This intensive training module is for anyone who will be responding to death scenes; including patrol officers, detectives, supervisors, medical examiner investigators, and lab personnel. This class will provide the information,
knowledge and skills necessary to investigate and interpret homicide and questioned death scenes. Through the use of lecture, case history and photo and video demonstrations, attendees will be provided the basic skills of homicide and
questioned death scene investigations; to include bloodstain pattern recognition, ballistics and trajectory as evidence, scenes involving self inflicted deaths, scenes involving child deaths, scenes involving domestic violence related
homicides, key objectives for presenting cases in court, and some of the technology available for obtaining and displaying information.
This course is different from a basic crime scene investigation course, in that instruction will highlight the specific evidence that should be observed and documented in each particular death scene. Emphasis will be placed on
specific observations to be made and documented, as well as specific evidence needed by the medical examiner and the lead homicide detective for inclusion in the case files. Instruction will include the proper collection of data and
appropriate measurements for proper case documentation and subsequent event reconstruction. Techniques for preparing for court testimony will also be covered.
Every Crime Scene Tells a Story:
Each death scene presents itself differently, and to that end, it is important to identify the issue in each case. Is this scene a homicide, suicide, accident, or natural death? If the scene is determined to be a homicide
investigation, does the evidence tell the story of a cold blooded, premeditated murder, or a killing as a result of a momentary loss of control during a heated argument? The homicide and death scene investigator should have the ability
to recognize evidence or information to determine the manner of death and to support findings regarding culpability. Case slides will be used to demonstrate examples of scene evidence that may be important in demonstrating culpable
mental states and manner of death.
Evidence vs Information:
Crime scene investigators examine crime scenes in search of evidence, which has taken on a context of being affiliated with something that is scientific in nature, such as fingerprints, bullets, bloodstains, or other
biological material. Recognizing and properly collecting scientific evidence is obviously important in any death investigation. Information however, can come in many forms and is not necessarily limited to scientific evidence. The
available avenues in which to uncover evidence, as well as information important to the investigation will be discussed in detail.
Self-Inflicted Deaths: This section addresses scenes involving suicide, asphyxia, and accidental deaths. Emphasis will be placed on key scene evidence typically found at scenes of self
inflicted deaths, which support investigative findings. Detailed examples of evidence that should be noted and documented at scenes involving self inflicted deaths will be presented
Investigating Defined Murders:
Investigating defined murders such as domestic violence murders or child murders can present unique circumstances, and should be understood and addressed. Murders occurring within the home are often the result of prolonged issues
and go undetected by friends, neighbors, and extended family members. “Traditional” scientific evidence such as DNA or fingerprint evidence are often times less probative in murders occurring within the home, since there is a legitimate
reason to find that type of evidence relating to both victims and perpetrators in the residence that they both lawfully occupy. The crime scene investigator should be aware of other avenues in which to find information regarding the
events leading up to the death. Techniques and suggestions will be presented detailing methods in which to recover evidence that is specific and probative to these types of murder investigations.
Investigations involving multiple deaths can also present unique circumstances. Cases involving mass murders and serial killers will be referenced to explain the unique challenges that occur during such cases. Among the issues
presented will be sustained presence at the scene, handling mass amounts of physical evidence, utilizing specialized resources and personnel, using advanced equipment, and dealing with the media.
Blood As Evidence: Blood found at crimes scenes or on victims, suspects, or witnesses (clothing or person) should be considered significant evidence and should be treated as such when
documenting, collecting and preserving. Before blood evidence can be properly analyzed, it needs to be properly documented. The field investigator should also be able to identify different types of blood stains and understand how each
stain lends information surrounding the blood letting event. This section of the training will describe different types of bloodstains frequently encountered at blood letting crime scenes.
Ballistic Evidence-Shooting Reconstruction
Ballistic evidence may provide valuable scene reconstruction information. A general overview of shooting incident reconstruction will be presented. Several components of shooting reconstruction including shell casing locations,
projectile trajectories, gunshot residue, particle spread patterns, and bullet wound classifications will all be presented.