Serial Killer Case

Dr. Farwell conducts a Brain Fingerprinting test on serial killer J. B. Grinder

Helps to Bring a Serial Killer to Justice

Catches a Serial Killer


James B. Grinder


Letter from Sheriff Robert Dawson on Dr. Farwell’s Brain Fingerprinting test of JB Grinder.

For 15 years, James B. Grinder was the primary suspect in the brutal murder case of Julie Helton, but there had never been enough evidence to bring him to trial. Miss Helton was reported missing in Macon, MO in January 1984. Three days later her body was found near the railroad tracks in Macon. She had been raped, brutally beaten and stabbed in the neck.

During the 15 years after the murder, Grinder had given several different, contradictory accounts of the crime. Some accounts involved his participation and some did not. Some involved participation by several other individuals. Grinder’s accounts contradicted both the physical evidence and the statements of an alleged witness.

After spending over 10,000 man-hours investigating the case, Macon County Sheriff Robert Dawson asked Dr. Lawrence Farwell to use Brain Fingerprinting testing to determine scientifically whether or not Grinder was the perpetrator of the crime. Grinder, already serving time in jail on an unrelated case, agreed to participate in the Brain Fingerprinting test. Sheriff Dawson, Chief Deputy Charles Muldoon, and Randy King of the Missouri Highway Patrol provided Dr. Farwell with the specific background information on the case for use in developing the test. Dr. Drew Richardson, then an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, worked with Dr. Farwell to structure the Brain Fingerprnting test.

During the Brain Fingerprinting test, which Dr. Farwell administered in August 1999, Grinder viewed short phrases flashed on a computer screen, some of which were probe stimuli containing specific details of the crime that would be noteworthy only to the perpetrator. These included the murder weapon, the specific method of killing the victim, specific injuries inflicted on the victim by the perpetrators before she was killed, what the perpetrators used to bind the victim’s hands, the place where the body was left, items that the perpetrators left near the crime scene and items that were taken from the victim during the crime.

Computer analysis of the Brain Fingerprinting test found, with a statistical confidence level of 99.9%, that the specific details of the crime were recorded in Grinder’s brain as “information present”, which means that record stored in Grinder’s brain matched the details of Julie Helton ‘s murder.

Following the test results, Grinder faced an almost certain conviction and probable death sentence. Grinder pled guilty to the rape and murder of Julie Helton in exchange for a life sentence without parole. He is currently serving that sentence. In addition, Grinder confessed to the murders of three other young women.

Testing Procedure


Dr. Farwell’s Brain Fingerprintng test followed the Brain Fingerprinting Scientific Standards, as specified in Dr. Farwell’s peer-reviewed publications and ruled admisible in court. Grinder wore a headband equipped with sensors that measured his brainwave responses to words and phrases, some of which contained relevant information to the crime that was known only to the perpetrator and investigators.

Test Results


Grinder’s brainwave responses to the words and phrases containing details of the rape and murder of Julie Helton clearly contained a P300-MERMER, indicating “information present” which means that the details of this crime were stored in his brain. (As expected, the target responses also elicited a P300-MERMER, and the irrelevant responses did not elicit a P300-MERMER.)

The Brain Fingerprinting system mathematically analyzes the brain-wave responses and makes a determination of “information present’ or “information absent”. “Information present” means that the probe responses, like the target responses, contain a P300-MERMER indicating that the crime-relevant information is stored in the brain. “Information absent” means that the details of the crime are not stored in the brain. The Brain Fingerprinting system also computes a statistical confidence for the determination of “information present” or “information absent.”

The Brain Fingerprinting test result for J.B. Grinder was “information present,” with a statistical confidence of 99.9%. From this we can conclude with a high degree of confidence that, even though fifteen years had passed since the event, significant details of Julie Helton’s rape and murder are stored in J.B. Grinder’s brain.

One week after Dr. Farwell’s Brain Fingerprinting test on him, Grinder, faced with certain conviction and probable death sentence, pled guilty to the rape and murder of Julie Helton in a plea bargain in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole. He is now serving that sentence. He also confessed to the murders of three other young women.

Brainwave Responses


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