GEOG 885
Advanced Analytic Methods for the GEOINT Professional

DC Sniper Case Study: Analysis of Competing Hypothesis II

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Submissions Instructions: Answer the questions at the end of this page. Post your analysis to the Lesson 7 Discussion Forum.

Purpose: To complete the ACH steps of Fusion and Conclusion.

General. The following information is provided:

A matrix with hypotheses across the top and evidence and arguments down the side are developed. Note that your evidence and arguments may or may not be geospatial in nature.

Hypotheses Matrix
Evidence/Argument H1 H2 H3 H4
Michael's
employee
Foreign
terrorist
Serial
killer
Domestic
terrorist
1 Conforms to the geospatial model of a serial criminal        
2 All DC-area killings occurred within 30 days        
3 The majority of the shootings were at or near shopping centers        
4 Shootings were all on major highways or interstates        
5 There was only one shooting per location and often occurred at gas stations        
6 Sighting of a blue car with two black men        
7 Sighting of a white van with two individuals at one killing        
8 Military caliber weapon (5.56mm)        
9 Noise heard but shooter never seen        

Work down the evidence column and across the rows of the matrix, examining one item of evidence at a time to see how consistent that item of evidence is with each of the hypotheses. Make a notation C, I, and N/A standing for consistent, inconsistent, or not applicable.

Hypotheses Matrix with Notations
Evidence/Argument H1 H2 H3 H4
Michael's
employee
Foreign
terrorist
Serial
killer
Domestic
terrorist
1 Conforms to the geospatial model of a serial criminal I C I C
2 All DC-area killings occurred within 30 days C C CC C
3 The majority of the shootings were at or near shopping centers I CC C CC
4 Shootings were all on major highways or interstates I CC CC CC
5 There was only one shooting per location and often occurred at gas stations I II CC CC
6 Sighting of a blue car with two black men I I I I
7 Sighting of a white van with two individuals at one killing I C C C
8 Military caliber weapon (5.56mm) C C C C
9 Noise heard but shooter never seen I I CC CC

Analyze the "diagnosticity" of each piece of evidence. We discover that the evidence of the rifle's caliber is not very helpful because it is consistent with all hypotheses. Refine the matrix by reconsidering the hypotheses and delete evidence and arguments that have no diagnostic value. In the case, I deleted the "Military caliber weapon (5.56mm)" evidence since it offered no diagnosticity.

Hypotheses Matrix with Notations
Evidence/Argument H1 H2 H3 H4
Michael's
employee
Foreign
terrorist
Serial
killer
Domestic
terrorist
1 Conforms to the geospatial model of a serial criminal I C I C
2 All DC-area killings occurred within 30 days I CC C CC
3 The majority of the shootings were at or near shopping centers I CC CC CC
4 Shootings were all on major highways or interstates I II CC CC
5 There was only one shooting per location and often occurred at gas stations I II C I
6 Sighting of a blue car with two black men I C C C
7 Sighting of a white van with two individuals at one killing I C C CC
8 Noise heard but shooter never seen I I CC C

Examine each hypothesis one at a time by looking down the column to consider each hypothesis as a whole. Draw tentative conclusions by trying to disprove the hypotheses. Look at the “I”s to indicate evidence that may be inconsistent with a hypothesis. Generally, the hypothesis with the fewest “I”s is probably the most likely one. The hypothesis with the most “I”s is probably the least likely one.

Hypotheses Matrix with Summary
Evidence/Argument H1 H2 H3 H4
Michael's
employee
Foreign
terrorist
Serial
killer
Domestic
terrorist
Summary I=-8
C=0
I=-5
C=7
I=-1
C=10
I=-1
C=11

What to do: Complete the questions concerning the Fusion and Conclusions in the DC Sniper Case study:

  1. What conclusion would you draw from this analysis?
  2. What is offered is an example. How would you improve this ACH analysis?
  3. What events (milestones) might cause you to change your conclusions?
  4. Now that you have completed this effort using the SGAM, how would you compare this analysis to the Wikipedia summary of the DC Sniper case?