A new technique called "brain fingerprinting," which is much more accurate than a polygraph test, is an important new tool for catching criminals. However, in one of its first tests, it's being used to overturn a murder conviction.
The method, developed by Dr. Larry Farwell, reads the brain's involuntary electrical activity in response to a subject being shown images relating to the crime they're accused of committing. It's more accurate than the polygraph because it picks up the electrical signal, known as a p300 wave, before the suspect has time to change it. In bbcnews.com, Becky McCall quotes Farwell, as saying, "It is highly scientific; brain fingerprinting doesn't have anything to do with the emotions, whether a person is sweating or not; it simply detects scientifically if that information is stored in the brain. It doesn't depend upon the subjective interpretation of the person conducting the test. The computer monitors the information and comes up with information present or information absent."
Jimmy Ray Slaughter has been accused of shooting, stabbing and mutilating his former girlfriend, Melody Wuertz, and of shooting to death their eleven-month old-daughter, Jessica. Farwell ran a "brain fingerprinting" test on him and says, "Jimmy Ray Slaughter did not know where in the house the murder took place; he didn't know where the mother's body was lying or what was on her clothing at the time of death?a salient fact in the case?What I can say definitively from a scientific standpoint, is that Jimmy Ray Slaughter's brain does not contain a record of some of the most salient details about the murder for which he's been convicted and sentenced to death."
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