25th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 1965)
May 21-22, 1965

Martin Klein, Long Beach Police Department

Klein has read the portions of the full Warren Commission Report dealing with the expert testimony. He reviewed some of the highlights of the testimony. Time and space does not allow an abstraction of Klein's review of the report.

(It is your Editorial Secretary's opinion that each criminalist should be familiar with the contents of this report, at least the condensed version. Never has a case been so completely investigated in such minute detail or been so well documented. Many things done on this case can serve as examples of what could be done in a particular case.)

Lowell W. Bradford, Santa Clara District Attorney's Office

A mimeographed 12-page handout was reported to be in press (J. of Forensic Sciences).

Working in the far U.V. pushes solution spectrophotometry to its limit. Limitations under 200 mu include complex oxygen absorption (requiring N₂ purging of instrument) in the 180-190 mu area, solvent absorption (as well as strong alkali), limitations of energy source, stray light, aging of reflective surfaces and energy source.

Some significant conclusions reached in regard to procedures were: use of short light path (0.01 cm) is mandatory; H₃BO₃, H₃PO₄ and HClO₄ systems are more favorable, pH of 9.4-10 appears to be the most Basic pH range that is acceptable, and 50% transmission cutoff values must be determined periodically.

Bradford reported that increased sensitivities of detection (absorbance) in the far U.V. ranged from 2.5 x (Seconal) to 360 x (amphetamine). The handout included data on 8 barbiturates and 45 other drugs, including narcotics.

Jack Villaudy, Los Angeles County Coroner's Office

Villaudy reported that heroin hydrochloride is chloroform soluble and this can be used as a means of purification.

Pyrilamine and Thonzylamine Maleates (which give "false positive'' Marquis tests) may be included in "cut" heroin.

Donald E. Bryan, General Atomic, San Diego

  1. Gun Powder Residues: In a number of known gunshot suicide cases, they have been unable to interpret the results. There is a need to examine many, many more hand blanks. There is, as yet insufficient data to be able to properly interpret results.
  2. Tagging of Gun Powder: They have examined 50 cases where persons have fired weapons using tagged powder. People standing to the side of 19 firings picked up the tagging elements equivalent to their firing one or two times. A person standing forward of the muzzle on two firings picked up very low levels of the tagging elements.
  3. Paint: Anticipates their doing a very exhaustive study of paint to put it on a firm basis.
  4. Hair: Most studies have been on large composites. General Atomic' has run single strands from the same individual and found inhomogeneity of the samples. Reported that Dr. Jervis also recognizes this problem in single hair comparisons.

Mark Joseff, Attorney at law, Downey

Although the act relates to Federal jurisdiction, the effects will be felt in State courts. Under the act, the defendant is entitled to all services. Not only will counsel be provided if he is without means; but, by petition to the court, he can obtain the services of investigators, experts and other services needed for an adequate defense.

Mr. Joseff visualizes the borrowing of experts by the courts, primarily more for consultation than re-examination of evidence, but also for supplementary examinations.

Martin Ward, Pabst Brewing Co., Los Angeles

Ward's presentation was primarily on the brewing art and on the types of beer, with little in the way of detailed laboratory procedures. Alcohol content is determined by a standard test of the American Society of Brewing Chemists (Madison, Wisconsin).

Thomas Noguchi, M.D., Pathologist, Los Angeles Coroner's Office

The projection slide-illustrated talk was limited to head injuries (wound patterns of hammer, crowbar, tire iron, baseball bat, hatchet blade and 2 x 6 lumber blows) and stab wounds of the body with different instruments.

Dr. Noguchi is working on techniques to develop the third (depth) dimension of wounds, to determine the tip shape. At present, he is using a thick paste of barium sulfate to fill the wound and x-raying. It appears necessary for the tissues to be still soft.

Harry Johnson, Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, California State Department of Justice

Carbon monoxide has been eliminated as a problem One case of 20% saturation, two at 10% and the rest below 5%.

Of over 400 cases (apparently little new data has been compiled since the previous report by Allen Gilmore - Abstracts of Oct. 1964), 25% showed no alcohol, 5-6% had .02-.09% and the remainder had .10% or more.

One in twenty (5%) show some drug involvement. It will take at least the second year to have sufficient drug data to be of significance.

Harry Johnson, Criminal Investigation and Identification, California Department of Justice

This is to be more completely reported at the Fall, 1965 seminar. He did not have any data on correlations. The subjects did quite well on the driving except they speeded up with some increase in errors resulting. Other tests showed loss of visual acuity, depth perception and field of vision. Glare recovery was extended tremendously.

Thomas Wieland, Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Ten rabbits were tested by firing a .44 Magnum above their heads with blood samples drawn at 6 minute intervals. None of the rabbits showed any alcohol.

Don Harding, San Mateo County Sheriff's Department (co-authored by Paul M. Dougherty, William A. Carter and Janes W, Brackett, Jr.)

(Editors note: Received for publication in journal).

Because it had become necessary for the criminalistics laboratory to identify either entire seeds, fragments, tea or residue of morning glory seeds (Ipomoea purpurea) sometimes used for illicit psychedelic purposes, the authors developed a rapid and sensitive chemical means of characterizing the seeds or products.

Two extraction procedures were developed, the second reported one being shorter and apparently equally satisfactory. In this procedure 1 gram of crushed and ground seeds was double-extracted with 6 ml of 1:1 alcohol: water solvent by grinding in the solvent 2-3 minutes, allowing to stand 5 minutes. The combined extracts were shaken 2-3 minutes and centrifuged until clear. The liquid was filtered, dried to near dryness on a steam bath and allowed to air dry.

The residue was taken up in 1 ml of 1:1 alcohol: water and approximately 5 microliters (equivalent to 5 micrograms of original seed) was spotted on Whatman No. 1 paper for chromatography. The paper was equilibrated for 4 hours (n-butanol : acetic acid : water :: 9.5 : 5.2 : q/s/ 100). The developing solvent (water : acetic acid : n-butyl acetate : n-butanol :: 23; 6.9 : 0.75 : q.s.110) was allowed to run 14 hours.

Chromatographic patterns were best visualized by U.V. fluorescence, p-Dimethyl Caminobenzaldehyde (1.0 gm in 8 ml 37% CHl and diluted to 50 with water). Ipomea purpurea (two varieties - "Heavenly Blue" and "Pearly Gates") gave similar patterns with multiple spots that could be easily distinguished from other Ipomea species tested.

None of the extracted material was chemically identified.

John I. Thornton and Duayne J. Dillon, Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department

A paper was presented which described the thin-layer chromatographic separation of food dyes with the suggestion that separation and identification of the constituent dyes may occasionally prove valuable in the determination of the source of pharmaceuticals. Ten water-soluble dyes are presently certified by the Federal Government for use in ingested pharmaceuticals. A handout was distributed which listed Rf's for these dyes in a number of solvent systems. A word of caution was presented in that chromatographic mobility of the constituent dyes in a non-polar solvent system incidental to the separation of the principal pharmaceutical of interest may not be a true chromatographic separation but the result of the polar constituents of the chromatographic solvent system.

The Rf's for the 10 water soluble dyes reported in the paper were obtained with four solvent systems on Silica Gel HF and Alumina G. The solvent systems were:

  1. 2-Propanol : Ethyl Acetate : Water (60:19:30)
  2. Upper phase of n-Butanol : Acetic Acid : Water (50:10:40)
  3. Ethyl Acetate : Methanol : 5N NH₄OH (60:30:10)
  4. n-butanol : Acetic Acid (80:20)
  5. The oil-soluble dye was run on the same two media using benzene as the developing solvent.

NOTE: The authors offered to supply samples of the dyes on request.

Duayne J. Dillon and John I. Thornton, Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department

A paper was presented which described the utilization of an organic solvent to remove the ink from an impression produced by a check writer. The unique feature of this case was that the agent used for the removal of the ink had been uniformly applied to the entire document rather than confined to the ink lines. The check protector ink had been removed without disruption of the safety paper or to the form printing on the document (money order). A series of chemical solvents were tested for their effects upon safety paper of this type and check writer ink. Most petroleum solvents, chlorinated hydrocarbons and a variety of other organic solvents were found incapable of producing the changes noted in this investigation. Butylamine, isopropylamine, acetaldehyde and morpholine were found to be capable of removing all of the check writer ink but produced adverse effects upon the safety paper.

Subsequent investigations revealed that a solution of methanol was capable of removing the check writer ink without affecting the safety paper or form printing if the document was immersed in the methanol for a minimum of two hours.

Experiments conducted indicate that in instances where the total document has been treated with a solvent over an extended period of time, residual solvent remains in the fibers of the paper for considerable time following removal from the solvent even when the solvent in question is relatively volatile. A technique was developed which confined documents of this type to a closed container of minimal volume. Mild heating of the container and removal of a portion of the head apace atmosphere permitted an identification of the solvent by conventional gas chromatography utilizing an ionization detector.

William Bowman, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

The primary purpose of a crank letter file is to clue in the possibility that an incoming crank or anonymous letter may be connected to previous cases, including ones in which the writer has been identified. Handwriting or other document examinations must still be performed to validate the tentative identification.

Bowman suggested that it probably would not be necessary to use a very detailed system, if any, in a small department.

The classifications given were:

  1. Breakdown of the envelope or card addressing by: 0) method of presentation, l) handwritten, 2) handprinted, 3) typed, 4) foreign language, 5) cutouts and 6) combination of 1 through 5
  2. Breakdown of the alignment by: 1) vertical 5% slant (or on line), 2) right hand slant, 3) left hand slant and 4) irregular
  3. Breakdown of the message of letters or cards by same classifications as on the envelope or card (A)
  4. Breakdown of other inserts as: 0) none, l)handmade material, 2) mechanically printed matter (newspaper clippings, etc.), 3) photographs, 4) miscellaneous or 5) cut-outs on the insert itself

An index file is also maintained, on city of postmark or of sender, names, key words and phrases, including abbreviations, misspellings and rare spellings (filed under correct spelling), excessive punctuation errors or emphasis and peculiar letter forms (either in written, printed or damaged type).

James Osterburg, Department of Police Administration, Indiana University

Mr. Osterburg had no formal paper to present; however, in his talk, he certainly gave the membership some food for thought. He brought out 1) the basis of interpretation of laboratory findings in many areas needs to be raised from subjective reasoning to objective fact, 2) there is a great need to improve the training of field investigators in the proper collection of evidence and 3) the need for a greater supply of University trained criminalists to fill the expanding Job market.

He also brought out the needs of improving the public image, money for research, research itself and the need of more students in school for training.

These are subjects that our association has talked about, but have done little about as a group. It is time to take some action?

L.B. Miller, Los Angeles Police Department

Miller showed a prototype of a new .22 rifle that will very probably be on the market soon at a very low price. It was developed at Milltronics. The weapon is of unique design (although Mathews describes a similar type of weapon in the past). There is no firing pin. The rim fire cartridge is fired by the breech block. The 18" extruded barrel has 6 lands and grooves with a right twist.

The fired cartridge case class characteristics consist of l) apparent casting of the cartridge head from overall angular pinching and 2) sharp-to-diffuse semi-circular pattern on the head face. Usually sufficient marks for identification are impressed on the cartridge head by the breech block.

L.B. Miller, Los Angeles Police Department

"Blue Velvet" consists of paregoric boiled down with tripelennamlne (Ciba's Pyribenzamlne) added, giving it a blue color. (Other antihistamines may be used.)

The Medical World News (May 8, 1964, p. 144) reported 10 deaths in the Detroit area from "Blue Velvet". Although the name comes from the blue color of tripelennamine, other antihistamines or amphetamine may be substituted.