Order of Business Roll, waitlist Who am I? Syllabus Who are you? Intro to Forensic Science Cause & Manner of Death Fields of Forensic Study
What is Forensic Science? Forensic comes from the Latin word forensis: public; to the forum or public discussion; argumentative, rhetorical, belonging to debate or discussion. Modern definition of forensic as: belonging to, used in or suitable to courts of judicature, or to public discussion or debate. Forensic science is science used in public, in a court or in the justice system. Any science, used for the purposes of the law, is a forensic science. From the AAFS: American Academy of Forensic Scientists
A death investigation must: Identify the deceased Examine the deceased Evaluate the death scene Determine cause, manner, mechanism of death.
Cause of Death Injury, disease or combination of the two, responsible for initiating the sequence of disturbances, brief or prolonged, that proved to be fatal. Gunshot wound to the head Stab wound to the chest Myocardial infarct (heart attack) Cancer
Manner of Death Circumstance in which the cause of death arose. Natural Accident Homicide Suicide Undetermined
Manner of Death: Natural Termination of life due to a disease process Cancer High blood pressure Allergic reaction
Manner of Death: Accidental Termination of life by an act that one would/could reasonably expect to survive. Motor Vehicular Accident (MVA) Gunshot wound Fall
Manner of Death: Homicide Termination of life by an intentional action or intentional omission of another individual Gunshot wound Stab Poison
Manner of Death: Suicide Intentional termination of one's own life. Gunshot wound Stab Poison
Manner of Death: Undetermined A death in which the cause and manner cannot be determined. SIDS, a special case: No Cause Manner - Natural
Mechanism of Death A physiological or biochemical abnormality that caused the death. Excessive blood loss Cerebral edema Coronary artery disease
Story of Cause and Manner A 25 year old white male jumped to his death from the roof of a 10 story apartment building. Cause: massive blunt trauma Manner: suicide
NO! The young man did not realize that painters working on the building had left a safety net in place at the 4 th floor. The fall alone would not have been fatal. Examination of the body revealed no massive trauma from a fall, but rather a shotgun wound to the head. He was shot by a tenant on the 6 th floor as he fell past the window. Cause: GSW to head Manner: homicide
NO! The 6th floor tenant was having an argument with his wife. During such arguments he would habitually point an empty shotgun at her and click the trigger. Their son had been angry at his mother for not giving him money to purchase a motorcycle, so knowing his father's habit, he loaded the shotgun in anticipation of the next argument.
Summary The 26 year old white male died when the shotgun which HE had loaded weeks earlier was accidentally fired by HIS father, missing HIS mother and striking HIM in the head as he passed by the open 6 th floor window. So, what is the Cause and Manner of Death?
Summary cont… Cause: GSW to head Manner: accident
The Case of the Dead Guy at the ol' Tavern
Ol’ Tavern Death 61 year old male brought into the emergency room unresponsive and clinically "shocked out." Blood pressure unobtainable, heart sounds irregular and distant, respirations grasping, pupils dilated and fixed Pronounced dead minutes after arrival
Ol' Tavern Death This man was found lying on his back in a parking lot behind a tavern. Gambling, drug traffic, and prostitution were common place there. Witness observed a car suddenly speed out of the parking lot, run a red light, and leave the scene at a high rate of speed. Homicide detectives noted traumatic injuries and considered the man to have been beaten, robbed, and dumped from an auto.
Autopsy Report Fractured right ribs Fractured left rib 12 Right hemothorax (100 ml) Contusions and lacerations of the right lung Extensive laceration of liver Hemoperitoneum Lacerations on right kidney Natural disease Mild arteriosclerotic heart disease Moderate pulmonary emphysema Moderate to advanced fatty metamorphosis of livnr
Cause of Death: Trauma to the Chest and Abdomen
Questions Was this man beaten to death? What kind of information would you need to determine Manner of Death?
Injury Pattern NOT suggestive of a beating Severe blunt crushing trauma with a major force vector directed obliquely with anterior to posterior force (fracturing ribs and lacerating internal organs) No injuries to hands or knuckles (no fight) Abrasions on skin was from pressure not sliding abrasion (not thrown from auto) No bumper impact (not struck by auto)
Toxicology Toxicology Report Ethanol (drink) Blood411 mg/dl* milligrams per deciliter (1/10 th liter); 100 mg/dl is 0.1% Methanol (wood) 45.5 mg/dl* Isopropanol (rubbing) 3.5 mg/dl* CA DUI = 0.08%
Lifestyle/Additional Findings Tavern owner stated victim was at his tavern that night Characterized the deceased as one of the nightly drunks Victim was an alcoholic who would drink anything - beer, wine, whiskey, rubbing alcohol. He entered the bar late in the evening inebriated, purchased a few drinks, bummed several additional drinks, and staggered out about 1230 am.
Owner of the auto stated: He and a friend had been drinking heavily and left the tavern at about 1:00 am. Walked to their auto from the front, backed up a short distance and left the lot. During the backing-up process, he felt a bump and thought he had backed into another auto. Left the parking lot hurriedly. His friend confirmed this.
Manner of Death Accident
Why Accident? Driver admitted drinking heavily and driving under the influence, but reckless homicide charges could not be filed since: No blood alcohol determinations were obtained (driver located days later) Could be argued that the victim's extreme intoxicated state was probably a greater factor in placing him in a precarious position to be killed than the driver's alleged intoxicated condition.
Who is needed at a crime scene? Many people Come from many different fields Each has their own area of expertise
1 st Assignment 10 points Due tomorrow, noon Bonus points if finished by 9 AM! Submit by using Document Drop Function of Blackboard Print out page when submission is complete to help iron out any problems later on me with problems I’ll also be in my office from 10-noon on Thursday
Forensic Careers Assignment Each Student will be assigned a different type of forensic career Research this career (the textbook) will be very handy Create a simple 2-3 slide powerpoint presentation on this career: Quick description of the career Education needed for the career Example of evidence from a crime that particular scientist would process
Forensic Careers Assignment continued I will merge all the slides Each Student will present their slides to the rest of the class This presentation is also worth 10 points!