Tag Archives: evidence

Colorado Springs crime lab helps turn evidence into convictions

Inside the Colorado Springs Police Department’s and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office’s Metro Crime Lab, forensics steal the show.

DNA is king.

“Because you can’t see it, we do a lot of testing to see if it’s there,” lab supervisor Shelley Weber said.

Dan McGuire demonstrates how a firearm is tested at the CSPD Crime Lab. A handgun would be placed inside a port and shots would be fire into a long water tank. McGuire is a Civilian Criminal Investigator with the CSPD. Wednesday, July 5, 2017. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette) 

The best thing about DNA is it lingers.

Law enforcement agencies across the country in recent years have been touting solving decades-old cold cases because of microscopic evidence left on materials long forgotten in storage. Colorado Springs is no different.

Pubic hair and other material gathered by the original detectives following the 1976 rape and murder

Read more at: http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-crime-lab-helps-turn-evidence-into-convictions/article/1606739

Crime-scene investigator blamed for evidence errors had prior problems but returned to work


The Houston crime-scene investigator blamed for errors that could jeopardize dozens of criminal cases was investigated once before because of suspected mistakes, including shoddy work on two officer-involved shootings, according to an internal review released Thursday.

The results, compiled in a May 2016 report, led to additional forensics training and clearance for the investigator to return to work at the Houston Forensic Science Center, the independent crime lab that processes evidence for hundreds of cases each year.

The investigator’s mistakes came to light this week in a crime lab audit sent to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office that outlined issues with key evidence in 65 cases, including 26 homicides, five officer-involved shootings and six child deaths since 2015.

SLED’s flawed evidence tests in S.C. shootings, including Walter Scott, may disrupt prosecutions

An ongoing audit at the state’s crime lab has revealed more than a year and a half of faulty testing of evidence in shootings, leaving attorneys across South Carolina to grapple with fallout that could disrupt prosecutions.

Scientifically flawed examinations of gunshot residue — which can show whether someone fired a gun — have been found in 34 cases from 13 of the 16 judicial circuits, according to documents obtained from the State Law Enforcement Division, defense lawyers and prosecutors. The preliminary findings prompted the recent resignation of the SLED laboratory analyst that the agency said was responsible.

One of the most widely watched state prosecutions is affected: the murder trial of the North Charleston police officer who shot Walter Scott. But the implications in Michael Slager’s case remain uncertain.

Elsewhere, attorneys are scrambling to determine whether convictions were influenced by false testimony from the analyst. They’re filing motions to delay trials and

Read more at: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/sled-s-flawed-evidence-tests-in-s-c-shootings-including/article_addbb05c-1093-11e7-9a44-cbbf7e7465d9.html

SLED’s flawed evidence tests in S.C. shootings, including Walter …

An ongoing audit at the state’s crime lab has revealed more than a year and a half of faulty testing of evidence in shootings, leaving attorneys across South Carolina to grapple with fallout that could disrupt prosecutions.

Scientifically flawed examinations of gunshot residue — which can show whether someone fired a gun — have been found in 34 cases from 13 of the 16 judicial circuits, according to documents obtained from the State Law Enforcement Division, defense lawyers and prosecutors. The preliminary findings prompted the recent resignation of the SLED laboratory analyst that the agency said was responsible.

One of the most widely watched state prosecutions is affected: the murder trial of the North Charleston police officer who shot Walter Scott. But the implications in Michael Slager’s case remain uncertain.

Elsewhere, attorneys are scrambling to determine whether convictions were influenced by false testimony from the analyst. They’re filing motions to delay trials and

Read more at: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/sled-s-flawed-evidence-tests-in-s-c-shootings-including/article_addbb05c-1093-11e7-9a44-cbbf7e7465d9.html

Evidence sent to forensics, EquuSearch looks for missing man in cold case

HILLSBORO, Texas (KWTX) Friends and family of a missing Hillsboro man joined EquuSearch Saturday in the search for new leads.

(Photo by: Erin Zeller)

John Terry was last seen October 17, 2014 leaving a Wal-Mart in Hillsboro. The next day, his Jeep Compass was found abandoned on Hill County Road 2346.

After more than two years of Terry’s sudden disappearance, the case had gone cold. Now that a new sheriff has taken office, new investigators are beginning new searches.

Hill County Sheriff Rodney Watson said, “Our goal is to leave no stone left unturned.”

Texas EquuSearch is a volunteer organization from Houston that assists in missing persons’ searches. They probed a 15-acre area around the Terry property which consists mostly of wooded land.

Crime Scene Investigator April Stoll said EquuSearch used drones to do an overhead search of the land to find areas with different

Read more at: http://www.kwtx.com/content/news/Evidence-sent-to-forensics-EquuSearch-looks-for-missing-man-in-cold-case-414804573.html

Despite planted evidence, Nebraska judge rejects appeal by man convicted of killing 4-year-old son – Omaha World

LINCOLN — A judge on Wednesday rejected an appeal of convicted murderer Ivan Henk, who asked for a new trial due to evidence tampering by discredited crime scene investigator David Kofoed.

District Judge James Gleason, presiding in Cass County, issued the ruling after holding an evidentiary hearing in July.

Gleason ruled that the evidence was “overwhelming” that Henk had killed his 4-year-old son, Brendan Gonzalez, in 2003, even after blood evidence planted by Kofoed, the former head of the Douglas County crime lab, was disregarded.

Kofoed was convicted of felony evidence tampering in connection with a double-homicide investigation in 2006 in Murdock, Nebraska, that implicated two innocent men.

In the Henk case, Gonzalez’s body was never found. But Henk, after declaring in a packed courtroom that he had killed the boy, led investigators to a dumpster in Bellevue where he claimed to have dumped the body.

Read more at: http://www.omaha.com/news/crime/despite-planted-evidence-nebraska-judge-rejects-appeal-by-man-convicted/article_0c8b744f-453a-5ed0-8e2e-749afddae60c.html

Why DNA Evidence Can Be Unreliable

The analysis of crime-scene DNA has revolutionized forensic science and reversed hundreds of wrongful convictions. With only a smudge of cells left on a weapon or a victim, investigators can combine DNA with other evidence — like eyewitness accounts — to narrow the suspect pool and nail the right perpetrator.

But popular TV shows like the long-running “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (and its spin-offs like “CSI: Miami”) can greatly exaggerate the effectiveness of forensic science, warping the public perception of what DNA evidence can and cannot tell us about who really committed a crime. In these shows, the science is infallible, the investigators are ingenious, and the criminal is always locked up in less than an hour.

The “CSI effect” is strong enough that many jurors in criminal trials — and even some judges — have to be convinced that DNA found at a crime scene does not automatically mean that the

Read more at: http://now.howstuffworks.com/2017/02/08/why-dna-evidence-can-be-unreliable

A look at the Todd Smith trial evidence as jury prepares to deliberate Wednesday

ROCKFORD — Defense attorneys who attempted to raise the possibility of alternative suspects and alternative explanations for evidence against Todd Smith rested today at his first-degree murder trial.

Closing arguments are expected to take place Wednesday morning. In a case that stretched over parts of three weeks, it is not known how long the jury of 10 men and two women will deliberate.

Smith pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and related charges in the October 2012 death of his wife, Katrina Smith, 30.

Here is a look at evidence the jury could consider.

Murder weapon: The bat prosecutors believe was used Oct. 22, 2012, to beat Katrina Smith to death was found with her blood on it in Todd Smith’s garage. A family friend testified that Todd Smith asked him in November 2012 to retrieve the bat. When told it was

Read more at: http://www.rrstar.com/news/20170124/look-at-todd-smith-trial-evidence-as-jury-prepares-to-deliberate-wednesday