The 22 February 2013 edition of the Post~Crescent, an Appleton, Wisconsin based newspaper, proclaimed that the death of James Asmuth ended the last hope for a solution to the murder of Helen Asmuth. He died on 20 February 2013.
On 31 July, 1984. James and his wife were victims of gunshot at their home in Neenah, Wisconsin. James was shot twice in the abdomen and had a bullet graze on his forehead. He called the emergency number and was located in the kitchen of the home when police arrived.
Helen Asmuthâ€™s body was found in the driveway of the coupleâ€™s home dead from a gunshot to her chest.
There was some initial activity in the case that included road trips to Chicago and New York. The attendees were members of the DC Eagles and the now disgraced prosecutor Joe Paulus. Nothing came from the trips.
James Asmuth’s first statement to police was that he was shot while watching television. He described a person wearing a white t‑shirt and ski‑mask who was standing with his wife and ordered James to accompany him. When James refused, he assailant shot him. He then followed the assailant and his wife to see her shot in the driveway. James stated he then crawled back to his kitchen where he telephoned for help.
A later description from the victim stated the killer was wearing dark clothing and a black mask.
Starting in 2009, police have been feeding information to the Post~Crescent claiming a need to resolve the case. The newspaper said that Wisconsin Special Agent Kim Skorlinski â€œstrategically released new information.â€
As is too often the case, investigators have used public statements of innuendo and dogma as an attempt to undermine and incriminate the person they claim was responsible. This tactic is common, but when the perpetrator is not the same person who has been incriminated, police do little to restore the reputation of the person they have victimized.
Here, the target was James Asmuth. His immediate family has been included in the aspersions.
One claim is that the an attorney family member did not allow James Asmuth to be interviewed by police immediately after the shooting. The inference is that the family was attempting to hide evidence. The problem was that Asmuth was dying. Medical treatment was immediately necessary to keep James alive. His health precluded any usable statement. James had lost much blood when he got to surgery. The emergency treatment of Asmuth has not been considered by investigators. .
This demonstrates investigator ignorance with witness accuracy when the witness is in a state of extreme trauma. Although the witness claims to remember facts immediately before and after the trauma, the reality is that what is remembered is often not true. This is compounded when leading and prejudicial questions are directed at the traumatized individual.
Police statements to the Post~Crescent have pointed out how the Asmuth statements differ from their interpretation of the evidence. Police have not communicated why their interpretations were not backed up by sufficient evidence to charge.
It is important to be aware of problems of memory and rely on evidence to investigate. It is improper, from my point of view, to use statements that are unlikely to be true or sometimes have been extracted by extreme leading questions and then recorded later by a detective with wishful thinking.
There was a 2004 interview by Agent Skorlinski when he asked James to explain the evidence that Skorlinski presented. The police stance was that since Asmuth’s first statements did not mention how his blood came to be mixed with his wifeâ€™s that he was deliberately lying in the early statements. This was based upon an assumption that James had to be in the driveway with his wife.
There are some items that police claim are evidence of Jamesâ€™involvement.
These are the blood of James Asmuth found on his wifeâ€™s clothing, the rope binding Helen Asmuth, and his eyeglasses.
Blood, identified as belonging to James, was found on his wifeâ€™s skirt and blouse. Skorlinski, felt this was sufficient to implicate James. However, if Helen Asmuth were present when James was shot, that it is very likely that his blood would be on her clothing. She might have even reached out to him as he was being shot or after he was shot. Police also identified blood of James Asmuth on the rope that bound the hands of Helen. Again, without knowing where and when the rope came into the possession of the killer, the presence of blood is not presumptive for James being in the presence of his wife when she was murdered.
A question is since James was bleeding enough for his blood to transfer to his wife, how does that tie him to the crime other than being a victim?
In 2009, Skorlinski claimed that there were blood drops in the driveway behind a parked vehicle. This claim disappeared in later statements to the Post~Crescent.
A pair of glasses belonging to James Asmuth was found near the body of his wife. One of the lenses was nearby. The question is how the glasses arrived at the scene. The police intimate that James was present at the murder of his wife and then left his damaged eyeglass behind. That is conjecture as is any other guess how the glasses came to be there. It is likely that Helen Asmuth gripped the glasses when her husband was shot and kept them in her grip when she was forced outside.
Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkerson told the Post~Crescent that family members have not been staying in contact with police, and he finds that behavior suspect. But, if the family has been told to keep their suspicions to themselves, then why should they continue a relationship with investigators. And, since police wanted to incriminate a father is it smart for the family to maintain a distance from police? If investigators want to incriminate a person, the most innocent of statements can be interpreted as proof of criminal activity.
Another problem with Wilkersonâ€™s claim is that it is dogma. He makes the statement with no well‑founded research to back it up. It is unlikely that police keep records of those who do not maintain contact so they will have a well documented basis for such statements.
The Ramseys distanced themselves from police after the 1996 murder of their daughter, JonBenet. Police were so intent on labeling either or both of the parents, or their son, that it was foolhardy to engage in any conversation with investigators. There have been other cases when police claim such things as inappropriate grief, another bogus investigative concept, and then expect the other family members to rally to the police side.
There are problems with the police desire to have James Asmuth as the perpetrator in his wifeâ€™s murder.
There has been no documented blood trail between the driveway where Helen was found and the kitchen where James was found. Given Jamesâ€™wounds, it is hard to imagine him traveling that distance without a blood trail.
The gun or guns have not been found. James Asmuth was in no condition to hide the weapon off property. And, no weapon has been tied to him.
There have been no claims of discord between husband and wife or any other remotely possible motive for James to need or want to murder his wife.
It is unfortunate that police have exhibited a lack of critical thinking in evaluating their claims and a willingness to proclaim the case has lost its ability to be solved with the death of James Asmuth. The reason that there was no death bed confession is that James Asmuth had none to make.
The Post~Crescentâ€™s part has been to dutifully regurgitate what the police fed them. There has been no attempt to evaluate what evidence can mean or not mean.
The Post~Crescent is not alone with this kind of persecution.
In 1996 Richard Jewell, working as a guard, discovered a bomb at the Olympic Park and saved the lives of passersby. The FBI decided that he fitted the profile, another poor investigative tool, of someone who would plant a bomb to attempt to become a hero. The Atlanta Journal‑Constitution began its persecution of Jewell and destroyed his reputation. Jay Leno, up to his usual ignorance, mocked Jewell. The NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, opined that the FBI was close to making its case against Jewell.
The real bomber, Eric Rudolph, went on to commit more bombings thanks to police and press.
Police have done their best to try to publicly convict James Asmuth, and the Post~Crescent has been obliging in their part. Neither has engaged in careful evaluation of the police proclamations.
What is likely is that there is a murderer walking among us because of a lack of critical thought by police and press.
in category Rants