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Content that Kills

The prosecutors thought the case was a slam dunk: their evidence included the murder weapon, DNA, and witnesses who testified that the defendant was alone in a room with the victim when he was fatally shot. The only missing link in this murder trial nearly 25 years ago in suburban Washington DC was motive. Prosecutors had no earthly idea why the defendant murdered a friend of many years. Still, they were stunned when the jury came back with their verdict: Not Guilty. Whether we are conscious of it or not, people need stories, or linear narratives with colorful characters, a coherent plot and a beginning, a middle, and an end. Jurors didn’t buy the prosecution’s story because they needed [...]