Statement Analysis®

Did Moses Pittman Kill Ronnie Chapman?


I was reading our local newspaper here in Greenville, NC and saw where Moses Pittman had been charged with murder and robbery in the death of Ronnie Chapman. Officers discovered Chapman's body in a pickup truck in the parking lot of an apartment complex. It is believed the killing was the result of a drug deal gone bad. At his first court appearance, Pittman told the judge, "Ronnie Chapman was my best friend. I ain't kill nobody. I ain't rob nobody."

We see two deceptive factors in this short statement. Pittman should be speaking in the past tense since he is telling us what he has not done. However, he uses present tense language with the words "kill" and "rob." The use of present tense language is an indication this part of his statement is not coming from memory. When a story comes from memory it is easy to tell it using past tense language since the person is recalling something. We have to take into consideration that Pittman may have poor grammar skills ("ain't") which caused him to use the wrong verb tense.

The second deceptive indicator has nothing to do with grammar skills. His denial that he has not killed "nobody" or robbed "nobody" is a weak denial. It can be hard for a deceptive person to be specific when making a denial. Pittman starts out mentioning the victim's name, "Ronnie Chapman was my best friend." However, he then switches to the generic "nobody." He could not say, "I ain't kill Ronnie Chapman" because that is probably a lie. It is easier for him to lie by using the generic "nobody." We saw the same thing with Mike Tyson, "I didn't rape anyone. I haven't hurt nobody." We'll have to see how this case turns out. I will provide an update when one is available.



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