My essay on the Petyon Tuthill Case will address four main questions: What was the offender’s reason for committing this crime? Was he organized or disorganized during and after the crime? Was I convinced that Gerald Simpson was the offender, why or why not; and what lessons can be learned from this investigation and the outcome? Having listened to a series of audio recordings wherein the case is discussed, and after consulting the following sources: Sexual homicide: Patterns and motives, Burgess, A. W., Ressler, R. K., & Douglas, J. E. (2014) and Sexual murder: Catathymic and compulsive homicides, Schlesinger, L. B. (2004), my conclusions are that: Dante Page committed the crime out of desperation. His behavior while committing the crime was initially organized and methodical, and later became more reckless and disorganized. Based on the initial evidence, I was certain that the offender was Gerald Simpson. The investigation and the outcome demonstrated that DNA evidence is a powerful tool in confirming the identity of the perpetrator of a crime.
Dante Page, the offender in this case, committed the crime because he was set to return to prison in Baltimore after being expelled from the halfway house program he was a part of in Colorado. As a result, he needed money, and fast, presumably to flee Colorado and avoid being sent back to prison. Consequently, he entered the victim’s home to steal anything he could pawn, and when he was caught in-the-act by the victim, he murdered her to hide his original crime.
While committing the crime, the offender acted instinctually, chasing his victim through the house, trapping her, raping her, and then cutting her throat and stabbing her multiple times in order to silence her screams; and yet he was cautious enough to ensure he did not leave his finger-prints at the crime scene, and was patient enough to wash his blood stained sweater in the washing machine in an attempt to destroy evidence. This would indicate he was methodical and organized. Following the crime however, he became reckless, demonstrated by him getting off the bus he took from Colorado to Baltimore and going straight to a Chinese restaurant to steal the cash register and attempt to flee on foot.
At first, based on the initial evidence, I was convinced that Gerald Simpson was the offender. He fit the suspect description provided by an eyewitness: height, weight, facial/head hair. Additionally, a nametag with his name on it was found at the scene of the crime, along with the blood stained article of clothing it had come from.
There are two main lessons to be learned from this investigation. One is that eyewitness accounts and the suspect descriptions generated from them cannot identify offenders conclusively. Furthermore, the identification of a suspect from a lineup by an eyewitness cannot be considered a certainty either.
Another is that DNA evidence is a powerful tool in not only identifying the perpetrator of a crime, but also in clearing suspects who actually had nothing to with the crime but were considered as suspects as a result of other evidence found, including the aforementioned and fallible eyewitness accounts and lineup identifications.
Burgess, A. W., Ressler, R. K., & Douglas, J. E. (2014). Sexual homicide: Patterns and motives- paperback. Place of publication not identified: Free Press.
Schlesinger, L. B. (2004). Sexual murder: Catathymic and compulsive homicides. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.