DNA technology has become the Holy Grail of crime scene investigations, but is it infallible? Can DNA evidence be misleading? This article explores those questions and explains why even the latest and greatest crime scene technology may not be able to establish linkage unless the crime scene had been carefully handled.
Experts studying homicide have long classified killers into two general categories: organized and disorganized. This article provides an overview of the disorganized category and discusses how the categorization can be applied to real cases.
Much has been said about the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin by community watch activist George Zimmerman. While tight-lipped law enforcement officials kept many of the details of the investigation closely guarded, a media storm of information has led to all sorts of speculation in the case, including concerns about Zimmerman's prescription medications and whether or not he uttered a racial epithet under his breath during the 911 call. With all of the speculation, few have devoted the time and effort necessary to correctly and accurately reconstruct the events of that evening from a neutral point of view. What really happened when George Zimmerman confronted Trayvon Martin? Join us as we take a look at the evidence in the case from the standpoint of a forensic crime scene reconstructionist.
With television shows like Crime 360, the use of three-dimensional computer modeling to accurately depict crime scenes has become popular among forensic science fans around the world. But is this technology just pop-culture entertainment, or is it practical for the law enforcement community? In this article, we discuss some of the current trends and advancements in three-dimensional laser scanning and its impact on forensic investigations.
Developing latent fingerprints on human skin is not an easy task, but successes have occurred. Join us as we take a look at one case in which light energy was used to develop bloody fingerprints on the body of a serial killer's victim, a print that led investigators to the perpetrator and revealed his lurid fascination with women's underclothes, pornography, and killing prostitutes.
Shooting incidents are complex, fast-paced events. The public gets their collective understanding of how shootings occur from television and the movies, but rarely are these events accurately depicted in entertainment media. The crime scene reconstructionist must have a firm understanding of the many facets of shooting incidents including the human factors aspects that affect what a shooter saw, how he or she reacted, and what took place during the event. Join us for a look at what really takes place during a shooting as we look at what the research tells us and what we know from experience.
Tire impression evidence can be as useful in solving a crime as fingerprints. In this article, we'll take a look at a case in which tire impression evidence led to the capture and conviction of a killer, despite the fact that poor crime scene handling by first responders almost destroyed the evidence forever.
How does one approach the process of crime scene reconstruction from a philosophical standpoint? In this article, we'll look at how the crime scene reconstructionist must approach his or her job, what must be done, how forensic science applies, and what sort of approach one must take. We'll see how the reconstructionist is limited by the asymmetry of time and how those limitations can be harnessed to define the constraints of the analysis.
In the post-OJ Simpson, post-Daubert, post-NSA world, forensic science is suffering an identity crisis. Is forensic science an applied science or a separate basic science? Where should it fall within the world of education? What steps are needed to move forward. Join us as we take a look at this identity crisis and look for ways for forensic science to move forward.
Have you ever arrived at a shooting scene and found that a bullet had shattered the tempered glass in a side window? The glass was probably making noise, causing you to fear that it was about to fall out. What would happen to the bullet hole if it did? In this article, we'll show you a quick and easy technique for marking the location of the bullet hole so that it can still be used for trajectory reconstruction even if the glass falls out.
Alternate light sources are not a crime scene luxury; they are a necessity. Processing a death scene without an alternate light source is likely to result in missed evidence, and in some cases that missed evidence might prove critical to the case. In this article, we'll discuss the use of alternate light sources for processing crime scenes, and we'll show you a case in which the alternate light revealed some very important evidence on the body of murder victim.
Times are tough for law enforcement and government agencies around the nation. Budget cuts have led to layoffs and a lack of resources. Crime scene units are not exempt, and budget cuts can kill training efforts and make it difficult for crime scene investigators to get the training they want and need. Are budget cutbacks the death of crime scene training? In this article, we'll tell you how to get the training you need even when your agency won't support you.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School masscre, are tighter gun control laws the answer? What will it take to keep children safe at school? Firearms and shooting incident expert Michael Knox weighs in on this important debate.