108th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Fall 2006)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
October 9-13, 2006
James E. Corbin, Plant Protection Specialist, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and Bob Blackledge, NCIS San Diego Laboratory, retired
The theft and trade in endangered, exotic, and commercially valuable plants is a huge national and international problem. The international forensic science community needs to become aware of this problem and to exert their expertise towards the prevention of plant poaching and to provide means of detection and identification of poached plants so that violators may be successfully prosecuted. The audience will be told of the scope of this problem, illustrated by a few specific cases. They will also be made aware of the applicable major international/national conventions and statuettes, and the elements of the crime that must be proved if prosecution is to be successful. Specifically of interest to criminalists, the talk will conclude with marking/detection/identification methods that have led to successful prosecutions, and offer hints of future approaches.
TALES FROM THE CRYPT - WAS THE 'ROSTOV RIPPER' A HUMAN CHIMERA?
Kimberly Alexandra Barron, MFS (National University) and Bob Blackledge, NCIS San Diego Lab., retired
Andrei Chikatilo (aka the 'Rostov Ripper') was Russia's most prolific serial killer. During a reign of terror spanning 12 years he raped and killed over 50 victims. Early in the investigation Chikatilo became a person of interest, but was discounted when his blood type came up as type A (in the ABO system) while seminal fluid samples found in several of the victims were type AB. When finally caught in the act, Chikatilo not only confessed, he led investigators to bodies that had not as yet been discovered. At his trial the head of the serology section at the crime laboratory in Moscow explained the apparent discrepancy by saying that Chikatilo "was an example of an extremely rare, newly-discovered phenomenon" that she called "'paradoxical secretion', in which an individual has blood of one type and secretions of another." While researching for his book, The Killer Department, [ISBN Cullen interviewed Special Agent David Bigbee, who was then Chief of the DNA Section in the FBI Lab. We don't know if Bigbee was quoted correctly or out of context, but according to Cullen he flatly stated "paradoxical secretion does not exist!" [page 244] - - - Well, Hello? - - A well-known and highly respected reference, Race and Sanger's Blood Groups In Man, 6th edition, 1975, on page 519 quotes a definition from a previous work (1951): 'In the current embryological (which is also the classical) sense, a "chimera" is an organism whose cells derive from two or more distinct zygote lineages, and this is the sense which the term "genetical chimera" is here intended to convey.' They go on to list twenty verified cases of "TWIN CHIMERAS" [Chapter 26, Blood Groups In Twins And Chimeras, relevant pages are 519-528]. This talk will discuss this case and attempt to explain the phenomenon of "human chimeras" in a way that (although totally boring to DNA mavens) will make some sense to firearms and toolmarks examiners, blood alcohol examiners, drug chemists, and trace evidence specialists. [Sorry, our communication skills are inadequate for those at supervisory or higher levels.]
THE USE AND PRESENTATION OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE IN TRIAL
Giacomo W. Bucci, Deputy District Attorney San Diego County District Attorney's Office
With the advent of the television franchise of CSI, forensic evidence has been thrust into the forefront by the average citizen and potential jurors. This presentation will discuss how various fields in forensic science were used to present evidence in a double homicide recently tried in the North County Branch of San Diego County. The discussion will focus on the interaction between the prosecutor and Criminalist involved in the analysis of the evidence. It will deal with pre trial and trial issues and how the parties prepare for both. The various areas included in the discussion are soil evidence, handwriting analysis, fiber evidence and DNA, to name a few.
UNWITTING DEFAULTERS AND WELL-MEANING USURPERS—THE CREATION AND EXPLOITATION OF DEFICIENCIES AT BOTH ENDS OF THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE CONTINUUM
Peter R. De Forest, Professor of Criminalistics, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Robert Blackledge, ret., NCIS Regional Forensic Laboratory
Criminalistics, properly practiced, is a challenging and a profoundly intellectual endeavor. Unfortunately, it is not always viewed this way by those who hold the title Criminalist. Compounding the problem further is the fact that some criminalists are constrained from practicing criminalistics the way it should be practiced. The reality of practice can depart from the ideal markedly. One primary area of concern is the front-end assessment of the physical evidence in a case. This is the beginning of the physical evidence continuum. The front-end assessment should take place at the crime scene by an experienced scientist. It is equally important that senior criminalists interpret the total physical evidence picture at the other end of the continuum - the back end - at the point where the case is being prepared for adjudication. Failure to attend to these needs creates deficiencies by default. These defaults provide opportunities for non-scientist "usurpers" to fill the void. In most cases these are well-meaning investigators and attorneys who are performing a necessary function that is left unaddressed by criminalists. Someone must recognize the evidence at a crime scene and define the physical evidence problem for the laboratory. At the other end of the continuum there is a need for someone to interpret the totality of the physical evidence for the court. These functions, those at both ends of the continuum are at least as challenging as the analysis of the evidence in the laboratory and are best performed by scientists who understand physical evidence - viz., experienced criminalists.
The challenges of crime scene work are not widely appreciated. Investigators don't normally have the fundamental understanding of the laws of nature normally possessed by scientists to assist them with insights into the production of physical evidence. Such knowledge combined with experience with hypothesis development and testing is an important aid in evidence recognition. Extensive knowledge of how physical evidence is analyzed in the laboratory is needed at the scene as well. Non-scientist scene investigators need to work with experienced scientists at the scene. Teamwork in which the criminalist plays a prominent role is essential.
Once all of the properly recognized physical evidence in a case has been analyzed in the laboratory, there is a need to interpret it in the context of the issues in the case. In many situations this is far from straightforward. It requires scientific dispassion, a broad scientific background, and extensive experience in criminalistics. This should not be left to the prosecuting attorney by default. In more complex cases the interpretation is tantamount to a reconstruction. This calls for experience and skill with hypothesis development, with the evaluation of alternate hypotheses, and with experimental design. Like the situation on the front-end of the continuum, the work on this end of the physical evidence continuum is scientifically challenging. The most experienced criminalists are necessary for meeting these needs. Attorneys need to recognize this and not go it alone. In many settings, this is not the way things are done. The profession must work to bring about change, but the road ahead is not an easy one.
1.) De Forest, P.R., "Recapturing the Essence of Criminalistics", 1997 Founders Lecture, California Association of Criminalists, Science and Justice, Vol. 39, July-September, 1999, pp. 196-208
2.) De Forest, P.R., "Voodoo Science by Default", Presented at the Fourth National Conference on Science and the Law- Emerging Trends: Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, Miami, FL, October 3-5, 2002 (see NIJ Website)
3.) De Forest, P.R., "Crime Scene Investigation", in Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement, L. Sullivan, ed., Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2005, pp. 111-116
DNA ANALYSIS OF NATURAL FIBER ROPE
Mignon Dunbar, Murphy Laboratory, Forensic Science Program University of California Davis
When rope is found at a crime scene, the type of fiber is currently identified using microscopic characteristics. However, these characteristics may not always distinguish some types of rope from others. If rope samples contain cells from the plants of origin, then DNA analysis may prove to be a better way to identify the type of rope obtained from a crime scene. The purpose of this project is to develop techniques to use DNA analysis to differentiate between ropes made from flax, sisal, abaca, hemp, and jute. The procedures include extracting the DNA from the rope, performing PCR using the extracted DNA as template, and analyzing the DNA products. A primer pair was chosen to be specific to plants -designed from within the chloroplast gene for the large subunit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase. The primer sequences were chosen to be complementary to the genes from all five plants, yielding a fragment of approximately 771 base pairs. Since the resulting PCR fragments from each of the five plants are the same size, they can either be distinguished by determining their nucleotide sequence or through restriction analysis.
THE DARYL TAVIE CASE
Linda Dunn, Supervising Deputy District Attorney, Riverside County District Attorney's Office and Rick Cobb, Detective Riverside Police Department
Daryl Tavie was convicted in 1986 of two counts of forcible rape, two counts of assault with intent to commit rape, and 3 counts of robbery by force. All the victims were women who did not know him; three of them were abducted from the bus station in downtown Riverside, and one, a 15 year old, was abducted as she walked to school. All four were taken to a remote location, where he robbed them, tried to rape them, and succeeded twice. The 15 year old girl got away by running through the orange groves, and another victim who had her infant with her, took the baby and ran naked from Tavie, before he raped her. Tavie served 11 years for these crimes. He was released on parole in 1997. A 17 year old girl, not enrolled in school, was hanging out at the Riverside bus station where she met Tavie on the day in October 1997 he took her by the hand, dragged her into an alley, and raped her, stealing $7 from her as he ran away. She reported it immediately and told police she did not know the rapist. Police did a minimal investigation, but did take the girl to a hospital where a rape exam was conducted and semen found. The case languished for six years.
In 2001, Tavie returned to prison on a forgery. His blood sample was taken as he was a convicted rapist. In 2003, a criminalist working on CODIS matched the 1997 Riverside case to Tavie's DNA profile. RPD Detective Rick Cobb was contacted. He located the victim, who remained cooperative, and Cobb traveled to Corcoran prison to obtain a confirmatory blood sample from Tavie and interview him. Tavie denied the rape and said there was no sexual contact. . When told that his DNA had been confirmed, he changed his story to "we had sex, but she was a hooker". He eventually admitted she might have said "No, stop" a few times. He admitted that he might have also taken a few dollars from her.
In August 2004 the case went to trial, the first Riverside County "Cold Case" DNA trial. The victim testified. The original patrol officer from RPD had been fired for misconduct. He testified for the defense. Three of the 1986 victims testified. Det. Cobb testified. A criminalist from the Richmond Lab testified. After 2 days of deliberations, the jury found Tavie guilty of kidnap for rape, and rape. When he was sentenced in September 2004, he received 110 years to life.
UNUSUAL RESULTS AT DNA LOCI ON THE X AND Y CHROMOSOMES
Adam Dutra, Criminalist, San Diego Police Department
Samples analyzed by the San Diego Police Department crime lab have given unusual results at Amelogenin and using Y-STRs. This paper highlights a couple of examples, the possible causes for these and other unusual results, and their implications in casework analysis.
EVALUATION AND APPLICATION OF POLYNOMIAL TEXTURE MAPPING (PTM) IN THE AREA OF SHOE/TIRE IMPRESSION EVIDENCE
James S. Hamiel, Senior Criminalist, California Department of Justice Central Valley Laboratory
The goal of this NIJ funded project was the development and implementation of a more useful tool in evaluating impression evidence such as shoe and tire impressions left at the scene of crimes. Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories developed the Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM) software that has been successfully used in a variety of applications such as hieroglyphic relief imaging. The use of the PTM technology has the potential for better resolved images of impressions left at scenes of violent crimes. These images can improve the comparison of known shoe soles or tire treads to impressions left at crime scenes. This PTM project explored the use of the PTM technology in forensic impression evidence and developed a portable unit for field use. The research evaluated the usefulness of the PTM technique for footwear and tire impressions by comparing them to conventional oblique light and casting techniques. This technology in the forensic field could significantly improve the quality of impression images leading to more definitive information from scene evidence. A laboratory-based PTM dome and a portable dome were constructed and applied to various types of impression evidence. Test impressions were made in soil, mud, and blood with three types of footwear. The impression evidence documented by the PTM technology can improve the comparisons and identifications of shoes/tires to impressions left at crime scenes. An added benefit is the time reduction in the capturing and comparing of impressions.
The research also included the evaluation of different digital cameras for resolution, which is critical for viewing the unique detail in impression comparisons.
PATTERN RECOGNITION PROCEDURES FOR THE CLASSIFICATION AND PREDICTION OF STAINS ORIGINATING FROM WAX-BASED PRODUCTS
Dr. J.W. Thorpe and D. Ismail, Centre for Forensic Science, University of Strathclyde, G1 1XW, Glasgow, United Kingdom
In the absence of reference materials, a forensic scientist is sometimes asked to determine the origin of stains suspected to be of wax-based products. Common approaches are either to perform direct comparisons of the suspected stains with a number of known stains, or to determine the presence of compounds commonly associated with wax-based products (e.g. methyl esters after transesterification of oil and fatty substances). These approaches, although suitable for small numbers of samples, is subject to the knowledge and experience of the forensic scientist. Furthermore, techniques such as transesterification are tedious to perform. Additionally there are a variety of wax-based products with closely similar compositions that are difficult for a forensic scientist to distinguish. Therefore, two pattern recognition procedures i.e. chemometrics and artificial neural networks (ANNs) were studied as a means for distinguishing between closely similar wax-based products and for removing the subjectivity involved in the comparisons of such products.
In this study, three types of wax-based products: lipstick, lip balm, and shoe polish were examined. The features used for their classification were Gas Chromatographic (GC) profiles and Ultraviolet-Visible (UV-Vis) spectra. The chemometrics procedures used were Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA). The ANNs were Multi Layer Perceptron (MLP) and Kohonen artificial neural network (Kohonen-ANN). It was found that, with the chemometrics procedures, no neat grouping or clustering of the wax-based products was achieved. On the other hand, good classifications of the wax-based products were achieved by both of the ANN methods. The GC profiles resulted in better classification using the ANN methods than the UV-Vis spectral data.
Other than classification, it is also possible to develop with the ANNs, an automated predictive system to reliably determine the origin of unknown stains suspected to have originated from wax-based products. The predictive ability of both the ANN procedures i.e. MLP and Kohonen-ANN was tested by introducing to the networks six independent unknown stains, which were not used in the training of the networks. It was found that networks trained with the GC profiles gave slightly poorer prediction outcomes of the class membership of the unknown stains compared to networks trained with the UV-Vis spectra. In order to resolve this, it was decided to combine both classification features. With this combination, it was possible to create networks having both good classification and good prediction outcomes.
Of the two ANN procedures studied, MLP is superior to Kohonen-ANN in terms of ease of use, time taken for training, selection of suitable networks, classification rate and prediction outcomes. However with Kohonen-ANN, the relationship between samples under study can be easily visualised by mean of two-dimensional topological map display. This study shows the applicability of pattern recognition procedures especially ANNs to forensic chemistry. If a case such as described above is encountered in casework, the analysis and interpretation of findings will not be entirely dependent upon the knowledge and experience of the analyst involved. In essence, ANNs can be used to capture the knowledge and experience of the forensic scientist and remove subjective human judgment from the interpretation of the outcomes.
ISO: GET ON BOARD
P. Michael Kellett, ASCLD/LAB Staff Inspector
One of the early committees appointed by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) was the Committee on Laboratory Evaluation and Standards. Members of that committee were Tony Longhetti, Jack Cadman, George Ishi, Carlos Rabren, Travis Owen and Ralph Keaton. The committee was chaired by George Ishii, Tony Longhetti and Jack Cadman at various times. For approximately four years, the committee considered and worked on various programs that could be used to evaluate and improve the quality of laboratory operations. The committee considered individual certification, a self-assessment program and an accreditation program based on external peer review as a possible means of achieving the goal. The committee's efforts resulted in the formation of the ASCLD Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) in 1981. In May 1982 the eight laboratories of the Illinois State Police became the first laboratories accredited by ASCLD/LAB. In November 1984, ASCLD/LAB Chair, Thomas Nasser, sent a notice to all Delegate Assembly members that the Delegate Assembly would meet for the first time in September 1985. In 2003 the Delegate Assembly approved the implementation of a dual-track accreditation program. In addition to the ongoing accreditation program which is now referred to as the Legacy Program, ASCLD/LAB initiated the ASCLD/ LAB-International Accreditation Program which is based on the ISO 17025 Standard and ASCLD/LAB Supplemental Requirements. This presentation is an overview of the ASCLD/ LAB-International Accreditation Program. Some similarities and differences between the Legacy and International programs will be identified.
CARNAGE IN GOLETA: A SHOOTING RAMPAGE AT THE GOLETA POSTAL DIST. CENTER. HOW DO WE RESPOND TO LARGE SCENES?
Meghan Kinney, Senior Criminalist, California Department of Justice Freedom Laboratory, and Charlene Marie, Assistant Laboratory Director, California Department of Justice Santa Barbara Lab
It was reported in the news media that on Monday evening, January 30th, 2006, employees at the Postal Distribution Center in Goleta called 911, still unsure whether ex-employee Jennifer Sanmarco was lurking, hidden in the cavernous building and ready to shoot as they dialed. "OK, ah, ahh, this is the post office on Glen Annie," a postal employee named Tom told a sheriff's emergency dispatcher.
On Monday evening, January 30th, 2006, local broadcasting was interrupted to announce that shots had been fired at the local postal distribution center. Residents were cautioned that the shooter was still at large. Police and other emergency responders arrived at the scene to find two females dead in the distribution center parking lot and another female dead just outside the employee entrance to the building. The identity of the shooter was not determined until early the next morning. The shooter, Jennifer Sanmarco - a former employee, shot two more employees inside the facility and then killed herself. The Goleta Postal Distribution Center is a sorting facility for the US Postal Service. It is about 230,00 square feet (about 2 1/2 times the size of a Costco). It operates on a 24-hour basis and employees about 320 people. It is arranged in aisles and the sorting machines make the facility very noisy.
We will focus on how we responded to and handled this emerging, exigent scene. We will walk you through the events of that night and discuss the decisions made as events unfolded. We will tell you about the Bureau of Forensic Services Special Response Team (SRT).
The SRT is made up of individuals from the field laboratories around the state. These individuals are comprised of senior employees with a wealth of crime scene experience. Each person brings his or her own unique experience to the scene. The team responds to complex homicides and officer involved shootings anywhere in California.
Finally, we will emphasize the importance of ongoing communication, training and relationship with our client agencies. Good working relationships with our client agencies need to be in place so that when a critical incident occurs we are ready to work with them and to respond effectively.
THE FORENSIC EXAMINATION OF DOCUMENTS PRODUCED BY OFFICE MACHINE SYSTEMS UTILIZING INKJET TECHNOLOGY
Gerry LaPorte, Document Analyst/Chemist, United States Secret Service, Forensic Services Division
This presentation is designed to provide a discussion of some modern approaches to the physical and chemical examination of documents produced by inkjet printers and copiers. With the advent of this technology, there has been tremendous popularity amongst criminals to use printers to commit a variety of crimes such as sending anonymous letters (e.g. threatening, kidnapping, and extortion), counterfeiting, producing child pornographic images, and creating other types of fraudulent documents. In some instances, legitimate transactions such as contracts and wills later become the focus of a criminal investigation. This may cause a suspect(s) to alter entries, generate new documents in an attempt to substantiate their case, or make false claims regarding the questioned document.
Forensic document examiners can perform a variety of examinations that may help link multiple documents with each other or a suspect printer(s), ascertain if the document is legitimate with respect to date, or determine the make and model of the suspect machine. The objective of this presentation is to emphasize the importance of conducting examinations using microscopy, the video spectral comparator (VSC), an electrostatic detection device (EDD), and/or thin layer chromatography (TLC). As well, some new ideas will be proposed with the intention of providing forensic document examiners insight into the future of inkjet analyses. These will include instrumental methods such as spectrophotometry and the use of imaging analysis equipment.
THE USE OF MORPHOLOGY, MICROMETRY, AND MASS TO BRAND IDENTIFY RELOADING SMOKELESS POWDERS IN IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES
Wayne Moorehead, MS, F-ABC, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Forensic Science Services,
Annie Tibbetts, BS, Alan Perez, BS
In the late 1800's, smokeless powder was developed as a substitute for black powder used in small arms. At the close of World War II, the United States government had a surplus of smokeless powder. Several private companies purchased the surplus smokeless powder for the reloading market. Over the years, brands that were popular continued in production, older powders retired, and new powders developed to fill in the gaps of cartridge reloading. The availability of smokeless powder and its relatively inexpensive cost have led to its use as the explosive in improvised explosive devices such as pipe bombs. Situations arise where sufficient kernels of smokeless powder remain allowing the analyst to provide brand identification or a short list of possible brands of powders.
Providing single brand or a short list of brands of possible smokeless powder used as the explosive in a pipe bomb to an investigator may be helpful information in both the investigative and adjudicative phases of the investigation. In this study 148 smokeless powders were examined for their macroscopic and microscopic morphology, micrometry, and mass. The measurements were subjected to Bonferoni-Dunn statistical analysis, which permits one-against-many comparisons.
Many brands were distinguishable after the morphology and micrometry, while others required mass determination to assist in the reduction of possible brands. A few powders were not distinguishable to the single brand by these methods and use of instrumental analysis (not part of this presentation) may help to further isolate the brand or a short list of possible brands would be provided to the investigator at the conclusion of this analysis.
ISOLATION OF METHAMPHETAMINE FROM CYCLOHEXADIENYL-2-METHYLAMINOPROPANE VIA POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE
Fracia S. Martinez and Daniel M. Roesch, Forensic Chemist, Drug Enforcement Administration, Southwest Laboratory, Vista, CA
One of the main methods of manufacturing methamphetamine is the reduction of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine utilizing an alkali metal such as lithium or sodium, and liquid ammonia. This method is often referred to as the Birch- Benkeser reduction method or more commonly, as the "Nazi" method. The hydroxyl group of (pseudo)ephedrine is more reactive than the aromatic ring, but with excess alkali metal and the presence of an added proton source a cyclohexadiene, Birch-type, product is formed. This substance is known as cyclohexadienyl-2-methylaminopropane, or more simply - the Birch product. The ratio of the Birch product relative to methamphetamine is occasionally very high in the final product and can create an undesirable, mixed infra-red spectrum. Separation and isolation of the methamphetamine in this mixture can be achieved however by oxidizing the Birch product using potassium permanganate which is a good oxidizing agent for alkenes. By applying this technique with a basic aqueous/hexane extraction the methamphetamine passes to the organic fraction where it is isolated by precipitation as hydrochloride salt form. The final product is then sufficiently pure to enable confirmatory analysis via infrared spectroscopy.
CLANDESTINE DRUG MANUFACTURE WITH STYLE, AN UNUSUAL UNDERGROUND METHAMPHETAMINE LAB
Nessa Rosenbaum, Criminalist, San Bernardino Co. Sheriff's Dept., Scientific Investigations Division
Recently, an illicit methamphetamine-manufacturing lab was found underground at a home in Fontana, California. A case history will be presented including the information, which led to the discovery of the lab, the processing of the crime scene as well as a Power Point presentation of pertinent photographs of the scene and results of the analysis of the evidence samples collected.
Clandestine methamphetamine labs used to be a dime a dozen in San Bernardino County. Although there has been a substantial decrease in recent numbers of such labs, we do still see them on a routine basis. One of the more interesting labs encountered was found through an informant in Fontana, California. Sheriff's narcotics deputies confirmed the presence of the lab by utilizing a code enforcement agent. Apparently the suspect had built an addition to his home without obtaining the appropriate permits. The code enforcement agent reported the results of his inspection to Sheriff's narcotics deputies. This gave them probable cause to conduct a search. The room addition had been demolished by the time the deputies conducted their search. However, they were able to discover a section of the cement foundation that could be lowered via a homemade hydraulic lift (elevator). This section had originally been underneath the tile floor of the shower in the bathroom portion of the above ground home addition. An underground room, complete with painted walls, marble tiled staircase and floor, fireplace, toilet, sink, credenza, television, refrigerator, and ceiling fan, was found upon descending on the lift.
Everything needed for a medium sized clandestine methamphetamine lab was also found inside the room from glassware, heating elements, filters, scale, tubing, etc. to all the chemicals required to manufacture methamphetamine. Approximately 100 pounds of iodine and 20 pounds of used red phosphorous were discovered along with tablet and powder precursor (ephedrine/pseudoephedrine), and almost one and a half pounds of finished product (methamphetamine). The method of manufacture was the red phosphorous, hydriodic acid reduction of ephedrine/pseudoephedrine.
THE THORNTON-SNYDER CASE
Michael Rushton, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Riverside County District Attorney's Office
On April 17, 2001, at 4:00 PM, Diane Lindholm returned home to her multi-acre Rubidoux horse property after a long day of school. When she drove up to the entry gate of her property, she found that the chain to her gate had been cut, and she sensed that intruders were on her property. She was right. At the very moment that Lindholm drove up to her gate, three people were in the tack room located not more than 60 yards from Lindholm's front gate. The intruders included Michael Thornton, age 46, Janeen Snyder, age 21, and a victim that they had kidnapped 14 days earlier in Las Vegas, Nevada, Michelle Curran, age 16. Thornton and Snyder were lovers, but more than that they were self-proclaimed partners that specialized in abducting and sexually exploiting teenage girls. At the very moment that Lindholm arrived home, Thornton and Snyder were armed with firearms and in the process of sexually assaulting their 16-year-old kidnap victim. They had torn Michelle's clothing from her body, bound her with duct tape and zip ties, attached ligatures to all four limbs and strung her nude body from the rafters of the tack room. In the privacy of this environment, they tortured and sexually abused Michelle. Due to the noise of Lindholm's diesel pickup truck, Thornton and Snyder knew they had been caught in the act. In an apparent effort to facilitate their escape, Snyder shot Michelle in the center of the forehead from close range and Thornton hid the body in the locker on a nearby horse trailer. Moments after the shot was fired, Lindholm entered into her residence and called 911. Thornton and Snyder fled Lindholm's property in their Suburban, made a few wrong turns and ended up in a cul-de-sac two miles from the scene of the crime. Responding sheriff's deputies captured Thornton and Snyder after they abandoned their vehicle and fled on foot.
The subsequent investigation would expose Thornton and Snyder for what they were: violent sexual deviants with an unquenchable thirst for teenage girls. Over the years, they had developed a tried and true plan to capture and cultivate their teenage victims. Snyder had become entangled with Thornton when she was only 14 years old. Now, at age 21, this attractive and petite female could have easily passed as a high school junior. Thornton exploited Snyder's youthful appearance and used her as the bait to lure in their young victims. After the victims had been trapped, Snyder then became the groomer and conditioner, training the victims both socially and sexually. The investigation would reveal that in 1996, using this plan, Thornton and Snyder abducted, raped and murdered their first victim, a beautiful high school freshman by the name of Jessie Peters. Many other victims would emerge, culminating in the discovery that Thornton and Snyder had used this plan to exploit three separate girls during the 14 months preceding their arrest.
The trial of the couple started in December 2005. It would last six months. After the prosecution had called 129 witnesses and introduced more than 1,000 exhibits, the matter went to the jury. On May 24, 2006, the jury returned death verdicts against both defendants.
SIGNIFICANCE ASSESSMENT OF PAINT TRANSFERS USING THE PDQ AUTOMOTIVE PAINT DATABASE
Scott Ryland, Senior Crime Laboratory Analyst, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
There is currently a Federal agency focus on finding ways to improve communication of the significance of trace evidence conclusions to the courts. A simple "could have originated from the same source" opinion is simply lacking in guidance in their mind, without some attempt to quantify the significance of the association. Of course, this is something practitioners have struggled with for years. Unfortunately, in materials analysis the relevant population is always changing and it is not unusual to find correlations between comparison characteristics.
One approach in attempting to quantify the value of an association is to access reference collections or data bases to generate frequency of occurrence values. Of course, the representative nature of these collections is always of concern.
The Paint Data Query (PDQ) international automotive paint data base/reference collection is one such source of frequency information. It can be of value in attempting to assess and communicate the evidential significance of corresponding original finish automotive paint samples in a trace evidence transfer case. One such example will be presented, involving an eight-month-old "cold" hit-and-run case that occurred several years ago in a city on the east coast of Florida. The suspect vehicle was a 1977 GMC van recovered from a salvage yard. Although there was some other associative evidence, the paint evidence was quite compelling.
Frequency of occurrence data is not an end in itself, merely one step in an attempt to convey either the unique or common nature of the transferred material.
TEACHING AND TRAINING ON ETHICS IN THE WORKPLACE
John Simms, Supervising Criminalist, San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory
Traditional on-the-job training for new employees has always included the obvious technical skills development to allow the trainees to progress to a level of doing honest casework. There was a small dose perhaps of a lab orientation, and maybe some safety issues included in the orientation; however, accreditation has made us look more closely at this "in-the-door" training and its content. Our new employee training program involves very formal Quality Assurance training broken out into several blocks. Ethics is woven into this training as a part of the policy review, explaining the layers of accountability and responsibilities that start within the unit and work outwards to general lab and department, and then city regulations. The training finishes with a PowerPoint presentation on WHEN THINGS GO WRONG that presents real cases of wrongdoing and carefully lays out the differences between malfeasance and honest technical errors.
STATUS OF THE TRACE EVIDENCE RESOURCE CENTER AT THE SACRAMENTO FORENSIC SERVICE LABORATORY
Faye Springer, Criminalist, Sacramento County District Attorney Laboratory
In 2001, the State of California authorized money for the Local Forensic Laboratory Improvement Program (LFLIP). The Sacramento Forensic Services Laboratory used a portion of this grant to augment instrumentation in the trace evidence laboratory. Justification for this augmentation was to improve trace evidence resources to not only Sacramento County but to other laboratories that may not otherwise have these resources available for case work. The Sacramento Laboratory purchased, installed, and validated the following instrumentation for use in forensic case work. Raman Microspectrophotometry, Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectrometry, Ultra Violet/Visible Microspectrophotometry, Laser Ablation / Inductively Coupled Plasma/ Mass Spectrophotometer, High Pressure Liquid Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry with UV/Vis Spectrophotometer. I will discuss cases that have been completed at this time and the status of the fee-for-service for use of this instrumentation for casework outside of Sacramento County.
SOIL AS EVIDENCE IN A SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FORENSIC CASE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SEARCHABLE SOIL PROFILE DATABASE
Marianne Stam, Senior Criminalist, California Department of Justice Riverside Laboratory
Few California crime laboratories have analysts who are proficient in forensic soil analyses largely due to the perception that soil casework is too difficult, time consuming and provides little valuable information for the time spent to work the cases. Consequently, few attempt even the most rudimentary examinations and soils are often not collected or considered as valuable evidence at crime scenes.
This paper illustrates a Southern California soils case in which a detailed forensic soil profile database would have been useful in adding significance to the analytical results, and discusses the development of a searchable soil profile database that would make soil evidence more valuable as an investigative tool.
In the soils case, a suspect in San Diego County, California murdered two female acquaintances and buried them within 5 miles of each other in northern San Diego County. One victim was buried along a creek bed; and the other was buried in a citrus grove adjacent to a landscaped park. Investigators collected two shovels and a hoe from the suspect's garage. Soil from the shovels and hoe were examined and compared to soil from the two burial sites using basic analytical methods available in most crime laboratories. The soil on the shovels was similar to the soil from the citrus grove site, and dissimilar to the soil from the creek bed. The soil on the hoe was dissimilar to both burial sites.
The region where the burials were located is part of an extensive geomorphic province called the "Peninsular Range Batholith". This batholith includes granites, granodiorites, and gabbros, Mesozoic metasedimentary rocks, and Quaternary alluvial deposits. Results of the soil analyses on the shovels and at the citrus grove site showed the presence of quartz, plagioclase feldspars, alkali feldspars, a few zircons, biotite, hornblende, and a few pyroxenes; all quite common to batholithic environments. Consequently, although the soils on the shovels and at the citrus grove site were similar, the extent of the batholithic rocks, the lack of a detailed soil profile database, and the lack of better discriminatory analytical methods made it impossible to attach significance to this "match". To improve the discriminatory abilities in California forensic soil cases, a University of California Soil Mineralogist was contacted about the idea of developing a searchable forensic soils database that would involve not only using the basic methods of soil analyses as discussed in the San Diego County case, but also more advanced analytical techniques, such as SEM/EDX. The concept and development of such a database will be discussed.
ISSUES FACING GRADUATE FORENSIC SCIENCE PROGRAMS AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE CRIMINALISTICS LABORATORY
Frederic A. Tulleners, Director, Forensic Science Graduate Program, UC Davis
This presentation will discuss some of the administrative and educational issues facing graduate forensic science programs, their impact on the crime lab and on the graduate student. In particular we will focus on some of the decisions faced by the graduate forensic program such as the one at UC Davis and the rational for those decisions. The choices are a job specific or trade craft type training versus a fundamental concept type training followed by self directed research, FEPAC accreditation etc. We will also discuss the impact graduate education has on the hiring and retention of the future crime lab employee. With the increasing visibility and need for competent forensic science there has been a dramatic change in the candidate selection pool available to the criminalistics laboratories. Surveys conducted in Australia also point to the need for a certain class of undergraduate degrees. A look at the current profile of graduate student population will tell us the current area of interests and what the criminalistics labs will look like in the year 2020.
MINERAL IDENTIFICATION USING INFRARED MICROPROBE ANALYSIS WITH DIAMOND ATTENUATED TOTAL REFLECTION
Brooke A. Weinger, MA, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY; John A. Reffner, Ph.D., Smiths Detection; Peter R. De Forest,D Crim., John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY
Mineral identification has been used by criminalists to aid in investigations since the beginning of the 20th century. Minerals can be employed as physical evidence in both criminal and civil matters, principally in reference to soil analysis. Mineral evidence can be used in several ways, with the two primary applications by a criminalist being the comparison of a known sample from evidence with a suspect's sample and the identification of the origin of a questioned sample. Despite the significance that this evidence can have on a case, soil and mineral analysis is underused and underappreciated in the forensic science community. This is due to a variety of reasons stemming from the challenging nature of traditional mineral identification methods to the interpretation of complex mixtures. Modern infrared microprobe methods combining microscopy and infrared spectroscopy changed this, making it possible to analyze and identify mineral samples quickly and consistently.
Infrared microprobe analysis of minerals is made possible through the use of the diamond attenuated total reflection (ATR) microscope objective. The design and use of the diamond ATR microscope objective allows for the selective isolation of individual minerals for simultaneous collection of microscopic, optical and infrared data. These types of evaluations enable the indisputable identification of minerals. Infrared microprobe analysis requires virtually no sample preparation, and enables direct infrared spectroscopic analysis of unknown mineral samples. When coupled with a preliminary examination using traditional methods of polarized light microscopy, complete analysis of an unknown mineral can be performed easily and in a short time. When infrared spectroscopy is combined with light microscopy the analysis of minerals is enhanced. The three "R's" of modern forensic analytical methods are: rapid, reliable and reviewable. Speed is essential for short turn-around times and reducing case backlogs. The analytical method controls the rate of analysis, and with the diamond ATR microscope objective, mineral identification can be done in minutes. Reliability is crucial. There is zero tolerance for false positive results. Infrared microprobe analysis is not only consistent, but is even sensitive enough to distinguish between mineral polymorphs (minerals with identical chemical formulas that exist in two or more structures). For example, calcite and aragonite, two mineral polymorphs of calcium carbonate, are readily distinguished using diamond ATR analysis. Results and procedures must be reviewable, providing a check on the expert's testimony and protecting the defendant's rights. Modern infrared microprobe analysis satisfies this requirement by creating a reviewable report that combines the microscopic, optical and infrared data. The ability to integrate polarized light microscopy with infrared microprobe analysis to minerals is unprecedented.
IDENTIFICATION OF ANALOGS OF 3,4-METHYLENEDIOXYAMPHETAMINE (MDA) BY MASS SPECTROMETRY WITH QUADRUPOLE FILTER
Jeffrey Woo, Criminalist, San Francisco Police Dept. Crime Lab
Mass spectrometry (combined with gas chromatography) has been incredibly useful in recent years to forensic science in the identification and elucidation of chemical structures. For isomers and other molecules of similar structure, a clear interpretation of data is required for differentiation. The molecule of 3,4-MDA undergoes fragmentation in MS via three pathways: (1) rearrangement; (2) alpha cleavage via the amino group; and (3) alpha cleavage via the benzyl group. Mechanisms will show how are produced known and significant peaks in the spectrum. One will also explain the fragmentation of certain distinct peaks, in lieu of comparison with deuterated samples (and their mass spectra). Key points of interest, besides ion fragment elucidation, also include differentiation between 3,4-MDA and 2,3-MDA, reliant on the position of the oxygens relative to the aromatic carbons, and subsequent rearrangement. The appearance of a fractional molecular weight (m/z = 81.5) in the spectrum is due to the existence of a multiply-charged ion (e.g., m/2z) - and is not a metastable ion. Also, two distinct ion fragments in the 3,4-MDA spectrum have the same mass (m/z = 91); differentiation between the two, though usually not necessary, can be explained with comparison to deuterated samples as well as mechanistically.
FROZEN METHAMPHETAMINE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO CHEMICAL EXTRACTION IN METHAMPHETAMINE SYNTHESIS
Vien Zhivago, Forensic Chemist, Drug Enforcement Administration, Southwest Laboratory
The clandestine synthesis of methamphetamine is frequently performed using household chemicals and equipment. These household products serve as substitutions for reagent grade supplies which may be difficult to obtain due to restrictions imposed by Federal and State legislatures. Although these restrictions are designed to combat clandestine drug synthesis they also serve as the impetus for new methods and techniques which may be used to complete a synthesis. In the past year, several intelligence reports have surfaced which suggest that methamphetamine "cooks" have utilized household freezers to effect the separation of methamphetamine base from a basic/ aqueous layer. This process would be advantageous since it would not require the traditional organic solvents. This presentation will discuss the viability of these claims.