As Pointing From the Grave comes to a close, it is evident that Weinberg forms a relationship with Frediani that would raise a couple eyebrows had she developed the relationship during the trial. In my opinion, it was strange for Weinberg to continue a working relationship with Frediani after his conviction. Did she have doubts? In addition, did she think Frediani was capable of love? At first, I did not believe Frediani could be capable of real emotions because of the stereotypes surrounding sociopaths and his history of manipulating and hurting his partners. But I was wrong. “Inside the Mind of a Sociopath” describes the type of love Frediani was capable of.
“whatever it is that we feel affection, for me it’s maybe 70 percent gratitude, a little bit of adoration, a little bit of — if it’s a romantic relationship — infatuation or sexual attraction”
It was still wrong, in my opinion, for Weinberg to get wrapped up emotionally with Frediani, but we benefited as readers because we read more of Frediani’s personality and gained possible evidence that he did commit the crime.
After reading this book, I have realized the extent to which testing or analyzing DNA can affect someone’s life. While reading the end of the book, and interesting thought came up for me: Is it better to live in a world where DNA use is very prominent or one where DNA use is virtually nonexistent? This book advocated for the use of DNA testing, especially in cases where it will help bring a killer to justice. In that instance it seems very beneficial to society, no question. But, with DNA tests becoming more and more advanced and it being applied in different ways, there is definitely a moral conflict. DNA can now be analyzed to identify defects and mutations in humans before they are even born. You could even rearrange DNA to eliminate these things, or to essentially “customize” a human to have the traits to want it to. Also, cloning is another example where DNA tampering might be crossing the line. In my opinion, DNA is starting to reach a point where any advancements can lead to controversy. Use of DNA is fine when you are using it in a criminal setting and trying to catch a murderer or rapist. But, when it is applied in order for a government to control its people or to clone humans, it is just going too far. Especially after interviewing a biologist yesterday, DNA can be a scary thing and that some of its uses may be immoral when applied to everyday life.
Chapter 19 once again discusses the idea that Frediani re-positioned Helena’s body at the crime scene, and I was intrigued to learn more about this course of action, which happens to be utilized by many murderers. After some searching on Google, I came across an informative website. It turns out that crime scene staging and positioning of the body play a huge part in the ultimate success of the investigation process. It makes sense that the manipulation of the body or any other elements of the crime scene makes it difficult to evaluate. Researchers have discovered that some murders stage the body for a few different reasons. First, some do it to mislead investigators. Often, this can be done with the purpose of making the homicide look like a suicide. Furthermore, some stage crime scenes in order to meet psychological needs. Positioning the body in a certain way so that it looks like an object, symbol, etc. almost always has some kind of significance. In this case, the position of the body could account for a message the murderer is trying to make. Lastly, the murderer may position the body in such a way as to leave a personal “trademark.” A lot of the time this is what is portrayed on television shows such as “Criminal Minds.” Overall, there is almost always a purpose for the re-positioning of the body, and this is an interesting point to consider given the state that Helena was left in.
“These are good people. They are victims as much as Sydney Greenwood was. What has happened to their son has taken over their life and they are wading through it every day, terrified to think about his future—or theirs” (Weinberg: 347).
You skip a rock across the surface of a lake, and barely any of the water moves or ripples. You throw a massive boulder in that very same lake, and not only do you get a giant splash but a rippling effect that can go on and on. This visual representation can provide a simple yet drastically indicative example of how crime can reverberate to different people; possibly those who had nothing to do with a crime in the first place.
Murder, rape, arson, and other horrific crimes tend to do this. Victims themselves and their families can and will experience the tragic ramifications that result from these kinds of crimes. The quote mentioned above though sheds light onto a different, more sympathetic perspective: that is, the perpetrator’s family. The perpetrator may be so far removed for his or her family that a crime he or she might commit may not have any initial effect; however, this perpetrator is still somebody’s daughter or son. This perpetrator was once a child, teenager, adult, senior, or someone along that process. The fact of the matter is that crime will erode the fabrics of our society from top to bottom. It’s not a matter of how big the boulder is that is dropped in a lake, but the reach of the rippling waves that are produced. The catch is that the even the smallest pebble will have a rippling effect that will reach the shore line, getting everybody wet.
“‘You have about as much choice in some aspects of your personality as you do in the shape of your nose or the size of your feet.’ ” -Weinberg, 349-50
After reviewing the existences of the “gay gene” and the genetic mutation that makes people predisposed to aggressive and impulsive tendencies, Weinberg includes this quote from Dean Hamer, the scientist who found these genes.
This in particular is very interesting to me because it technically takes some responsibility for his crimes away from Frediani. The untreated genetic mutation that failed from discouraging Frediani the same way someone without the mutation might be discouraged is a rather compelling argument supporting Frediani’s innocence. Ultimately, the mutated genes did not force Frediani to do anything, nor do they absolve him from his actions as a “temporary insanity plea” would.
I wonder that if the jury had known about this gene mutation, and if it was explained to them in a similar way that the temporary insanity plea would be, would they have been more merciful. I don’t believe so, especially considering the more conservative area of Del Mar that Weinberg had described, because I’d imagine that the jury would feel his actions outweigh any genetic mutations that he has.
“I thought then that a person who was innocent, as he had proclaimed through two trials, would certainly want to see the results of DNA testing before going to trial…the fact that he avoided the DNA testing by pleading spoke volumes” (Weinberg: 180).
“And he got away with it; got away with it until now. Thank you” (Weinberg: 321).
These quotes, both from persecutors in the sexual assault case and murder respectively, really show the guilt behind Frediani. But what was his motive? Well, there are multiple reasons why he may have committed the sexual assault, but it seems that DNA was the answer behind a no contest plea in the first case, indicating something deeper about this case that truly makes you believe that he had motive to kill.
That’s what crime is all about, isn’t it? Motive. It is the inspiration to do your crime. Why commit something if you have no motive. Motive truly is the most important aspect of a criminal case, for without any motive, it seems to be quite difficult to demonstrate that a defendant has a reason to do whatever the crime may be. It’s not hard to illustrate circumstantial evidence that is coincidental and superficial; however, once there is a concrete reason as to why the circumstantial lines up with other details, motive can be established, consisting of reason and logic for the particular act.
In chapter 16 the book discussed people’s differing opinions on the death penalty. It was decided that the death penalty would have been too harsh and that the jury would not have been able to sentence Frediani to death simply based on the evidence presented. Although Heilig did not agree and she thought that yes Frediani deserved to die because of what he did to Helena. I wanted to know more about the death penalty in the United States and if most people agreed with Heilig’s mentality of an eye for an eye.
I found this article that put the death penalty into a different perspective for me. Lincoln Caplan talks about how there have been “more than fourteen hundred executions in the United States”. This really puts into perspective how much the death penalty has been used throughout the years. Is this acceptable? He also goes into talking about the different ways that these people are killed and how many of these drugs have not been approved by the FDA. Also he says that 152 times people have been exonerated. Mistakes have been made and this has cost innocent people their lives.
I know that Frediani is guilty but what if he wasn’t? Is killing him because he killed Helena really a good punishment? Should the punishment always fit the crime? Before I read this article I completely agreed with Heilig, but after reading the article I have begun to rethink my stance on the death penalty.
Frediani’s post-jail life is highlighted in Chapter 12. It seems as though he is off to a typical, clean life in the beginning of the chapter. He starts at lower, entry-level jobs post-bail but soon manages to make it into the white-collar world. I wonder why Frediani was able to succeed so well after three years in prison, when so many struggle with issues such as homelessness, unemployment, and drug/substance abuse. What mentality did Frediani have that made him succeed? How was he able to pursue an MBA? It makes you think that maybe he was innocent because he was so willing to make a 360 right out of jail. However, when discussions of his anger started to arise later in the chapter, it confirmed (in my mind) that Frediani must have been guilty on some account. His temperament issues might be the switch that makes him commit crimes.
“Now, practically every policeman is trained in the art of collecting fingerprints, and every police crime lab has a fingerprint analyst.”- Weinberg 49
Though Weinberg talks about hiding fingerprints through gloves, I wondered if it was truly possible to remove one’s own fingerprints like Agent J (Will Smith) does in one of my favorite films, Men in Black. I found a a small debate about it on a question site called quora.com, which mentions that it is possible to temporarily “sand” off one’s fingerprints as well as permanently burn them off. So, in reality, the device used in Men In Black could very well be a real thing; However, this article from CNN says that it is useless, at least from a criminal’s perspective. Fingerprint analysis techniques get better every day, and even mutilating one’s own fingers might not be enough to escape the cops anymore.
The beginning of chapter 2 brought up how the neighborhood where Helena was attacked was very wealthy and this brought up questions in class about the wealth of a neighborhood affecting how quickly crimes would be solved. Because of the argument about resources vs. Experience. Here is an article about how income affects the crime rate of an area.http://financesonline.com/how-income-inequality-affects-crime-rates/
As genetic testing continues to advance and how it has changed the world of science and for catching criminals. Though scientists are now using similar technology to try to discover if some people are more susceptible to committing crimes the others.http://www.udel.edu/chem/C465/senior/fall00/GeneticTesting/enviro.htm
Freudian’s childhood was obviously a very difficult time. Is a persons upbringing and childhood the most important to how they act as an adult. Is nurture really the dominant factor in the future for all humans? http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97641&page=1
Frediani lies about his relevance to the crime at first, then claims that it had taken place because he was drunk. In the criminal world this idea of “blaming it on the alcohol” seems to be popular. However, it seems to increase the chances of hardened punishment. This brings me to the idea that if alcohol was not present in at least fifty percent of crime, would that fifty percent be less than it is? maybe if criminals were not drunk at the time of certain wrongdoing I feel there is a huge possibility that the crime would not happen. All in all, in the world of crime alcohol seems to be a huge accessory to some crime, if this stupidity was eliminated I feel crime rates would decrease drastically.
“Over the following years, Lattes, and a growing band of fellow forensic serologists, were called in to use both the precipitin test and blood grouping in an increasing number of cases. Although they acknowledged that they were nowhere near being able to tell whether a bloodstain came from a particular person- the groupings were far too large for that- and it was of no help if the victim and suspect shared the same blood type, the techniques proved to be powerful in excluding suspects, narrowing down the list of potential culprits, and above all, as tools to produce a confession” (Weinberg 53)
The discovery of the precipitin test started a trend of forensic discoveries. But each of these tools that scientists uncovered proved to be useful only in eliminating suspects, not finding guilt. Like Weinberg said “the techniques proved to be powerful in excluding suspects”. Not until the ability to profile DNA was discovered were scientists able to prove guilt of a suspect. This perhaps is why the detectives in the case of Helena and Mr. Frediani were forced to question him instead of just simply arresting him. They could prove that he was indeed on the scene but not that he committed the crime. They were using the tools that were covered in the chapter like the precipitin test to exclude other suspects and use them to “produce a confession” from Mr. Frediani.