Explosion Investigation In An United States Ship

1224 words - 5 pages

Give a brief summary of the timeline of events in this case
On April 19, 1989, an explosion had occurred on the USS Iowa (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009). One of the gun turrets had exploded killing 47 sailors in the process. The Navy had believed that the explosion was an intentional act of one sailor, Clayton Hartwig. The Naval Investigative Services (NIS) collected data to conduct an investigation. However, the Navy believed it was not appropriate to conduct the investigation, so they sought the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct the investigation.
The FBI came in to conduct an equivocal death analysis and try to determine if Clayton Hartwig was the culprit (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009). The FBI submitted their conclusions to the Armed Services Committee of the US House of Representatives. However, there were many questions and controversies surrounding the investigation and conclusions, so the Armed Services Committee sought the expertise from the American Psychological Association (APA) to analyze the FBI’s investigation and conclusions. The experts from the APA testified to the Armed Services Committee about their conclusions.
2. What is a psychological autopsy (equivocal death analysis)? Why was one ordered for the USS Iowa?
A psychological autopsy is an investigative technique, usually employed by psychologists, which is used to determine how death had occurred in equivocal death cases (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009). This technique is used to try and understand the mindset of the deceased person to help answer certain questions like why did the individual do what they did and why did it occur at that time? The investigator will collect data about the individual, like written correspondence and journals, interviews with other people that knew the individual, financial data, and other data to help determine the individual’s mindset before and at the time death occurred. The most common question that a psychological autopsy is used to answer is: was the mode of death a homicide, accident, or suicide?
3. Who performed the psychological autopsy for the Navy?
The Navy brought in two investigators from the FBI Behavioral Science Unit, Richard Ault and Roy Hazelwood, to conduct an equivocal death analysis, which is the FBI version of a psychological autopsy (Ewing & McCann, 2006).
4. What sort of evidence did the investigators use to support their belief that Hartwig caused the accident?
The FBI investigators used data that was collected by NIS which included letters and personal writings written by Hartwig, financial account information, and interviews conducted with shipmates, family, and friends (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009). From the data collected, the evidence used included two books, Getting Even: The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks and a military manual called Improvised Munitions Handbook (Ewing & McCaan, 2006). Naval records were used which stipulated that Hartwig was an unassertive and immature individual...

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