Parts of this post were used in Aggravated.
Analysis of the Lie
This is the fourth of four posts about a lie I believe Hanna told in court. If you haven’t read the first three posts yet, you should probably do that before reading this one. Start with Part 1, The Background.
Why did Hanna choose to portray the race, and her performance in it, as so much bigger and better than it really was? The logical answer is to make herself seem more accomplished than she really was. Her low self-esteem, her need to boost her popularity, and her drive to be the center of attention, was a topic that came up often, and was not only corroborated by a number of people, but is evident through her words and actions. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of that it this blog and in Aggravated, and see if you agree.
Why wasn’t she satisfied with just saying “I did well,” instead of her astounding “16th out of 300” claim? Did she think the people who saw her run wouldn’t be able to contradict her? They didn’t. During the trials, everyone who was a witness had to wait outside the courtroom. When Hanna told a story that didn’t jibe with the affidavit, Deputy Knox couldn’t hear those changes, and when she changed some element of what she had said in her therapy sessions, Ada Dixon couldn’t hear what she said. The other people who were at the race (her mom, Marri, Robin and Beau) never heard her say those things, and Steve was never asked about the race. Did she think no one would check? Well, no one did, not for years.
Finally, based on the data above, and on Charlie Correll’s statement, Miler’s cross-country meet never had a field of girls, at any grade level, larger than 172. The largest 7th grade race in the records I have (in 2017), had 145 runners (less than half of what Hanna claimed). Beau’s also said that he remembered a much lower number for the 2001 race (around 20 or 30). Hanna’s 2001 coach, Hope Dawson, confirmed that there were usually “between 20 and 50 runners” in races at meets they competed in. And Curtis Hamner, current Miler coach, said that Miler never had a race with 300 runners in it. That should be proof enough that Hanna lied about how well she did and about the size of the race.
She was only consistent about a few things: She said there was a cross-country race in 2001, that she ran against 300 (“and something”) girls, and that she finished in 16th place. The race did happen, although Hanna told Dixon that it was in August, and told everyone else that it was in September. It likely was on Saturday, September 8, 2001, as she eventually said.
The number of runners and her placement in the race are demonstrably false. I would love to be able to find a record for that specific year, but nobody seems to have one, not even the schools involved. I thought record keeping (as in, “this is going to go on your permanent record, young man”) was one of the major things that schools do, but apparently it isn’t important to keep records of everything. Normally, I would ask any reader of this blog who has a copy of the 2001 stats for a meet at Miler to provide it, but to do that I would have to reveal the real name of the town I’m calling Miler.
Each time Hanna talked about what happened that day, the story changed. I think that her multiple versions are indicative of someone who is telling a story that they know is false. A convincing liar will try to tell it the same way each time, but of course they can’t. They add details that they think will make it seem more realistic, but when one version is compared to another, the changes make it obvious that something in the story isn’t true. The trick, though, is finding out which of the versions contain the lies, or whether they all do. But if there are provable lies in at least one version of a story, we have to concede the possibility that all of the versions could be lies. In this instance there were provable lies in every version she told.
Hanna’s account of this race triggered my first suspicion that she might be a pathological liar. Based on the numerous changes in all of her stories, and some of the ridiculous claims she made, it still seems a likely possibility to me. I can’t prove that she is one, and that’s not a diagnosis I’m qualified to make anyway. Is this foot race legally important? It isn’t mentioned in any of the three counts against Steve, but it was used to introduce the alleged initial molestation in both trials. It is one more tale among Hanna’s many which contain false information. On a personal level, though, if the race did anything it forced me to start paying closer attention to everything else she said.
Standard Disclaimer: Please post a comment below if you would like to. All comments are personally moderated by a grouchy old guy, though, so posts by self-promotional schemers, spammers, and lunatic ranters won’t make it through. Everyone else, whether your thoughts about this story are positive or negative, please feel free to speak your mind, but don’t ask me to reveal the identities of any of these individuals. Thanks.