Can “Brain Fingerprint” Get Convict Off Death Row?


Jimmie Ray Slaughter has always denied knowledge of the double murders for which he was convicted and sentenced to death in 1994. Now he may have the evidence to prove it, says the American Bar Association Journal. A controversial new technique known as brain fingerprinting purportedly shows that Slaughter has no knowledge of certain details about which the real perpetrator would have known. “This test proves that [he] is innocent,” says Norman, Okla., lawyer Robert Jackson, one of his attorneys.

Brain fingerprinting, developed by Lawrence Farwell of Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories in Seattle, is said to be a way of detecting whether specific information is stored in a person's brain. A suspect sits at a computer wearing a headband with special sensors. Certain words and pictures flash briefly on the screen; some are relevant to the crime being investigated. If the suspect recognizes the information, it triggers a specific electrical signal in the brain that can be measured and analyzed before the suspect has a chance to affect the output.

Slaughter is awaiting execution for the 1991 deaths of his former girlfriend and their 11-month-old daughter. The brain fingerprinting test allegedly shows that Slaughter didn't know which room the girlfriend’s body was found in or where the daughter had been shot.

Former Oklahoma prosecutor Richard Wintory has “absolutely no doubt” that Slaughter is responsible for the murders of his former girlfriend and his daughter.


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