In the middle of the night, a neighbour watched in horror as a man stabbed his wife, pushed her into the swimming pool, and held her head under water. When questioned by the police, the husband not only had no explanation for his actions, he also had no recollection of the crime. Now Maya has to decide between the forensic evidence at the scene or the mysteries of the mind.
On a brisk January night in Mumbai, a man heard some noises coming from his neighbour's backyard. He actually heard some moaning sound coming from over the fence he thought that perhaps the couples were making love because that's what the sound sounded like to him. He saw Hannah Benson on the ground and her husband Jeff Benson was in the house upstairs changing his clothes. Jeff came back downstairs silenced the dog walked outside to Hannah then threw her into the swimming pool and held her head underwater. The neighbour Immediately called the police.
The police found Hannah floating in the pool, she had been stabbed and drowned. Jeff was inside the house dazed and confused. His reaction was kind of a surprise what the officers were doing at this location. The first question he remembers is "How many people are in the house?" And to which he answered "Four" immediately not knowing his wife was dead, himself his wife and his two kids.The Benson's two children were asleep upstairs in their bedrooms, they heard nothing during the attack.
Initially, police thought that it was an easy case, at police headquarters investigators were convinced that Jeff would confess, but they were met with the complete surprise. Jeff said that he had no recollection of killing his wife. Friends and family told police that the Benson's never fought. At Hannah's autopsy, the medical examiner found 44 stab wounds as well as water in her lungs. Now police got really confused whether to charge him or believe what he is saying. Even though this is a homicide, the major confusion to police was whether to call a psychiatrist or Maya.
Everyone in the department knew what Maya is capable of because of her track records and her intelligence. Instead of calling a doctor, they called Maya and informed about the case. Initially, she thought this case as a normal one, but when she read the initial interrogation transcript, she felt amazed and told the officials that she would help. She called her team and asked them to be at the crime scene.
Maya visited the crime scene in casuals, a newly joined cop who was staring at her couldn't able to take off his eyes from Maya, her Amazonian figure sat well on her wafer-thin body. She had a decanter shaped waist and her complexion had an impeccable, ocherous hue. Her pencil-thin eyebrows eased down gently to her black, beetle’s-leg eyelashes. A sculptor could not have fashioned her seraph’s ears and pixie’s nose any better. When she broke into a smile, her beguiling, oyster-white teeth lit up the room. It could jolt him like an electric current when that megawatt smile gave him her full attention. Filed to perfection, her Venus-red fingernails ran through her nougat-brown hair. Spools of it plunged around her photogenic face and hid a swan’s neck, elegant and smooth. He loved her nebulous, Eden-green eyes which were a-sparkle with the ‘joie de vivre’. They were like two beryl-green jewels melted onto the snow. Her calamine-pink lips look like rose petals. It surprised him that they were plump and botox-boosted as she had a demure, timorous personality. Her voguish clothes still kept captive an aroma redolent of cinnamon and meadow-fresh mint. She whispered to him in a dulcet voice " Stop staring at me, I am a cop".
She started to observe the crime scene inch by inch, she knew something was wrong in Jeff's statement and she wanted the initial grip on the case. She ordered her team to not to look but observe the place and surroundings. Meanwhile, she was reading Hannah's autopsy report, when the report said that Hannah was stabbed 44 times, she yelled loudly " What the fuck!! 44 times?? ".
In the back of Jeff's car, in a plastic container, CSU found a knife covered with blood. They also found Jeff's bloody clothing in the car. When questioned, Jeff's sister believed she knew why Jeff's was unaware of what happened. It was because something that happened between them many years earlier. Jeff and Hannah had been married for almost 20 years, Jeff was the computer engineer, Hannah was the preschool teacher. When Maya questioned Jeff, he didn't deny he killed his wife. But he insisted he had no recollection of the incident. And Jeff's sister offered a possible explanation. she told Maya, Jeff had a history of Sleepwalking.
She had been attacked by Jeff when he was sleepwalking years ago they were growing up in Delhi. She had attempted to interrupt Jeff as he as walking in the house sleepwalking and startled by her interruption he threw her across the room. After listening to Jeff's sister statement, Maya decided to visit the sleep doctor expert Dr. Rosy. Rosy said that there's no doubt that sleepwalking occurs although it's rare. Some sleepwalkers, for example, have jumped out of a window or thrust their arm through a plate glass door, carved up the nice new living room furniture Wirth a butcher knife, kicked in a garage door, these are all patients of her and some attack a person, the closest person to them is likely to be attacked.
So the question remained, was Jeff's sleepwalking when he murdered his wife? To find out, Jeff was monitored for four nights in a sleep laboratory. So that they could determine the types of brain waves that were characteristic of his sleeping patterns. Doctors connected electrodes from the polysomnograph to Jeff's skull to analyse his brain activity during the sleep. The results showed something called hyper-synchronous delta waves, a symptom sometimes associated with individuals who sleepwalk. Some sleepwalker will have it, its a Sign of sort of neurological immaturity.
Jeff told Maya he was trying to fix a broken pump in his swimming pool on the night of his wife's death. He didn't finish it before his wife called him into dinner and the family assembled. At dinner, he told her about the problems at work and said he didn't know what to do. The problem at the work Jeff referred to was the possible cancellation of the computer chip project Jeff headed which meant staff would all lose their jobs. After dinner, Jeff said he worked at his computer then went to bed. He said Hannah was downstairs watching TV on the sofa. Dr. Rosy believes Jeff went to sleep with the unfinished pool repair still on his mind and while still asleep got up to finish the job. He put on his clothes, grabbed the flashlight and took a knife out to the pool to cut a plastic rain. When Hannah went outside to see what Jeff was doing, she startled him prompting the violent attack that followed.
Research shows that the sleepwalkers are not capable of facial recognition which is why they sometimes attack people they know. People who sleep normally move from one stage of sleep to the next seamlessly without waking, but reason not entirely clear sleepwalkers cannot successfully transition from deep sleep into the dreaming stage of sleep. They get it into a dissociated state, it's not a normal wakefulness it's not a complete sleep. Its partially one and partially the other part of the brain is functioning as if awake part of the brain is not.
If Jeff was sleepwalking when he committed the crime, then legally he wouldn't be responsible. That's what happened in Toronto, Canada. When 23-year-old ken parks were acquitted of killing his mother in law and attacking his father in law. But in this case, Maya was not convinced that Jeff was innocent. As Maya searched for a possible motive in Hanna's murder, she learned that the couple's marriage was not so happy as friends and family thought. Jeff was an active member of the St. Thomas Anglican Cathedral(Church) and Maya found evidence that Hannah resented the amount of time Jeff spent on church activities. Hannah was considering a divorce, that she apparently was feeling worn out by the demands of the church while Jeff was fully committed to the church.
Maya also found evidence that Jeff wanted more children and Hannah didn't. There were also unsubstantiated allegations that one of the two may be having an affair. Maya hired her own sleep expert Dr. Mark to analyse Jeff's behaviour on the night of the murder. To see if there was any evidence that Jeff had been sleepwalking. First Dr. Mark disputed the significance of Jeff's original sleep tests, he didn't find the sleep studies were very impressive at all. He said those kinds of waves can be found very commonly and patients with sleep apnea for instance and there are only about 50 million sleepwalkers in India, which means this is not specific to sleepwalking.
But Maya was so desperate to prove Jeff's involvement in the murder, she went to the doctor with all interrogation transcripts and her theories and started to solve the puzzle. On the night of the murder, Jeff said he went to sleep with his contact lenses in. Then apparently got up, got dressed and took a flashlight outside. Dr. Mark said true sleepwalkers cant distinguish day from night. This suggests that he knew it was chilly outside and it was dark outside which is impossible for a true sleepwalker to do this. The neighbour said he saw Jeff inside his house after the stabbing removing his bloody clothes. Jeff put those clothes and the murder weapon into a plastic container in the trunk of his car. And he also bandaged a cut on his hand. Again shows that he was consciously aware of the fact he was injured and he know what he had to do in response to the injury and he successfully completed it. The neighbour also saw Jeff trying to calm his dog, but Jeff claimed not to have heard any screaming from his wife and yet apparently aware of the agitation of the pet. But an individual who is sleepwalking doesn't know that a dog is there, for him to quite the dog meant that he was awake.
But the defence experts believed there was another explanation for the incident with the family dog. They were not at all sure that Jeff quieted the dog, in terms of responding to them barking they were jumping up on him. And they said Jeff may not have gone directly to Hanna's body out near the pool before the drowning but may have stumbled over her while sleepwalking. They point to the neighbour's first statement to police as proof. Sleep experts were at odds on how to interpret Jeff's behaviour.
But Maya presented a very powerful case to the jury one that focused on logic as well as science. Maya proved that Jeff made the decision to kill his wife and make it appear to be the work of an unknown assailant. When the children went to bed, Hannah was on the sofa watching TV, Jeff lured Hannah out to the pool then stabbed her 44 times. He went back upstairs to clean up and he also bandaged his hand. He hid the murder weapon and his bloody clothes in the trunk of his car. When he returned to the pool, Jeff quieted the dog and noticed Hannah was still breathing, so he dragged her over to the pool and drowned her. His original plan was to go back to bed and the next morning let the children find their mother's body outside. But those plans changed when his neighbour saw the whole thing. Maya provided the library entries Jeff made and articles he studied, especially the Toronto case, the man who was acquitted of killing his mother in law using a sleepwalking as defence. Dr. Mark testified for Maya and listed all 65 behaviours Jeff exhibited during the commission of the crime that was inconsistent with the sleepwalking. He said touching the cold water alone would've been enough to wake him from a sleepwalking episode. All these evidence, logical explanations proved that Jeff was not sleepwalking at the time of the murder.
After three hours of courtroom drama, Jeff sentenced to life without parole and before leaving the court room, Maya told Jeff that " in the Toronto case, he didn't stab his mother in law 44 times and you missed to read that part"