Seminar Title

Crime Scene/Death Scene Investigations

Dates of Events

05/04/2021 through 05/06/2021

Last Updated: 04/29/2021
Instructor(s): Thomas Martin
Location: Lexington Police Department - 111 Maiden Lane, Lexington, SC 29072
Hotel: Comfort Suites - 325 West Main Street, Lexington, SC 29072
Course Registration Fee: $295
Instructor Bio
Tom Martin, Senior Investigator, New York State Police, (retired)
Tom Martin began his law enforcement career in 1988 as a uniformed New York State Trooper, and began his forensic career in 1990 as a crime scene field technician. For the majority of his career, Tom was assigned to the NYSP Forensic Identification Unit in Poughkeepsie, and supervised that unit for 14 years before retiring from that position in October 2010. Tom regularly provides forensic testimony in various state and federal courts.
Tom has a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice. He is a nationally recognized speaker who has instructed at numerous forensic training seminars across the United States, including the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Conferences, The National Institute of Justice Annual Conferences and Technology Fairs, and the Smithsonian Institute. He is a faculty member of the National College of District Attorneys.

Course Objectives
Course Overview:
Crime Scene Investigation and Reconstruction involves much more than the scientific testing of evidence. Crime scene investigation involves making certain observations about the scene, properly documenting those observations, and collecting physical evidence from the scene. The physical evidence documented and collected from the scene, will later be used to validate or invalidate testimony or other investigative leads. Physical evidence is powerful; as it is difficult to argue with something that you can physically see.

This course is designed to address the responsibilities of all personnel who will be investigating crime scenes, including first responding patrol officers, case detectives, supervisors, coroners/death scene investigators, and laboratory analysts. Emphasis will be placed on the documentation and collection of physical evidence that will be used to reconstruct events.

Role of Physical Evidence
Evidence from the crime scene may give the investigator information as to who was involved at a scene, what may have occurred at a scene, when an action took place, where it occurred and how it occurred. Scene evidence may provide supportive or non-supportive evidence of a victim’s, suspect’s or witness’s statement. Information gained through crime scene analysis may allow the investigator to evaluate statements made by victims, suspects and witnesses as to what occurred during a particular incident. A statement from the subject may or may not fit with the overall scene evidence.

Evidence vs Information
Crime scene investigators examine crime scenes in search of physical evidence, which has taken on a context of being affiliated with something that is scientific in nature, such as fingerprints, bullets, bloodstains, or other biological material. Physical evidence however, extends beyond that which is scientific, and the crime scene investigator should be aware of the importance of non-scientific evidence. Various types of physical evidence will be discussed.

Recognizing and properly collecting scientific evidence is obviously important in any crime scene investigation. Information however, can come in many forms and is not necessarily limited to scientific evidence. The available avenues in which to uncover physical evidence, as well as information important to the investigation will be discussed in detail.

Scene Diagrams and Crime Scene Photography:
The proper documentation of crime scenes/death scenes is not limited to crime scene personnel. Often the first law enforcement personnel on scene are patrol officers, supervisors or detectives. All ranks of law enforcement should be cognizant of potential evidence from the moment they arrive on scene. Physical evidence should be documented and photographed as soon as possible.

Scene diagrams are an important part of crime scene documentation. Scene diagrams not only assist in demonstrating proportional distances between areas of importance, but also assist jurors in following along with the event reconstruction. Methods for properly and efficiently sketching and measuring the crime scene/death will discussed.

The importance of crime scene photos to document and reconstruct the scene can not be overstated. Presentations will demonstrate the proper photo documentation of crime scenes/death scenes. Emphasis is placed on what to photograph at a given scene and will include general scenes as well as scenes involving specific types of death scenes, such as bloodstain scenes and shooting incident scenes.

Recognition and Documentation of Blood Evidence

Blood evidence can speak volumes regarding the events surrounding an assault or death. Blood evidence should be properly documented and collected to facilitate DNA analysis as well as the interpretation of stains. Proper photography and collection methods will be addressed.

Shooting Scene Reconstruction
There are many aspects to shooting scene reconstruction, however most of the mechanics involved in this type of reconstruction are very straight forward. Attendees will be made aware aware of the dynamics of a bullet being fired, and the flight path of that bullet after it has been discharged from the weapon. Scale diagrams greatly assist in demonstrating bullet trajectories, and will be appropriately applied. Instruction will be given on the identification and collection of evidence that is crucial to reconstructing shooting scenes.

Gunshot wounds may take on different appearances depending on many variables, such as: the distance to the victim from which the bullet was fired, whether the bullet struck an intermediate surface prior to striking the victim, the caliber of the weapon used, etc… Detailed photo and illustrative examples will be given in order to properly explain the different types and appearances of gunshot wounds.

Officer Involved Shooting Investigations
There are very few incidents that cause greater impact on a police department than shooting incidents involving officers in the performance of duty. In addition to shooting reconstruction evidence, investigators, supervisors, and patrol officers should also be aware of evidence that may go toward precipitating events, or aggravating factors. Locations, distances, and time, all become vitally important and the significance of each will discussed at length. Specific situations, including shooting at moving vehicles will also be discussed.

Court Testimony:
Once a crime scene has been investigated, the evidence and information collected should be properly recorded in a report and then demonstrated to a jury during trial. Report writing skills and court testimony will be presented.

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