Larry Lebowitz and Wanda J. DeMarzo of the Miami Herald report. Excerpt:
Former Broward Sheriff’s detention deputy Andrew Johnson repeatedly gave deceptive answers to lie-detector questions posed by detectives investigating the murder of Deputy Patrick Behan, according to a memo summarizing the tests.
Johnson, who was fired from his job as a jail guard four months before Behan’s 1990 murder, was lured back to BSO on Feb. 8 under the pretense of a job interview.
According to records released Wednesday, detectives were trying to determine whether Johnson had been telling the truth when he told undercover agents he had killed a deputy or whether he was bragging in hopes of landing a job with drug traffickers.
Johnson was broke, had been acquitted on a 1995 rape charge and had run through a series of jobs when he showed up at BSO for the fake job interview. He declared bankruptcy in 1999, and four weeks before the interview he and his wife of 12 years had filed for divorce. He had never given up a dream of being a law enforcement officer.
According to experts who examined the BSO reports for The Herald, the polygraph results raise more questions than answers. Renowned Miami polygrapher George Slattery said the detectives never asked the key question — ”Did you fire the shot that killed Behan?” — during the five-and-a-half-hour polygraphed portion of the fake job interview.
Expert Warren Holmes of Miami agreed: ‘The bottom line is that you cannot absolve Johnson in any way. To resolve it, there would have to have been more definitive questions, such as `did you shoot someone on the night of …’ He didn’t ask any of that.”
The notion that anyone can be absolved (or incriminated) based on the results of pseudoscientific polygraph “tests” is a dangerous delusion.