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Chapter 7 Death Investigations.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 7 Death Investigations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 7 Death Investigations

2 Four Types of Death Natural Accidental Noncriminal Suicide
Homicide Noncriminal or Criminal

3 Classification of Homicide
Criminal (felonious) Murder (first, second, and third degree) Manslaughter (voluntary and involuntary) Noncriminal (non-felonious) Excusable Homicide Justifiable Homicide

4 Degrees of Murder First-degree murder – requires premeditation and the intent to cause death. Second-degree murder – includes the intent to cause death but not premeditation. Third-degree murder – results from an act that is imminently dangerous to others and shows a disregard for human life.

5 Manslaughter The unlawful killing of another person with no prior malice
Voluntary manslaughter – intentionally causing the death of another person in the heat of passion, caused by words or acts that provide adequate provocation. Involuntary manslaughter – accidental homicide that results from extreme negligence.

6 Noncriminal Homicide Excusable homicide – the unintentional, truly accidental killing of another person. Justifiable homicide – killing another person under authorization of the law.

7 Degrees of Homicide

8 Various Elements of Murder Defined
Premeditation – considering, planning, or preparing for an act, no matter how briefly, before committing it Malicious intent – implies ill will, wickedness or cruelty Heat of Passion – results from extremely volatile arguments between two people

9 Investigating Suicide
Check for weapons on or near the body Attempt to find a note or letter Look for videos or cassettes describing the actions taken Examine any pads of paper near the body Look for manuals on how to commit suicide Check on prior arrangements with an undertaker or other evidence of putting one’s affairs in order

10 Steps when Confronting a Suicidal Person
Contain the area Make a clear demand for compliance if time and circumstance allow Ask the person what he or she wants Remain a good listener while avoiding making promises or committing to anything Slow down the situation where possible

11 Primary Goals of the Homicide Investigation
Establish whether a human death was caused by the criminal act or omission of another Determine who caused the death

12 Focus of the Investigation
Assess the victim Document everything you can about the scene Identify the victim Establish the time of death Establish the cause of and the method used to produce death Develop a suspect

13 Identification of the Victim
Family, relatives, or acquaintances Personal effects Fingerprints DNA analysis Dental and skeletal studies Clothing and laundry marks Missing-persons files

14 Estimating the Time of Death
Body temperature Rigor mortis – stiffening of parts of the body after death Postmortem lividity – discoloration of the body Appearance of eyes Stomach contents Stage of decomposition Evidence suggesting a change in the victim’s normal routine

15 Rigor Mortis Appears in head: 5 to 6 hours
Appears in upper body: 12 hours Appears in entire body: 18 hours Disappears in same order: 36 hours

16 Most Common Case of Unnatural Death
Gunshot wounds Stabbing and cutting wounds Blows form blunt instruments Asphyxia induces by choking Drowning Hanging Smothering Strangulation Gases or poisons Poisoning and drug overdose Burning Explosions Electric shock Lightening

17 Suicide Indicators Gun held against skin Wound in mouth or temple
Not shot through clothing, unless shot in chest Weapon present Hesitation wounds Wounds under clothing Weapon present Usually wounds at throat, wrists, or ankles Seldom disfigurement Body not moved

18 Murder Indicators Gun fired from more than a few inches away
Angle or location that rules out self-infliction Shot through clothing No weapon Defense wounds Wounds through clothing No weapon present Usually injuries to vital organs Disfigurement Body moved

19 Types of Murder Mass Murder – multiple victims are killed in a single incident Serial Murder – the killing of three or more separate victims with a “cooling off” period between the killings Lust Murder – a sex-related homicide involving a sadistic, deviant assault


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