The Extraordinary Nature of Murder and the Evidence for God
by J Warner Wallace
In 1981, there were approximately 24,159,000 people living in the state of California. That year, 3,143 people committed the crime of murder. Most people were law abiding, peace loving citizens; very few (only .01% of the population) were murderers. That’s an extraordinarily low number if you stop and think about it. One of these 1981 California murderers (representing only .000004 % of the population) killed his wife and claimed that she ran away from home, leaving her young children and abandoning her family. This killer was a beloved member of the victim’s family and they refused to believe he was responsible for her death, even as I prepared to take the case to trial. I can understand why they would feel this way. It was an extraordinary claim really: a gentle and friendly man, representing only .000004% of the entire population, without any history of violence and without any apparent motive, accused of committing the worst possible crime. The victim’s family repeatedly told me this was an extraordinary claim they simply could not accept, and even after showing them the evidence I gathered prior to trial, they refused to believe it.
The jury trial lasted about a month. Dateline (the NBC news program) was in the courtroom with us during the course of the trial and the correspondent for this show later interviewed me on camera. He was incredulous about the suspect’s involvement. The evidence was entirely circumstantial. That’s not unusual for my cases (all of them have been built on circumstantial evidence), but this one was particularly extraordinary. There wasn’t a single piece of physical evidence. In fact, we didn’t even have the victim’s body. There wasn’t even a crime scene; the case was worked as a “missing person” investigation back in 1981 and no one examined the home where the victim was killed. Of all my circumstantial cases, this was one was definitely the most difficult and “thin”. It was extraordinary on many levels: the unlikely nature of the crime in 1981, the unlikely nature of the suspect and the unlikely nature of the evidence available to us…
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