89th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 1997)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
May 27-31, 1997
MICRO-SCALE ELEMENTAL ANALYSIS USING X-RAY MICRO-FLUORESCENCE (XRMF)
Steve Cox, Applications Engineer, Kevex Instruments
X-ray Micro-fluorescence (XRMF) is a powerful analytical technique suitable for micro-scale elemental analysis of a wide variety of sample types. It has several unique benefits that make it ideally suited to forensic studies. Examples of its application in the area of gunshot residue analysis and glass fragment analysis will be discussed.
NETSEM - REMOTE SEM CONTROL VIA INTERNET ACCESS
Tony Hyde, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Leicester, England
NetSEM for the LEO 400 series microscopes makes the remote control of an SEM over the internet or telephone line a reality. Unlike currently available commercial remote control applications which duplicate a Windows™ session on a remote PC, NetSEM presents a customizable interface which is accessed via a Web browser and uses image compression techniques to optimize SEM image transfer over high, variable, and low bandwidth connections. NetSEM is now offered to LEO users worldwide via the LEO Web site, and initial feedback has been very favorable.
EARTHQUAKE SAFETY IN A FORENSIC CRIME LABORATORY
Linda Wraxall and Jim Jeffery, California Department of Justice, CAL-DNA Lab
The chances of a major, earthquake occurring in N. California within-the next thirty years is over 67%. In 1989, the Northridge earthquake (M6.7) left hundreds of offices in shambles because of the susceptibility of desktop equipment and top-heavy cabinets to violent jarring movements and damage to personal computers alone during the Loma Prieta earthquake (M7.1) has been estimated at $100 million. The city of Berkeley encourages businesses to assess those effects and make plans to minimize damage, loss of life and disruption to business. The CAL-DNA Lab is located on landfill close to the Bay. Therefore, being prepared is the only sensible plan, both financially and psychologically.
A survey was made of the DNA Lab buildings to determine the location of vulnerable equipment and supply sources were identified to provide the means of securing these items. Staff were briefed on earthquake) preparedness at home and at work by an invited speaker from Berkeley's Office of Emergency Planning and the evacuation procedure is periodically reviewed. New staff also receive training. Since a disaster could prevent people from getting home if it occurs during working hours, plans were made to keep food, water and other supplies on hand at the DNA Lab. Results are a safer environment for scientific equipment and staff.
Being an expert doesn't guarantee that we will be expert witnesses. Although we have the training and education to qualify as experts at trial, that. does not necessarily mean that we also have the qualifications to competently present scientific testimony in an interesting and compelling manner. Simply telling the truth and reporting accurate test results is insufficient in the courtroom today. The courts and lawyers expect more from us as they rely more and more on scientific testimony to 'make their cases".
When an expert fails to communicate to the court or jury the purpose and importance of their work, then the expert has failed to do their job. For some experts, it would be a measurable improvement if they could mail in their testimony! Everyone is aware of the great advances made in the Forensic Sciences. New sophisticated instrumentation and training has brought the profession to a level of recognition and prominence never enjoyed before. But, are we any better at communicating that to a lay jury?
There are scientific journals, seminars, study group meetings and formal training courses available to the expert in order to better perform their tasks. But where is the training to be able to present this arcane science to lay people? Very few courses are offered with any regularity to assist experts in presenting highly technical information to a science challenged audience. Basic communication classes give students an appreciation of the difficulty they face in taking forensic science and presenting it in a manner that gives the jury an opportunity to understand the tests we conduct and the meaning of the results we get. However, in order to excel at courtroom presentation of evidence, we need to take these basic skills to the next level. To take the expert witness to a level of mastery.
Mastery is defined as possession or display of great skill or technique. And, skill or knowledge that makes one master of a subject. Can you imagine the authority you would experience at not only being called as an expert witness but also called as a master in your area of expertise? It isn't always the smartest or ablest who are called masters in their professions; it is those who have the ability to present their knowledge and ideas to their audience's level of understanding. This presentation will cover some of the necessary elements in becoming a powerful and persuasive expert witness. That is, becoming a master in the courtroom. There are five elements that will provide the expert witness with the necessary skills to become a master in the courtroom: B.A.R. (The Beginners Attitude, Paying Attention, Honoring the Relationship), The Ability to Sustain Contradiction, No Need to Defend Oneself, Humor and Humility.
The result of deploying these five elements will give the expert witness a greater believability through a more relaxed presentation. How a person communicates their believability ultimately becomes the method by which the jury considers and weighs the value and importance of our testimony.
RAPID DNA GENOTYPING ON CAPILLARY ARRAY ELECTROPHORESIS CHIPS
P. Simpson(1), A. Woolley(1), T. Thorsen(2), G.F. Sensabaugh(2), and R.A., Mathies(1)
(1) Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
(2) School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
Capillary array electrophoresis (CAE) allows the analysis of multiple samples in parallel by capillary electrophoresis. We have reported previously the potential of CAE with conventional capillaries for STR typing; multiplex genotyping can be done in 20-40 min. We demonstrate here that analytical throughput can be increased by at least an order of magnitude using microfabricated CAE chips. First generation CAE chips, microfabricated on 50x75 mm glass slides, have been designed to analyze 12 samples in parallel with run times under 3 minutes for DNA fragments up to 622 bp. Sample detection employs a laser-excited confocal fluorescence scanner; laser excitation is at 488 nm and two-color detection is achieved by splitting the fluorescence signal into a green channel (510-540 nm) and a red channel (645 nm). The value of the CAE-chip for rapid, high-throughput analysis has been demonstrated with its use to genotype HFE, the candidate gene for hereditary hemochromatosis and a potential target for large scale genetic screening. The defective gene contains a mutation which introduces a restriction site into the HFE gene sequence; the CAE chip cleanly separates the restriction fragments associated with the variant and normal types in only a few minutes. A second generation CAE chip has been designed which enables the analysis of 48 or 96 samples on a single chip. These CAE chips should be valuable in the development of high-speed, high-throughput forensic identification and genetic screening methods.
USE OF CAPILLARY ELECTROPHORESIS FOR STR PHENOTYPING AND COMPARISON WITH GEL ELECTROPHORESIS METHOD
Brian Wraxall, Serological Research Institute, Richmond, CA
To evaluate Capillary Electrophoresis as utilized in the ABI Prism 310 Genetic Analyzer for the phenotyping of STR's CSF1PO, THO1 and TPOX together with Amelogenin (CTTA) and comparison with fhe silver staining procedure using acrylamide gel electrophoresis.
The CTTA complex was amplified in approximately 50 DNA samples using the AMPFLISTR GREEN™ Kit from P.E. Applied Biosystems and subjected to typing using the Genescan 310 Genetic Analyzer. A similar number of samples were subjected to typing using the Promega GenePrint™ monoplex'and multiplex kits for CSF1PO, THO1 and TPOX. The resulting PCR products were separated on modified acrylamide gels and silver stained. The results show a general concordance between the two methods with the capillary electrophoresis method showing better separations and correcting some errors found using the acrylamide electrophoresis system. These results together with some validation studies performed on the 310 will be shown.
YOU WILL BE KNOWN BY THE SWEAT OF YOUR BROW (or Who is the Cat in the Hat?)
Donald T. Jones, Daniel J. Gregonis, David C. Stockwell, and Caroline Kim; Scientific Investigations Division, San Bernardino Sheriff's Department
A baseball cap was collected during a homicide investigation and submitted to the laboratory for analysis to determine the wearer of the cap. In order to validate the reliability of the DNA typing results from this hat a blind study was conducted. DNA was extracted from the sweatbands of seven baseball caps using an organic extraction method. Five of the seven hats yielded human DNA as determined by slot blot analysis and were amplified using the PM+DQA1 Amplitype® kit for the DQA1, LDLR, GYPA, HBGG; D7S8, and GC genetic loci. Four of these samples yielded amplification products. The product yield gel showed classic indications of degraded DNA template with the smaller loci showing stronger bands. Two samples yielded typing results for all six loci (the DQA1 results were comparatively weak), one sample yielded typing results for all of the PM markers but not DQA1, and one sample yielded typing results for GYPA, HBGG, D7S8, and GC. Ten reference buccal swabs from possible wearers of the hats were extracted and typed for the PM+DQA1 loci; all ten individuals could be distinguished with these six markers. Comparison of the typing results from the four sweatband samples with those of the ten reference samples permitted the correct association of these four hats to the proper wearer.
VALIDATION OF THE POWERPLEX AND AMELOGENIN STR MULTIPLEX FOR FORENSIC CASEWORK AND OFFENDER DATABASING.
George R. Riley, PhD, Anne G. Pace, BS, Teresa H. Aulinskas, PhD, and Howard C. Coleman, BS, BA, GeneLex Corporation
We evaluated Powerplex/Amelogenin STR multiplex kits (Promega) as part of our ongoing forensic, offender databasing and paternity casework validation program. Powerplex is a fluorescent-labeled multiplex STR technique which offers high matching probability, rapid testing, sensitivity and low sample consumption by combining the amplification of a gender-specific and 8 STR loci in a single tube with detection in a single gel lane.
Powerplex and Amelogenin kits were used according to the manufacturer's protocols. Samples were electrophoresed on 4.5% denaturing-PAGE with an internal standard for sizing alleles, which were detected in three colors and sized using a Hitachi FMBIO II laser scanner. Alleles called automatically using STAR Call software by Hitachi were accurately identified. Band size precision varied with locus size, with SD from 0.1 bp to <0.5 bp.
Powerplex/Amelogenin loci detected on the FMBIO II performed reliably in repeat typing and give the same profile for DNA extracted from various tissues, as expected. Powerplex profiles at CTTv agreed with typing by more than 13 other laboratories in repeat typing of proficiency samples. The manufacturer suggests using 1-2 ng template DNA, however DNA quantities from 50 to about 0.25 ng per reaction were typed without serious artifacts. Amelogenin was sensitive to 0.1 ng. Two DNAs mixed in ratios of 1:1 to 1:32 can be reliably typed at a 1:2 to 1:4 ratio, depending on the locus, using 1 ng template DNA (0.2 to 0.3 ng of the lower DNA). Testing specimens from previously adjudicated cases corroborated results obtained with RFLP, DQA1, Polymarker, CTT, and D1S80:
STRIAE REPRODUCIBILITY ON SECTIONAL CUTS OF THOMPSON CONTENDER BARREL
Fred Tulleners(1), Mike Guisto(2), and James Hamiel(1)
(1) California Department of Justice, California Criminalistics Institute,
(2) California Department of Justice, Stockton Regional Laboratory, French Camp, CA
The purpose of this study was to determine the reproducible striae on bullets after removal of one inch sections of barrel. The comparison of striae left on bullets from adjacent sections of such a barrel is analogous to the comparison of striae from consecutively produced barrels. Wire electron discharge machining was the method of choice for cutting the barrel sections, leaving no visible burs under high magnification. A total of six one inch sections were removed. Bullets from a section were first compared to each other and then to bullets from adjacent sections. These comparisons utilized objective methodology for comparison which consisted of tabulating the number lines, number of matching lines, and number of consecutive matching lines for each land and groove impression. Percent match, average line count, and the probability of finding at least one event (single, double, triple, etc.) in a land or groove were subsequently calculated. The results of the study show that striae on bullets were significantly altered by the removal of the one inch barrel sections.
SEM ENHANCEMENT OF CHEMICALLY DEVELOPED LATENT FINGERPRINTS
F. A. J. Tulleners(1); J. D. Dehaan, B. I Zimny(2); D. G. Howitt(2)
(1) California Department of Justice, California Criminalistics Institute
(2) Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California, Davis CA
Chemical techniques have been successfully used for decades to reveal the otherwise transparent latent print residues against a variety of backgrounds. Some of the reagents involve chemical reactions, such as, for example, silver nitrate where there is a preferential reduction to elemental silver on the residue and there are also physical techniques where the preferential adsorption of dusting materials or coatings can delineate the print residues. In all these cases it is of course the optical contrast that determines the visibility and for dark materials such as molybdenum disulfide the prints will obviously be most visible on light colored surfaces whereas the opposite will be true for highly reflective coatings. In the Scanning Electron Microscope, however, because of the atomic number dependence of contrast, one might expect to see segregation of the individual coating materials in a far broader range of substrate applications and the studies performed here included the determination of the contrast produced by physical developer, silver nitrate, molybdenum disulfide, sputtered zinc, and dry dusting powder as well as the examination of latent fingerprints, on a variety of surfaces including paper, metal and wood.
Specimens were examined using secondary and backscattered techniques in a Zeiss DSM960A SEM and the results are encouraging. Over a range of voltages, latent prints on substrates ranging from aluminum foil to paper can be distinguished above the background. The techniques can also be used at low voltages to circumvent charging when the substrate is an electrical insulator and dusted prints on plastics and glass for example could be imaged between 1 & 3 keV. The same samples could also be image at higher voltages (10-30 keV) after carbon coating and it is clear that the SEM provides a useful alternative to optical microscopy for such analysis.
THE MAPLES CASE: AN UNUSUAL PHYSICAL MATCH
Edward M. (Chip) Pollock, California Department of Justice, Sacramento Regional Laboratory
On March 19, 1996, a decomposed white male was discovered down an embankment off a rural road in a foothill county near Sacramento. Sheriff's office investigators collected several items of evidence from the body discovery site. One item of particular interest included a wooden pallet found near the body. A search warrant was obtained for the victim's house and searched for evidence associated with the homicide. The investigation revealed that the suspect and the victim were roommates and were suspected of being involved in a number of carjackings, kidnappings and robberies in the Sacramento area. The following items of evidence played an integral role in the resolution of this case: paint and a framing hammer collected from the suspect's car, a wooden pallet recovered from near the victim's body, and a box spring recovered from the victim's house.
This paper will discuss the following laboratory analyses: the examination of the white colored smears from the pallet and paint collected from the suspect's car; the physical match examination of the wooden boards from the pallet and the wooden boards remaining on the box spring; the toolmark examination of the marks on the wooden pallet and box spring the with framing hammer recovered from the suspect's car.
Considering the laboratory examinations and the sheriff's office investigation, the suspect plead guilty to the murder of the victim and additional crimes and was sentenced to 144 years in state prison.
Michael J. Menz, Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crime Task Force, Roseville Police Department, Roseville, CA
This session will cover the different types of hi-tech crimes: cellular telephone, telecommunications, component theft, credit card fraud and, counterfeiting, Internet-pedophilia-private bulletin board systems, and cable and satellite television fraud and theft.
THE SAM STRANGE CASE
Faye Springer, Laboratory of Forensic Services, Sacramento County District Attorney
Renee Montgomery, California Department of Justice, CAL-DNA Lab
On July 23, 1994, Chrissy and Dawn were dropped off at a friend's house. The friend, Sam, said that they visited for a while and then the girls hitchhiked into town. This was the last time Chrissy and Dawn were seen alive. Ten days later, two decomposed bodies were found in a remote area of Nevada County. In spite of the advanced state of decomposition of the bodies, the trace and botanical evidence removed from their hair and clothing revealed significant information that took the investigators back to Sam's house as the probable homicide site. A search of Sam's house, property, and vehicle led to the identification of some bloodstain evidence that was linked to Chrissy and Dawn by DNA analysis. The difficulties and strategies of working with decomposed bodies to develop DNA and trace evidence will be discussed. This case was also unusual in that a variety of plant material removed from the victims was used to provide investigative leads as to the botanical environment of the homicide site. This eventually led to the recovery of a single oak leaf with a bloodstain from under Sam's porch.
P-30: WILL IT WASH...OR WILL IT WASH AWAY?
Andrea Van der Veer de Bondt(1); Barry H. Gump, Ph.D.(2); Alien, Boudreau(1)
(1) Fresno County Sheriff's Department
(2) Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno
Detection of the semen specific protein P-30 hinges upon the amount of P-30 on the sample matrix; the efficiency, of the extraction technique used to recover P-30, and the detection limit of the assay. The usual analytical approaches may not be adequate when the victim's clothing is saturated with urine or when the victim has been submersed in water. This type of problem can be addressed by generating Partition Isotherms which provide information about the partition coefficient, the expected efficiency of recovery and the detection limit of a chemical or protein.
AN UNUSUAL BULLET EXAMINATION
Terry Fickies, California Department of Justice, Sacramento Regional Laboratory
During the summer of 1995, there were a number of freeway shootings on the 1-80 freeway. Most of these shootings occurred near Auburn in Placer County; however several were in other areas. We were asked to compare recovered bullets to determine if the same gun was being used in all of the incidents. All of the recovered bullets were fired by the same weapon and exhibited highly unusual class characteristics (a .40 caliber bullet with right twist and 10 lands and grooves) which were not in the FBI class characteristics database. There were also unusual reloading markings on the recovered bullets. While the weapon was never recovered, we were able to determine a probable weapon type. When a suspect was later, developed, the reloading markings were significant and led to the suspect's friend who was the likely source of the unusual ammunition. The friend then committed suicide and the suspect pled guilty arid was sent to Atascadero.
FORENSIC ASPECTS OF THE AIR TASER™
Ronald G. Nichols, Criminalist Oakland Police Department Criminalistics Laboratory
The AIR TASER™ is a self-defense device manufactured by Air Taser, Incorporated located in Scottsdale, Arizona. A relatively new device, first shipments were in December of 1994, this device is currently in fifty-four different countries. If is characterized as "Intelligent Self Defense" by Air Taser, Incorporated because it is designed to incapacitate an attacker from a distance. The design does allow however, for the user to utilize the device as a stun gun as well. Although designed as a self-defense device, Air Taser, Incorporated recognized that the device may be used in; an aggressive manner by individuals during the commission of a crime. In an effort to aid criminal investigators in this matter the company has instituted a purchaser registration program that would allow for the trace of an AIR TASER™ to the purchaser of that device. When the air cartridge in the device is fired, the cartridge releases numerous small circular pieces of microfilm approximately 3/16 of an inch in diameter. An AFID number (Anti-Felon Identification) corresponding to the serial number of the air cartridge from which these pieces of microfilm originated is printed on the microfilm. When recovered at the scene of a crime, this AFID number can be used to trace the purchaser of the air cartridge. Other pieces of evidence that might be recovered, from the firing of an air cartridge include the blast doors that covered the unit arid the small black rubber discs that were stored with the microfilm discs. While the presence of these items can indicate that an AIR TASER™ was used, they do not have the same tracing system available to them.
PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR TRACE EVIDENCE ANALYSIS PREPARED BY THE TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP FOR MATERIALS EXAMINATION (TWGMAT)
Marianne Stam, California Department of Justice, Riverside Regional Crime Laboratory
The Technical Working Group for Materials Examination (TWGMAT) is comprised of a group of forensic scientists from throughout the United States, Canada and Europe who are practicing trace evidence analysts. The group is sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and consists of fiber, paint, glass and hair subcommittees. The California representatives are Faye Springer, Lynne Herold and myself.
One of the goals of TWGMAT is to develop guidelines encompassing the fiber, paint, glass and hair disciplines, as well as general guidelines in trace evidence collection and quality control/quality assurance applicable to trace evidence analysis.
This presentation will discuss the most current drafts of TWGMAT's proposed guidelines in quality assurance/quality control, trace evidence recovery and fibers examination.
EVALUATION OF MIKROSIL™, LEAD SHEETING AND LEAD TAPE FOR FIRING PIN AND BREECH MARK PRODUCTION IN NON-OPERATIONAL FIREARMS FOR IBIS™ ENTRY
Bruce Moran and Leslie Poole, Laboratory of Forensic Services, Sacramento County District Attorney
The Sacramento Laboratory of Forensic Services recently received a non-operational firearm for IBIS entry. This paper outlines experimentation with Mikrosil™ casting material, lead sheeting and lead adhesive tape for producing firing pin and breechface marks in an attempt to develop the best technique for producing such marks on non-operational firearms. Correlation results and image quality produced by these techniques as well as other techniques developed during this process will be discussed.
SOME USEFUL TOOLS FOR INCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION
Peter D. Barnett, Forensic Science Associates
Reconstruction of an incident is a process that is like any other laboratory analysis: One gathers data, formulates hypotheses, designs experiments which will serve to confirm or reject the hypotheses, conducts the experiments, and then accepts or refines the hypothesis. One can no more reconstruct an incident without the application of this process than can one determine the origin of a blood stain without an analytical determination of the presence of relevant genetic markers in the stain. Frequently, reconstructions must deal with various attributes of the crime scene and the participants. There are a number of tools that are available to assist in working on those aspects of the reconstruction: Computer programs which aid in preparing three dimensional views of the crime scene; sources of data on human body measurements and capabilities; sources of data on typical architectural details; useful compilations of vehicle dimensions and computer programs that can simulate human body positions, movements, or capabilities. Inexpensive, easy to use computer programs for illustrating rooms or buildings (for example, 3D Home Architect(1), Virtus Pro(2)) can be used to prepare an accurate,, three dimensional crime scene diagram in a few minutes. Handbooks such as Human Engineering Guide to Equipment Design(3) or Human Factors Design Handbook(4) provide a wealth of information on human body dimensions, work or living place dimensions, or the physical capabilities of humans. Computer programs (Mannequin for Windows(5), Poser(6) allow manipulation of anthropomorphically correct human figures. Vehicle dimensions are available in many publications, and the April issue of Consumer Reports always has an extensive compilation of basic vehicle dimensions. These tools allow a criminalist to recreate aspects of a reconstruction, obtain data which are crucial to the reconstruction, and illustrate the reconstruction easily.
(1) Broderbund Software, Novato, CA
(2) Virtus Corporation, Cary NC (919-467-9700)
(3) VanCott, Harold P. and Robert C. Kinkade, eds., Human Engineering Guide to Equipment Design. US Government Printing Office, 1972.ok. New York: McGraw Hill, 1992
(4) Woodson, Wesley E., at al., eds Human Factors Design Handbook. New York: McGrawHill, 1992.
(5) Human CAD Systems, WWW.MPRO.COM. (576-752-3550)
(6) Fractal Design Corporation, Aptos CA. (408-688-8800)
ALPHABET SOUP OF MANAGEMENT THEORY
Robert (Bob) Jarzen, Director Laboratory of Forensic Services, Sacramento County District Attorney
(No abstract available)
INVESTIGATIONS OF SPECIES SPECIFICITY OF THE STR PRIMER MULTIPLEX SYSTEM: F13A01, FESFPS, F13B, AND LPL (FFFL)
Joy Kong, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University
Sherrie Post, Criminalistics Laboratory, Contra Costa Sheriff's Department
Steven B. Lee, California Department of Justice, CAL-DNA Lab
The goal of this study was to test the species specificity of the short tandem repeat primer system FFFL by comparison of PCR results between human and non-human samples.
61 DNA samples were collected, including 20 non-human primates, 28 non-primate animals, 2 plants, 7 fungi, 1 bacterium and 3 humans. DNAs were either extracted using a standard organic extraction method (CA DOJ DNA protocol) or donated and then quantitated by comparison to known standards using agarose gel electrophoresis. PCR amplifications on all 61 samples were performed using the FFFL multiplex system under the manufacturer's recommended conditions (Promega; GenePrint F13A01, FESFPS, F13B, and LPL Madison, WI), separated by PAGE and detected using the Hitachi FMBIO 100 fluorescent scanner.
No DNA fragments were observed in 37 samples from non-primate animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. Distinct amplification patterns; were seen for the 3 human samples as expected, with allele sizes corresponding to those within the human ladder provided. For non-human primates, amplification did occur for some species but not for all loci Most of the products for these primates from the multiplex were either outside of the human ladder range or could be distinguished from human allelic fragment patterns. These results corroborate previously published data (Crouse and Schumm 1995. JFS 40:952-956) for F13A1 and FESFPS and extend this work to include F13B and LPL
These preliminary results demonstrate that the specificity for the FFFL primer system is limited to human and non-human primates. Furthermore, the majority of the STR PCR products from the non-human primate DNAs migrated outside of the human allelic ladder fragments and therefore allele designations were not possible.