An independent group has released a report contending that the murder of DNC analyst Seth Rich was most likely a hit or serial murder, and “does not appear to be a robbery gone bad.”
Police have previously said Rich’s murder – with has sparked a web of conspiracy theories due to his employment – probably stemmed from an attempted robbery. However, the murder remains unsolved.
The “Profiling Project” group released its initial findings on June 20. You can read the report in full below. An office for the project funded by a Republican lobbyist who once tried to link Rich’s death to the Russians. In March, Jack Burkman, told Fox 5 that “a former U.S. intelligence officer came to him with the new lead” in the case.
A statement sent to Heavy read:
The Profiling Project was started by and is comprised of only current and former GWU (George Washington University) forensic psychology graduate students and instructors and is unaffiliated with the university. The intent was to aid various police departments in solving cold homicide cases. We would like to thank Mr. Jack Burkman for donating the use of an office for the project to utilize for three months. We would like to also state that the office was the only expense funded by Mr. Burkman. Each member of the project incurred respective personal and project expenses which each member covered respectively. Aside from the donated office, the project was not ‘funded by Jack Burkman,’ nor is Mr. Burkman a member of the project. The team does not have a ‘Director’ or ‘Legal Counsel’ or any non-GWU members as part of the Profiling Project. Statements made on behalf of our project should not be attributed to our work or our findings unless it has come directly from one of the GWU volunteer participants and from a gwu.edu account. Regarding our recent report, please notice that certain aspects of the report were not intended to be released to the public without permission, as certain parts were deemed sensitive. Any legal proceedings that have been filed have been done so independent of the project. We caution the accuracy and validity of any statements made on behalf of the project.
Burkman has made controversial statements on the case before.
“I was approached by a guy who styles himself as a former U.S. intel officer,” Burkman said to the television station. “I quizzed him. I think he’s credible – you never know the motive of people. But what he said is basically this – that Seth discovered that the Russians had been hacking and therefore the Russian government did away with Seth.” There is no evidence to back this up, and Rich’s family has repeatedly decried conspiracy theories into their son’s death. Burkman has contributed more than $100,000 to a reward fund in Rich’s case.
However, the report deems it not likely that the Russians did it or that Rich was killed for allegedly being a leak to WikiLeaks (for which there is no evidence), unless evidence is produced that a toxin was used in the death (none has been; police say Rich was shot). Rich, who was shot in the back, did not die at the scene, the report says, and did not even realize he had been shot.
Rich was shot and killed on July 10, 2016 at about 4:19 a.m. in the 2100 block of Flagler Place NW in Washington DC. The team describes itself as an “all-volunteer group of current and former George Washington University forensic psychology graduate students and instructors.”
The team’s central findings:
- Seth’s death does not appear to be a random homicide.
- Seth’s death does not appear to be a robbery gone bad.
- Seth’s death was more likely committed by a hired killer or serial murderer.
- There may be additional video surveillance of the crime and crime scene.
- The resolution of prosecuting the individual(s) responsible appears to be hindered both actively and passively.
- Seth’s killer(s) most likely remains free with in the community.
However, although the report says in the opening that its authors believe the murder was “more likely committed by a hired killer,” in other places they say that a professional killer would not have been likely to leave Rich alive, as he did not die at the scene, rendering that theory less likely.
Here is the report:
Brad Bauman, spokesman for the Rich family, released this response to ABC 7-TV.
The Rich family was not provided a copy of the preliminary report, never saw the report or was otherwise consulted in the preparation of the report. I received the report a half an hour before it was made public thus depriving myself, the family or the family’s lawyers any reasonable time (to) review it. As noted, by the report’s methodology, ‘The Profiling Project’ was given no special access to any materials, evidence or persons and due to case sensitivity, conducted only informal, limited interviews. Given that fact, the family hopes that the general public takes the findings at face value—valuable experience in research collection and report writing for students at George Washington University but in no way should take any findings contained within as new, credible or otherwise lending credence to conspiracy theories surround the circumstances of Seth’s death. We further hope that this doesn’t continue to impede the Metropolitan Police Department’s ability to find the killers and give folks who might have information to their arrest cover to stay silent.
What is the Profiling Project?
According to its website, the Profiling Project is funded by lobbyist/lawyer Jack Burkman, founder of the firm Burkman & Assoc. However, the statement sent to Heavy said Burkman only funded an office.
“The Profiling Project” describes itself as “an autonomous and independent unit investigating the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. The Profiling Project is in separate office space by design. Its creation was announced on March 23, 2017 at a news conference in the neighborhood where Seth Rich lived and was murdered.”
The Profiling Project is led by Kevin Doherty and Jennifer Rohrer, Ph.D. “The Profiling Project is being staffed by volunteers from The Student Association for Forensic Psychology (SAFP) at George Washington University. It is a student organization comprised of graduate students pursuing a Master’s in Forensic Psychology,” reports the website.
According to The Profiling Project, Kevin Doherty “is a former U.S. Marine and Special Agent/ Criminal Investigator in the intelligence community. In 2008, he created the first maritime security firm to provide armed security teams on U.S. merchant ships in the wake of the Maersk Alabama hijacking.”
Rohrer is described as “a clinical and forensic psychologist in the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia.” You can read their full bios here.