovered missing” (Harriet Ryan, February 11); “was the only one of the van Dams' immediate neighbors who was gone when the search began” (anonymous, February 26); “He became the primary focus of the investigation early on because he was the only neighbor away from home the weekend Danielle vanished” (anonymous, “PROFILES OF KEY PLAYERS”, no date); “his house was the only empty one in the van Dam's neighborhood” (anonymous, Court TV, June 3).

The references to Keene and “immediate” neighbors (and “Saturday morning”, etc.) are significant, because Keene only visited about 12 houses - the 12000 block (to 12100) (Keene, March 12). How many other neighbors were absent, e.g. in the 11900 block? Out of those 12 houses (which didn’t even include Westerfield’s), one was vacant and another the people were out. So we’re not talking about absent neighbors being only 1out of 200 (the number of neighboring houses searched using dogs) - less than 1%; but probably 1or 2 out of 12 - that’s nearer 10% (assuming that the other blocks were similar). So being away from home that weekend wasn’t nearly as significant as the police - and the media - implied.

It seems to me that the police were adopting a very superficial view, they really were guilty of a “rush to judgement” - and the media meekly went along with that.

Suspicions were also raised by his “meandering” trip: “Keene said the alibi Westerfield gave did not make sense. He told police he took his recreational vehicle first to the desert, then the beach, then headed home only to turn toward the mountains and then back to the desert. In all, he ticked off 13 different destinations, Keene said.” (anonymous, Court TV, June 3, 2002).

I don’t know where that article gets the first trip to the desert from: it’s not mentioned in Keene’s testimony (March 12) - perhaps he STARTED to drive towards the desert, then realized he didn’t have enough money for gas, so headed to the beach instead (page 3 of Redden interview). Nor do I see how they arrive at thirteen: Saturday: High Valley; home; Silver Strand; home; High Valley; Glamis (that’s 6) Sunday: Superstition Mountain; Borrego; Silver Strand (that’s 3) Monday: High Valley; home (that’s 2) Total 11. Did they count the gas stops at the Chevron gas station? Or the parking area near High Valley (Monday morning)? Perhaps they counted Borrego as two: the trip up the little dirt road where he got stuck, and the rest stop he took afterwards at “a small turn-off type place” (page 9 of Redden interview). I wouldn’t even have counted the first trip to High Valley - reducing the total from 11 to 9 - but 13 helps create a climate of suspicion.

I have already proved that the Van Dam’s lifestyle killed Danielle, through the garage door left unlocked by one of their sex partners while they were smoking pot (Harriet Ryan, Court TV, June 5, 2002), and the reversed lock to conceal their illegal pot smoking. But more than that, I don’t think we know all about their lifestyle: “San Diego radio talk-show host Rick Roberts criticized the van Dams on the air for "not being honest" about "what really occurred" the night their daughter disappeared. Roberts told his listeners that a "reliable" source "high in law enforcement" said the van Dams have engaged in "lots of wife-swapping." Saying he believes the source, Roberts reported activity by the van Dams on the night of Feb. 1 dramatically different from their description to the news media” (Bruce Lieberman and Preston Turegano, Union-Tribune, February 9, 2002).

"I have already proved that the Van Dam’s lifestyle killed Danielle, through the garage door left unlocked by one of their sex partners while they were smoking pot". LOL you wish.

TripleH1976 05:19 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

As I have said before, my point was not that the Van Dams were cleared but that they were cleared so quickly. Within just hours of lying to the police! It is truly astonishing. (It makes me suspect that an influential member of law enforcement was a member of their sex group.) On the Monday (4th), while Westerfield was being interviewed, when he gave some information, such as about the father-daughter dance, the police then contacted Brenda asking if she had told him that, and when she denied it (implying he must have heard it from Danielle that weekend, and therefore was guilty), they believed her against him, even though she was a known liar (May 8, page 12 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/SCN_20030109150851_001.pdf And then she admitted during the trial that she may have told him about the dance, and that she had discussed it at the bar when he was probably standing right behind her (June 6). When she first denied it, was she trying to deflect attention away from herself?

It's not uncommon for a witnesses court testimony to be somewhat different from their first interview with the police. It's very possible they innocently forgot something in the interview with the cops. Sometimes people remember things better after some time. Brenda and Damon woke up to to nightmare of their child disappearing. You don't think that will frazzle somebody's nerves? That it would effect their judgement and memory. TripleH1976 05:49 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

If all they had to hide was the occasional swinging (not illegal), and a little pot smoking, then why did they lie in the first place? In those first few critical hours after their daughter went missing! You can’t blame people for suspecting that they were hiding more serious behavior.

I have already proved that the girl wasn’t 7: many media reports described her as a teen.

There’s no evidence of Westerfield doing guilty things in the RV that weekend, and nobody has claimed he did guilty things any other weekend, so that’s good enough proof for me. He said he wanted to relax (page 4 of Redden interview), and I’m sure that’s what he did. (He also said he wanted to get some sun, but it was quite a cold day, maximum temperature about 5 degrees lower than the following Monday, which probably dissuaded him from sitting outside.) But your challenge is a revealing one: in your eyes, he is guilty until proven innocent.

196.15.168.40 04:50, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Another hilarious thing. How can the cookie sale provide reason for Danielle's hair and blood on his property? Talk about grasping straws. Only if Danielle was all over him and attached to him like cheese on pizza. It's funny what a defense attorney will pull sometime. Let me tell you why the jury rejected the entomology evidence. Because it's not an exact science. It is very subjective. You think the case will ride on what some bugs did or didn't do; when they planted eggs. That is asinine. Maybe it is an objective science but that alone doesn't mean it reveals the truth. DNA and circumstantial evidence convicted Westerfield. Like I told you before, if Westerfield had stayed home that weekend he would be free today. Your version should not be reinstated because it is highly disorganzied and geared towards your POV that Westerfield was wrongfully convicted. I might not be the greatest person to re-write the article, however, you are not either. You child-killer apologist. TripleH1976 Thurs, 01:00 p.m., 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

The cookie sale can easily account for Danielle’s hair and blood being on his property. People shed hair all the time, no matter where they are; and if they are bleeding, that blood will be deposited wherever they are at the time, they certainly wouldn’t stop bleeding simply because they entered someone else’s environment. But you probably meant that a visit to his house can’t account for her hair and blood in his RV. Nobody said that could account for the blood, but it could easily account for the hair. He has a pile of laundry on his couch (Feldman, June 4; Johnny Keene, June 11); she goes next to the laundry and pushes on it and jumps on the couch; some of her hair falls onto the laundry, which is then taken to the RV together with the hairs on it. So simple.

No, sorry, 196.15.168.40, I'm not buying it. Too coincidental if you ask me. I would buy it if Westerfield had a stronger alibi for the weekend, or if he didn't t make a road trip. I would buy it if Danielle played at his house every single day. I would buy it if Westerfield had no child porn and rape videos on his computer. I would buy it if Westerfield had a steady wife or girlfriend. I would buy it if Westerfield passed a polygraph test. In order to think he's innocent I have to believe some absurd things too. I have to believe child porn does not fuel a person's sex drive for the real thing. I have to believe his RV with the blinds closed, at the campground, was normal. But, oh wait, I know, what you'll say. If he took Danielle, why did he take her to somewhere familiar, or where his friends could be? He didn't invite a host of friends inside. He went to the campground, because that's what people with their RV's do. He wanted to appear normal for a while. Only he knows if Danielle was alive or dead at that point. People hang out where they are familiar. Also, the intense search for Danielle wasn't underway yet. He might have disposed of the body and he felt he was in the clear. Let me continue on with my absurd things I have to believe: I have to believe the behavior Westerfield engaged with his niece, one night, was normal. I have to believe Westerfield's indifference for Danielle missing was normal. It was normal that he avoided her parents, even though he often talked to Brenda whenever they saw each other at the bar. Why not talk to her when her daughter was missing. Also, I have to believe his two remarks about suicide was a silly joke. All innocent people consider suicide. I have to believe his RV was sometimes unlocked, even though common sense tells me most people would lock up such an expensive piece of property. I have to believe his usage of the word "we" when he described his travel adventure was a slip up. Do you get my drift now? It is too coincidental for it not to be him. Danielle was kidnapped by Westerfield, raped, and then he suffocated her in his RV. That's the most logical scenario to account for all that evidence. It's laughable to think 3 short visits, in his home, would yield so much evidence. Go ahead and argue all you like about the transfer and that they visited him. The visit wasn't long enough. If you had one iota of common sense you would see that too. According to Brenda her daughter and son played near the pool not bounce up and down the couch. But I know you won't believe her. You perfer to side with the child-killer. TripleH1976 04:25 a.m., 14 July 2006 (UTC)
The transfer of the dog hair with Danielle's pajamas is believable, because Danielle lived with the dog. There was more dog hair in the RV then human hair, because dogs shed hair more easily then people. It happens as result of people, petting them or brushing them. The house had more dog hair, because he did a better cleaning in his RV. You can argue all you like if it was intense or not but a cleaning is still a cleaning. And most criminals, who are not in a hurry to go to prison clean up their crime scene in some shape, way, or form. Especially, when the crime scene is your property. Oh, no, but wait the traces of Danielle proves he didn't do an intense cleaning. IT DOES NOT!!! It just proves, no matter how hard you sweep or scrub, you can't remove EVERYTHING. Sometimes people get sloppy and leave small traces of it. Anyhow, I'm not too surprised you believe the defense's version of the RV cleaning.TripleH1976 04:54 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I daresay you will still be skeptical, but if so, ask yourself how hairs from the Van Dam family dog got in his RV - and in greater number than human Van Dam hairs. Does that mean Westerfield kidnapped the dog as well? Was the dog ever in the RV? No evidence of that was produced - though I have suggested that Danielle might have followed it into the RV while she was walking it (or it was walking her). Was the dog “all over him and attached to him like cheese on pizza”? It wasn’t even in his house during the cookie sale.

The prosecution theory (Dusek, closing argument, August 6) is that the dog was all over Danielle while she was in her pajamas, causing the dog hairs to became attached to her pajamas. Westerfield then kidnapped her in her pajamas, taking her (together with her pajamas and the attached dog hairs) first to his home, then to his SUV and then to his RV, where the dog hairs were shed. So the prosecution firmly believes in both primary and secondary Locard transfer (at least when it suits them). So why don’t you?

But there are problems with this theory. For a start, although we heard a detailed description of the events in the Van Dam home that Friday night, there was no mention of Danielle playing with the dog at all, let alone while in her pajamas. And she wouldn’t have had much time for that if she only put on her pajamas at about 10 p.m. (Duesk, opening statement, June 4), i.e. immediately before getting into bed. Also, according to Dusek (August 6), dog hairs were found in his bedroom. Which is what you would expect if the prosecution scenario were correct. But were any found there? The ones that were mitochondrial DNA tested came from his garage trash (Item 13A), his laundry (Item 74), the RV bath mat (Item 155), and the dry-cleaners (Item 93) (Joy Halverson, July 2).

And secondly, we didn’t hear anything about pajama fibers in either his house, his SUV or his RV. What type of pajama material doesn’t shed at all? It’s not as though law enforcement didn’t think of this: “I wish to seize ... and other trace evidence including any fibers; children's pajamas ...” (page 38 of document: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/SCN_20030109152845_001.pdf (Attachment A, Search Warrant 27818)

Another aspect is the relative numbers: 18 hairs which probably came from the family dog were found in his house, 4 in his RV and 2 at the dry-cleaners (Alex Roth, Union-Tribune, June 25). The number in the house therefore outnumber those in the RV, pointing to transfer from the house to the RV or a brief previous visit to the RV. This certainly doesn’t point to her having spent far more time in the RV.

So the prosecution theory doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t fit the evidence. It’s funny what a prosecuting attorney will pull sometimes. The evidence is far more consistent with Danielle’s pajamas never having been anywhere in his environment: not his house, not his SUV and not his RV. And Layla’s hairs got into his environment on the daytime clothing of Danielle, her mother and her little brother during the cookie sale.

What this shows is that making a DETAILED examination alters the picture radically: it changes the evidence from suspicious to exculpatory. This is why you mustn’t take a superficial view.

I agree that entomology is not an exact science: that’s why entomologists give a RANGE of dates. I’ve already given an example of a case which rode on what some bugs did: Ronald Porter was convicted based on that. (I’ll bet HE thinks it “asinine”. You should have been his defense attorney.) Courts take bug evidence very seriously even though you don’t. It’s the best method we’ve got if the person has been dead for longer than about a couple of days or so. The jurors may have dismissed it as “very subjective”, but on what grounds? Because it didn’t fit their conclusion? Please point to support for their view by reporters. I’ll also be interested to hear your explanation of how it is both “very” subjective and objective. Please remember, when replying to these points, that there is a huge gap between the dates given by the entomologists and that postulated by the prosecution. (Yes, I know you later claimed that the prosecution entomologist said the body could have been dumped February 2, but that is not correct, and I will explain why when I reach that section.)

DNA may be very accurate (provided it isn’t degraded and you aren’t using mitochondrial DNA) but it can’t be dated, nor can it tell you how it got there, so it was useless or irrelevant in a case like this in which the victim COULD have been at the supposed crime scene innocently at an earlier date. So people place too much faith in it, perhaps they are overawed by its power. Circumstantial evidence by its very nature is weak and inconclusive. And in this case it fails to take into account the fact that they were neighbors who had recent contact with each other. Which makes the physical evidence almost worthless.

Really??? The jury didn't agree with you. Yeah he had contact with them, but combined it with all the circumstantial evidence and you'll notice(I doubt you will) he is guilty. This case is like a jig-saw puzzle. There might not be any single large piece that screams guilt right away, but there's plenty of tiny ones and when you place them all together he's guilty!TripleH1976 05:13 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

What about circumstantial evidence pointing to others, such as the Van Dams - notably their lying and pointing fingers at Westerfield? Or evidence pointing to a third party - notably the unidentified DNA and fingerprints in the Van Dam house, and the red fibers and unidentified hair found with her body? Or to someone in law enforcement - notably their rush to judgement, that they tried to make ordinary things appear suspicious, the suspicious nature of the strongest evidence pointing towards Westerfield, and their failure to investigate evidence pointing away from him?

You can’t look only at circumstantial evidence pointing to guilt: you must also look at circumstantial evidence pointing to innocence - notably that he returned home twice on the Saturday; that he didn’t leave in a hurry; the Van Dams’ risky behavior; the mid-February phone call that Danielle was still alive; and now Selby’s confession.

I don’t understand your statement that Westerfield would be free today if he had stayed home that weekend. Are you saying that the police then wouldn’t have suspected him, so they wouldn’t have discovered that she was in his house when they came knocking? Or that he is in fact innocent?

As I’ve said before, you didn’t previously complain about my version of the article being disorganized, so it’s difficult to accept that you genuinely believe that. If you think my version is POV, then you are free to make appropriate adjustments: at least it hasn’t got all the errors that your version contains. What I think your real agenda is, is that your version is POV, and you don’t want that corrected. However, all this is arguably moot, as you have already started changing the article, and did so as soon as it was unprotected. That has improved it, for which I thank you, but there’s still a long way to go, and I don’t understand why you haven’t fixed non-controversial errors, and in particular reinstated my many initial corrections and improvements which you had previously praised. 196.15.168.40 05:47, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

The circumstantial evidence for innocence is very little and easily refuted. Again, pointing the fingers at the Van Dam's. They did nothing wrong and they didn't lie. Go read my reply to Freedom and see why I believe they didn't lie about anything. He returned two times on Saturday, so what?!?!? He still lived in the area! It's an automatic that he would return eventually. He knew that being completely away would look like he was hiding from the police. Also, very interesting that he returned a second time to fetch water. Perhaps, using it to clean up his crime in the RV. The mid-February phone call, to Brenda, was a hoax. Some people are cruel enough to phone in false information to anguish the family. Personally, I believe, the call was placed by a third party acting on the behest of Westerfield's lawyers or his family. I'm very confident that they(lawyers) are slimey enough to do such a thing. The DNA and fingerprint evidence did not have to be tested. The police were on the right track with Westerfield. To test it would be a waste of time and money. Westerfield's lawyers should have taken care of that one. Selby's confession that's another hoax as well. The police investigated him, and found his confession contained nothing only the killer would know. He was a waste of time. Tell me, if he was the real killer why did he wait so long to come forward? He must have known someone else was arrested for Danielle's death. What evidence is there that he stalked or hunted for Danielle? What evidence is there that he knew she existed before her name got in the paper? He certainly didn't know the neighborhood as well as Westerfield. I believe Danielle most likely would have gone without a fight with Westerfield then with Selby. She atleast met Westerfield before. TripleH1976 06:34 a.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Unprotecting

This article has been protected for a ludicrously long period. I'm going to hazard a wild guess and rule that any differences that could possibly be sorted by mere discussion must have been resolved long ago. Accordingly there's nothing for it but to let people, you know, edit the article. Am I crazy? Posssibly, but that's the way wikis are supposed to work. --Tony Sidaway 07:03, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Well, you best be careful with user,196.15.168.40, this person is a big apologist for the convicted child-killer. They will push their agenda that he was wrongfully convicted. I had to request an administrator to protect the article, otherwise 196.15.168.40 would have made a novel on the case. Added things every single day, if you don't believe look into the history file. TripleH1976 Thu 1:20 a.m., 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I've been reading over this discussion for a few weeks now, and I'm still wondering why at least some of the obvious errors have not been corrected. I do have one suggestion however. Perhaps a footnote should be added that not everyone at the end of the trial was convinced Westerfield was guilty. I've got links to sources if you want them. Resorting to name calling, certainly never worked on me, and I doubt it works on anyone who cares about the truth. As far as I am concerned, the Westerfield case is the definition of...

Tunnel vision is a metaphor for narrowmindedness, particularly in describing those who pursue an investigation with their conclusion already decided and proceed by only accepting evidence that supports their conclusion and excluding any evidence that contradicts their assumptions.

Source: Wikipedia

I guess this can apply to anyone who has their mind made up.

The preceding comment was added by Currious1, June 23.

Reply to TripleH1976:

Vandalism is what we must beware of. The truth is something to be welcomed, not resisted. Removing content is not the right thing to do. 196.15.168.40 04:34, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Sickening

Your defense for this convicted child murderer is disgusting. I don't give a damn about how knowledgeable you think you are, fact is Westerfield is guilty! He and his lawyers were ready to strike a plea agreement with the DA so long as Westerfield led them to the body. He would get life without parole. That screams, GUILT! No way an innocent man is going to lead you to a dead body. Don't tell me the San Diego Tribune lied about this, because if they did Westerfield's lawyers would have sued them for libel! They never did such thing. Westerfield's lawyers knew he did it, but they went ahead and defended him because Westerfield paid for their services. Defense attorney's will defend a ham sandwich so long as they're receiving money for it. Before Mark Geragos was hired, by Scott Peterson's parents, to defend SP - Geragos, on the Larry King Show, frequently said Peterson was guilty and a jury will convict him. Many months later he sings a different tune, because he's getting paid. So as strong a defense Feldman and Boyce gave for the child-killer, how do we know they really believed in any of the BS they spewed? We don't; we can't.

Reply to TripleH1976: I agree that, in this context, an innocent man can’t lead you to a dead body. But Westerfield DIDN’T lead anyone to a dead body. That’s what everyone seems to be forgetting. And it speaks volumes. Not only did he NOT lead anyone to her body, when the plea deal was presented to him he REJECTED it. Or are you saying the San Diego Union-Tribune lied about this? He rejected the deal, and didn’t lead anyone to Danielle’s body, because he is INNOCENT. So you want to execute an innocent man. THAT is what is truly sickening and disgusting. I have neither the time nor the inclination to study Mark Geragos and the Scott Peterson case. But as I recall, Geragos explained that he didn’t previously know the facts. Which I find highly plausible. Like so many other people, he was relying on the media for his information, and they are not a reliable source - as I have proved in the Westerfield case. You might be scathing in your condemnation of defense lawyers, but I can’t help noticing how similar you are to them: any excuse will do in your defense of the Van Dams, their behavior and their lying. And I'm basing my beliefs on the EVIDENCE, not on what Feldman and Boyce said.196.15.168.40 04:31, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

No, I do not make suicide jokes when my future is on the line. If it was a joke, which I don't think it was, it came at very poor timing. He knew the gig was up! I wonder, what really would have happened if the officer's granted his wish? Too bad they didn't. Westerfield wanting the easy way out screams guilt! He did this not once but twice. Only a guilty person would think like that. Why did he break down like a baby when he was out with the investigators showing them his trip route? guilty conscience perhaps? Why did he fail the polygraph test? Can't wait to hear your spin on that. According to Westerfield's ex-gf he planned his outings in advance. His trip the weekend Danielle disappeared looked like it was unexpected. Why didn't he bring his sand vehicle for his holiday? He usually takes it, according to the exgirfriend. He didn't leave, for a holiday. He left because he knew people would be looking for Danielle in the morning. He knew they were looking for a child, who is dead. He knew law enforcement officers were going to be in the area. He returned two times, because he knew being COMPLETELY away would arouse suspicion. I gotta hand it to you you have an art for misrepresentation and spin. The friendly dog didn't have to make loud noise, because the dog assumes the kidnapper is friendly as a result of being petted by him. How was the dog to know what the real intentions of the kidnapper was when he took Danielle? The dog doesn't think like a human being. He doesn't know what sexual assault, or kidnapping is. To a submissive dog EVERYONE is friendly. Why should it be alarmed? For all the dog knows everything was normal. What if Danielle offered very little resistance? If the dog saw Danielle leave without a struggle, the dog assumes everything is okay. Anything is possible. I'm not telling you this happened, it MAY have happened. No one could confirm with absolute certainty Westerfield was severely drunk that evening. No one tested him for being drunk. That is defense spin trying to persuade the jury. Who told you the entire kidnapping was silent? Perhaps, there was noise but not loud noise. Not loud to the point of waking you up. Personally, I feel the dog was familiar with Westerfield's face, he was a neighbor, and that's why it didn't bark when Danielle was taken. The Van Dam's dog was not a guard dog by any stretch of imagination. I don't know if the dog followed them or not. But if it did the dog could follow, only for a short while. Westerfield wasn't going to take him. That's a fact. Once they entered a vehicle or a house the dog has no choice but to return home. Truth is we will NEVER know what the dog did.

Reply to TripleH1976:
It would be more accurate to describe Westerfield’s suicide remark(s) as sarcasm rather than jokes. And you yourself openly use sarcasm here even though other people’s future, even their lives, are on the line. So you are in no position to condemn him - it’s the pot calling the kettle black. How could he have known the gig was up at such an early stage? Just hours after the police first spoke to him. It was predictable that the police would interview him. Some people have confessed to crimes they didn’t commit (like in the Crowe case), simply because their treatment at the hands of the police was so rough. Dusek described Westerfield’s interrogation as an “aggressive confrontation” (questioning Mark Keyser, May 9, page 1348 of transcripts, page 7 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/030114-020509-02.pdf
You wish that the officers had given him a gun. That surprises me. You believe he is a murderer, so what would he have done with it: tried to shoot his way out, killing several police officers in the process?
Mike Ott’s testimony on May 13 (page 1672 of transcripts) was that Westerfield began to cry when they simply told him they “needed to find Danielle and get her back to her family”. What is significant is that “we weren't asking him to confess or tell us why what happened happened but just help us find Danielle”. That suggests, if this story is accurate, that his emotion was caused by his concern for her, not by any guilt (page 25 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/030114-020513-02.pdf
It is common knowledge that polygraphs are inaccurate and unreliable - so much so, in fact, that they are not admissible in court. Wikipedia is even more scathing: “no scientific study has been published that offers convincing evidence of the validity of the polygraph test”. Faced with all that, it is surprising that you even mention them. That’s in general. In the Westerfield case, the question is not “WHY did he fail the test” but “DID he fail it”? Have you seen the chart from his test? Otherwise, we only have the examiner’s word for it, and police are allowed to lie, so why should we believe them? And this particular examiner, in this particular case, assured his eternal notoriety by his unforgettable words: “I don't know that that [not telling the truth] would not be telling the truth” (Paul Redden, June 11). For his information, not telling the truth IS not telling the truth. Westerfield subsequently wrote: “But then a couple of days later they discovered that my test contained what Det. Ott called “false-negatives” & they asked me to retake the test, but by that time Steve F wouldn’t allow it. Ott never explained what that meant but he didn’t look happy. Steve F said it more than likely meant that my first test wasn’t setup right” (page 2 of 2-page letter http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/030503letter2.pdf
What disturbs me is that Redden had the space heater on during the interview, which made Westerfield uncomfortably hot. This would likely have caused him to be restless and fidget, producing spikes on the charts - which could then be interpreted as reactions to the questions and therefore guilt, whereas they would in fact be FALSE negatives. So I suspect this was just a ruse - a trick to justify (“probable cause”) a search warrant (#27818). The fact that Redden promptly broke the news of his “failure” to an entire roomful of officers, some 20 or 30 of them, reinforces my suspicions (page 1179 of transcripts, page 4 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/030114-020508-03.pdf
I’ve already quoted witnesses who testified that his trip was planned in advance, so why are you still disputing that? OF COURSE there were differences between this trip and his usual trips: that’s because his RV was now stored some miles away (so he wasn’t going to spend a couple of days preparing it for a trip), and because he didn’t have his girlfriend or his son accompanying him (so he had to leave his SUV at the storage site). Maybe he didn’t take his sand vehicle with because he wanted to RELAX on this trip (as I’ve previously stated). I also seem to remember someone saying that these vehicles are difficult for one person to handle (I presume loading and unloading from the trailer). If he returned home twice to avoid arousing suspicion, then it didn’t work. Maybe he should have returned three or four times - or would that have been too suspicious? Is going away for a weekend really THAT suspicious? I’d have thought it was a fairly common practice, especially for someone with an RV. If he LEFT because he knew law enforcement officers would be looking for a child, then logically wouldn’t he have STAYED AWAY for the same reason? Returning would have defeated the objective, especially if he still had the child with him!
The point I was making about the dog was that she would likely have given the intruder such a FRIENDLY welcome that she would have made a lot of noise in doing so. Was it really normal for one of the Van Dam children to be leaving home in the middle of the night? That’s an even stranger family than I thought. It is important for your theory that Danielle offered no resistance, and that there was little or no noise. Just a bit of resistance, or a bit more noise, and the gig was up. I’m glad you admit that your scenario is merely a possibility. The problem is that juries are supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant: the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. No evidence was presented of the dog ever having met Westerfield, and she wasn’t walked very often (Brenda, June 6), and apparently never past his house (though I’m skeptical of that), so I find it difficult to believe that she was familiar with his face or would even have recognized him as a neighbor. It’s interesting that you think it possible that she followed them all the way to his house. If she had followed them, would she have returned home once they entered a vehicle or a house, or would she have waited patiently - or not so patiently - outside for Danielle to come out again? I’m sure I’ve heard of dogs staying at the side of their injured or dead owners for days. If the police dogs had been asked to follow Layla’s scent, then we probably would have found out what she did.196.15.168.40 07:11, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Not true that Danielle could ONLY have been dumped Feb 12 or onward. The prosecution countered with an entomologist of their own who said the body could have been dumped February 2. He stated the defense entomologist miscalculated the temperature of some of the blowflies. This allowed him to expand the date of when they were laid. Entomology does not prove him innocent. Entomology is a subjective science; an educated guess. Too many variables for it to be 100% accurate. Furthermore, he stated the blowflies could have been removed from Danielle's body by ants and animals. The defense didn't present any witness testimony that uninvited children were caught or seen entering the RV. That it could happen, yes, but it isn't a certainty. By the same token, the defense wants the jury to believe Westerfield is innocent because prosecutors presented no evidence he was ever in the Van Dam home. I don't buy it that Danielle was ever in that RV, before 2002. Danielle's hair was found in his house's bathroom, bedroom, and laundry room. When they sold cookies to him, Brenda testified Danielle and her brother didn't go upstairs or go to the bathroom. The evidence does not suggest they were only neighbors. Why would an orange fiber, from the SUV, get caught in Danielle's necklace? They would have to be very close to explain that one away. Did she get into the SUV as well? If she was in the SUV that would suggest he might be a family friend, or at least someone the parents knew really well. Why did Westerfield want his jacket dry cleaned? To remove the bloodstain? Sounds to me like he was trying to clean the evidence. Westerfield admitted to investigators his trip, that weekend, was "strange". You say it was a holiday trip. Well, why did he acknowledge it was strange? What DNA, blood evidence exist that points away from him? Don't you mean implicates him.

Reply to TripleH1976:
David Faulkner was the prosecution entomologist - until he calculated dates that excluded their only suspect, whereupon they dropped him, and he testified for the defense (on July 10). So you are referring to Madison Lee Goff (testified July 29). But he DIDN’T say the body could have been dumped February2, he said PRIOR to that date. In other words, her body was dumped there BEFORE she was killed. And there were witnesses who saw her ALIVE before that date. So Goff, not surprisingly, dropped that date and switched to a different set of calculations, which gave a mid-February date like the other three (defense) entomologists. But let’s look at how he initially arrived at an impossible date. He used temperatures from the nearby golf course, Singing Hills. While it’s desirable to use temperatures from the closest weather station, this is an unofficial station, so its temperatures might not be accurate. And, while they had hourly temperatures, law enforcement only asked them for their maximum and minimum daily temperatures (Mike Raybould, July 24). That means only 2 readings per day instead of 24, which is obviously less accurate. But then Goff, instead of trying to convert these to hourly, he in effect pretended that he already had hourly temperatures. (Admittedly the conversion employs a complex mathematical formula, and he seems to have difficulty with simple arithmetic, but this was guaranteed to introduce an error.) He also used Canadian data, which may not be applicable to insects in southern California. Yet if he had arrived at a date of February 2 to 4, the prosecution would have touted this as “proof” of Westerfield’s guilt.
I would challenge your statement that “the defense entomologist miscalculated the temperature of some of the blowflies”. It was Goff himself who miscalculated the temperatures. And there were THREE defense entomologists, not just one. What you are surely referring to is Neal Haskell’s use of a “maggot mass” adjustment to the ambient temperatures. (He testified on July 22.) This is intuitively plausible, meaning there probably should be such an adjustment, but there isn’t yet scientific evidence PROVING it, or giving the magnitude. But we can be sure that it only makes a SMALL difference, because he was the only one who incorporated this factor and his dates were very similar to those of the other entomologists, in fact the earliest date he originally gave was LATER than that given by Robert Hall (who testified on August 1). Blowflies lay HUNDREDS of eggs at a time, and in different parts of the body. The chances that ALL of these eggs, or the maggots which developed from them, were eaten or removed by ants or animals, is remote. And they would have had to eat or remove all the eggs/maggots from the SECOND wave of blowflies as well, and the third wave, and ... But eventually they stopped eating/removing all of them, because LOTS of maggots were found in the body. And apparently FEW ants were seen in the vicinity (and only one coyote, which was dead). Also, any factor like that would not have stopped the chemical changes that occur in a decomposing body, which affects which species find the body attractive. The flies and the beetles (adults or their maggots) found there on the 27th, were consistent with a body only 2 weeks old. If there were only a small difference between the entomologists’ dates and the date necessary for Westerfield to be guilty, then I would say that it was POSSIBLE that all these factors could account for the difference, but NOT likely - certainly not “beyond reasonable doubt”. But in this case there is a HUGE gap between the dates, so it is totally unreasonable to believe in guilt.
Children wouldn’t have entered his RV if they saw someone watching them. The fact that no evidence was presented of children doing so therefore doesn’t prove anything. It is also significant that his RV, whether it was parked in Mountain Pass Road or Briar Leaf Way, was parked alongside a large wall, which would have obscured the entrance from the view of the neighbors. The sheer size of the vehicle would also have obscured the view, from the opposite side. The trees in the neighborhood (specifically those lining Briar Leaf Way), together with the bends in both those roads, would have increased this effect. So children could easily have come and gone without being seen. Remember also that only one short visit would have been sufficient to leave the small amount of evidence that was found. It was the police’s duty, not the defense’s, to question the neighborhood children. Did they do so? Law enforcement made a determined effort to find evidence of Westerfield in the Van Dam house, and failed; they did not attempt to find evidence of neighborhood children in his RV. The unidentified prints, for example, might have come from such children. So you are comparing apples and oranges.
Brenda, as a proven liar, is not a reliable witness, so I would take her testimony about the children not having gone upstairs with a pinch of salt. Furthermore, she was talking to Westerfield during the cookie sale, so the children could have run upstairs without her seeing them do so. According to Johnny Keene (June 11), Westerfield thought they had, but he wasn’t sure. According to Mark Keyser (May 9, page 1287), Westerfield said Danielle DID go upstairs (page 34 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/030114-020509-01.pdf
And Brenda didn’t testify they didn’t go to the “bathroom”: that was presumably a slip on your part for “garage”. But DID Brenda testify they DIDN’T go upstairs? What did the media report? “Brenda van Dam said she and her daughter had been in Westerfield's house twice – to sell him Girl Scout cookies – and that Danielle never went upstairs during the visits” (Alex Roth, Union-Tribune, June 25, 2002); “Brenda van Dam had testified last week that her children never went upstairs and didn't wander far inside Westerfield's house” (anonymous, Union-Tribune, June 11, 2002). It would seem you were right. But let’s compare that to Court TV: “Brenda van Dam cast doubt on that theory, saying Danielle and her younger brother, Dylen, only left her sight for three minutes and only to go into Westerfield’s backyard to look at his pool” (Harriet Ryan, June 6, 2002). That is a more accurate account of her testimony. So it would be more accurate to say she INFERRED that they didn’t go upstairs or in the garage. Let’s also compare that with the affidavits for the search warrants: “Van Dam stated the children never want upstairs nor into the garage” (page 43 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/documents/SCN_20030109152845_001.pdf (Attachment A, Search Warrant 27818)
That goes beyond what she actually testified to at the trial, so it looks like the police overstated what she said to ensure that a warrant was granted.
What do you mean by “The evidence does not suggest they were only neighbors”? That they were MORE than neighbors? That is exactly what I said, so why are you repeating it? When I said they were more than just neighbors, I didn’t mean they were friends, I meant - and SAID - they were neighbors who had CONTACT with each other. THAT’S what’s important, the CONTACT, that would leave evidence behind in his environment.
Who said an orange fiber from the SUV got caught in her necklace? There were far more orange fibers in his house, so it’s far more likely that that fiber came from his house - IF it came from his environment at all. The source of those fibers - the sweater, blanket, or whatever - was never identified. For all we know, they might have come from a clothing item Brenda was wearing during the cookie sale, in which case the orange fiber in Danielle’s necklace came from her own home. And that’s assuming that all the orange fibers came from the same source: as the one in her necklace was described as “dull”, and those in his environment were repeatedly described as “bright” and “very bright” (Jennifer Shen, July 9), they probably came from different sources. In which case the fiber in her necklace DIDN’T come from his environment.
Why did he want the OTHER items dry cleaned? None of them contained her blood. Was it because he’d spent the weekend in a dusty environment? Why does anyone want items dry cleaned? He was a regular customer of that dry cleaners, and no one has suggested that he regularly kidnapped and murdered little girls, so he wanted the jacket cleaned for the same reason he wanted his items cleaned in the past, it wasn’t anything suspicious. Which bloodstain did he want removed? The one that the dry cleaners didn’t see when the jacket was handed in? (Julie Mills, June 17) Sounds to me like it only got on the jacket later. And nobody testified to seeing him wearing the jacket that weekend, which casts further doubt that the blood got onto it then.
I presume your “strange trip” remark which you attribute to Westerfield is a reference to his description of it as “weird”. So let’s look at what he actually said: “all this sounds weird to these people but it’s normal ... this was perfectly normal for me” (pages 7 and 9 of Redden interview). So he wasn’t himself describing his trip as weird (if it’s any consolation, the media made the same mistake as you), he was quoting other people - perhaps Johnny Keene, who stated “it was a little strange” (May 8, page 1148 of trial transcripts, page 39 of document http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/transcripts/030114-020508-02.pdf
That’s quite a mild statement compared to what the media REPEATEDLY reported later: “convoluted”, “meandering”, “strange”, “weird”. It really seems they were trying to persuade everyone that he was guilty. Did Redden think the trip strange or weird? He replied: “lots of guys just kind of drive around ... It’s kind of like this is your motorcycle, so to speak” (page 9 of Redden interview). So, no, he didn’t. Are you disagreeing with that law enforcement representative?
The DNA blood evidence that points away from Westerfield is the unidentified blood on Danielle’s bed - the very bed she was abducted from: Item 10-7A on her blanket (Sean Soriano, June 20; Mitchell Holland, June 26), and Item 8-2 on the bean bag chair on her bed (David Cornacchia, June 24). Both of those stains were a mixture. For 10-7A, Danielle was the probable minor contributor; Westerfield was the only person eliminated as the major contributor. For 8-2, Derek was the probable major contributor; Westerfield and all the members of Derek’s immediate family were eliminated as the minor contributor. So who was the major contributor to 10-7A, and who was the minor contributor to 8-2? And how does that implicate Westerfield?196.15.168.40 04:51, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Westerfield claimed he was alone that weekend, yet in one interview he tells investigators "we went here....". How odd that he would use "we" if he was all alone. Who else is he talking about? Perhaps, Danielle? That's his conscience reaching him. If I'm really alone, I know I'm gonna use "I" and not "we". I use "we" when I'm with someone. Sounds to me like Westerfield was with someone. You didn't provide me evidence Danielle had the strength to open the RV door. You sure make some grandiose claims. Of all the people who surrounded Westerfield how many of them caught an uninvited child in the RV? None. Climbing a yard gate is much different then opening an RV door. The gate at least has spots were you can place your fingers and shoes, which enables you to lift yourself up. The door of an RV is not constructed the same way. I don't care what your survey suggest. I no longer care about your various scenarios regarding the RV. You could prove to me that Danielle was in the RV, and I still believe Westerfield is guilty because he was prepared to give up Danielle's body in exchange for life without parole. That's all the evidence I need to know the police suspected the right guy and rightfully prosecuted him. If the report was a lie or incorrect Westerfield's lawyers had grounds to sue for libel. They didn't. The RV stuff is all a load of BS. The naughty Van Dam girl sneaked into Westerfield's RV, bled and pulled out one strand of her hair. That's what the defense wanted the jury to believe. It is absurd, no wonder they found him guilty.

Furthermore, stop telling me to prove this or prove that. We are not in a courtroom and you are no judge to be making demands. I'm sick of your defense of this obvious child-killer. Your replies are horribly out of order and you don't make them easy to find. I'm sick of scrolling over the entire page trying to find them. Not only that the talk page isn't about discussing the case. It is about the article and what it will contain. I don't care what FreedomRings and Currious1 did or did not do in April. I'm not here for a popularity contest. TripleH1976 Fri 03:51 a.m., 30 June 2006 (UTC)

WRONG! The defense stopped talking about making a deal(not reject one) AFTER the prosecution gave them a map of where Danielle was found. Offering him an opportunity to discuss a possible plea deal,isn't the same as giving him a finalized plea deal for him to accept or reject. The prosecution didn't present him a deal. They presented him a map and circled the area where Danielle was found. It was their way to tell Westerfield, "she's been found". Learn to tell the WHOLE story correctly, ok? Westerfield and likely his lawyers were arrogant enough to think he could beat the charges. He went forward with the trial, because he thought his lawyers could pull the wool over the jurors eyes so he can be free to look at his porn again. Or murder another little girl. Danielle's location was the only leverage they had in avoiding the death penalty for him. Naturally they stopped negotiating after she was located. But don't be too upset about it - afterall the jury never got to hear about it. And Westerfield did have his day in court. TripleH1976 23:11 p.m., 14 July 2006 (UTC)

TripleH, I'm trying very hard to keep the emotional responses out of this. What bothers me is that when I was going to school, I relied on my encyclopedia. I relied on it to be informative, and never questioned it's accuracy. I'm new to Wikipedia, but have used it many times in the past. I have no idea who is responsible for the information contained in each article, but this one caught my attention, since I have spent more hours than I care to think about, studying this case with many other people.

Thanks to the San Diego Union Tribune, for the first time the "people" can read the facts for themselves, and not what the media presented them, or even what the jury was presented. During the Avila trial, the Orange County Register posted the opening statements, and the first day of the trial online. Unlike the Westerfield trial, cameras were not allowed in the court room. I believe it took several E-mails to the OC Register before they finally started posting ALL of the transcripts, on their website. I'm hoping this is a new trend.

I hadn't looked up Avila on Wikipedia before, but decided to review the article. It begins by stating that Alejandro Avila "is a convicted murder who killed five-year-old Samantha Runnion..." Then in the same article, it states, "The abductor drove a light green Honda." Well, this may be true, since after all, Samantha's friend did tell law enforcement the car was green, and it had an "H" on the front and back of the car, and an "H" on the wheels. If this is true, then it couldn't have been Avila, Samantha's friend saw, because Avila's car was an aqua ( blue-green ) Thunderbird. The facts do matter.

Your absolutely right, this is not a court room. This is not the place to decide guilt or innocence, but to provide a resource for students or anyone else who wishes to research or learn. In fact, students and just plain old folks, have been responsible for solving a lot of unsolved crimes. All the more reason to provide accurate information to the public. There is no reason for an article written about David Westerfield, to include anything but the facts. But those facts need to be accurate, and balanced. Otherwise Wikipedia is not providing information, it's providing misinformation, and opinion. I do appreciate a page to voice my opinion. That is a great public service. But it bothers me greatly, that students could actually be relying on Wikipedia for class assignments, and the information they are getting is inaccurate, and biased. I hope my contribution to this discussion has been helpful. --Currious1 19:14, 1 July 2006 (UTC)Currious1

Plea Bargain

From the main page article under...

Notes: When the trial was over, Westerfield's lawyers revealed that they were hours away from negotiating a plea bargain before a private citizen's group, started by the Laura Recovery Center and concerned local citizens, found Danielle's body. Under the deal, Westerfield would have taken police to the dump site in exchange for life without parole.

It would be unethical to discuss plea bargain negotiations, especially Westerfield's lawyers. Neither his lawyers, or the prosecution confirmed or denied what was reported by the media. It was not Westerfield's lawyers who leaked news of a plea bargain to the press.

The van Dam's response to the alleged plea deal;

The couple said they knew nothing about an alleged plea bargain agreement that Westerfield's defense attorneys had supposedly tried to secure -- the location of Danielle's body in exchange for life in prison -- soon after Westerfield was arrested.

The district attorney's office said it was "inappropriate" and "unethical" to comment on pretrial discussions in any case. Van Dams find relief with jury's verdict By KIMBERLY EPLER / North County Times See Brenda and Damon's comments; CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIALVan Dam Family Holds Press Conference, Aired September 17, 2002

TripleH1976 states; Westerfield's lawyers knew he did it, but they went ahead and defended him because Westerfield paid for their services.

I do not share your assumption. See: Ethics: In Defense of David Westerfield's Attorneys by Terri Towery - November 2002 - LOS ANGELES COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION

As for the ex-DA, Paul Pfingst, you might do yourself a favor and read what Superior Court Judge and now the new DA for San Diego has to say bout his misconduct and lack of integrity and ethics, along with her comments about his handling of the Crowe case.

Here's a quote;

The role of the district attorney is to see that justice is served, not rush to judgment. This case was filed before the investigation was complete. As a result, the DA charged the wrong people. The state attorney general had to take over the case from the DA.

The district attorney should have fully investigated the evidence pointing to guilt or innocence of all potential suspects. In this case, one very compelling suspect was ignored, even though his existence was known from the beginning of the investigation. Q&A: Dumanis versus Phingst for District Attorney There are plenty of other sources available by simply typing in google, "Pfingst ethics" without the quotes. --Currious1 17:23, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Tell the whole truth

WOW TripleH1976!!! Looks like we have hit a nerve here. I was excited to know that someone would start an article in Wikipedia regarding this case and then discovered that you obviously had ALL of your facts pretty well screwed up, starting with Mr. Westerfield’s birth date. You don’t like to be shown the errors you have made. I see you are currently attending Simon Fraser University, studying criminology and working as a restaurant manager, and hope someday to work with law enforcement. The “tunnel vision” definition that Curious1 posted describes you perfectly. You cannot be a good law enforcement officer IF you have a closed mind.

All you want to do is spew your opinion given your knowledge provided by CTV. BTW are you related Nancy Grace? You have accused 196.15.168.40 of being related to Mr. Westerfield for giving his insights into the case and the points of your references were mostly stated on CTV whereby 196.15.168.40 has provided you with the references you originally requested but obviously have refused to read.

It is extremely obvious that you don’t give a “damn” to use your wording. Just because Mr. Westerfield was found guilty doesn’t necessarily make it so as pointed out by 196.15.168.40 previously by giving you the link to the Innocent Project. You are WRONG about the plea bargain “because his lawyers haven’t denied it”. Mr. Westerfield’s case will be up on appeal probably within the next year or two. His lawyers can NOT discuss anything unlike FORMER DA – Paul Pfingst. His reputation is in the toilet to begin with as his own office said after his remark that it was unethical for him to have commented on the plea bargain. It is not uncommon in the U.S. for a plea to be offered to a suspect in hopes that they will give information. When this didn’t happen it didn’t set well with the DA. He was hoping for a WHAM BAM case so he could get “face” time on TV about what a great job he did and hopefully win him reelection. He was not reelected anyway and most probably because by this time people were learning of his unsavory ethics.

There are many ways that a plea bargain is used, however I don’t believe that was the case here. If it was why go to trial given the expense to taxpayers, the embarrassement to the van Dam’s regarding their lifestyle etc. not to mention that even Dusek hung up on Bill O’Reilly when he tried to talk to him. It is very unfortuanate that the comment was ever brought up and I do understand why people would immediately change their opinion to guilty, but none of us have the WHOLE story on it so why use it in our decision. It is my opinion that the DA was made to look like a fool so he made the comment, not unlike a little school kid on the playground. Put his name into Google and read some of his antics and the opinions of many who worked for/under him.

The two detectives in the Westerfield case, Ott and Keyser both have a history of falsefying reports to get a conviction and at least one was in a murder case. So I have no respect for them or any officer who will stoop to this level. All you have to do is a little research if you don’t want to accept the statement myself and others have made on this subject.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/danielle/20020420-9999_2m20files.html FYI – Mr. Westerfield only paid for a part of his defense. He actually ran out of money before the trial began, the balance was paid by the taxpayers. Westerfield could get public aid

Court rules a 'John Doe' unable to pay legal bills Alex Roth

UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER April 13, 2002

Taxpayers may be footing David Westerfield's legal bills – without knowing it.

I don’t have the link to this article but you can research and I am sure it can be found IF you are interested.


In fact he had signed his home over to the defense attorney on February 26, 2002. A shame as far as I am concerned. The man hadn’t even been convicted and he had to give up every thing to try to defend himself. BTW – it was Ott and Keyser who put him onto Feldman and Boyce. Kind of makes you wonder huh?

You’d probably be saying some of the same things Mr. Westerfield was saying in regards to his “suicide” comment. He had been retained for several hours and had asked for an attorney about 22 times. Ott and Keyser’s response….. “An attorney won’t let you talk to us.” Uh – ya!!! No kidding. As far as his “breaking down like a baby” you so relish, we don’t know that he did. It was one of the comments that we are supposed to believe that Ott and Keyser claim after having him out on the desert trip for 17 plus hours and NO tape recorded interview. Once again I don’t have any faith in their report. In a book titled, “Forensics for Dummies” there is a statement written to the effect “If it isn’t written in the report or no other evidence to show that it did in fact exist then it must not be used.” I am only paraphrasing here FYI. But there were several things that were brought up in this trial that never should have made the courtroom. To name the most damaging evidence: (A) The jacket = EXTRACTED DNA sent to Bode Labs by the SD crime lab; (B) The one hair found in the sink of the RV may have been transferred by locard transfer; (C) The fingerprint was not the TIP of the fingers as we were led to believe by FINGER PRINT expert Graham. He couldn’t even recall if he had any prior special training but he knew he had to “pull out a few of my old tricks” to get a match (?) of Danielle’s fingers. In reality it was a small area on the palm side of the lower middle and third finger where the finger joint meets the palm area. Care to guess how many people have ever been identified by that area of the hand? (D) The blood stain (?) found on the carpet of the motor home. No photo, no report written on it and the size according to Annette Peer was by her memory only, approximately half the size of a pencil eraser. No one else ever testified to seeing it although she stated that Tanya Dulaney also saw it. Keep in mind Peer was one who had access to ALL of the evidence.

We don’t know for a fact that he did fail his polygraph. When Mr. Westerfield asked if he passed the test, Redden said, “You didn’t pass MY test.” Ever wonder why polygraphs aren’t allowed in court? Because they are only as good as the polygrapher. They can manipulate the outcome just by having their own opinion. Research it for yourself so you don’t have to rely on anything any of us have to say. Tell me why Damon van Dam “passed” his poly test AFTER lying to police for 17 hours after Danielle went missing?

If he left with Danielle the morning she went missing, why did he return to the “scene of the crime” to fill his water tanks and wash his windshield? Why didn’t he just keep on trucking after he went to High Valley to pick it up there’s water available at The Strand. Add to that he came back later to look for his wallet and gave a neighbor his business card in the event LE needed to speak with him. And by the way, he wasn’t the ONLY neighbor not at home when they went home to home in search of Danielle. Read the transcripts.

Oh my poor Layla. I gotta hand it to you, “the dog was familiar with his face”? IF only she could have talked! Furthermore, one of the guys at the vanDam home that evening didn’t even recall her being there and one said she was all over him. And as for your claim that no one confirmed that Mr. Westerfield was severely drunk that night, read the testimony of Glennie Nyland. The spin you spoke about was no different than the prosecutions spin with regards to the kiddie porn being the motive. Go figure.

Now we get to the entomologists. Oh yes another fun topic for those who have doubts about this case. The one who countered the defenses claims of Danielle’s body being left anywhere from the middle of January had to STRETCH it to February 2nd. Rodriguez was a real class act and to think that the prosecution had to pay him $14,000.00 for his testimony. But I guess “a win at any cost Dusek” didn’t mind.

According to Judge Mudd even he stated that there was no evidence that Mr. Westerfield was ever in the van Dam home so he saw no reason for the jury to go to the “crime scene.” What part of this do you not understand?

No Danielle’s hair was NOT found in his house’s bathroom. You see Triple – that is what is so wrong about what you report. The hair was found in the sink drain of his MOTOR HOME bathroom, which could have gotten there by locard transfer. Read the transcripts to see where the hairs were found. We don’t know what colors of garments she tried on earlier that day at Mervyn’s but we do know that she had worn that necklace for approximately 2 years according to Brenda. Yes the evidence does show that they were only neighbors.

Oh yes the “we” word. That’s right up there with his hose being left out. Of course you don’t care about any survey, it goes against what you want to believe. A little over a year ago there was a poll taken on a forum and it came down to being split 50/50 for guilt and innocence even after all of this time. I consider that to be interesting.

I am also tired of you misstating the evidence while others have given you sources to the corrections that they have made to your text.

Beings I am FreedomRings I must also correct your statement regarding what I did or did not do in “April”. I didn’t join until May so once again you are mistaken. Truth be told TripleH – you have a very egotistical, arrogant and obnoxious manner in your replies. You have turned this into a forum rather than an encyclopedia for information. If you were truly interested in the case you would show appreciation rather than your venom toward someone who does have their facts straight.

As far as many of the LE in this case go, look up other cases they were found to be wrong way after the fact. Jim Wade - Stephanie Crowe - Scottie Neeves - Dale Akiki to name a few. All San Diego cases that were later found to have been mishandled by SDLE. So no we do NOT have much faith in the way this case was handled either.

The TRUTH does need to be told. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. Because you aren’t from the U.S. I am certain that our constitutional rights are of no concern to you. FreedomRings 20:31, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes a nerve does hit me when a child is murdered. It does many people. It doesn't to you? That's too bad that you are so unfeeling. No wonder you side with Westerfield. TripleH1976 12:15 p.m., 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Unbelievable

'Well, you best be careful with user,196.15.168.40, this person is a big apologist for the convicted child-killer. They will push their agenda that he was wrongfully convicted. I had to request an administrator to protect the article, otherwise 196.15.168.40 would have made a novel on the case. Added things every single day, if you don't believe look into the history file. TripleH1976 Thu 1:20 a.m., 22 June 2006 (UTC)'

From the above post TripleH has long since proven he is not caple of giving a neutral opinion on this case. Those who have responded have tried to correct the mistakes that have been made in his posts. No one is pushing an agenda but you TripleH1976. You obviously wanted to show your guilty opinion and others have shown how it is entirely possible that there was a wrongful conviction in this case.

Brenda van Dam received a phone call on February 15, 2002 stating that "Danielle was alive but abused." She had also received a handwritten letter which caused SDLE to request a handwriting sample from Mr. Westerfiled...guess what it didn't match obviously or it would have been admitted into court. I would like to see the handwriting compared to the Selby confession letter. What if that also matched? The jury was never told that and David Westerfield was under 24/7 surviellence by that time. Which also was consistent with the entomologists opinions. Why was this never followed up on? James Selby wrote to SDLE saying that he was the one responsible for Danielle's death. Why wasn't this followed up on? Why was EXTRACTED DNA from the jacket sent to Bode labs? Why was the carpet stain never photographed or written in any report? How can the area of Danielle's hand be called a FINGERPRINT except to mislead the jury? The hair supposedly found in the sink drain MAY have been transfered through locard transfer from his home because Danielle, her brother and her mom had all been in his home a couple of days before. I could go on and on but these are the reasons so many of us are still having questions regarding this case. There were too many questions left unanswered in this case and in my opinion it was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Even Judge Mudd stated that there was NO evidence that David Westerfield had ever been in the van Dam home....the CRIME SCENE of which the jury was not allowed to visit because the DA said that "the van Dam's didn't want that evil in their home." Our constituion allows for a fair and BALANCED trial and that was not the case in this trial. No one is condoning the death of this beautiful child so get off of your soapbox.

It is too bad that you had to get an administrator to protect the article to begin with. All 196.15.168.40 tried to do was correct you and you should have been grateful for that. If I have misspoken here I hope that someone will correct any mistake I have made. But don't delete my post just because it is not what you want to see. FreedomRings 20:28, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

ha ha ha

I think it's really funny how 196.15.168.40 has created alter-egos. I did not put in any information about the convicted child-killer's birthday. So I don't know why you get off accusing me of placing it there. I've never cared for when the child-killer was born, but his death can't come soon enough. I can't wait to know that one. Also there are other bits of information that did not come from me. In 1993, I recall, Marc Klaas received a phone call from someone claiming Polly was still alive, does that mean Richard Allen Davis is innocent? Polly was still missing when the caller called. Polly was killed within hours after Davis abducted her. There are sick people in this world that want to add pain to a missing child's parent. How do you know the call regarding Danielle was genuine? It could have been a cruel prank for all we know. The mother of Jacob Wetterling has received dozens of calls that Jacob is still alive. Yet he's never been found. The police did so follow up on James Selby. If his whereabouts can not be placed in the Van Dam neighborhood, what do you want investigators to do? force him to be? They can't do that. Police DO investigate these things, and I for one believe they found Selby was full of BS. Unlike you I do trust the police. I know they are not perfect. I know they can be corrupt, but there are more good cops then bad. The Van Dams knew nothing about the plea deal, because it was out of their hands. Plea deals are done by the prosecution and defense; that's it. Sadly, the victims have no say in them. That's the way the system is designed. I realize nobody confirmed or denied the plea agreement report, however, if it was an outright lie the defense had grounds to sue the San Diego Tribune for libel. They didn't do that. That tells me there had to be some truth to the report. The defense has every reason in the world to defend themselves from a bold face lie.

Yeah you hang on to that Locard transfer BS. A strand of her hair is gonna jump into the sink, because she happened to be in the home. Right! <sarcasm> I have nothing to be grateful for by 196.15.168.40. They should be grateful to ME! The Westerfield and Van Dam article did not exist on wikipedia, until I joined it and made them. Then one administrator wanted to delete them because, according to them, the case wasn't notable enough. Well, I managed to convince them to keep it. 196.15.168.40 turned this page into a forum, not me. And now they've created alter-egos to convince me others in the world feel like he/she does. Well, it isn't very convincing. TripleH1976 Wed 13:32 p.m., 05 July 2006 (UTC)

You have the ego

Alter egos??? You only wish that were true. You have no idea how many hours - days - weeks - months and now years have been spent by many of us who have truly studied this case. So yes we do know this case inside and out, unlike someone like you who has limited knowledge. If you were truly interested in this case you would be more careful of your information. Myself and others are more than happy to discuss this case with someone who is knowledgable of the facts, but not with anyone who is as misinformed as you are.

I gave you credit for the birthdate because you are the one who lays claim to have started the case information. If you didn't put it in there than someone else was mistaken but you never bothered to correct that so that is another indication to me that you really know very little about this case.

I also believe that Richard Alan Davis murdered Polly Klaas and he does deserve to be where he is. You do not know that the police did in fact follow up on James Selby. Just because Dusek stated it doesn't make it so, believe me. Even Damon van Dam has said, "You can't believe every thing you read in the papers." We do know he was traveling between San Diego and Tucson, AZ according to the police. It is obvious he was also in CO because he was arrested and stood trial there before being transferred to Tucson to stand trial. We know he was in Sparks, NV, Norman, OK as well so he had the means to be anywhere at any given time. You may be surprised to know what we know and you aren't privvy to nor willing to find out.

As for the plea deal, Brenda van Dam stated she had previously asked Paul Pfingst if he could offer a plea deal to Mr. Westerfield in exchange for Danielle's where abouts. Then when it was disclosed that there had been a plea in the works she says she didn't know anything about it. She has a credibility problem to me and this is just one example.

I do agree that there are many good cops. It is unfortuante that there are a few bad apples but the SD area has more than their fair share in my opionion. Why would the defense sue the SD Union Tribune for libel regarding the plea deal? It came directly out of the DA's mouth on TV. Sure the Union Tribune printed the story but if anyone should be sued for libel, it's the DA and of course we know that they have free reign to do whatever they want. Including ruin peoples lives. So once again you don't have a clue what you are speaking about. It wouldn't be up to the defense to file a libel suit but if Mr. Westerfield wins his appeal I would hope that he sues the whole damn lot of them.

To reply to your sarcastic comment about the hair found in the sink OF THE RV, he had been doing laundry when little Danielle and her brother and mother went to sell cookies and the clean laundry was on the couch. Put a ahnd towel or washcloth in/over the sink and "viola" transfer. Best start studying for that degree in criminology if you hope to ever be a success. So if you have any other misinformation feel free to post it and we will do our best to help you understand the case to the best of our ability. Of course it is hard to help anyone with tunnel vision.

Why would you have to convince the moderators just how high profile this case was? You don't even have your facts correct so what did you use to plead your case? BS? I am not convinced that you have the clout to make Wikipedia do your bidding.

I have known many people just like you....one arm is longer than the other just from patting themselves on the back. Man don't give up your day job. You are a piece of work.

FreedomRings 21:38, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

I do not see how Brenda Van Dam lied regarding the plea deal. She suggested the plea deal to the DA, in hopes that she can bury Danielle's body and have a funeral. She had no idea if actual dialog had taken place between the DA and the prosecutor. So when she replied "no, I know nothing about it" it is the truth. She had no idea the DA and defense talked about it. And if they did, why does she have to assume it was because of her? They were not acting on her behest. I would have said "no" as well. It's true she didn't know if one was in the work or not. You act like the DA was a puppet and she was controlling him. I didn't correct the birth date information, because I decided to trust whoever put it in there. I assume they must know him. But if you don't like it remove it. I don't care. I told you before, I don't care when he was born.
So you think it was the polygraph examiner's fault Westerfield failed? Unbelievable! Is there no limit to the excuses you make for this obvious child-killer Westerfield? I don't care if the examiner said, "my test", it's still a polygraph test and Westerfield failed it. Damon did pass, because he told the truth. He had no explaination for why his daughter went missing; that is the truth. He and his wife did not lie; what they DID do is with hold information that wasn't important to the preliminary investigation. They did so to protect themselves from prosecution for the marijuana smoking. I think a lot of people would have done the same thing. They did not want to be misjudged, which is exactly what happened once the cat was out of the bag. It wasn't marijuana smoking or wife-swapping that kidnapped and murdered Danielle. We can thank David Westerfield for that one. The child-killer you love to defend. How sickening. Can I also call Westerfield a liar for with holding information? He didn't exactly reveal his life either. The police had to search for his sick rape videos and animations. He didn't reveal what he did to his niece either. He only told the police he was planning to forward the kiddie porn to Congress, after the police found it first. Also, I don't believe his RV was as unlocked as the defense claimed. Too self-serving if you ask me. I believe Danielle was placed there, by Westerfield. Only a Westerfield-apologist would think otherwise.
You Westerfield apologist want to use James Selby as scapegoat. If it wasn't so pathetic it would be laughable. Of course the police investigated him and they dismissed(most likely)him because he couldn't tell them details ONLY the killer would know. He didn't know the Van Dams, he didn't live in their area. Just how was he suppose to find Danielle if he indeed was the real killer? It doesn't make sense. Are we suppose to believe that everthing just magically fell in place for him to kidnap and murder Danielle. Brenda going out late, friends over at their place, Damon sleeping for a few hours. Wow! What a lucky killer. This looks like the defense attorney's, from Florida, who tried to pin any old murder of a female on Ted Bundy to get their clients off.
Circumstantially there couldn't be a more guilty person then Westerfield. He had the time and opportunity to take Danielle and murder her. If he had stayed home that Saturday the police might not have made him a suspect. His trip or so-called "vacation" is too coincidental. Why did he make it, when according to his ex-girlfriend he plans ahead and he takes his sand vehicle with him to the desert??? He conceded to law enforcement that, yes, his trip did look strange. His rape video was admitted into evidence to show that he has a propensity for violence. It gives you an insight into his mind; a mind that is sick, dirty, and most capable of harming a child. When a pedophile or a child molester is outted, it's always the guy in the neighborhood you least suspected; Westerfield fits that mold perfectly. When the entire neighborhood was searching for Danielle, why didn't he lift a finger in helping the search? He didn't do anything. He didn't go to the Van Dams and say "hey, I heard your daughter is missing what can I do to help?". If not that he could also say, "I'm sorry your child is missing. I hope you find her soon". But Westerfield was silent about it. Only until law enforcement contacted him FIRST did he make a comment concerning Danielle. He did converse with Brenda at the bar, right? So it shouldn't have been too hard to speak to her or Damon. He didn't because he was too chicken to face the parents of the child he killed. He knew Danielle was missing because of him, and he knew she was dead. He wanted nothing to do with the search. He acted guilty, and more often, then not,when you act guilty it's 'cause YOU ARE GUILTY.
Furthermore, the Van Dam's lifestyle did not have anything to do with Danielle's disappearance. Show me a child murder case caused as a result of the parents being swingers. Show me that the killer was a sex-partner for one of the parents. The fact that Westerfield, a neighbor, was tried and convicted is proof their lifestyle wasn't a factor in the disappearance. Only a slimy defense attorney could think otherwise. Always trying to blame the victim. The fact the Van Dam's did not reveal the marijauna smoking and sex partner swap does not make them liars. It only surfaced, because the crime happened on the same night they smoked the marijauna otherwise it would never have been revealed. And in the end it was a neighbor, who took and killed their daughter. When they realized finding Danielle had to supercede protecting their lifestyle they revealed everything. Tell me something. If a woman dresses like a tramp and gets raped, was the rape her fault for dressing like a tramp?

TripleH1976 12:20 a.m., 08 July 2006 (UTC)

FreedomRing

It was 196.15.168.40 that said you mentioned a comment around April. I was quoting them for claiming you made a comment in April. I assumed they told the truth. Scroll up carefully and you'll see they made the comment concerning an April edit. So stop trying to be such a smart@ss. TripleH1976 13:15 p.m., 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Response to TripleH1976 - So you assumed 196.15.168.40 was telling the truth by making that statement but not when he was correcting your IMPORTANT misleading mistakes...am I right? You have a very defensive manner about you and the name calling isn't helping your cause any. I have tried very hard to post the truth.....no matter where this case leads. That's all that any of us want. The TRUTH. So unless you have something of importance to say I will no longer respond to your posts unless it pertains to the case. There is no reason to discuss personal comments. I am here to help keep the record straight on the Danielle van Dam/David Westerfield case only. All anyone who has questions about this case has to do is read all of the information links that have been posted previously by 196.15.168.40 and currious1 FreedomRings 21:31, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I never told 196.15.168.40 they lied, I simply said they were too POV. I don't believe I made the article misleading either. I believe 196.15.168.40 was making the article anti-prosecution and too much whaaa! whaa! whaa! the wrongfully convicted Westerfield. He's in San Quentin where he belongs. I hope it's a horrible experience for him. And I said this once and I will say it again the Van Dams did not lie. That is erroneous. They were truthful as they can possibly be. A swinger lifestyle is not one that puts your child in danger. Show me a child, who was killed because their parents were swingers. The police did not need to know her parents were swingers. People, who practice swinging are attracted to adults. It will be very rare to find one, who lives alone and owning rape videos like Westerfield. Danielle was a child and wasn't a part of that lifestyle. For all we know maybe they never told anybody they had children. The only reason this became an issue, at trial, is because the defense knows sex and gossip makes for a good headline. Also, to take the focus off of the pervert Westerfield. Defense attorney's gotta defend you with all the zeal in the world. They dig up all the dirt they can find about you, in the hopes, the jury will skew over to their side. That's all Westerfield's lawyers were doing with that info; thank goodness the jury was too smart. Also the lay out of Westerfield's home versus the Van Dams was very similar. If the Van Dam home was similar to his, then that explains why he wasn't very afraid of entering it. I believe he used a flashlight to overcome the darkness, and then during his long road trip he disposed of it.
Let me also say Westerfield does fit the FBI profile of an abductor. The FBI profile states children within the same age bracket as Danielle are often abducted by someone close to their home and/or acquainted with the family. The abductor is usually a male, and lives alone. When first questioned by police the abductor is overly cooperative. Westerfield fits all of that. I was reading over some of the trial transcripts and it appears Westerfield told one of his neighbors that Danielle was in his home a few days ago. What a guy! Almost like he was starting to build his defense. You see, I can also counter that he took Danielle because he knew any hair, or fiber found on his property can be explained by Danielle's visit 2 or 3 days before. I think Westerfield was really relying on that. Damn perv. It defies logic that 3 short visits will explain away the forensic evidence. Only, to a Westerfield-apologist does it make sense.
I called you a smart@ss because you are one. You made several snide comments about stuff that's in my userpage. Atleast, I'm not afraid of making one. Why don't you? Besides, defending a child-killer what else do you like to do? Tell us more about yourself. Enquiring minds wish to know. <wink> <wink> TripleH1976 12:31 a.m., 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Reply to TripleH1976:

Where did I say FreedomRings made a comment in April?

This is presumably a reference to my statement “FreedomRings has also disputed the verdict, and now Currious1. Around April 24, 24.41.57.188 reinstated my version of the article ...” in the “Put your replies in chronological order” section.

You obviously missed the period after Currious1: the “April” referred to User 24.41.57.188, NOT to either FreedomRings or Currious1.

I realize that everybody makes mistakes at times, but you made this mistake TWICE (the first time was in the “Sickening” section), and the second time was AFTER your error had been pointed out to you! (That was in the “Tell the whole truth” section.) When you should have been EXTRA careful and CHECKED.

This reinforces my belief that your work is of a low standard, and I’m even more disinclined to respect your opinions. 196.15.168.40 03:36, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Oh, no, I'm going to lose some sleep tonight! LOL <sarcasm> <sarcasm> As if I give a d@mn about what YOU think of me. The opinion of a child-killer apologist do not matter to me. TripleH1976 13:30 p.m., 14 July 2006 (UTC)
So it doesn’t bother you that your work is of a low standard? That’s telling. Nor does it bother you that your opinions are probably therefore wrong? Your response just confirms my belief that this case was all about emotion and not about the truth.196.15.168.40 17:24, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Tell you what - if YOU think it it DOESN'T MATTER TO ME! But nevermind me for a second. Do want to know what is very telling about you? Your frequent bashing on the Van Dams particularly Brenda. Calling her a liar just because she couldn't tell her story accurately about the night her daughter disappeared. As a result, of that POS child-killer Westerfield. She was scared out of her mind when she was first interviewed, but what do you care right? So long as a child-killer goes free. I'll believe Brenda ANY day over Westerfield's scumbag lawyers. I bet you have no problem with them, right? That's very telling about you. I take the side of the victim, you side with lawyers and the child-killer. I know Westerfield is guilty, because the evidence says he is.
Oh and about your statment that the prosecutor will prosecute ANYBODY; regardless of guilt or not. You are wrong. Prosecutors only go forward when they have a strong case against someone. Many prosecutors do refuse to indict someone when the evidence is not there. The prosecutor in this case did, which further reinforces my belief the police did properly investigate Westerfield. TripleH1976 10:00 p.m., 19 July 2006 (UTC)


Wrong information

TripleH, I can't believe how much you apparently don't know. The parents did lie, and it's a matter of court record, and media transcripts. There is also the search warrant that was issued to search Westerfield's home and vehicles. The jury never got to see why David Westerfield became the prime suspect based on lies. Read what Detective Randy Alldredge stated under oath page 40 ATTACHMENT 'A' 27818and then compare, Brenda van Dam's Testimonyand the statements she made under oath.

The parents lifestyle didn't become a focus because of Westerfield's lawyers, but because of a high placed law enforcement official. The defense didn't supply the PR firm. I guess you forgot it was the high placed law enforcement official who used that excuse for a motive for Westerfield? Days before his arrest, and before they had any evidence to suggest he had anything to do with Danielle! That he gave a "half@assed" confession, and the cops just let him go? I think not. You can still find those comments [www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/626093/posts?q=1&&page=51 here.]

If inviting strangers into your home from a bar, isn't putting your kids in danger, I don't know what is. Personally, I don't see why they were called swingers, since Barbara apparently was divorced, and Denise's divorce was finalized just before Danielle disappeared. Swinging typically involves married couples! Tell me again who supposedly jumped in bed with Danielle's father the night she disappeared? Tell me why Brenda didn't like Barbara talking to her daughter? Why did it take 17 hours to get to the truth of who was in the home the night Danielle was taken, and what activities were taking place? Tell me how it is, we heard the truth? Remember it was the high placed law enforcement official who broke the story about the parents, and what they were doing that night! A story quite different than the one heard in court. See: Judge Limits 'Swinging' Evidence in Ca. Murder Case One minute it's a motive, the next it's much to do about nothing.

Much of the truth was kept from this jury, but it won't be kept from Westerfield's appellate lawyers, or the appellate court. You better start getting used to the idea that who ever was responsible for Danielle's death, is still out there or dead already. I hope you'll be paying attention when those appeals happen, so you will remember what you've been told. Hopefully it's not too late for you to learn something. Justice was not served for this little girl, and I'm not sure it ever will be. She is the one that got my attention when she was first discovered missing. I hoped they would find her alive. Your rants mean nothing to me, especially given how little you know, and I'm not about to write the book it would take to cover every issue that the courts will be addressing in the near future, just to straighten you out. You could do some reading though. Experts see fertile ground for appeals but I doubt you will. Westerfield doesn't fit death-row profile--Currious1 14:54, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Currious1 - I found this on the [1]link. Tunnel Vision What drove the case against Evan Zimmerman is the same phenomenon that drove the cases against Scott Hornoff, John Maloney and so many of the other innocent men and women -- those who have been cleared and those who languish in prison -- tunnel vision on the part of investigators and prosecutors. Even when proven to be absolutely wrong, they cling to theories that keep dangerous criminals on the street and put us all at risk.I thought it pretty appropo. To use the <wink> <wink> used previously. FreedomRings 17:11, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

He was focused upon, because the crime showed all the signs the perpetrator most likely lived in close proximity of the Van Dam home. Not only that, Westerfield fit the profile of an abductor. He had no strong alibi to account for many hours. His road trip had all the indications of a panicked man trying to dispose of something incriminating; yeah his victim. That's why he forgot his wallet, he was in panic mode. 196.15.168.40 states Westerfield made the road trip to relax. Yeah right! With all the driving he did??? Hardly relaxing if you ask me. Why did he have the blinds in his RV closed when he was at the campground? He didn't want people to see him raping a little girl that's why. Why didn't he take his terrain vehicle to the desert, I thought he was suppose to relax; have fun? Why did he concede to the police his trip was weird? I thought the trip was to relax him. His behavior after discovering Danielle was missing was indifferent. In contrast, all the neighbors got heavily involved in searching for Danielle, but NOT HIM. He didn't even approach her parents. Yet he liked talking to Brenda before. Why not then too? If I killed someone's child I would want to avoid their parents too. The Van Dam's did not lie. Do you like revealing your personal sex life to total strangers? You are right law enforcement did break the lifestyle stuff first, but after investigating it they concluded it was irrelevant to the case. They cleared the people, who came over the night Danielle disappeared. Westerfield's lawyers knew this, and yet still pursued to attack the Van Dam's about it at trial. So my comment still stands that they used it, at trial, to take the focus off their pervert client, Westerfield. You're a fool if don't believe Westerfield's lawyers tried to dig up dirt on Brenda and Damon. They probably knew about it sooner then the cops. Justice will be done for Danielle once Westerfield is dead.
So are all parents putting their children at danger, when they invite a guest over too? You don't think other people do that too? According to you parents can't have a guest in their own home. According to you a parent can't go out and have an enjoyable evening once and while. Yeah ok! According to you all parents must live under monastery rules to keep their child save, am I right? The only reason this became an issue is because Danielle disappeared. If she didn't then it would all be water under the bridge. Whatever they did that night the Van Dams did nothing to cause Danielle's disappearace and death. They are not criminals for hiding their sex escapades; try to get that into your thick skull, ok? The trial happened quickly, because Westerfield exercised his right to a speedy trial. So don't tell me law enforcement, the DA, or the Van Dam's screwed him over. He screwed himself when he kidnapped Danielle.
Freedom, did it ever occur to you that Brenda's courtroom testimony is different then her first interview, because her recollection of the evening was clearer to her? It was many months later. According to you, to be honest her courtroom testimony HAS TO fit to a T with her first police interview? Let me explain to you some reasons why her interview may have lacked some information or be inconsistent. First, she was asked to describe events that happened, well, into the night. Secondly, she smoked marijuana in her home. And thirdly, she just discovered her daughter missing!!!! You don't think that's gonna frazzle her nerves?!?!? She was under a cloud of confusion and fear! She didn't know if her daughter was alive or dead. So forgive her for not meeting your ridget standards. She didn't know exactly what to say to the police. She didn't know what type of questions to expect. "I smoked marijauna, do they need to know that? It's a crime. Am I gonna go to jail for it. What about my sex life? Do I have to reveal that too?". Those type of thoughts must have been circling her head. Her parents did not lie. But people like you say they did, because it takes focus away from Westerfield. TripleH1976 13:57 p.m., 14 July 2006 (UTC)

TripleH, Brenda van Dam has already been told how important these questions are, as they may lead to possible suspects. I'll make this real simple. I'm going to assume you have read both the search warrant, and the transcript links I posted for you. If not, you still have plenty of time.

1. Westerfield showed up. T or F. 2. Westerfield approached the girls. T or F 3. Westerfield started playing pool with the girls. T or F 4. Brenda van Dam did not discuss her children with anyone at Dad's bar/cafe. T or F 5. The only people who knew about the father/daugher dance are the immediate family, and one neighbor next door. T or F 6. Only Danielle van Dam could have told him about the daughter and father dance, and only after she had been abducted. T or F 7. Brenda van Dam told Westerfield during the cookie visit that she would be at Dad's, if she could get a babysitter. T or F 8. Brenda was expecting David Westerfield to be at Dad's. T or F Currious1 17:18, 15 July 2006 (UTC)Curious1