What a Coincidence...
by Gary Inbinder
“What I’m saying is that these are mere coincidences. It’s what a lawyer would call circumstantial evidence. It’s not proof.” — “Number Eleven”
That’s completely wrong. For example, Jane Doe has been killed by a bullet through the heart. There are no witnesses except for the person who shot her (direct evidence). The police examine the crime scene and find the following:
- a still-warm Smith&Wesson .38 revolver with five loaded chambers, and one empty, fired chamber;
- the gun is found at a distance from the body, and there is forensic and pathological evidence that rule out a self-inflicted wound, either accidental or intentional;
- forensic pathology links the bullet in Jane’s heart to the Smith&Wesson;
- the revolver is registered to Jon Doe;
- the revolver has Jon Doe’s fingerprints, including prints consistent with firing of the gun;
- there are footprints in the area consistent with ballistics reports about the distance from which the gun was fired, and those prints match a pair of Jon Doe’s shoes.
That is all circumstantial (indirect) evidence and would be admissible, since it is relevant and tends to prove that Jon killed Jane.
Meanwhile, on another front:
- Jon Doe has six letters in his name;
- Jon is the sixth son of a sixth son;
- Jane is the sixth daughter of a sixth daughter;
- the moon is in the sixth house;
- the Smith & Wesson is a six-shooter;
- there are six letters in Wesson;
- the crime occurs at six a.m. June 6, 2006 at 666 Beast of the Apocalypse Drive;
- the number 666 and the words Beast of the Apocalypse Drive add up to six.
And so forth and so on.
Those are mere coincidences that have nothing to do with the case in point. Crime stories and the law normally deal with cause and effect; superstition is something else entirely.
Copyright © 2007 by Gary Inbinder