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Critical Thinking Case Study 1: Dylan Williams

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Diana Schirmer

on 11 June 2018

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Transcript of Critical Thinking Case Study 1: Dylan Williams

Critical Thinking Case Study
Exhibit A: Dylan's Girlfriend
Claimed she and Williams were with friends at a hotel the night of the murder
friends were not contacted to confirm
In initial questioning, she said she'd witnessed the murder
In court, she said she arrived after he was already dead
She recanted her testimony a month later, claiming the police told her what to say
Exhibit D: Scent-Tracker
Former Pennsylvania State Trooper
Had his own scent-tracking dog
Volunteered for over 100 cases (services not solicited)
His dog matched the scent of the yellow t-shirt to Dylan Williams 9 days after the murder
Exhibit C: The Witness
The Suspect
Was on Casanova Beach, near the crime scene, the day after the murder
Questioned by police: "What do you know about the murder?"
Williams: "Only what happened down there" (pointing to yellow DO NOT CROSS tape)
Police: "How do you know what happened?"
Williams said he couldn't remember, but had read about it in the paper.
Dylan Williams in 1981 (21 years old)
Exhibit B: The Cellmate
Testified that Williams confessed and reenacted the murder in the mess hall
His sentence (sex charges for rape) was dropped
The Crime
August 17, 1981
40-year-old man was found naked, beaten to death on Casanova Beach, FL (also known as "Queer Pier")
Wallet found in jeans nearby (no robbery)
No murder weapon
Assumed fists and tree branch
Priors: dishonorable discharge from the Army for stealing, DUI, drug possession
The witness (56) parked his truck by the crime scene on the night of the crime
Looking for a liaison
Saw a shirtless man in cutoffs emerge from the brush, streaked with blood (the man claimed he was in a bar fight)
Witness paid the stranger $20 for oral sex
The next morning, he found the yellow shirt in his truck
He threw it away
Did not pick Williams out of a line-up
Critical Thinking:

1. Does your gut say he's innocent or guilty? Try template 1 (yes, morever; no/yes but; no because)

2. Analyze using topic prompts and pro/con list
3. Evaluate the evidence/points
Plan for Today
Serve on Jury Duty to practice critical thinking
Review: What is Critical Thinking and why is it important? Templates?
What did you take away from this reading?
Why does backfire happen?
Have you witnessed this type of behavior?
What does it say about critical thinking skills and learning?
Fact-driven learning is learning
avoid "motivated reasoning"
Question everything!
How do we fix backfire?
For Next Time...
Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?
Critical Thinking Jumpstart!
Chapter 2, Appendix VI and VII
Enacted last year, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act says the government must first prove a compelling interest before it intrudes on someone’s religious liberty, and it must do so in the least restrictive way.
From Proverbs 23:13-14: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”
Indiana Mother beats son with coathanger, leaves 36 bruises
Assignment sheet!
Full transcript