Devier can't keep his eyes off the rock.
Douglas explains the methodology and the results of this psychological strategy:
I warned the interrogators that they'd have to sink to Devier's level. They would need to project blame onto the victim by suggesting that she'd seduced him. Allowing Devier a face-saving scenario was their only chance of getting a confession because Devier knew that Georgia is a death penalty state.The instant Devier entered the interrogation room, he was transfixed by the rock. He started sweating, breathing hard and cowering. As planned, interrogators projected blame onto the victim. Devier got really quiet. An innocent man will scream and protest, but a guilty man will listen to what you have to say if you've surprised him with a chance to save face.
I will use a more recent case as an example of how this works. Keep in mind that a psychopath has no empathy or shame so he feels no remorse nor does he care what you think about him. He only does what is he thinks will get himself the best results. Clever though the interrogator may be, the manipulation has less to do with psychology than conning the suspect into believing you have more evidence than you do so he will confess.
Recently in Maryland an interrogation was videotaped. The video shows exactly why this is true. Gary Smith, a former Army Ranger, is being questioned about the shooting of his roommate, a fellow Ranger. He tells three stories.
Story One: Smith tells the police he arrived home to find his friend, Michael McQueen, dead. No gun was present at the scene.
Obviously the police label this a homicide as dead men do not get rid of guns. They focus in on Smith, something he was hoping they would not do. But now that they have focused on him, he has to come up with a good story to get them to go away. He decides he will convince them it is a suicide.
Story Two: Smith weeps and tells the police he altered the crime scene because he was afraid he would be accused of killing McQueen. He said he came home and found his roommate slumped over in the chair, the gun on the floor below his right hand. He guessed his buddy had found Smith's gun from under the counter where it was hidden. He took the gun and threw it in the lake. Smith swears on his dead buddy's grave this was the truth.
Smith has been inching closing and closer to the truth, not because the interrogator is breaking down his psychological barriers, but because each time he believes the police have a certain added bit of damning information, he reassesses his situation and decides what is the next best thing he can say to get the lowest penalty possible.
At this point in the interview, Smith has admitted to bringing the gun and being in the house when the gun went off and altering a crime scene by removing and disposing of the weapon that killed McQueen. He tried to be totally innocent and get no charge, but when he couldn't get around the gun issue, he was willing to admit to disposing of the gun because this is by far a lesser charge than murder.
Now the police are letting him know the blood-spatter pattern contradicts his story. And in this interview saga, the remote control becomes Douglas's bloody rock. Look, they say. Look at that television remote control over there. We think, Mr. Smith, that he had that in his hand when he died and he wasn't holding the gun.
Now for the confession. Smith believes they have him cornered. He stares at the remote and tries desperately to come up with the next best story that will keep him out of the electric chair. He needs to believe the police will accept this story and charge him accordingly. He will confess but not out of remorse or because he wants to save face. He wants to get out of a death penalty conviction. What will his story be? What story will the investigator offer for Smith to agree with so that he thinks he will get out of the most serious charge? Readers?