(1) “There are no perfect crimes”
If there are no perfect crimes, why do one-third of all American murders go unsolved, even in this era of DNA, surveillance videos, computers, criminal databases, and other technological marvels? Why are at least 200,000 unknown killers wandering around the country? Yet, at least once a week on true crime TV, some detective or crime writer will repeat the provably false cliché that “there are no perfect crimes.” If a killer is never caught, he or she committed a perfect crime.
Here is just one example. (NOTE: I’m using a case from the 1950s because there is always a chance that a more modern case could be solved.) On December 19, 1959, the Walker family was murdered inside their rural home near Osprey, Florida. Cliff, 25, Christine, 24, Jimmie 3, and Debra, 1, were savagely executed. All were shot except Debra, who was drowned in the bath tub. Christine was also raped. No one was ever charged with the killings. In 2013, officials exhumed the bodies of “In Cold Blood” killers Richard Hickock and Perry Smith to obtain DNA. After attempting to match it to a sample from Christine Walker, investigators found it didn’t match.
(2) “Polygraphs will tell whether you’re lying or not”
Polygraphs are notoriously unreliable, which is why they’re not allowed in American courts. The frightening thing is that some cops think the contraptions are accurate. Examples of people beating the polygraph could fill an encyclopedia. Charles Cullen, the “Angel of Death,” passed a so-called lie detector test after his first murder—39 slayings later, he was arrested and confessed. After the fourth Green River killing, Gary Ridgway passed a polygraph—48 murders later, he was captured and confessed. CIA spy Aldrich Ames passed several polygraphs. Because of his ability to beat the exams, at least eleven CIA operatives were caught and executed by the Soviet Union.
There have also been numerous innocent people who failed the polygraph. One example is Bill Wegerle, who flunked two polygraphs in connection with the murder of his wife, Vicki. It was later proven that Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer, had committed the murder.
Polygraphs are a scam of the worst sort because they can mean the difference between life and death, or freedom and prison.