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Rush to Judgement: a critical examination of the David Westerfield, Danielle van Dam child kidnapping and murder case, San Diego 2002 Paperback – June 22, 2011
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
On receiving the book, AJ Flick, a journalist who was awarded a certificate of appreciation and recognition by the Mayor of Tucson, and whose article on Selby's confession is quoted in the book, exclaimed: Wow! Not what I expected! I was expecting one of those thin, hastily written true-crime books, and this looks like a VERY well-researched TOME.
From the Author
The opening brief in Westerfield's appeal was filed on December 28, 2011. It contains 448 pages, and gives nearly 30 reasons why his conviction should be overturned. The responding brief was filed on October 9, 2012. It contains 267 pages. A supplementary opening brief (9 pages) was filed on February 26, 2013, and the response (8 pages) on March 26. Finally, the Appellant's Reply Brief (155 pages) was filed on May 14, 2013.
Brenda thought the cookie sale was on the Tuesday (29th), whereas Westerfield thought it was most likely on the Thursday (31st) (page 187 of the book). The hailstorm referred to on page 131 occurred on the Tuesday evening, so it's extremely unlikely that the cookie sale was on that date.
Correction (page 10): the father-daughter dance was scheduled for the 7th not the 14th, and therefore before the trip to Italy, so that trip would not have had to be cut short to attend the dance.
Correction (page 242): the (Bean, June 25) reference is to his article "Prosecutors trot out more fiber evidence in case against accused child killer".
Correction (page 547, Item TE-JS4): no location for the "possible blood flake/tissue" was given, but this was presumably the flake in Item TE-TK5, and was therefore from Westerfield's RV and not from Danielle.
Pages 140 and 142: Detectives Ott and Keyser were probably in Westerfield's SUV for less than half-an-hour.
Denise Kemal died in December, 2011, and George "Woody" Clarke in November, 2012. May they rest in peace.
The media reported that Westerfield "steam-cleaned his motor home, using heavy amounts of bleach" (page 193). eHow.com states that bleach is dangerous to use in a steam cleaning machine, it will damage carpets and upholstery, and can damage the actual machine. Steam from bleach will cause burning and red eyes, gagging, blistering and pains in your throat.
The LA Times reported (May 8, 2002) that the judge refused to order the van Dams to let Westerfield's attorneys and investigators into their home to look for evidence that might help in his defense (pages 215-217).
On May 8, 2002, the polygraph operator testified that, if Westerfield had passed the test, "that would have been the end of it". This shows an absolute faith in the reliability of polygraph results (pages 176-184).
The prosecution argued that the body was rapidly mummified, preventing colonization by blowflies until it was opened by animals - probably the coyotes seen in that area (e.g. page 288). Yet coyotes prefer to scavenge fresh carcasses, and have a keen sense of smell, making it likely that they would have discovered the body quickly.
Top customer reviews
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Maybe the accused didn't do it, but he doesn't come across much better than the parents and their friends. Not likeable or clean-cut people.
This is no novel and it can't be read as one. But if you want facts - buy this book!
1. Once an area is given back to the family/friends/public, that area has been contaminated and the police should NO LONGER use any 'evidence' from that site. Even takes just common sense to know and/or realize this. The police/investigators DID go back into the VanDamm home and removed more wall board etc for additional prints/investigation.
2. Why didn't the police question the 'McNally' family? The folks who had just sold their house next door. Isn't that the 'home' Damon first went to looking for Danielle? You would have had a bunch of different folks who looked at that home when it was for sale, etc. Was any work needed on that home before it was listed? Was it listed with a listing agency?
3. If someone was not at home in that neighborhood, the police never went back to question them.
This is very important:
This neighborhood was mainly filled with up and coming professionals and the like. Many of these folks do not have the knowledge nor experience to do maintenance jobs around home. Did the police and or investigators ever question any of these 'workers'? I don't believe so. Did any of these folks have lawn care; pool maintenance; a cleaning service and/or a variety of maintenance personel at anytime doing work on their home? Did their a/c unit need to be replaced or repaired? Did they need new flooring? How about painting - inside or out? What about their roof/shutters/gutters or any of that?
The weekend Damon went out Rt 8 and into the town of Occatillo - he said he went out there (with a friend from out of state) to leave posters and to erect a huge banner. Guess what: there is no place across that highway (unless you are getting off it) to place a banner and don't you need approval for that? If he went out there to leave any signs, there was no place on that road to leave them.
I could go on and on - there was so much wrong.
The author uses capitalization of words for emphasis very liberally. This is annoying. If it were used sparingly it might be a useful technique, but used as often as it is in this book is reminiscent of ninth or tenth grade.
it could be that there are valid concerns about the evidence used to convict David Westerfield, but if so they are buried under the author's ramblings. This book is an example of how conspiracy theories get started. Please don't waste your money or time on this book.