Forensic science means any science that avails evidence in the law court. It studies investigation and comparison. People use forensic science in the detection and analysis of criminal activities. The paper gives a brief history of the science and then uses its tools to analyze a case study.
The term forensic comes from a Latin word forensics that means “of or being the forum.” In the olden days in the Roman societies, there was a group of people, which was called the forum. Here, citizens presented all their problems and issues. The panel gave both victims and suspects a chance to submit their pleas and then determined which argument was the best to win. The case of Julius Caesar of 44BC was the first forensic science autopsy to be ever recorded. It happened in the 15th century. Later, in the 1540s, Ambroise Pare, a French doctor, laid the foundations for the modern forensic science and pathology through his research of trauma of the human body organs. A forensic revolution occurred in the 19th century that witnessed significant advancements in the domain. In 1820, Eugene François was the first to use ballistics to dress casts of shoe imprints. In 1830, James Marsh, a chemist, used the Marsh Test in order to establish why a man killed his father via arsenic poisoning. In 1890, the Henry System was built; it was the first fingerprint device. Around that same period, Edmund Leonard described twelve matching points that could be used to distinguish fingerprints of different human beings. In 1910, the first method to determine the ABO blood groups for dry blood on the ground in the crime scene was developed. Later, between 1980 and 1990, some new DNA profiling programs, for example, CODIS were designed. With time, first DNA databases were created in the police departments .
The Role of Forensic Scientists
Having learned the history and the development of forensic science, it becomes fascinating to look at the job specifications and functions of a forensic scientist.
The goal of a forensic scientist is to find reliable evidence of a crime that can be used in the court with the view to making criminals pay for their crimes. Therefore a forensic scientist must be exact and accurate with the data. These professionals present their evidence for the further examination by the laboratory. In some situations, a forensic scientist may be required to testify in the court proceedings. As a rule, they are expert witnesses, and their testimonies are reliable sources of information in any case.
Crime Scene- Homicide in Richmond, VA
At precisely 7:15 AM, the police responded to a call alerting them of a possible homicide in the 100 block of the Ridgecliff Drive. When officers arrived at the stated location, they found two victims of the shooting. The victims were in black Nissan. James Green lived nearby and claimed that he saw the car at around six AM on Friday in the neighbor’s yard. He stated that he could not understand why his friend would allow somebody to park his car in the own lawn in the morning. It did not seem an accident to him. The EMS workers pronounced the victims dead at the crime scene. In the analysis of the case at hand, the following sections are relevant.
Analysis of the Crime
Actions of the initial response to the crime scene. Arguably, the first person to arrive at any criminality scene is critical to the case as these actors either help preserve or break the crime scene. The way, in which they handle the crime scene, affects the whole process of investigation. For this particular crime scene, if I am the first person to arrive, my actions of initial response should include the following;
First, as the first person at the Ridgecliff Drive, which is the crime scene, I will be extremely cautious. I will also be methodical and strive to preserve the arrangement and location of the two shooting victims, the Nissan, and bullet remains that may be somewhere on the ground. Touching the victims or the car might leave my fingerprints on them and destroy the original prints of either the shooters or the victims that could be very crucial in the investigation. Therefore, the minimal contamination of the site will ensure that the physical evidence is not disturbed. As the responding officer, I will note down the dispatch information, including the time, location, date, people involved, and type of crime. For this case, the scene is located at the Ridgecliff Drive; time is 7.15am, and people involved include two victims, who have been pronounced dead at the site. Everything at the Ridgecliff Drive should be treated like a piece of evidence until they have been accepted and declared free.
Secondly, I will follow the basic safety rules. As the first person at the Ridgecliff Drive, I should be able to locate any dangerous weapon or situation and alert people around. For instance, the two victims in the scene have bullet wounds that mean that someone has shot them. As the first person on site, I will try to get the gun or any other dangerous devices that could be the murder weapon. I can also check for any remains of bullets on the ground and in the cars in order to see whether the criminals shot the victims in the car or from the outside.
Next, there is the need to provide emergency care services. However, for this particular case, both victims are deceased. Therefore, it means that there is no need to call for any ambulance or the medic to assist the two.
The Ridgecliff Drive is a vast area. Therefore, I will have to identify and establish a boundary for the scene. For this particular case, the edge will protect and secure the scene from interference by people who may come around to help or watch. There are police belts that I can use to set the necessary boundary. I will only allow a selected group of people to enter and leave the border. It is also my responsibility to ensure that inside the border, there is no smoking, eating, drinking, unnecessary movement, and touching anything.
Later, I will need to conduct a brief investigation of the Ridgecliff Drive inside the belt boundary. The goal of the investigation is to gather some general data about the crime before I can take the two shot victims to the hospital. A brief examination will allow me and my team to gather the first-hand information since the site is still raw, and nothing has changed
The last step is to document all the activities and observation of the scene, including results that I would get after a brief investigation. In my documentation, I will ensure that the information includes the condition of the Ridgecliff Drive at the time of arrival, the privacy of the victims and witnesses, and the actions taken by all people that had access to the scene.
Processing steps. As I arrive at the Ridgecliff Drive, I will conduct a processing step. It will allow collecting required information about the two shooting victims, available evidence, and the witness. In this case, James Green is a witness that resides near the Ridgecliff Drive. The processing steps do not interfere with the evidence. During the process, I will first determine the number of my team in order to be sure of the number of people that were first to arrive at the scene. Secondly, I must control the contamination by limiting access into the belted area. Next is the documentation. In order to document properly, I need to analyze the scene with the help of different surveys, searches, and interviews. The study involves going around the scene in order to check whether the victims put up a fight or their killers dragged them to another place before killing the two. Searches include accessing the car and the victims’ pockets to find more details about them. There are chances that shooters left some pieces of evidence in the Nissan. I will then note all information I have obtained in the process by using sketches, photography, and videography. They are relatively permanent ways of storing data, and I can also use them for the future reference, for example, if I need to clarify something about the positioning of the Nissan or the victim at the time of arrival at the Ridgecliff Drive that can assist in the case.
During the crime scene processing, I will have to focus on the collection of evidence at the Ridgecliff Drive. Building a case either depends on or is affected by the availability of proof. Therefore, by collecting as much evidence as I can, I will make it possible to build a case that can easily be solved. The crime scene searches methods such as surveys, interviews and observations can assist officers in gathering as much data about the offense as possible. I will collect, preserve, and submit every evidence to the court in order to help determine the circumstances. For a detailed crime scene collection of the available proof, I will look for the presence of any guns, bullets, paper documents, body injuries, fingerprints, vehicle number, and the witnesses around the scene. It is these evidence that can assist me in locating the murder weapon and possible the killer.
Pieces of evidence from the crime scene. From the crime scene, pieces of evidence include the gun that was used to shoot the victims. I found two dead victims at the Ridgecliff Drive. The caller also claimed that he heard gunshots coming from the same location. Therefore, it is possible that the shooters left the guns in the car in order to prevent the police from tracing them. Also, bullets in the bodies of victims could be removed and used as evidence. Bullets vary in shape, design, and power. The black Nissan, in which the police has found the victims, is also a piece of evidence. Previously, a witness, James Green, who lives nearby, claimed he saw the Nissan at around six AM on Friday in his neighbor’s yard. It is possible that shooters had been with the victim for quite some time. Also, in the Nissan and pockets of the victims, the police can also look for documents, for example, the national identification cards and the driver's licenses that are other pieces of evidence. Inside the car and on the guns, the shooters must have left their fingerprints. The police could find out whether there are any fingerprints on the car and guns. Lastly, there is a witness who claimed he saw the car parked in his neighbor’s yard. James Green could be called upon to testify in the court.
Analysis of the pieces of evidence. Pieces of evidence that are collected at the crime scene can help one to solve a case. For this particular case, pieces of evidence mentioned above can be analyzed and provide more information about the case and the victims involved. Such data can help the police to apprehend the shooters and bring them to justice.
The first evidence is the black Nissan. Usually, every car has a registration name. Therefore, I will have to check for the owner of the Nissan to determine if it is a stolen car or whether it belongs to one of the victims or shooters. From the CCTV, I can then monitor the movement of the car for the past six months and maybe visits those particular places and obtain more information about its owners. It may be possible that the car was within the scene before the day of the crime because the witness, James, saw the Nissan on Friday. Therefore, it would be crucial to know the people who were using the car at that time.
Secondly, guns have serial numbers. Different companies that produce guns can track the past movements of the weapon and determine its users for the past six months or less. Therefore, I can question users to decide who killed the victims at the scene. Also, they might have left their fingerprints on the gun. In the case the gun is not there, I can use the bullets removed from the bodies of the victims in order to determine which type of gun was used to shoot them. Ammunitions vary, and it is easy to determine the weapon that fired people by just looking at them.
Documents from the Nissan and pockets of the victims will give details about their personal lives and their activities for the past few months. The activities will include all the people they have come into contact with; therefore, such information can help the police determine who will want them dead.
I can also run the fingerprints from the scene in the fingerprint database and see whether there are any matches. If they find a match, then the person can be considered a number one suspect and will be questioned if not arrested. Lastly, the witness will be called upon to testify and give a chronological arrangement of events during the time of the murder. He or she will tell what he saw and heard without leaving or adding any new information.
From the information obtained from the evidence, it is hard for me to identify the killers. None of the evidence points to one particular direction. It is not easy to tell whether it was a robbery or just a homicide case. The witness says someone had earlier on parked the Nissan on his neighbor’s yard. Accordingly, it may be correct to consider that the shooters had some links with the neighbor. However, it is difficult to prove because the shooters could park the Nissan by mistake. The case remains a puzzle to me.
From the discussion above, it is evident that forensic science is a discipline that forms the backbone of every police work. All people should be encouraged to study it in order to help reduce the number of homicides in the streets of the main cities in the contemporary country. The case study is a good illustration of the skills and resources that forensic science provide to every student and every officer in the field who strives to make the world free from any crimes.