When preparing for a crime scene reconstruction consideration must be made concerning the types of evidence you are using to come to the conclusion that you are basing the reconstruction on. Real evidence for physical evidence is the best source of producing a reconstruction. The relevance of the physical evidence must be established. For example, it a shooting reconstruction was done based on a ricochet off a wall that struck the victim the angle of impact from the wall where the bullet initially impacted and struck the victim will allow you to determine the line where the shooter stood when he or she fired and hit the wall. The problem is if the line is unobstructed evidence must be located that helps establish where the shoot was when he or she fired. On that line stemming from the wall a cartridge casing will be significant. Shoe impression along the line may be from the shooter or it may be anyone who happened to walk there before or after the shooting took place. So the cartridge casing is likely to be ejected from the shooters weapon and give the reconstruction team an idea of where the shooter was when he or she fired. The footwear impression may or may not be that of the shooter so it is circumstantial even though it is a physical artifact and should be collected.
Crime scene reconstruction can be done by setting the scene up with personnel playing the roles of suspect, victim, and witnesses. It can also be done by placing crime scene dummies in locations for the same people. The more modern method is using a LASER scanner that videos, charts, and measures the entire scene and be used to reconstruct the scene in a white room.
Scenario: Tim and Rhonda just got engaged. They are having a small gathering to celebrate at a local restaurant called the Dew Drop Inn. Rhonda had finally gotten her divorce from James who had been very abusive both physically and emotionally. They have no children. Dinner was finishing up about 8:00 PM and the party was moving into the bar. Out of the blue, James showed up at the restaurant bar and accused Tim of being the reason that Rhonda divorced him (James).
A fist fight broke out when James tried to grab Rhonda and Tim interceded. James grabbed a beer bottle and smashed Tim in the head. Tim pulled out a compact pistol and placed it directly against James’ chest and shot James dead with a single bullet through the heart. Tim grabbed Rhonda and ran from the restaurant, where they jumped into his 2014 Red Honda Civic and drove to Rhonda’s apartment where they both lived.
The police went to the apartment where Rhonda and Tim lived and noted the Red Honda Civic was parked in front of the apartment. A search warrant for seizing the car and searching Rhonda and Tim’s apartment was obtained. James was found to be out on parole for a burglary in which he had served two years in prison. Rhonda was home but Tim was not. Rhonda told the police that she had been receiving threatening emails form James, her ex-husband who was threatening to kill her, Tim, and then himself. She had saved the emails on her Tablet. The search revealed a men’s white dress shirt in the hamper covered with what appeared to be high velocity blood spatter consistent with gunshot blowback. A box of 9mm cartridges with ten rounds missing was found in the dresser of the night stand. An empty pistol box for a 9mm Glock model 26 compact pistol was found next to the ammunition.
Research the following points, and write a 4–6-page paper fully explaining each point:
- Define physical evidence.
- You may use a number of resources to research the methods and significance of evidence in this scenario. Consider using articles form juried forensic publications, information from the AIU library, or textbooks from this or other classes you might have had. Identify the evidence you found and what evidence might still be available. Include proper handling and packaging techniques for your evidence.
- Explain the importance of expert testimony and the report writing that would be involved.
- Explain the role the forensic scientist in the laboratory will have with your submitted evidence, and explain the techniques the forensic scientist will use to process your evidence.