setting up a sympathetic scenario, establish that
version as being entirely plausible and reasonable. As
soon as he commits to the new version, turn on him.
Confront him with its limitations, its flaws, and its
lack of logic. He has purchased the silver lining, now
take him into the darkest center of the cloud. See
where he goes, see what is added, and see what is
altered. The cracks will lead you to other questions,
to other answers, and with any luck, to the truth.
Allow him to amend to another version, rebuild his
confidence, then start the process all over
The process will, I believe, push Tommy into revealing more that he had. At the very least, this line of probing will provide for a clearer version of what he maintains happened with Martha on that night. Remember, it is very important to consider the context in which this new information was revealed. After nearly eighteen years, Tommy changed his story. Whether or not what he admitted is true, partly true or even a blatant lie, there has to be a significant reason why he suddenly opted to share this new information. Although not directly incriminating, his new revelation is certainly suspect. Simply put, what Tommy has recently added to his story does not, on the surface, make him look more innocent in the eyes of speculation. So why did he suddenly come forward?
We must consider the possibility that what he has told us constitutes an "okay, but." An "okay, but" is basically a confidence move, a carefully calculated concession. Let's say a thief is caught after committing a murder. If he has some reason to suspect that the authorities can place him at the scene, it is in his best interest to volunteer a semi-confession. Okay, I committed the robbery, but I didn't kill anybody. As a confidence move, this confession accomplishes a number of self-serving objectives. An "okay, but" demonstrates a willingness to cooperate. In a conciliatory manner, the suspect is surrendering somewhat damaging information. The damage, although, must be limited. This, he hopes, will give a general impression of innocence, since common sense dictates that a truly guilty person would not offer any incriminating information at all. Also, the suspect is dealing with his own formidable need to confess. By giving up a limited piece of guilt, Tommy allows himself to feel a certain sense of relief. He has been burdened for eighteen years with a burning secret. Simply put, he is trying to taste some catharsis without biting off more of the truth than he can chew. Moreover, an "okay, but" tends to surface when the guilty party has some reason to suspect that new incriminating information may have been discovered. In that regard, an "okay, but" is damage control. For example: if Tommy thinks Sutton Associates has found, or will soon find, some evidence that he was outside the house with Martha around 10:00 pm or even later. Perhaps, he heard about Steven's [Stephen's] testimony under hypnosis on 5/4/93
Starting from page ten:
Gaspar: How about that night? Were you up at 9:30? Or around that time?
Skakel: I was in my bed.
Gaspar: Did you have occasion to look outside your window?
Skakel: Later, I did.