CRMJ332

Question 1 of 2 25.0/ 50.0 Points
Part I- The Crime Scene

You are the crime scene investigator and are working a homicide scene. You will select any ONE of the following type of criminal events listed below and explain in detail how you would document the crime scene, collect the evidence and the approach used to process and assess bloodstain evidence at a crime scene. For example you may wish to follow the Decision Map with explanation and examples. Be sure to provide Bloodstain characteristics and Analysis, etc.

The following scenes A through C are general descriptions, you may add any additional information, evidence, you wish to complete the scene to your needs, such as time frame, weather conditions, etc.

Crime Scene A:

You have a shooting situation inside a home. A male is found lying on his bed to his left side, with a gunshot wound to the right side of his head, the weapon is on the floor. The bed is directly against the wall of the bedroom. You have bloodstains on the weapon, bedding, victim and wall.

Crime Scene B:

You have a shooting situation in which the male victim is found sitting in the driver’s side seat slumped over the steering wheel, he had been shot in the back of his head multiple times. You have blood stain evidence on the steering wheel, driver side door, driver side window, and windshield and in the rear of the vehicle on the floor and rear seat.

Crime Scene C:

You have a female victim found lying in a hallway vestibule of her apartment building. She has knife wounds to her neck area, abdomen, to her right side, both of her hands and forearms. She is lying in a pool of blood between the entrance door from the outside and entry door leading to the interior of the apartment building. The inner vestibule has on one wall a buzzer entry system with the apartment listings. The entry doors are made of wood that border large glass windows. You will find bloodstain evidence on all the walls, floor and doors and buzzer system.

Blood Spatter Analysis Final exam

Crime scene C:

You have a female victim found lying in a hallway vestibule of her apartment building. She has knife wounds to her neck area, abdomen, to her right side, both of her hands and forearms. She is lying in a pool of blood between the entrance door from the outside and the entry door leading to the interior of the apartment building. The inner vestibule has on one wall a buzzer entry system with apartment listings. The entry doors are made of wood that border large glass windows. You will find blood stain evidence on the walls, floor and doors and buzzer system.

The first thing I would do as an investigator is secure the crime scene. I wouldn’t want people trampling through the crime scene and destroying evidence. I wouldn’t want the issue of contamination to come up in litigation which could make the difference between spending the rest of his life in jail or walking free.

Before I start processing the evidence, I would take one good look around to see what it was like left by the offender. Each crime scene is unique and presents its own set of what happened. I would then start collecting evidence, recording all observations through photographs, sketches, and notes. By being careful in the collection and preservation of the evidence, I would be able to tell what happened during the crime.

I would take my photographs first documenting every area of the crime scene. I would also use PPE to protect myself from possible blood born pathogens that may or may not exist.

Most vestibules, not all obviously are round in shape. It is obvious that the victim was bleeding upon being attacked. A number of separate blood spatter patterns are noted that were not there prior to the attack on the victim.

The knife wounds to the right side may have been the first attack. This may lead to the conclusion that the offender was right handed. Depending on where she was struck in the right side, there are bunches of minor arteries in that area. (The major ones tend to be more internal so the possibility of serious injury is less.) This would also depend on the size of the knife as well. A larger blade would go deeper and do more damage. After the first blow I would say she probably stumbled, which would make the second one in the neck area. As she fell to the floor she may have turned on her back at some point to defend herself which would explain the knife wounds on her hands and forearms. This is what I would have considered a defensive wound. The pool of blood that she was lying in would be the run off of the wounds to the point of gravity which happens to be the floor. The blood on the walls, floor and doors could have come from the attack while the woman was still standing. That would have come from forcible blood that was coming from arteries. This blood is under pressure (hence blood pressure) until it leaves the body. This would explain why the blood was on the doors, walls and the buzzer system.

Court Room Testimony:

DE:

1) What is your job title, what type of crime scenes have you been handling and how long have you been handling crime scenes?

I am a crime scene investigator that specializes in Serology and pathology. I handle violent crime scenes that usually involve investigating a scene with lots of blood and tissue.

2) What training do you have?

I have a degree in forensic science from American Military University and with another degree in Serology and pathology.

3) How did you get you assignment to go to the crime scene?

I was called because of my expertise in blood spatter analysis.

4) What you arrived at the scene, who did you meet and how was the scene protected?

The scene was initially protected by the police officers who were called to the scene. They were told to do so after calling me at home to come investigate. The superintendent of the building heard a noise and screaming and called the police. He came out during the phone call to find the victim lying on the floor not breathing.

5) Can you explain to the jury what you mean by processing a crime scene for blood analysis?

Most physical evidence can be classified as either class characteristics or individual characteristics. Class characteristics are not exclusive to one item or scene. These include thing such as tire makes and models. Individual characteristics are that which help identify not only the victim but the offender as well. The first thing I did is document the crime scene. I always take pictures since they are the best record that is available. This part shows how the crime scene was found where objects were in relation to each other and how they were found. I then diageam the scene and took measurements. Measurements help in enhancing that of photographs because they tell how far the objects were from each other and the victim. Then there is the chain of custody. This is important to any investigation. It is the unbroken sequence of events that is caused by an item of evidence from the time it is found at the crime scene to the time it appears in court. (scienceman.org) Every link has been documented from the discovery part of the evidence to the time it ends up here in the court room. Every person who handles it it is documented by date, time, handling individual, and what was done by the person who touched it. Obviously if the chain of custody is broken, it cannot be used here. Blood spatters help in reconstructing a crime scene. They can be used to either corroborate or deny an alibi given by witnesses and/or the offender. The patterns of the spatter and the shapes of the individual blood droplets themselves can tell how a crime was committed. Drops falling from different heights will have different looking spatters. A drop falling from a low height of a few inches will have a small circle. At higher distances, the blood will have a larger splatter and a crown effect. Each blood spatter tells a story and it is my job to document it and preserve it.

6) Can you explain to the jury why you collected the blood evidence you did?

As I explained before, each spatter tells a story. I collected blood from different areas of the crime scene to see if they all matched the victim or if the offender was injured during the commission of the crime. I am being thorough in being able to identify the victim versus the offender and hope to bring the offender to justice.

Cross Examination:

CE:

1)Can you explain how you documented the pieces of blood stain evidence you collected?

Each piece was carefully photographed, measured, sketched and collected using the proper techniques which are in place at this time. I followed department procedure in collecting and documenting the evidence. I also used the grid method and the perimeter rule.

2) What were you told by the detectives?

I was told who made the call, who secured the crime scene and the possible time of death.

3) Is it fair to say you collected the blood stains evidence based on what the detectives told you?

No. As I said before, there was not much information given to me prior to the collection and documentation of the evidence.

4) These pieces of blood stain evidence you collected were then based on theories by your detectives or yourself to connect my client to the crime scene? Did you even look for any other evidence that could show or demonstrate that another could have been involved in this terrible situation?

I make no assumptions when it comes to evidence. There were finger prints found at the scene for which everyone in the building was fingerprinted and any person who came to visit a resident in the 24 hours prior to was fingerprinted. We also found a small DNA sample under the victims fingernail as she tried to fight for her life. Yes, others were looked at.

5) Oh by the way, all this stuff, the blood, etc., these pieces of evidence you explained, is it fair to say that cross contamination could have occurred at any point in your recovery with the handling of this evidence, or during any processing? And is it not possible cross contamination can distort what this blood evidence shows?

Ok, lets be honest here anything can happen. I am not sure it did. I am a nurse by trade to begin with. I deal with all sorts of samples. We do minimize any cross contamination that may/may not occur. Human error is always a factor. To be honest it is not fair to say that you think your client is being set up.

7) Oh I am sorry, I have one last question, can you offer any particular chapter in the book you apparently read during your training by Bevel, that discusses how innocent individuals be eliminated from a crime and if do, did you do any practices of this nature at the crime scene?

Depending on what you are looking for exactly, I would say yes. Chapters 14 & 15 talk a little about these. Yes. We eliminated everyone we could. The evidence clearly points to the defendant. (Too Funny)

Reference:

1) James, S.H, Kish, P.E, and Sutton, T.P. Principles of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, CRC

Press, 2005, p.219-225

2) Scienceman.org

3) Bevel, Tom and Gardner, Ross M. (2008). Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FLA.

Question 2 of 2 50.0/ 50.0 Points
PART II: COURTROOM TESTIMONY AND CHALLENGES:

You will defend your actions involving bloodstain evidence within a courtroom environment. This aspect of the assignment will be handled as a crime scene technician; you will answer the questions posed to you by the prosecution and the defense. You will handle this part not as a scientific expert, but defending your actions in processing a crime scene.

[DE-direct examination on witness stand by the prosecutor]
[CE-cross examination on the witness stand by the defense]

You will base your responses on the crime scene you selected above.

DIRECTION EXAMINATION BY PROSECUTOR:

DE-1: What is your job title, what type of crime scenes have you been handling and how long have your been handling crime scenes?

DE-2: What training do you have?

DE-3: How did you get your assignment to go to the crime scene?

DE-4: When you arrived at the scene, who did you meet and how was the scene protected?

DE-5: Can you explain to the jury what you mean by processing a crime scene for bloodstain analysis.

DE-6: Can you explain to the jury why you collected the bloodstained evidence you did?

DE-NO FURTHER QUESTIONS AT THIS TIME!

CROSS EXAMINATION BY THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY

CE-1: Can you explain how you documented the pieces of bloodstain evidence you collected?

CE-2: What were you told by the detectives?

CE-3: Is it fair to say, you handled and collected the bloodstain evidence based on what the detectives told you?

CE-4: These pieces of bloodstain evidence you collected were than based on theories by your detectives or yourself to connect my client to the crime scene? Did even look for any other evidence that could show or demonstrate that another could have been involved in this terrible situation?

CE-5: Oh, by the way, all this stuff, the blood, etc., these pieces of evidence you explained,
is it fair to say that cross-contamination could have occurred at any point in your recovery with the handling of this evidence, or during any processing? And is it not possible cross contamination can distort what this bloodstain evidence shows?

CE-6: Oh, I am sorry, I do have one last question, can you offer any particular chapter in the book you apparently read during your training by Bevel, that discusses how innocent individuals can be eliminated from a crime and if so, did you do any practices of this nature at the crime scene?

Remember, whatever you explain in your reports, etc., someone who may have no knowledge as to what you do, may ask the question, “Why did you do that” or “Why didn’t do this”? I am not looking for expert reports or testimony, but challenging your thinking to apply the concepts from the text, Forums and my interactions with the class to your work.

Any questions please let me know!

Good luck!

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