102nd SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Fall 2003)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
October 7-11, 2003
San Diego, CALIFORNIA
THE INVESTIGATION OF THE KIDNAPPING OF DANIELLE VAN DAM: THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE PERSPECTIVE
Tanya Dulaney and Jennifer Shen, San Diego Police Dept. Crime Laboratory
In the morning hours of February 2, 2002, a little girl was discovered missing from her bed. Thus began a massive search and a herculean effort by law enforcement agencies and citizens all over San Diego to find Danielle and bring her home. When her neighbor, David Westerfield, was identified as a suspect and her body was found, a series of events began to unfold, involving the San Diego Police Department and its crime laboratory in an investigation with time constraints and scrutiny unlike anything it had ever experienced. Crime laboratory personnel responded to scenes at the van Dam home, David Westerfield's home, his motor home, his SUV, and the body recovery site. Westerfield was interviewed and polygraphed. Hundreds of pieces of evidence were collected, itemized, and analyzed. Suspicious behaviors, an unreasonable alibi, child pornography, and a failed polygraph, combined with Danielle's blood on Westerfield's jacket and in his motor home, gave the police sufficient cause to arrest him for the kidnapping and murder of Danielle van Dam. As the preliminary hearing approached, laboratory personnel worked feverishly to find more evidence. Latent prints located in the motor home above the bed were identified as Danielle's. The blood and fingerprint evidence were presented at the preliminary hearing and Westerfield was bound over for trial. As the DA decided to seek the death penalty, the Westerfield defense insisted on a speedy trial, giving the crime lab only a few months to search through mountains of evidence. Danielle's hair, her dog's hair, carpet fibers, and clothing fibers began to emerge from the analyses. It then became necessary to prove that the evidence portrayed a recency of contact between the victim and suspect, and that the evidence was not transferred in an innocent fashion. In the end, after thousands of man-hours, involvement by nearly every laboratory section, and a grueling time schedule, David Westerfield was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Danielle and was sentenced to death.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND COUNTER-TERRORISM-OPERATIONS IN THE SAN DIEGO AREA
Special Agent John A. Sylvester, F.B.I. San Diego Division, Counter-Terrorism Squad
The unclassified Counter-terrorism, WMD Operations and Emergency Response training includes discussion of the following topics:
- The Counter-terrorism and WMD threat from both domestic and international terrorist groups,
- Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons,
- Federal Response Plan operational response,
- San Diego Operational Area Anti-Terrorism Team response,
- The Standardized Emergency Management System - Incident Command System (SEMS-ICS),
- Coordination of a response to a critical incident or mass casualty event in the San Diego area.
FORENSIC SCIENTIST OR SPACE CADET: LESSONS LEARNED IN AN INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATIVE EFFORT
Lynne D. Herold, Ph.D., Senior Criminalist, Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, Scientific Services Bureau
This presentation will summarize the results of a sixmonth collaborative investigation between the LASD/SSB and the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The project was jointly funded by NIJ and NASA. The stated goal was the identification of technologies, techniques and/or instrumentation used in space science (or related JPL research projects) that could be successfully transferred into the non-DNA forensic science arena, and thus enable forensic science to either perform some analytical work of which it is currently incapable, or improve performance by doing something "better, faster, or cheaper." More than 60 different technological areas at JPL were evaluated. Generally such collaborative efforts have not been overwhelmingly successful because of factors such as the lack of reality-based understandings of each science discipline, cost factors, institutional policies, and business practice perspectives.
BUGS AND BODIES: INSECT COLLECTION AT DEATH SCENES
Marie Durina, Forensic Evidence Technician, San Diego County Sheriffs Department Crime Laboratory
This presentation will provide a brief overview of Forensic Entomology for death investigators and scene responders. Methods of collection will be demonstrated and there will be a PowerPoint presentation regarding the importance of proper collection of specimen samples and field data.
FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY APPLICATIONS: THE REST OF THE STORY
David K. Faulkner, M.S., Forensic Entomology Services
Now that you know the basics, this is how Entomology can be used by the Criminal Justice System in investigations of abuse, neglect, or death. Recent cases will be presented that show how the recognition, collection, preservation, identification, and interpretation of insect specimens have assisted in criminal investigations.
DETECTING THE CATALYTIC COMPONENTS OF SELF-CLEANING GLASS ON TRACE PARTICLES OF GLASS
Corrie Maggay, MFS*, and Robert D. Blackledge, MS, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Laboratory; Faye Springer, BS, Sacramento County District Attorney Crime Laboratory
In many break and enter cases entry is gained through the breaking of a window. Many of the cases involve a perpetrator who is devious and well equipped. The perpetrator will wear gloves, a mask and other gear to keep from leaving a piece of themselves behind at the scene. What many of these perpetrators do not realize is that even if they do not leave a piece of themselves behind at a scene they may unintentionally take a piece of the scene with them. Glass from a window is one of these items. Studies in the past have focused on the way glass breaks. The motion of glass when it breaks, the percentage of glass found on a perpetrator, which section (front, middle, back) of the glass ends up on the perpetrator, and how long the glass stays on the perpetrator have all been considered. Although many tests on glass have been conducted, some criminalists have been reluctant to use glass as evidence due to its omnipresence in the community. With the use of self-cleaning glass, a study was done to find if a suspect who gained entry into a house through a window made of self-cleaning glass could later be linked to the scene. With the help of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Lab San Diego, the Yuma Army Proving Ground, and the use of high-speed cameras and microscopic analysis, an experiment was put together to test and prove this hypothesis.
JEOL 6360 AND THE INCA-FEATURE SYSTEM
Mel Kong* and Steven Cordes, San Diego Police Department Crime Lab
This presentation will discuss the new SEM (scanning electron microscope) system including testing, validation and implementation. The use of calibration standards and philosophy of gunshot residue (primer) will be explored.
FIRED CARTRIDGE CASE COMPARISONS: 9MM AND 40 CALIBER GLOCK VS. SMITH AND WESSON SIGMA SERIES PISTOLS
Nancy D. McCombs, California State Department of Justice
With the introduction of Smith and Wesson's Sigma Series pistols, Model SW40F in 1994 and the Model SW9F pistol in 1995, the firearm examiner can no longer list the Glock pistol as the sole suspect firearm when considering the class characteristics of fired cartridge cases. Due to the infrequent number of Sigma Series pistols in circulation, earlier comparisons of fired cartridge cases from the two types of pistols were limited. In this study, similarities and differences in class characteristics were compared between cartridge cases fired from a considerable number of 9mm and 40 caliber Glock and Smith and Wesson Sigma Series pistols.
MITOCHONDRIAL DNA ANALYSIS OF CRIME SCENE SAMPLES USING PROTOTYPES OF THE "LINEAR ARRAY MITOCHONDRIAL DNA HVI/HVII REGION-SEQUENCE TYPING KIT"
Mehul B. Anjaria, B.S.*(1); Cassandra Calloway, M.S.(2); Rebecca Reynolds, Ph.D.(2); Michael Grow, B.S.(2); and Daniel J. Gregonis, M.S(1)
(1) San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department-Scientific Investigations Division; (2) Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., Alameda, CA
Roche Applied Science, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN) is preparing to release the "LINEAR ARRAY Mitochondrial DNAHVI/ HVII Region-Sequence Typing Kit'. This new system for mitochondrial DNA typing of forensic samples uses the proven technology of reverse dot blotting (used previously in the AmpliType® PM+DQA1 nuclear DNA testing kit) with the exception that the probes are arranged in a linear fashion versus being arranged as a "dot." The system is a simple, rapid, and inexpensive way of performing mitochondrial DNA analysis when compared to the standard sequencing analysis. The "LINEAR ARRAY" kit provides an effective mechanism for screening samples to minimize the number of samples that must be sequenced. The discrimination power of the system is significant, but it is not as powerful as sequencing analysis. In addition to the developmental validation that a manufacturer must perform prior to releasing a product to the forensic community, forensic laboratories must perform internal validation studies prior to bringing a DNA typing system online. The study presented here was undertaken to investigate how the typing system works with crime scene samples. The samples chosen for analysis were bloodstains collected at actual crime scenes in San Bernardino County, CA sometime prior to 1993. The samples are considered "secondary reference samples," meaning that their source can be logically inferred (e.g. blood collected from a pool adjacent to a body with a gunshot wound to the head). These samples had been exposed to an array of environmental conditions (e.g. snow, heat, and rain) and were deposited on a wide variety of substrates (e.g. carpet, clothing, asphalt, dirt). Also analyzed were the actual reference (origin positively known) blood samples. Existing DNA extracts from these samples produced from either the organic (phenol/chloroform) method or the Chelex method were used. These samples were not extracted with mitochondrial DNA analysis in mind. Also, various analysts performed these extractions in either 1993 or 2000 and some samples were extracted multiple times. Using prototypes of the "LINEARARRAY Mitochondrial DNAHVI/HVII Region-Sequence Typing Kit," all but three of the crime scene samples were successfully amplified and typed following the appropriate protocols. For one sample, no additional extract remained for further testing. It was determined that the two remaining non-amplifying samples likely contained substances inhibitory to the PCR. Varying parameters such as amount of input DNA, using alternate primer sets, and the use of bovine serum albumin were employed in an effort to overcome the inhibition. Successful amplification was achieved for both samples simply by decreasing the volume of the input DNA into the PCR. No contamination was observed when comparing crime scene samples with the corresponding reference samples. Cross hybridization likely occurred with one prototype of the LINEAR ARRAYS for some samples. When the same PCR product from these samples was typed on a newer version of the LINEAR ARRAYS, the cross-hybridization disappeared. Studies such as this one have been helpful in probe design and in determining optimal DNA input for the final version of the typing kit.
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH IMPLEMENTING A PORTABLE EVIDENTIAL BREATH TEST PROGRAM
Robert Reckers, Orange County Sheriff/Coroner Dept.- Forensic Science Services
Objectives: This presentation is the third in a series about the use of the Intoximeters Inc. AlcoSensor IV-XL @ Point of Arrest system as a Portable Evidential Breath Test (PEBT). This third installment will focus on the following: How this instrument is now used in the field, the most common Void Codes encountered and remedies to avoid them, how the system has been further modified by Orange County /lntoximeters and legal challenges. Relevance: After years of breath testing suspects at a jail or police station, portable evidential breath testing is now available in California, using one of several different manufacturers. Methodology used: Information has been obtained from the evidential use of the device since permanent implementation began on July3, 2002, in high incident DUI areas of the County of Orange. Since training began in March of 2002, over 600 operators have been trained from 21 different agencies. Results obtained: Through the roadside use of this instrument, we have discovered that the two most common Void Codes are Void Code 6 and Void Code 11. Void Code 6 means that a person has not blown into the instrument, as instructed, four times. The instrument aborts the test sequence, allowing the officer to persuade the subject to try again or to choose an alternate testing procedure, such as blood. Void Code 11 means that the blank is too high or that there is a detectable amount of alcohol still left inside the instrument from a previously tested subject. The instrument allows three attempts by the fuel cell to obtain a zero reading, allowing the sequence to continue, or the test is aborted. The operator has several choices to try and clear the instrument, which will be discussed, or they can then inform the subject to select another testing procedure. Due to communication problems occurring with the old case insert, incorporating a fiber optic cable, OCSD-FSS and Intoximeters decided that a change to the case insert that holds the three major pieces of the system together had to be done. By changing the insert, a more durable material could be used and the fiber optic cable could be eliminated, if the pieces were repositioned within the insert. By repositioning the pieces within the insert, direct window to window IR communications could be accomplished, allowing for more successful communication to occur. To date, legal challenges have been made on the system, both in criminal court and in DMV hearings, resulting in the acceptance of test results. As with any breath testing programs, mouth alcohol and the "15 minute continuous observation" are still challenged "issues". We also expect some challenges relating to "new technology", even though AS IVs and AS IV-XLs have been on the Conforming Products List since 1992 and 2000, respectively. Conclusions: With the PEBT program, many areas had to be addressed that crime labs hadn't primarily focused on, such as: officer safety, screening/evidential modes, and agency coordination officers. With proper procedures and training in place and with support from the manufacturer, a roadside evidential breath test program can be successful and perhaps easier to administer than a traditional IR-type program.
VICKERS HARDNESS TESTING OF SELECTED PRIMERS
Frederic A. Tulleners, Laboratory Director, Sacramento Criminalistics Laboratory, California Department of Justice; Erik Randich, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Mike Giusto, California Department of Justice
A study was conducted to evaluate the Vickers microhardness of primers from five different brands of .40S&W unfired cartridges from major manufacturers. Primer hardness is affected by the structure and the composition of the brass used in its manufacture and by the nickel-plating if one is used. This study measured the Vickers microhardness and the thickness of the primers. Nickel platings increased the apparent microhardness of the primers. Differences were found in the average microhardness values of the underlying brass of the primers, and these differences were clearly attributable to the different grain sizes of the brass. This paper has been published in the AFTE Journal as "Vickers Hardness Testing of Selected Primers", Tulleners, F., Randich, E., Giusto, M. AFTE Journal Vol. 35 No.2, Spring 2003, p. 204.
DAUBERT RULINGS AND QUESTIONED DOCUMENTS: THE FUTURE OF FORENSIC SCIENCE
Linton Mohammed, San Diego County Sheriff's Department
Daubert hearings have been occurring with increasing frequency in Federal courts and have been trickling down into several State courts. Document Examination is one area of the forensic sciences that has been targeted for these hearings. The Questioned Document Community has vigorously defended itself with increasing success through ongoing research, publications and legal briefs. The experience of the QD Examiners could be a lesson for all forensic scientists who may be subject to a Daubert hearing.
THE DNA WITNESS
Zach Gaskin, Technical Director of Forensic Genomics, DNAPrint Genomics, Inc.
Five murdered and sexually assaulted women around the Baton Rouge area were found to have a common suspect through STR DNA analysis. The genetic profile of the killer from the crime scene specimens could not be found in a database. With no suspects, the Louisiana Task Force set out to dragnet suspects from the local community. Eyewitness accounts of a Caucasian male acting suspicious near the scene of one of the crimes focused the efforts of the task force in what would later prove to be the wrong direction. In February 2003, the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab contracted the services for DNA WITNESS testing after the dragnet DNA testing produced no "hits" form the more than 1000 individuals tested. Our Results indicated the killer to be 85% Sub-Saharan African and 15% Native American and two months after receiving this information, the task force had an African American male in custody that matched the STR profile found at each crime scene. This SNP based DNA test for the determination of an individual's Biogeographical Ancestry (BGA) has been utilized for genealogy enthusiasts, adopted individuals, and persons wanting to prove Native American affiliation. This presentation will provide information on the scientific foundation of the test and how it can and should be applied in modern forensics.
IT TAKES A CRIMINALIST TO SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES - A TALE FROM THE FORENSIC WILDERNESS
Norah Rudin, Forensic DNA Consulting
On October 21, 1996, a wildfire occurred in Calabasas county. The fire was reportedly observed to originate from the vicinity of a Southern California Edison (SCE) power pole. Several branches were reportedly cut from Eucalyptus trees close to the power pole by the SCE trouble man while he was on the pole attempting to disengage the lightning arrester. In dispute was whether the trees surrounding the pole had been trimmed to a firebreak of 10 feet from the pole in accordance with regulations. STR typing of binucleotide repeats was used in an attempt to link various cut and burned limbs to particular Eucalyptus trees in the grove immediately surrounding the power pole. Independent review uncovered an error in the original report that resulted from a combination of blind testing and an arbitrary signal threshold. Additional data was subsequently generated which substantiated the cause of the error and supported a corrected conclusion. Arguments for and against blind testing will be reviewed in light of the lessons learned from this case. Additionally, unusual challenges presented by the population genetics and molecular biology of trees will be discussed.
THE SUSPECT WHO GAVE ME THE SLIP ®
Robert D. Blackledge, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Laboratory
Attendees will learn of a new method of sample preparation/ sample introduction for time-of-flight mass spectrometry and of its first application to evidence in a forensic science case. This presentation logically falls into three parts. First a new method of sample preparation/sample introduction for time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) having potential application for some types of forensic science-related samples will be introduced. Desorption Ionization on Silicon (DIOS)(1)- MS is a matrix-free method of introducing relatively low molecular weight (<5000 Daltons) samples as intact, singly-charged ions into a TOF mass spectrometer. Because of the absence of interfering matrix ions, minimum levels of detection are impressive, and the method is tolerant of the typically dirty samples encountered in forensic science. Next will be a case history of the first forensic science application(2) of DIOS-MS. It was alleged that an adult male coerced his fourteen-year old stepdaughter into having sex with him and gave her a commercial contraceptive product, Encare®. Encare® vaginal inserts are shaped like a suppository and have a paraffin-like consistency. They are composed of a matrix of polyethylene glycol (PEG), which contains the spermicide, nonoxynol-9, plus some inorganic salts designed to produce foaming. Examination by DIOS-MS identified traces of PEG from extracts of vaginal swabs from the victim, and also from an extract of a swab of the suspect's penis (glans and shaft). In the third part of the presentation you will see that the case took a strange twist when the suspect (through his attorneys) provided (as an alleged alternative explanation for the PEG traces), a bottle of Slip® Extra personal lubricant. An examination by DlOS-MS (as well as FTIR) showed low levels of PEG. However, the manufacturer of Slip® Extra said that no PEG had ever been used in any of their products. DIOS-MS failed to detect PEG in a sealed Slip® Extra bottle provided by the manufacturer. At the first trial, the defendant's attorneys agreed to stipulate that their client had added some of the Encare® vaginal insert to the bottle of Slip® Extra that he provided to them. The first trial ended with a hung jury. The retrial featured the same three defense attorneys as before, and they added a fourth (a former member of the O.J. "Dream Team") for the express purpose of cross-examining the prosecution's expert witnesses.
Attend the talk to find out the outcome.
(1) Wei, J., Buriak, J.M. and Siuzdak, G. Nature, 399, 243-246 (1999)
(2) Thomas, J.J., Shen, Z., Blackledge, R.D. and Siuzdak, G. Analytica Chimica Acta, 442, 183-190 (2001).
ISSUES FACING LARGE FIREARMS BALLISTICS IMAGING DATABASES
Frederic A. Tulleners, Laboratory Director, Sacramento Criminalistics Laboratory, California Department of Justice
The recent Beltway Sniper incident renewed the debate about the utility of a "Ballistics Imaging Database" of all firearms that are sold. Based on the successful results that most agencies have had with their much smaller crime gun databases one might think that these result could be extrapolated to large databases. To look at these issues, a simulated large database from one model handgun was developed and various experiments were conducted on this simulated database. Frequently referred to as the California AB1717 study, this paper will discuss the results of these tests and their implications on a large "New Gun" database. A further discussion will bring up possible solutions and issues that have to be considered in the current crime gun databases. This study has been published and is available at the CCI web site under the news section or from the CAL DOJ AG web site at http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/2003/03-013_report.pdf.
VALIDATION OF THE QIAGEN BIOROBOT® EZ1 FOR THE DNA EXTRACTION AND PURIFICATION OF REFERENCE AND EVIDENCE SAMPLES FOR FORENSIC CASEWORK \
Shawn Montpetit M.S.F.S., San Diego Police Dept. Crime Laboratory
With the large backlogs currently being experienced in the DNA sections of crime laboratories across the nation, methods to reduce analysis time are being sought. The DNA section of the San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory has incorporated robotic DNA extraction technology for reference samples and is currently evaluating the robotic technology for use on evidence samples to streamline the analysis process and make casework more efficient. The QIAGEN BioRobot® EZ1 System is an automated extraction system that can rapidly purify high quality DNA from 1-6 samples in as little as 20 minutes through magnetic particle technology. Protocols for extraction of evidence samples including differential extractions and reference samples have been devised that incorporate the pretreatment of samples with digest buffer and proteinase K. The validation demonstrated that by using a pretreatment of digest buffer and proteinase K, high quality DNA can be obtained from all reference sample types. Preliminary results on evidence samples indicate that the BioRobot® EZ1 produces DNA yields comparable to organic extractions. The DNA recovered from the robotic extraction produced STR profiles free of inhibition and comparable to organic extraction. Significantly, the BioRobot® EZ1 was found to eliminate inhibitors that co-purify with DNA when extracted with phenol-chloroform. We have found the BioRobot® EZ1 offers an immediate savings in analysis time during routine casework. Using the robotics system for the extraction of reference samples is a reliable and simple means of improving the efficiency of how forensic cases are analyzed in the modern crime laboratory.
AN UNUSUAL FIBER TRANSFER IN A HIT AND RUN
Pennie I. Laferty, Orange County Sheriff/Coroner Dept.- Forensic Science Services
A fourteen year old boy riding a blue bicycle was struck and killed by a vehicle that ran a red light. The driver failed to stop and was subsequently arrested several blocks away. The right rear view mirror of the vehicle had been broken off; there was an indentation in the right side of the windshield and an apparent blue paint transfer on the right front quarter panel. However, when the bicycle was examined no damage was observed. The apparent blue paint transfer, when examined microscopically, consisted of melted and broken fibers, not paint. The fibers from the transfer were identified as polyester and cotton. The victim's pants were blue and were also composed of polyester and cotton fibers. The fabric of the left front pocket area of the pants was discolored and the fibers within the discoloration appeared to be crushed and melted. The fibers from the blue transfer and the fibers from the discolored area on the pants were examined using polarized light microscopy, comparison microscopy, infrared spectroscopy and UV-visible microspectrophotometry. No analytical differences were observed between the fibers from the vehicle and the fibers from the victim's pants. Therefore, the fibers from the vehicle could have come from the victim's pants.
BLOOD FROM A BONE: INVESTIGATING THE SURVIVAL OF BLOOD PROTEINS IN SKELETAL TISSUE FOR THE FORENSIC DETERMINATION OF DATE OF DEATH
Bongi A. Bishop and Dr. Greg Hodgins, University of Arizona, NSF Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory
Carbon-14 is a naturally occurring radioisotope that is incorporated into the tissues of all living organisms. In addition to naturally occurring 14C, above ground nuclear testing between the end of WWII and 1963 contaminated the earth's atmosphere with bomb-generated carbon-14. Organisms that lived during this time have incorporated bomb-radiocarbon into their tissues. This contamination peaked in 1963-64 when levels reached approximately 180% of the natural levels. Since the 1963 ban on above ground testing, levels have been falling back towards natural levels. This phenomenon has potential applications in forensic science. The precise amount of bomb carbon in a tissue depends upon when the organism lived and died in this period. In attempts to determine the year of death, previous investigators have measured 14C content of various human tissues such as bone collagen, lipid, and hair, and compared these to atmospheric carbon-14 values over the last 50 years. These results have shown that rates of tissue turnover influence the accuracy of the result. The goal of our research is to develop a technique to determine an accurate date of death from skeletal remains when no soft tissue is present. Our objective is to extract fast turnover tissue such as blood proteins (serumalbumin and hemoglobin) from cortical bone and quantify their carbon-14 content. We hope to compare the carbon-14 levels in these tissues to the Atomic Bomb Calibration Curve and improve the accuracy of the determination of year of death.
THE PRIEST, THE ENTREPRENEUR AND THE INTERSTATE TRUCKER: DNA SOLVES TWO 1965 HOMICIDE CASES
Connie Milton, San Diego County Sheriffs Dept Crime Lab
With the application of DNA technology to the world of forensic science, new hope has been brought to many previously unsolved cases. Many agencies have investigators devoted to the pursuit of solving cases that were difficult or impossible to prove without the recent advances in forensic science, namely DNA analysis. This presentation will illustrate how laboratory analysis of decades-old evidence, combined with the investigators' ability to obtain an alternate reference sample from a long considered suspect, has led to the resolution of two "cold" homicide cases in California and has linked the same suspect to a 1975 sexual homicide in another state.