An addition to the Analysis of the Garrott
As far as I know, no one has actually challenged what I allege to
be proof of the amateurism at the garrote scene. Still, there are
those (mostly on other forums) who continue to express or imply
that the knots are "complicated," "sophisticated" and
"professional." The inference is that no "ordinary folk" are
capable of creating this scene. The further inference is that the
Ramseys are incapable of this, therefore innocent. If you will
bear with on what promises to be a rather long winded analysis, I
will try again to lay this "professional" nonsense to rest.
Every scene, crime scene or otherwise, is usually made up of
several elements. Being knowledgeable in one or some does not
assure being knowledgeable in all. For instance, I am quite
knowledgeable about ropes, knots and that sort of thing, but if
the area of investigation were about computers, setting up web
pages and that sort of thing, I would probably take a back seat
to at least 90% of the posters. Forgetting this fact of specific
knowledge often leads to the acceptance of "expert opinion" that
is in error.
"Wrapped around the neck with a double knot in the midline of the
posterior neck is a length of white cord similar to that
described as being tied around the right wrist. This ligature
cord is cut on the right side of the neck and removed. A single
black ink mark is placed on the left side of the cut and a
double black ink mark on the right side of the cut. The
posterior knot is left intact. Extending from the knot on the
posterior aspect of the neck are two tails of the knot, one
measuring 4 inches in length and having a frayed end, and the
other measuring 17 inches in length with the end tied in
multiple loops around a length of a round tan-brown wooden stick
which measures 4.5 inches in length."
I certainly am not equipped to question Dr. Meyer's medical know
how, but he is obviously very unknowledgeable about ropes and
knots. The mental picture I got from Dr. Meyers description is
far different than the mental picture I get from observing the
relevant photos. His description is horribly erroneous.
There is no double knot in this scene, hence no two leads leading
away from a double knot. A double knot by definition is two
knotting throws. It does not exist here. There is a single knot
preceded by two or three turns of the cord around itself, but
only one knotting action. The short lead does trail from the
knot. The long part to the handle is simply the distance from the
small loop to the handle. It is a continuation away from the loop
around the neck and is not connected to nor interrupted by any
We shall later look more at the flaws here, but first, let's
establish something of a background of realistic professional to
use as a reference.
If you have ever seen a calf roping\tying contest in person or on
tv, you may have noticed the contestant shaking out the lasso
just prior to start. The shaking out it to get the lasso
dimensions suitable to the task out hand. This shaking out is
possible because the small loop at the end of the rope allows
free travel of the main line for the adjustment of size. This
small loop is fixed by design so that it will not slip and change
size, thus compressing upon the main line and reducing free
Without this fixed small loop and with compression, upon every
use, the contestant could not shake out the lasso, but would have
to use both hands and considerable time to back off the
compressed small loop in order to put the lasso back to the
dimensions wanted. Ergo, a small loop that is not fixed and will
compress is very unprofessional. This is all basic understanding
in the construction and use of a lasso by whatever name and
In none of these contests will you ever see a contestant throw a
rope over the calf's neck and then construct the lasso. Yes, the
image is quite ridiculous. It is just as ridiculous elsewhere,
but perhaps not a noticeable to most. By the wildest stretch of
imagination, I cannot think of a single instance in which
construction of a lasso on the object makes any "professional"
sense. It appears that in such a circumstance, the lasso element
is more accidental than intended; or the construction was not for
use, but for show.
I get the impression that most of you are not all that familiar
with garrotes, ropes, knots and that sort of thing. Good. If you
will visually go along with me, you can help me make the point
that what is found at the crime scene is not professional, but an
amateur following intuitive prompts. By intuitive prompts, I mean
letting the circumstance dictate the next move as opposed to a
Lets' assume that staging is called for. For various reasons,
some options are rejected. The idea settled on is garroting. Your
knowledge of garrotes and garroting is limited to knowing it has
something to do with strangulation with a rope or something and
involves a handle.
You have in your possession a nylon cord about four or five feet
long. A paint brush will provide the handle. You start from the
basic of straddling the face down victim for comfort of
operation. It is noticed that the arms are in the way. They are
moved to an overhead position to get them out of the way.
The next move is to take one end of the cord and run it under the
throat and around the neck. You see that the circuit must be
completed to effect a loop for strangulation. Obviously, this
means connecting the cord to itself in something of a circle.
This can be done in several ways, but let's look at it from the
viewpoint of what is shown in the photo.
You are holding the long part of the cord in your left hand. The
shorter part that has been brought around the neck is in your
right hand. (Although its all one cord, the long cord refers to
the part in the left hand and the short cord refers to the part
in the right hand which has traveled around the neck.) You need
to make some kind of connection of the short cord to the long
cord. Visual dictates the short cord in your right hand over and
under (or vise versa) the long cord in your left hand. (Where
else could you go other than tying a single or double knot like a
shoe string tie, and this would slip?)
You can't just drop it here as it would just fall apart and not
create a stable noose. What's next? You need to anchor the
completed circuit in some way. How? You need some kind of
knotting and holding action. What is the most obvious means? The
short cord which has been looped around the long cord is wrapped
around itself. What now? There is an opening at the point where
the short cord is looped around the long cord. The end of the
short cord is put through this opening to create the knotting
action. End of story. Real complicated, huh?
The photos shows the short cord wrapped around itself two or
three times before the end is passed through the opening and the
single knot created. Why two or three times? Amateur again. There
is no advantage here any more than there is in the many turns
around the handle. In fact, is also detrimental as it creates a
bit of a back pressure that tends ever so slightly to undo the
Complicated? Professional? Hardly. Following the intuitively
"obvious" is precisely what resulted in the many flaws. As
further illustration, let's correct just one of the flaws.
The finished product in the photo shows the short cord traveling
on the left side of the neck in a clockwise direction. It is
compressed against the main cord. This means an action to reduce
the size of the loop for strangulation would tend to back out the
short lead and undo the knot.
Let's go back to the point where the short cord is looped around
the long to create the noose. Now we want to anchor it. Let go of
the long cord in your left hand and grasp the short cord near
where if comes over the long cord. Now take the end of the short
cord and run it under the cord across the back of the neck. Bring
the end up to your left hand and over where you are holding. Now
bring the end through the loop created by this action. This
creates a knot that is not affected by the motion of the garrote.
A bit more complicated? Sure, but that's what it takes for
efficiency. That's the point.
Even thought this design still has the flaw of slipping and
compressing the cord restricting travel, it will hold no matter
what. The short lead is now going counterclockwise around the
neck. Again, this is elementary stuff to any and all with even
minimal experience in this area.
What I'm trying to do here is the same as the original analysis.
I am trying eliminate all the nonsense about "professional" and
see what kind of theory John Ramsey or Lou Smit can come up with
without the illusion of "professional."
Needless to say, I am available to respond to any and all
questions regarding my analysis. No one is excluded. Ramsey,
Smit, "believers", "just curious", or a hundred attorneys. Its
all the same to me.
Copyright at Common Law, Delmar England, 2000. All Rights Reserved.