Hanford Sentinel

‘Truth wizard’ analyzes convicted Lemoore man’s latest interview: Eyes for Dave Hawk’s lies

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 By Joe Johnson jjohnson@HanfordSentinel.com | Posted: Friday, July 23, 2010 12:05 pm

Dave Hawk is in prison. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Yet people continue to question his guilt or innocence. On Monday, he appeared before the nation on “Dateline NBC” to tell the world: He did not kill his ex-wife, Debbie Hawk.

Not everyone believes him.

“Eyes for Lies” is a blog dedicated to exposing the truths and lies presented by people in the media. It is run by an anonymous woman identified in a sweeping U.S. survey as a “Truth Wizard.”

As explained by Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan, University of San Francisco, a “Truth Wizard” is a person “extraordinarily attuned to detecting the nuances of facial expressions, body language and ways of talking and thinking. Some of them can observe a videotape for a few seconds and amazingly they can describe eight details about the person on the tape.”

The survey – known as the Wizards Project – identified only 50 people out of more than 15,000 who could identify deception with at least an 80 percent or higher accuracy.

But what does this have to do with Dave Hawk?

A woman who runs “Eyes for Lies,” a blog dedicated to exposing the truths and lies presented by people in the media, analyzed Dave Hawk’s demeanor during a recent TV special. She told The Sentinel that “on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest level of suspicion, Dave Hawk is a 10.”

“Dateline NBC” aired a special in 2007 that detailed Debbie Hawk’s disappearance the year before. The episode included interviews with Hawk that were later analyzed by the “Eyes for Lies” blog.

The writer – who goes only by her blog name to avoid repercussions for publicly denouncing suspected criminals – came to the following conclusion about Hawk: He knows more than he’s letting on.

“Eyes” herself talked with The Sentinel Thursday to describe her findings both about the 2007 program and the recent “Dateline NBC” episode documenting the entire case.

“The people concerned that an innocent man went to jail need to realize the circumstantial evidence in this case is beyond overwhelming,” she said. “None of Dave’s behavior, actions or emotions suggest an innocent man. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest level of suspicion, Dave Hawk is a 10.”

To explain her reasoning, Eyes pointed out several moments in the new interview where Hawk’s words and body language seem to be in direct conflict with one other.

“He suggests the police swept this other suspect, a stalker ex-boyfriend, under the rug,” she said. “Why isn’t he outraged? If he knows the real killer is out there, that he’s innocent, he should be angry. Instead, he takes no action and just blames other people. Why didn’t he hire an investigator to get the truth if this is what he believes?”

Correspondent Keith Morrison pushes Hawk at one point, asking how the three Hawk kids benefited from him taking a trip to Hawaii with his girlfriend – using the children’s trust fund money.

“Perhaps it was my money,” Hawk responded, “The prosecution never bothered to see what money went where.”

Eyes said the inconsistency here begins with the very first word: “Perhaps? Perhaps it was my money? If you know it was your own, and you’re being accused, wouldn’t you state that outright? Wouldn’t you be certain? You can’t just say he was confused, because he isn’t acting confused. He’s being arrogant and cocky and smirking the whole time.”

Another clue: A blatant disregard for Debbie Hawk as a human being, she said. When asked if he threw her off a bridge, he laughs. Then he says, “it would have floated downstream.” “It,” not “she.”

“The night the police called him, he showed no surprise at all,” she said. “A normal person would want to know why the police want to question him. They would demand to know what’s going on. Dave never asks these questions. When Investigator Matteson said his ex-wife is missing, he doesn’t even blink.”

Emotions are biological. Tell a person to frown for a half hour and he or she will progressively feel sadness. Try to be manipulative, and the human body will involuntarily start to respond with the truth even before the mind crafts a lie.

“Eyes for Lies” calls this “behavioral evidence.” Picture a child eating sour candy: He may enjoy the treat, but his mouth will pucker from the taste.

“Hawk smirks and smiles a lot, which is not normal unless you are hiding something or think you’re smarter than the person talking to you,” she said. “He’s sitting in jail, found guilty of a crime he claims not to have done, so why is he smiling?”

On the fateful day Debbie disappeared, she did not pick up the kids from their regular visit with Dad. He had to drive them from Lemoore to Hanford and drop them off at her house, and he did it willingly.

“This is a controlling, manipulative person,” she said. “He would’ve normally been the type to keep the kids and hold it against Debbie in court for being late. When he took the kids home, the least you’d expect from any parent was to have the kids go inside and check that all was OK – that their mother didn’t fall and hurt herself. He left as soon as he dropped them off, without any worry as to why he didn’t hear from her. It’s highly unusual.”

Then there were the threats. Conrad, the Hawks’ eldest son, overheard his dad say Debbie Hawk would get what’s coming to her. Debbie’s sister said on “Dateline NBC” that “she told me just before she disappeared, if something happens to me, you know who’s responsible.” Even Hawk’s ex-girlfriend, Mary Royer, admitted Hawk once said “this won’t be over until that [expletive] is dead.”

“If I’m innocent and I’ve been accused of killing my ex-wife, I’d be horrified,” Eyes said. “Hawk isn’t horrified, he’s arrogant.”

Naysayers may argue that Hawk was simply confused or under great pressure during the interviews, but Eyes said nothing in his demeanor showed a scared or befuddled man.

“He never gives us anything honest to latch onto,” she said. “He tells us things are false, or wrong, he calls the financial crimes ‘shenanigans,’ but he doesn’t give us any facts to support himself. He just denies everything.”

Eyes dismissed the defense’s argument in court that it would’ve made no sense for Hawk to kill his ex simply to cover up the trust fund thefts, since the information would’ve come out anyway.

“That’s not the point,” Eyes said. “She would’ve humiliated him. She’d have exposed him in court. He couldn’t let that happen.”

Of course, Eyes could be wrong. But she’s got a great track record: She lists 31 high-profile cases on her website in which she accurately determined the guilt of the party in question before the truth came out, including the Amanda Knox murder, with only one case in error.

“I see a very arrogant, cocky and controlling man with no concern for his kids or their safety,” she said. “If he is innocent, and the real killer is out there, wouldn’t he worry about them coming back after his children? Wouldn’t he be outraged? We haven’t seen an ounce of concern from Dave for his kids, have we?

“He thinks he’s gotten away with something,” she said. “He thinks he might have outsmarted everyone. He’s in jail, yes, but they never found the body. He thinks he’s committed the perfect crime and I suspect he believes he will eventually be exonerated for it. As long as people keep listening to him, he’ll keep talking and keep insisting he’s innocent, because it gives him a chance.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2425.