What are the chances that the couple are innocent of the murder?
A man has been murdered. Multiple witnesses saw that the murder was committed by a white man with black hair and a black woman with dyed yellow hair, though none was close enough to see their faces and identify them. An expert calculates, based on census data, that the odds of finding another interracial couple matching the description are 1 in 12 million. The suspects are a married couple; the man is white with black hair, and the woman is black with dyed yellow hair. They live in the correct area and have no alibi.
A. Less than 1 in 12 million B. 1 in 12 million C. More than 1 in 12 million D. We don t have enough information to say
If the murder took place in a reasonably populous area with a strong tradition of racial mixing, there may well be plenty of couples who match the description.
If there is just one other such couple, and we assume that the eyewitness evidence is correct, one of the two couples must be guilty.
Therefore, the probability that the suspects are innocent becomes 1 in 2; that is, 50/50 odds. If there are more such couples, the odds of them being innocent increase further.
Also, the witnesses may have been mistaken. Eyewitness evidence is far less reliable than people think.