Forensic Science and the TV Series “Welcome To Homicide Season 1”

Abstract

Forensic science is a broad field with an extended history of application. Prehistoric rock paintings and other artifacts indicate that the practice has been in existence for centuries. As such, an examination of a number of primitive reports signifies that the primeval crime detection process by great extent relied on the connection between the crime and the criminal (Gaensslen & Harris, 2008). Currently, the field exploits substantial knowledge of basic sciences. After extensive developments of basic sciences in the 19th and the 20th century, the world began to witness their application in the legal issues. This article analyses and reconstructs a crime scene based on the TV series Welcome to Homicide Season 1 (Brenkus, 2007). Through this, the initial actions of the response team are highlighted. Similarly, the methods and tools used by the detectives in the crime scene are illustrated. Equally, the analysis of the collected evidence are highlighted with the aim of linking the suspects to the crime. Finally, the summary of the review of the crime scene is provided.

Introduction

Forensic revolution was not witnessed before the year 1800. Currently, the homicide crime scenes are indisputably the most challenging tasks a law enforcer will ever be called upon to attend to. Owing to the manner in which the murder is conducted, the evidence of the murder can only be established after a vigilant and smart assessment has been undertaken and after forensic and medical experts have evaluated every evidence collected from the scene. These evidences are usually in the shape of trace objects collected by crime investigators, statements documented from suspects, or autopsy analysis (Delisi, 2013). This article focuses on, brief history of forensic science and my review of a crime scene based on the TV series Welcome to Homicide Season 1 (Brenkus, 2007).

Brief history of forensic science

Forensic science is an extensive field with an extended history of relevance. Primeval rock paintings and other artifacts proof of use of evidence in the past. A small number of reports of serial killings undertaken centuries ago are still in existence. Studies on the most primitive reports indicate that primeval crime detection processes by great extent relied on the connection between the crime and the criminal. Based on the oldest recorded crime reports, the earliest documented post mortem was undertaken on Julius Caesar in during the 44BC (Seddon, 2009). It was not until the 15th century that the earliest book on forensic science was written. In the book, the first application of science in detecting murder weapon is documented. The book details that a murder had been carried out. When the case was brought before the court, the adjudicator ordered all the sickles in the community be seized. It was later identified that one sickle draw flies. Thus, the judge wrapped up the case saying that the smell of blood in the sickle attracted the insects and that the tool had been used in the murder. In the mid 16th century, a French physician by the name Ambroise Paré set a basis for contemporary forensic pathology (Seddon, 2009). He analyzed the effects of trauma on person’s organs.

After basic sciences were extensively developed, the world began to witness their application in the legal issues. Basic sciences began to develop in the late 18th century, and many of the early developments in forensic sciences took place during the 19th century (Gaensslen & Harris, 2008). In the 19th century, the likes of Eugène François Vidocq and James Marsh became well known for their contribution in forensic science. Vidocq led the way in the usage of ballistics. He took plaster casts of shoe marks for further investigations. On the other hand, Marsh came up with the Marsh test. In the test, standard scientific methods are used in detecting arsenic poisoning. The late 19th century witnessed the application of Henry System as a fingerprint kit (Seddon, 2009). During the same period, Edmund Locard came up with the twelve matching points for fingerprint assessment. Similarly, the code doctrine of forensic science that asserts, “Every contact leaves a hint” is attributed to Locard. The code is known as the Locard Exchange Principle (Gaensslen & Harris, 2008). As such, the code has been considered the basis of trace evidence compilation and examination in the last century, and to date it still plays an essential position in the current forensic science. The earliest technique for categorizing ABO blood groups used for desiccated bloodstains was designed in the year 1910. Ever since then, the design has become an important kit used in crime scene analysis.

The end of the 19th century witnessed the growth of DNA profiling and the use of DNA catalogs like CODIS (Gaensslen & Harris, 2008). CODIS are employed in evaluation of DNA profiles collected from the crimes sights or criminals. Over the last 20 years, there have been many developments in DNA, fingerprinting technology, mobile crime labs, and application of chemical analysis.

My crime scene (Welcome to Homicide Season 1)

It was on March 6 2007, when the police in Richmond received a call from a caller from neighboring apartment complex (Brenkus, 2007). The caller said that a person had been killed and stuffed in a trunk of a car. The police informed the caller to stay calm and that we were going to be on the scene within the next few minutes. After that, the police informed the detective team about the incident before heading to the crime scene. After the police had left to the crime scene, we collected our necessary forensic kits before heading to the scene. When we arrived at the location, I ensured that my officers were safe before letting them into the crime scene. After that, we swiftly, yet vigilantly, advanced and got into the crime scene while watching out for any people, motor vehicles, proceedings, possible evidence, and environmental conditions.

Afterwards, we moved with haste to secure the scene. This was aimed at managing all the persons at the crime scene. By doing so, we prevented them from changing any physical evidence at the scene. This was achieved by limiting their movement, location, and doings at the same time ensuring that safety is maintained at the scene. Later, we identified witnesses and separated them from the rest of the individuals. Afterwards, we removed all the bystanders from the scene. While doing so we managed to control the victim’s relatives whilst showing sympathy. Similarly, the response team managed to keep out unauthorized and unneeded workers from the scene. These included the unneeded law enforcement officers and media personnel.

Afterwards, we defined and controlled the boundaries. Through this, the response team came up with the boundaries of the scene. The boundaries were established first at the focal point and enlarged outward to include where the murdered was stuffed. Later, the response team identified the exit and the entry points into the crime scene. This was achieved using a crime scene barrier tape. Similarly, all the people leaving and entering the crime scene were documented boundaries.

In the United States, the fourth amendment’s protects the citizens’ privacy and freedom from being intruded by the government. Based on this, law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant of arrest before probing any property or an individual. However, many a time searches are undertaken without the need to obtain a search warrant. These exceptions apply in emergencies, where proof is in plain view, where consent has been obtained, or when the post seizure is being undertaken in a person suspected to be having a weapon or illegal imports. During our operations, the law enforcement did not obtain any search warrant because the case was an emergency. If we had taken more time to obtain the search warrant, the evidence at the crime scene could have been destroyed, making it hard for us to carry out our investigations.

After controlling and securing the crime scene, we scrutinize the crime scene to establish where photos could be taken with clarity. Thereafter, we took several photos to capture the crime scene. These pictures were taken without the any measuring kit. Motionless bits and pieces were also captured in the photographs as reference points. Similarly, these photos captured the crime scenes from several angles. Thereafter, a precise rough sketch of the scene was established. In the sketch, the position of the victim, vehicle, nearby trees, and buildings were noted. The sketches were to be used later in creating better accurate copies of the scene. Better images would be suitable for court proceedings. This would be achieved with the use of computer programs.

Identification, collection, preservation, and analysis of evidence

After the above was carried out, we were tasked with identifying, collecting, preserving and analyzing the evidence at the crime scene. To achieve credible evidence, we put in place measures to prevent contamination of the scene. This entailed classification and safeguarding of delicate evidence. At the scene, we identified and secured the tire tracks from being contaminated by the wind and personnel who were engaged in the investigation. Thereafter, we managed to scrutinize and document on the nature of the victims injuries. The victim had been shot twice in the forehead. With further scrutiny, we noted that the victim had been stabbed several times in the chest. Equally, we noted the physical changes on the corpse. We tried, but in vain to find the murderers’ fingerprints. Similarly, no trace elements were found at the scene. The blood samples collected at the crime scene were sealed in breathable bags. Due to this, they were disqualified from further study. Equally, we collected hair and clothing fibers inside the car.

Thereafter, the above evidences were preserved for further analysis. When the blood samples were taken to the lab, the blood samples corresponded with that of the murdered individual. Similarly, the hair and the clothing fibers collected in the vehicle matched with the individuals DNA. This was a clear proof that the murderer had tried his or her best not to leave any trace. When the tire tracks were analyzed, it was found that the vehicle had been driven to the scene in the last 24 hours. With all this information, the lead investigators were able to carry out a crime scene reconstruction. The reconstruction showed that the crime scene we were investigating was a secondary crime scene. With this, we noted that our further investigation was going to be challenging because the secondary crime scene could offer us with a few evidence, unlike the primary crime scene (Chisum & Turvey, 2007).

As we were still carrying out our investigations, we received a call from an anonymous individual who told us that on the night of the murder he heard two gunshots coming from the scene of the murder. The caller asserted that later he saw two men leaving the site. When we received this information, the lead investigating team analyzed them. We noted that the caller’s information matched with some of our investigators’ theories. As such, the victim had been shot twice matched with the two shots heard by the caller.

Crime scene reconstruction and conclusion

After analyzing all the physical evidence, we postulated that the victim had been killed elsewhere and his body brought to the scene. According to our theory, two suspects had waylaid the victim from the workplace. Thereafter, the suspects drove with the victim to unknown place. There, they ordered the victim out of the vehicle. When the victim got out of the vehicle, the suspects hit him on the forehead using a hard object where the victim went into a state of unconsciousness. This was supported by the fact that there were no signs of or evidence of a vigorous struggle between the suspects and the victim. Thereafter, one suspects stabbed the victim severally in the chest before shooting him twice on the forehead. According to our investigations, the suspects wore hand gloves and head masks during the attack. Through this, he left no fingerprints or other traces. Thereafter, the suspects stuffed the victim in the car. Afterwards, the suspects drove the car to an apartment complex in Richmond. There, they shot at the dead corpse again. Through this, they aimed at making the secondary crime scene seem as the primary crime scene. Afterwards, the suspects fled by foot.

That morning, police in Richmond received a call informing them of a murder. The caller said that a person had been killed and stuffed in a trunk of a car. The police informed the caller to stay calm and that we were going to be on the scene within the next few minutes. After that, the police informed the detective team about the incident before heading to the crime scene. After the police had left to the crime scene, we collected our necessary forensic kits and headed to the scene. When we arrived at the location, we ensured that all the personnel were safe before letting them into the crime scene. After that, we swiftly, yet vigilantly, advanced and got into the crime scene while watching out for any people, motor vehicles, proceedings, possible evidence, and environmental conditions. Since then, our investigation began. The reconstruction showed that the crime scene we were investigating was a secondary crime scene. With this, we noted that our further investigation was going to be challenging because the secondary crime scene could offer us with a few evidence, unlike the primary crime scene

References

Brenkus, J. (Director). (2007). Welcome to homicide [Motion picture]. United States: A&E Television Networks.

Chisum, W. J., & Turvey, B. E. (2007). Crime reconstruction. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press.

Delisi, M. (2013). Criminal psychology. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education Inc.

Gaensslen, R. E., & Harris, H. A. (2008). Introduction to forensic science & criminalistics. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Seddon, A. (2009). Forensic science. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press.

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