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Pastimes : Murder Mystery: Who Killed Yale Student Suzanne Jovin?

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1379)10/30/2018 1:57:20 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell  Read Replies (1) of 1389
The Jovin murder is now on pretty much every "Top X Unsolved Murders" list out there. Given we are fast approaching the 20th anniversary of Suzanne's passing, my inbox is once again beginning to fill up. I guess I'm rather easy to find via a Google search.

First off, I take everyone seriously. Seriously. Unlike the Jovin hotline, or law enforcement in general, which are designed to be one-way communication if you indeed get a reply, I do write back and do engage in conversation.

Most of what people offer falls into the "Please check out [name]. I get really bad vibes about him. Here is why I think [name] could have been her killer and why he might have done it." On the one hand, they indeed might be right. On the other, if they are indeed right, that means every single one of the other such theories is wrong. In other words, if I were to get 100 such theories, (at least) 99% would have to be wrong if at best one were indeed right. That's really bad odds. So how might one know they are barking up the right tree?

Work backwards. Start with the notion that absolutely nothing can be disproven (seriously). But just because you can't disprove that I had dinner with aliens in a restaurant on Mars last night doesn't make that claim any more likely to be true. That means if you want to see your idea investigated, you need to provide something meaningful to investigate. In this context, rumors are actually solid gold. If someone allegedly saw something or heard something, that trail that led to you hearing as such can be followed in reverse to see if there is an actual eyewitness behind it.


Now some clarifications from what I've been reading and watching:

1. The murder weapon

Neither the NHPD, States' Attorney, or Medical Examiner have ever stated publicly what the actual murder weapon was. The sum total of what we think we know is from the 20/20 TV show broadcast: "The medical examiner would later identify only one of the 17 stab wounds as fatal. He would also determine that the murder weapon was a four to five inch nonserrated, carbon steel knife, when he discovered the tip of the blade lodged in the left side of her skull." The FBI for sure did a metallurgy test on the blade, but every attempt I've made to get a copy of it has been blocked.

I was also told that the person who saw her wounds at the hospital said that some looked like puncture marks, as if from a screwdriver. As you typically don't (even try to) cut someone's throat with a screwdriver, this, at first, implied there may have been two weapons. A four inch blade (below) is quite formidable, let alone a five incher. With or without a screwdriver added to the mix, we are talking serious damage here. Yet, she was found alive, with only one wound being seen as fatal. You would have to think that wound was her throat being cut. Even still, the crime scene was not at all a bloody mess.

So how do we explain this? Well, this is why I've *speculated* it had to be an X-Acto knife. A broken tip on such a knife would make wounds that resembled those made by a screwdriver. It would explain the lack of blood, only one fatal wound, and why she was even found alive. Sadly, if I had the metallurgy report, I wouldn't have to speculate.

2. Cop as Killer Theory

We've never discussed that theory here. In fact, that never ever even occurred to me. Yet it's a topic of major discussion on-line. This is based on the fact that Suzanne's apartment was above a NHPD substation. The hypothesis is that she befriended a policeman who killed her, and that other NHPD officers then went about trying to cover this up. OK, for sure possible. Per above, for sure, nobody can disprove this. But, again, unless someone has an officer in mind, heard rumors this was true, etc., there is nothing (yet) to investigate here.

3. The "someone" Suzanne lent her borrowed GRE materials to

The consensus on-line seems to be that the main suspect in her killing is whoever she lent her borrowed GRE materials to. Assuming this were not a random crime, I agree. Recall she did write an email in German saying she had re-lent them to "someone", as opposed to a "friend", "classmate", etc. For some reason the discussion is on whether she indeed knew who this person was, with the consensus being she must have, as who lends something to someone you don't know, and how exactly do you then make plans to retrieve it? Rather, the implication IMO here is that she likely did not know this person well.


Subsequent Developments

I get approached consistently to help people make a TV movie, mini-series, episode, etc. on this case. If the planned story is human interest based, i.e. "he-said, she-said, you decide", I turn it down immediately. That's the bulk of the requests. I did say yes to a project that was supposed to be investigative journalist centric, i.e. that an active effort would be made to solve the crime, not just document it. That started out promising, but I was quickly left in the dark. About all I knew is that they were supposedly getting cooperation from the States' Attorney's office, and therefore making progress. I would nevertheless forward the production crew whatever I found that seemed worth investigating. I'm pretty sure that project is now dead.

Last year, someone wrote to me that someone they were acquainted with had witnessed the murder. It was an incredibly detailed description, but of course second-hand. I'll say a three things about it: 1) I gave it to the production crew to investigate with the help of the SA's office. I never got any updates. But, then again, law enforcement, as I wrote above, is typically a one-way street. Though, still, given the age of this case and my good faith gesture, this is sad (if not pathetic). 2) The person described as her killer was indeed wearing a "dark colored windbreaker" consistent with what "Billy" is seen wearing in multiple photos taken of him during that time period. 3) Neither I nor anyone else on-line has theorized anything close to what this witness described. Yet it does make perfect sense. On the flip side, because it makes such perfect sense, the "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" expression comes to mind.

Stay tuned for more details and further updates on this...

- Jeff
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