Summary on Killing Home Evasion Judy Southern
A jobholder named Judy Southern lived in Manhattan, New York. She was working as a mail carrier.
On a normal day in the year 2000, Judy returned home from work at 3:30 pm. She thought the house was empty, but it wasn’t. On the table, she found a suicide note. Soon, she saw another person. He fired two shots at her, one of which missed and the other hit her lower abdomen.
She rushed to the yard and tried to call her husband, Alan Southern, but was unable to reach him. However, he got home a few minutes later and saw Judy lying in the yard. He carried her to the car and drove her to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Alan called the cops and told them he found Judy injured in the yard. She was shot. She also gave him the name of someone named Barry. And he was waiting for her in the house.
Grievously, she died before doctors operates on her. She was even unable to meet her twin sister Trudy Smith.
Alan claimed he did not know anybody by that name.
What Police Found at Crime Scene was Unexpected?
Crime scene investigation was led by Trey Gowdy –Prosecutor and Capt. Mike Fowlkes – Investigator.
At the crime scene, police found various evidence indicating that killer spent the time in the house.
- He ate some food, took a shower, and played with Judy’s child’s video game and s** toy.
- Phone lines had been cut so nobody could dial 911 to get help.
- There were cigarette butts everywhere
- There was no forced entry
- Found the shell casing at the crime scene
- A suicide note in the yard.
- A missed shot terminated in a wooden wall next to the bedroom spring box.
Why Judy’s Husband Alan Southern was the Prime Suspect?
Police considered Alan Southern a prime suspect for three reasons:
1. Alan was the First to Report the incident: From an investigation point of view, the first person to arrive at the crime scene is considered a suspect.
2. Call Record Device in Alan’s Private Office: Investigators—LT. Spike McCraw and his team—discovered that Alan had recorded a home phone conversation in Alan’s private office.
3. Both Have Affairs: In the past, Alan had two affairs, which Judy was aware of, and she was also having an affair at the time of the crime.
Two days before the incident, Judy called his twin sister Trudy Smith saying they were going to have a divorce. They even slept in different rooms. Both were only together for the sake of their 5-year-old son Jacob.
So, investigators suspected Alan wanted vengeance on Judy, which was a possible motive.
4. Custody of Their Son Jacob Southern: Investigators got to know from his Judy sister that they were going to have divorced, right before the incident. This makes Alan have another motive of killing for the custody of his son. She also had life insurance.
5. Statement from Judy’s Friends: Judy told her friends that if anything bad happened to her, Alan had something to do with it.
Evidence in the Home Evasion Case:
|1.||Cigarette butts||Everywhere in the house||They were not the brand that either Alan or Judy smoked|
|2.||Shell casings||Two shell casing||One missed shot|
|3.||Crumpled note||In the yard near Judy’s body||A Suicide Note was signed by somebody Jonathan|
|4.||9mm Handgun||Open field, away from Judy’s house||This might be the murder weapon.|
|5.||Fingerprint (1) & (2)||(1) on the note and (2) on the handgun||From the same individual|
Forensic Analysis of The Evidence
A. Information From the Content of Crumpled Note
LT. Spike McCraw – Investigator
The crumpled note found in the yard was signed by Jonathan, and while the last name was difficult to decipher, the name at the top of the note was clear: Melanie Binney.
The note was addressed to “My wife, Melanie.” So, investigators looked through the marriage records and found a woman whose husband’s name was Jonathan Binney. The address mentioned in the note was about 3 miles from Southern’s house.
Investigators found Jonathan had a criminal record. He molested her 3-month-old daughter’s child.
Jonathan wrote in his suicide note, “I planned to kill myself because the thought of prison for the rape of his child is too much pressure to bear I am, and I was intense I could not deal with it.”
B. Questioned Document Analysis of Crumpled Note
The analysis was led by Gaile Heath, Questioned document analyst.
The suspected handwriting sample was compared with the Jonathan handwriting samples. There were a number of similarities like-
- Letter G: unusually the lowercase in this letter is opened in both.
- Letter F: the lower case of this letter is slightly tilted at the opposite of the rest of the letter’s angle.
Gaile’s Conclusion: She concluded that the suicide note was most likely written by Jonathan Binney.
C. DNA from Cigarette Butts
Ken Bogan— The DNA analyst in the case.
DNA extracted from cigarette butts was found in the house. He cut it out and extract the saliva sample for DNA analysis.
From Bogan’s DNA result, it was proven that saliva on cigarette butts came from Jonathan Binney. This linked Binney to the crime scene.
D. Shell case and handgun
IRA Parnell – Firearm Ballistic examiner.
In any forensic analysis, the recovered bullet from a body is compared with the test bullet fired by the suspected fireman. They are compared on the basis of rifling (land and grooves) marking and width.
Similarly, in the Home Evasion Forensic Files case, bullets were compared using a comparison microscope. Land and groove marking, and width matches confirmed that the gun found in the field is the firearm that shot Judy Southern.
After an investigation of Binney’s house, police recovered:
- 9mm micro raw bullets
- A holster (hold firearm with strap attached to the body).
- Security badge
- Magazine holder
This concluded that the gun/murder weapon is related to Jonathan Binney.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Motive of Jonathan Binney on Killing Judy Southern?
As per Binney’s confession, he didn’t know Southern’s family. He did, however, admit to raping his 3-month-old daughter. And the motive for killing Judy was that he didn’t want to go to prison as a child molester but as a murderer. So, he waited at Southern’s house to kill anyone who comes first. Judy arrived first, so he killed her.
What confession Jonathan Binney Makes?
After a few days in prison, he told the police without his lawyer that he plead guilty for killing Judy Southern and also raping his 3-month-old daughter. He also told that he enter the house through an unlocked window and not intended to kill Judy but anyone who comes first— might be Alan or their 5-year-old son. After firing two shots, of which one hit Judy, he flew away from the crime scene with his mopped and also through the gun in the open field.
Why did Jonathan Binney Picked Judy?
Judy Southern’s death was just a coincidence not planned. Judy was totally stranger to Jonathan Binney. He just wants to find a victim that he can kill to become a murderer because he didn’t want to go to prison as a child molester for raping his 3-year-old daughter.
Why Jonathan Binney doesn’t want to go to prison Child Molester?
Because of the treatment, he would get. I read a few years back that in prison, child molesters are treated badly and abusive. And for his old 3-month-old child, it could be worse for him. This might be the reason he prefers to go to prison as a murderer, not as a child molester of his own daughter.
What were the punishment and charges on Jonathan Kyle Binney?
Jonathan Binney was convicted of Judy Southern’s murder and for the rape of his infant daughter. He got the death penalty.
What is the current status of Jonathan Binney’s Death Penalty?
As per reports, he had a change of heart and also changed his gender (transwoman). He is now called to be Taylor Alex Cross. He also won a reprieve from the death penalty and signed a written contract promising he will never appeal again if his conviction will be life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Why Alan Sothern was removed from the suspect list?
Because first, Alan didn’t own a 9mm handgun. Secondly, investigators considered that Alan might hire Binney to kill his wife. But there was no link that they could establish. Thirdly, Alan passed the polygraph test. Plus, Jonathan Kyle Binney confessed to any involvement of Alan Southern in the murder of Judy murder.
How and Where Jonathan Binney Caught?
Police first evade Binney’s house, but he was not there. They try to track him with K9 (police dog) units and helicopters. The next day, he was found shirtless in his basement, with six nicotine patches over his chest. He was trying to suicide with a nicotine overdose.
What Happen if Alan first arrived before Judy?
The motive of Binney was to kill anyone who entered the Southern family’s house. So, if Alan Southern arrived first, he might be the victim of him. In fact, in his confession, he also stated he even killed Southern’s 5-year-old son, if he enters first.
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FR Author Group at ForensicReader is a team of Forensic experts and scholars having B.Sc, M.Sc or Ph.D. degrees in Forensic Science. We published on topics on fingerprints, questioned documents, forensic medicine, toxicology, physical evidence, and related case studies. Know More.