Toriello tests - inconclusive
#1
Tester: Polygraph results unexplained
By Christopher Anderson
Camera Staff Writer
May 27, 2000

The polygraph examiner whose tests on John and Patsy Ramsey came up inconclusive says he can't explain the results.

Gerard Toriello, of Clifton, N.J., said Friday he conducted three tests on the couple in an Atlanta law office on April 17 and 18 - the first polygraph tests the Ramseys took.

The Ramseys underwent the tests six days after Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner Beckner announced his offer for the couple to take lie detector tests conducted by the FBI.

On April 17, Toriello tested John Ramsey for three hours. On April 18, he tested Patsy Ramsey for four hours and John Ramsey again for about two hours.

They were asked if they inflicted the injuries that caused the death of their daughter, JonBenét, in December 1996. The wording, Toriello said, was similar to that in polygraph tests the Ramseys later passed.

Toriello said all three tests he conducted came out inconclusive, based on a numerical score and using the "zone comparison" technique, the same type of test the couple later passed under a second polygrapher who re-tested the couple.

Asked why the tests were inconclusive, Toriello echoed what the Ramseys' attorney, Lin Wood, has been saying for three days: "If we knew what caused an inconclusive test, it wouldn't be an inconclusive test. We would be able to address that factor."

Reasons for inconclusive results can include anxiety, mental fatigue or physical fatigue, Toriello said.

He said both John and Patsy were taking Prozac when he administered the tests. Toriello said the medication can dull the galvanic skin responses during the test, but the results of the tests would not necessarily be affected.

The examiner can factor in the medication's affects when reviewing the charts, he said. The medication would not cause one response to be higher on one question and not on another, he said.

Toriello said he could not disclose the scores or the charts that accompany the test until Boulder police and prosecutors first have a chance to evaluate them.

After Toriello's tests, the Ramseys retook polygraph tests with Los Angeles polygrapher Ed Gelb. Patsy Ramsey's first test with Gelb had "artifacts," most likely because of her physical movement or animated gestures when answering questions, Wood said.

After three marred tests, the Ramseys went on to pass five polygraph tests by Gelb.

Those test results were quality-checked by San Diego polygrapher Cleve Backster, called the grandfather of modern polygraph techniques. Backster confirmed that the Ramseys passed the tests.

The Ramseys paid for all the tests. They say they want the Boulder police and the Boulder County District Attorney's Office to review the results.

Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said police are willing to look at any information that could help the case, but the results will not remove the Ramseys from suspicion.

The couple refused to take polygraph tests administered by the FBI. Polygraphs are not admissible as evidence in Colorado courts, although they are used frequently by law enforcement agencies as an investigative tool.

In a Friday interview on Larry King Live, Gelb said his tests can only determine whether someone was attempting deception when answering questions. He said the tests are 95 percent accurate.

"I don't think a polygraph has anything to do with guilt or innocence," he said.

May 27, 2000
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