You are watching: Why are fingerprints left on plastic bags less reliable as evidence
(Program not obtainable for streaming.) There is a frighten gap between the glamorous television people of "CSI" and the gritty fact of the forensic crime lab. With couple of established scientific standards, no central oversight, and poor regulation of examiners, forensics in the U.S. Is in a state the crisis. In "Forensics ~ above Trial," NOVA investigates how modern forensics, consisting of the analysis of fingerprints, bite marks, ballistics, hair, and tool marks, deserve to send innocent men and women to prison—and sometimes even to death row. Shockingly, of much more than 250 inmates exonerated by DNA testing over the critical decade, an ext than 50 percent that the wrongful convictions stemmed from invalid or improperly handled forensic science. V the aid of lively recreations of really trials and cases, NOVA will certainly investigate today's shaky state the crime science as well as cutting-edge services that could help investigators placed the real criminals behind bars.
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Forensics top top Trial
lifwynnfoundation.org Airdate: October 17, 2012
NARRATOR: there is a dilemm in forensic science. The many trusted crime-fighting tools, responsible for hundreds of thousands of convictions, might not be as bulletproof as as soon as thought.
JESSICA GABEL (Georgia State University): There's a laundry list of forensic approaches that are now scrutinized.
NARRATOR: Fingerprints might not be as unique as us thought.
ROBERT SHALER (Pennsylvania State University): Nobody's ever questioned fingerprints before.
NARRATOR: and decades-old techniques, favor blood spatter analysis and bite-mark comparisons, space being exposed as much more art than science. Killers space walking free, and innocent civilization are going come prison.
ROY BROWN: i don't belong here. I'm innocent.
NARRATOR: Can brand-new technologies help put the "science" ago in forensic science?
now researchers and crime scene investigators endeavor into the not so distant future where avatar detectives enter murder scene to angry the moment of death.
SOT: We can see the human body on the floor.
NARRATOR: Forensic engineers make identifications native fingerprints the glass, and coroners conduct digital autopsies, peeling ago layers the 3D victims, exposing once undetectable evidence of murder.
Now, NOVA puts forensics under the microscope to view how good science deserve to go bad and how come make acquiring away with murder a thing of the past. Appropriate now, ~ above NOVA, Forensics on Trial.
in march 11, 2004, 7:30 a.m. Rush hour: Ten bombs rip through Madrid's crowded commuter trains. One hundreds ninety one people are killed, an ext than 1,800 wounded. It is the worst terror attack in Spain's history, and bears the hallmarks of Al Qaeda. The global manhunt that follows triggers a crisis in forensic scientific research that will certainly shake it to its very foundation.
Forensic approaches trusted through police because that over a century are displayed to be dangerously flawed. Killers room walking cost-free while innocent civilization are sent to prison and also even death row.
The examination to find the Madrid bomber sends out shockwaves v the forensic community. And also it all starts here, in a commuter parking lot, 10 stations away from whereby the bomb walk off. Spanish police uncover a van; inside, is a blue plastic bag include bomb-making materials. It can be a huge break. It's possible fingerprints have been left behind on the bag itself.
The idea the every person's fingerprint is distinct has been a foundation of forensic examination for end a hundreds years, but this case poses a potential challenge. The lines and also ridges that kind the distinctive patterns of fingerprints left on evidence are created from sweat and oil. A publish left top top plastic, like the bag recovered in Madrid, can be quickly wiped turn off or distorted.
mark Acree is a previous F.B.I. Fingerprint analyst.
mark ACREE (Independent Forensic Scientist): Plastic bags, by their really nature, are non-porous. The fingerprint is sit on the surface, and it's an extremely vulnerable to gift smeared or smudged.
NARRATOR: but there are established ways to recuperate prints from non-porous surfaces. Evidence, varying from gun handle to keys to plastic bags, are placed in an airtight chamber. Inside, a chemical referred to as cyanoacrylate, an ext commonly known as superglue, is cook up. Its vapors cloak the sweat and oil of the print with a sticky white residue, making the print visible.
however it does have actually limitations. Superglue chemically changes the currently of sweat and oil and can even obscure details the a print's unique pattern.
utilizing this method, Spanish investigators recoup a partial print on the bag. They rush digital photos come forensic labs across the globe, consisting of the F.B.I.
Examiners an initial need to recognize if there are sufficient lines and details in the ridges because that a clear comparison. Ridge details are damaged down right into distinctive shapes, choose "dots," the look choose islands; "endings," where ridgelines terminate; and also intersecting lines referred to as "bifurcations." native the Madrid bomber's print, the F.B.I. Is able come zero in top top seven unique traits for comparison.
Now, lock look for a match.
note ACREE: They take the image, they encode it for fingerprint ridge detail, and also then it's launched against this database.
NARRATOR: From over 47 million criminals, federal employees, armed forces personnel and also people of national security interest, the F.B.I.'s supercomputer identifies 20 prints that contain some of the very same distinctive traits together the Madrid print.
inspectors require the 12 distinct traits correspond, to explain a match. The F.B.I. Identifies one of the 20 prints that in reality shares 15 properties in usual with the one discovered in Madrid.
It comes from the left index finger that this man: a 37-year-old, former U.S. Military lieutenant and also a transform to Islam, Brandon Mayfield. Together a lawyer, currently living in Portland, Oregon, Mayfield freshly represented a judge terrorist.
The F.B.I. Sneaks right into his residence while he's at work, taps his phones, collects samples for D.N.A. And also watches his wife and also children.
On might 6, 2004, simply two month after the bombing, the F.B.I. Move in.
BRANDON MAYFIELD: They thrust their means into my office. They take it my hands and they handcuffed castle behind my back. And, the course, ns didn't recognize what they were searching and arresting me for. They never told me.
NARRATOR: This fingerprint complement sparks the arrest that American Brandon Mayfield together the bomber responsible for the killing of virtually 200 people, Spain's 9/11.
Archival News SOT: …a fingerprint top counter-terrorism professionals tell Newsweek magazine in a quote, "absolutely incontrovertible enhance to Portland lawyer Brandon Mayfield."
NARRATOR: Mayfield insists ~ above his innocence. He hires his own fingerprint analyst to testify in ~ a pre-trial hearing. The expert's testimony is not what Mayfield expects.
BRANDON MAYFIELD: the said, "It's a match." That's when I knew the train come a death penalty had actually just pulled out of the station.
NARRATOR: federal agents take Mayfield back to jail come await trial. Hrs later, fifty percent a world away, Spanish investigators make a stunning discovery that alters Brandon Mayfield's life.
BRANDON MAYFIELD: ns was told the the Spanish police had uncovered that this fingerprint belonged come an Algerian, the it wasn't me.
NARRATOR: Spanish police identify that the fingerprint belongs to this man: Ouhnane Daoud, a recognized terrorist.
Archival News SOT: Mayfield's release comes after news indigenous Spain. A fingerprint found on a bag linked to the Madrid train strikes belongs come an Algerian national, not Brandon Mayfield.
NARRATOR: Mayfield is exit from jail after ~ 15 days. Now, the concern on everyone's psychic is, "How might this misidentification happen?" It's a question that will eventually make its method to the United states Congress.
The similarity between Mayfield's print and also the bomber's is undeniable. It challenges a century-old obelisk of forensic science: the no two prints are identical.
mark ACREE: We always assumed that fingerprints are unique. But what the Mayfield instance demonstrates is that parts of a fingerprint have the right to be therefore similar, it's feasible for two different world to be established to one implicitly print.
NARRATOR: The U.S. Conference calls ~ above the nationwide Academy of Sciences, the nation's many prestigious research institution, to command an investigation into all forensic technologies and techniques. In July, 2009, they release their report. In short, they discover there's not sufficient science in forensic science.
JESSICA GABEL: The large news was that forensic science was fractured.
NARRATOR: Jessica Gabel is a professor of law and frequently lectures on the N.A.S. Findings.
JESSICA GABEL: that lacks the rigors, the standards, the quality controls and procedures that us find, usually, in science. And also in the light, forensic science, actually, can sometimes add to wrongful convictions.
NARRATOR: The Madrid bomber instance is a perfect storm of forensic flaws. Just a partial print is recovered ~ above a plastic surface, and also that is, eventually, distorted. There is likewise a surprising similarity between parts the Mayfield's print and also the real bomber's. Together these can have led to the conviction that an innocent man. Can contemporary science protect against this from happening again?
The prize is deceptively simple. Inspectors need a way to expose more of fingerprints distinctive details.
Akhlesh Lakhtakia and his team at pen State University's products Research Institute space eyeing a brand-new technology that assures to do simply that.
His project got wings indigenous a fly. A fly's capability to elude catch fascinated Lakhtakia since he was a boy.
AKHLESH LAKHTAKIA (Pennsylvania State University): before you can strategy the fly, the fly has seen you, somehow or the other, and has flown off.
NARRATOR: Lakhtakia wonders if the framework of the fly's eye gives it a unique capacity to see predators draw close from every angles. To uncover out, he turns to one ultrathin material referred to as C.T.F., columnar slim film, to make an impression of the minutest border of the fly's cornea.
every square inch of the film contains billions that glass bristles. It forms a layer 200 time thinner than a paper of paper.
once it coats the fly's eye, the bristles conform come every peak and also valley. The result is the microscopic nooks and crannies display up in stunning three-dimensional detail.
The technology isn't helping Lakhtakia record flies, however it does provide him one idea for how to capture criminals. Might this modern technology be provided to gain the exact same incredible detail from a fingerprint?
AKHLESH LAKHTAKIA: This film would certainly reproduce the topographic features, the geography, if friend will, of ridges in the fingerprint.
NARRATOR: If C.T.F. Can record a fingerprint, it can revolutionize forensics. Yet will that work?
The team areas a fingerprint on a glass slide. The slide is loaded into a chamber called a heat evaporator. Within the evaporator, the fingerprint is sprayed with a microscopically thin layer that vaporized glass. Unequal superglue, the glass does not chemically transform the oil that kind the print.
After about 30 minutes, the glass bristles harden into an ultrathin film the preserves minute details. Even with the naked eye, the C.T.F. Publish reveals ridges that would certainly be absent in a superglue print.
AKHLESH LAKHTAKIA: through the brand-new technique, the ridges space far much more prominent. You have the right to see creases. Like, this is a crease, this is a crease, this is one more crease.
NARRATOR: Under a microscope, there are exponentially an ext ridgelines.
through this technique, examiners in the Madrid bombing case might have had more points for comparison and also a better chance to enhance the fingerprint come the real bomber. The C.T.F. Fingerprint technique is right now being reviewed for use in the field.
but fingerprint evaluation is no alone on the list of forensic disciplines right now under the microscope.
JESSICA GABEL: There's a laundry list of forensic techniques that are currently scrutinized based on the N.A.S. Report: bite-mark evidence, footwear impressions. There's no genuine science behind it as lot as it's simply trying to enhance patterns.
NARRATOR: and also if the matching process goes bad, people's resides are adjusted forever.
may 23, 1991, 2:10 a.m.: In a rural community outside Syracuse, brand-new York, police and firefighters rush to a blaze at a farmhouse.
COE ECKER (Retired Sheriff's Investigator): There was flames shooting up the prior of the house; beautiful big two-story farmhouse.
NARRATOR: The occupant of the home, 49-year-old Sabina Kulakowski, is missing.
COE ECKER: i took one deputy, and we went increase this laneway, worked our way up to about here. She to be nude; just around totally extended with blood. She had been stabbed numerous times.
NARRATOR: A distinctive bruise captures his eye.
COE ECKER: us noticed a bite note on the side of the body.
NARRATOR: however it it s okay worse. At the autopsy, Ecker sees bite marks on her breast, belly and back.
COE ECKER: We uncovered that there to be at the very least four more sets of bite marks.
NARRATOR: these marks could be the vital to identify Sabina's killer.
Dr. Lowell Levine is a leading experienced on forensic dentistry.
LOWELL LEVINE (New York State Police Medicolegal examination Unit): The teeth cause a sample injury in skin. The person will actually close your teeth under on some tissue, so a bite mark is really a bruise. And it's basically a bruise v patterning.
NARRATOR: Bite-mark forensics is based upon the idea the everyone's teeth develop distinctive patterns. To find a match, forensic dentists, or odontologists, make a wax impression of a suspect's teeth. Climate they shot to complement the pattern made by the size, shape and spacing the the this on the wax impression come a picture of the bruise ~ above the skin of the victim.
LOWELL LEVINE: What we're basically doing is looking for similar characteristics in similar locations.
NARRATOR: In the murder of Sabina Kulakowski, the doesn't take long to uncover a doubt to compare for a match.
Investigators find out that 6 days before the murder, a hard-drinking 31-year-old is released from prison. His surname is Roy Brown. After a Cayuga County, new York social service company takes far his daughter, he intimidates a massacre.
COE ECKER: What was stated was, "What do you want? do you want me come come under there and open up on friend all v an Uzi?"
NARRATOR: Sabina Kulakowski worked at the Cayuga ar social organization agency.
Police interviews v Brown's ex-wives expose a bombshell: when he it s okay mad, that bites. Brown denies authorized in the killing.
ROY BROWN: I provided them every kinds of samples, that tests, to display it's no me. I gave them every kinds the hair samples, saliva samples, blood samples, you surname it.
NARRATOR: He enables authorities to take it a wax impression that his teeth. It reveals a distinctive pattern. Brown is missing two teeth.
This leaves large gaps in the wax impression. The bruise on the victim should have the exact same gaps that correspond to Brown's lacking teeth yet it only has a void on the best side. It appears Brown's this don't enhance the evidence.
The forensic odontologist examines the bite pattern evidence. He thinks it shows that Brown bit down and, choose a pit bull, twisted his mouth right into the victim's skin, obscuring any gap on the left side. Based on his translate of the bite marks, that declares a match.
Police fee Brown through first-degree murder.
ROY BROWN: ns said, "You're making a genuine serious mistake. The ain't mine teeth, man." and also they says, "Well, we gained confidence in our dentist." and that was it.
NARRATOR: A jury finds Roy Brown guilty. He's sentenced to 25-years-to-life.
Brown safety the following 15 years in jail trying come prove his innocence.
ROY BROWN: ns don't belong here, girlfriend know. I'm innocent. I turned mine cell right into an office, came to be my very own attorney.
NARRATOR: Brown pours over every scrap of evidence. Eleven years into his sentence, he find a clue. It's a statement bring away from among the firefighters on the night that the murder. The firefighter's surname is Barry Bench. He's the previous brother-in-law of the victim. They to be fighting over she possession that his family's farmhouse.
Transcripts disclose that police doubted Bench ~ above his whereabouts the night the the murder. Brown find something suspiciously in Bench's statement.
ROY BROWN: (Reading the statement) that says, "I left in my 1983 Datsun Century car and also went come Jake's Tavern. I stayed there till 12:30 or 1:00."
NARRATOR: Bench claims he then drove home, yet to Brown, something doesn't include up.
ROY BROWN: He has to drive ideal by his household farm, the home that's in flames. You're going to tell me in the middle of the dark night, a giant ball the fire that huge is simply burning away and he doesn't notice it or prevent or anything? and he's a fireman?
NARRATOR: Brown sends Bench a letter on December 24, 2003. That accuses Bench of murder.
ROY BROWN: (Reading his letter) Well, Christmas is tomorrow, and also my gift to you is, mark my words, they will eventually discover out of your guilt. Have a merry Christmas, yet don't counting on a happy new year.
and also I sent it the end to him. And also I got a hell the a response.
NARRATOR: 5 days later, Barry Bench lays down in prior of one Amtrak train.
Police become suspicious and also decide to compare Bench's D.N.A. To saliva recovered on the victim's t-shirt discovered at the crime scene. They enhance with nearly 100 percent certainty.
Still, the referee believes that the bite mark evidence is solid enough to keep Brown in prison. There is just one means for Brown come prove his innocence: exhume Bench's body and also compare his this to the marks left top top the victim.
The case is assigned to Dr. Lowell Levine at the new York state forensic scientific research unit, in Albany.
He encounters two an essential questions: "Did Roy Brown execute it?" And, "If not, that did?" First, Levine reviews the forensic proof that convicted Roy Brown. He compares the bite clues on Sabina Kulakowski come the wax impression the Brown's teeth.
LOWELL LEVINE: I deserve to positively tell girlfriend Roy Brown didn't reason the bite note on the skin. Over there is no way that Roy Brown can have resulted in this area in here.
NARRATOR: if the right side the the bite mark has a space, the left next does not. The bite mark proof used to convict Roy Brown was based on an implausible interpretation.
LOWELL LEVINE: it is impossible to acquire a marking if friend don't have a tooth.
JESSICA GABEL: Forensic bite-mark evidence is more art 보다 it is science. Over there is a many varied translate that goes into that.
NARRATOR: One thing is clear. Roy Brown did not murder Sabina Kulakowski. ~ 15 year in prison, 47-year-old Roy Brown is ultimately released. He sues the state of new York and also wins $2.6 million.
What about Barry Bench? Levine examines the this from Barry Bench's disinterred jaw, however there's a problem. Trauma from the train injury and body decomposition from being buried limits Levine's capability to do a bite-mark analysis.
LOWELL LEVINE: through looking in ~ what we were maybe to find on Mr. Bench, I have the right to only tell you it's possible he might have led to the bite point out on Ms. Kulakowski.
NARRATOR: Barry Bench's bad deteriorated remains avoid Levine from making a much more definitive match. The Sabina Kulakowski murder instance is still open up to this day.
therefore what if there to be a way to perfectly keep evidence, including bodies, and be able to access and research them in a pristine state, no matter exactly how much time passes?
In Sweden, that's currently happening. The corpse inside this human body bag may be the victim the a crime. It's what police suspect but have no method to prove.
That's the project of Dr. Anders Persson and also his team. Castle are about to perform an autopsy. But this is no simple cut-open-the-cadaver job. In Sweden's facility for Medical photo Science and also Visualization, this guy is about to be sliced up in a digital autopsy.
It starts inside this C.T. Scanner. It's like an x-ray on steroids. Continual x-rays scan just the overview of bones, however C.T. Scans use a rotating x-ray.
it takes 12 pictures per second, creating cross-sectional slices that bone, thinner 보다 a dime. These photo slices room stacked side by side, forming a stunning picture of a body's skeleton.
Dr. Persson's team also scans the body through an M.R.I. To find for proof of damage to organs. M.R.I.s create a map of the body's tissue, slice by slice, using powerful magnets and also pulsing radio waves.
The victim is never removed native the human body bag. With the click the a mouse, the covering have the right to be make invisible to acquire a online peek inside.
ANDERS YNNERMAN (Linköping University): What we're seeing below is the cadaver inside of the human body bag. Right here is the zipper. The whole body bag, i beg your pardon is made of plastic, we can't view now, because it's made fully transparent.
NARRATOR: The team merges the C.T. And M.R.I. Data to create a 3D design of the suspected killing victim. Now, the online autopsy begins.
ANDERS PERSSON (Linköping University): I can use a digital knife and go into the body. We get rid of the soft tissue, and also I watch for small fractures in the skeletons and also for small bleedings.
NARRATOR: several of these fractures and also other proof are invisible to the naked eye. The most an essential are gases.
ANDERS PERSSON: Gas is a substantial problem when you do a typical autopsy. We can't check out it.
NARRATOR: Gases to escape the body together it's cut open in a traditional autopsy. However in the virtual corpse, Dr. Persson have the right to punch through the skin there is no releasing gases. If he find trapped gases inside, it might be a telltale sign of strangulation.
ANDERS PERSSON: when you try to strangulate someone, you squeeze your hands, the push in the lung goes up, the pressure in the trachea goes up, and the wait goes out in the soft tissue.
NARRATOR: Normally, wait flows straight up and also down the throat or trachea. But when a victim is strangled, the waiting is reduced off, and also the pressure pressures air external the walls of the throat.
In the online autopsy, gases display up together blue. Dr. Persson offers his digital scalpel to obtain a closer look. In the soft tissue exterior the trachea he sees miscellaneous suspicious.
the calls Detective Conny Petterson, one of Sweden's federal crime scene investigators.
ANDERS PERSSON: there shouldn't it is in blue color outside the trachea. That's not normal. And also it seems that it could be a strangulation.
NARRATOR: The online autopsy may have uncovered clues to a murder.
This technology is proving so effective, Dr. Persson and his team in ~ Sweden's nearby Interactive Institute, are making a portable application. Referred to as the digital Autopsy Table, it's putting digital slice and also dice at your fingertips.
thomas RYDELL (Interactive Institute): when it pertains to medical visualization, the user interaction style is really important. What you want is basic to usage and straightforward system.
NARRATOR: It's choose a gigantic iPad. Designer thomas Rydell uses basic hand gestures to peel earlier skin, arteries or bone. The fulfills the very definition of the Greek native autopsia, "to check out for oneself."
cutting board RYDELL: ideal now, we're looking at a mrs who had actually a ruptured aneurysm in the brain, and then, by rotating, we have the right to look inside the brain. So, by just using straightforward gestures, friend can manage really advanced and huge medical data.
NARRATOR: and the team has created a dynamic way to share investigations visually: virtual autopsies in 3D.
ANDERS YNNERMAN: I can see a future when it will be a very powerful tool to show the findings in former of a jury or likewise during the investigation.
NARRATOR: No matter exactly how long back the crime, investigators will see the dead as plainly as the work they died.
but incredible together this technology is, plenty of of the many trusted forensics techniques come under to interpretation. And, through interpretation, come error.
ROBERT SHALER: human error touch every element of forensic science, since every aspect of forensic science calls for a human being interpretation.
NARRATOR: Dr. Robert Shaler founded the forensics routine at pen State. He led the D.N.A. Identification of the victims of 9/11 at the civilization Trade Center. He is likewise one of the writer of the national Academy of scientific researches report.
ROBERT SHALER: I have to begin to concern my own training, things that I've thought my entire career. I agree with the national Academy report. We need to look at the clinical basis of these determinations.
NARRATOR: One area the is functioning to improve is blood pattern analysis, an important and frequently used device for crime step investigators. Shaler created this "blood cottage." Here, the simulates crimes, then uses rigorous evaluation to the bloody mess.
ROBERT SHALER: He hits me, choose up a baseball bat.
NARRATOR: but this is complicated evidence to interpret.
ROBERT SHALER: He access time me a 2nd time. There's blood spatter top top the wall.
NARRATOR: Shaler and also his colleagues develop violent scenarios of bashes and also slashes.
making use of sheep's blood, Shaler and his partner in crime, Ralph Ristenbatt, closely recreate a blood sample from a knife wound come the neck and an affect blow indigenous a baseball bat, making use of a stand-in for a human skull: the severed head of a pig.
RALPH RISTENBATT (Pennsylvania State University): It's the ideal thing brief of in reality hitting somebody.
NARRATOR: Blood splatter seems helter-skelter to the untrained eye, yet blood creates patterns in numerous ways: drips, from wounds; pools, native blood draining indigenous the body; spatter, the result of impact blows; and also spurts, from severed arteries.
Examiners deserve to use this proof to recreate a crime action by step, and also it can even tell castle the form of murder weapon used.
ROBERT SHALER: since knives have very thin edges they have actually a tendency to create these type of patterns. So, what we see below is one elongated droplet through a really thin point. And also we recognize that's the going native left to right, because it's pointing in the direction the it's moving.
NARRATOR: Now, Shaler bring in future crime scene investigators to interpret the bloody mess. That interpretation can mean the difference between a suspect's innocence or guilt.
KATHERINE O'HANLON (Pennsylvania State University): We have the right to see that there space bubbles in the blood, which indicates that there's saliva in v it, which provides it seem choose it come from the person's mouth.
NARRATOR: And evaluating the angle of the blood clues can aid investigators accurately decide the location of each impact.
KATHERINE O'HANLON: So, we can infer the this came first, and, together the body dropped to its final resting place, there to be a 2nd blow and then the pool of blood.
NARRATOR: Investigators reverse engineer native the pool of blood to reconstruct the story of the crime: exactly where the battle took place, how numerous times the victim was hit, what kind of weapon to be used, and also the step-by-step movements of the killer. However even the best-trained analyst deserve to misread the story, specifically if the evidence itself is compromised. It's one alarmingly usual problem, i m sorry the N.A.S. Claims is brought about by a lack of standard forensic practices. Nowhere has actually this worry received much more attention 보다 in one infamous case, quote in their report.
top top June 13, 1994, about 12:10 a.m., in one upscale Los Angeles neighborhood, this bloody paw prints the a dog lead police come the website of a horrific crime scene.
Detectives discover the body of a mrs in a black dress. Her throat is slit for this reason deeply, she head is virtually decapitated. The is Nicole Brown Simpson, the estranged mam of football legend O.J. Simpson.
Her friend Ronald Goldman lies nearby, stabbed more than 20 times.
Making feeling of this crime step is a challenge, and also this examination is compromised before it also starts. Dozens of police and also reporters roam with the crime scene, smearing the blood and also tracking it with their feet. The forensic team finds number of shoe prints, yet there's no way to phone call which prints belong to police and which belong to the killer.
famous forensic investigator Dr. Henry Lee is among the skilled witnesses during the trial.
he believes any type of blood pattern evidence uncovered at this murder step is rendered useless.
HENRY LEE (University of new Haven): once you step on the bloodstain, you adjust the pattern.
NARRATOR: The pollution of the crime scene and also evidence just gets worse. Just before 5:00 a.m., detectives gyeongju to O.J. Simpson's home, 2 miles away.
Simpson is no there. A houseguest lets police in. In O.J.'s bedroom lock find critical evidence: this pair of dark socks.
Forensic examiners at the L.A.P.D. Uncover four bloodstains on the socks.
HENRY LEE: Two located near the calf area, one in the ankle area and the other near the toe area.
NARRATOR: through D.N.A., a person's hereditary fingerprint, the lab finds that 3 of the bloodstains belong to O.J. Simpson, and the fourth belongs come Nicole Simpson.
HENRY LEE: That's very critical for the case. Why? because that's a direct linkage, place O.J. Simpson…suspect's socks in ~ the scene, and also victim's blood somehow moved to the socks.
NARRATOR: D.N.A., when properly analyzed, is the most scientifically sound forensic evidence. Equivalent a suspect's D.N.A. Come evidence, choose blood, found at a crime scene, offers police near statistical certainty the they have the ideal person.
JESSICA GABEL: D.N.A. Is based upon hard science. There is chemistry, there is biology, there is math affiliated with it. The N.A.S. Report singled the end D.N.A. Together this pillar of what the various other parts of forensic science need to inspire and ascribe to be.
NARRATOR: Nicole Brown Simpson's D.N.A., discovered on the socks in O.J.'s bedroom, is crucial evidence offered to connect him come the crime.
Police arrest him for the twin murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Simpson's psychological lasts an ext than nine months, the longest in California history. Jurors do their decision in just 4 hours.
SOT: The jury finds the defendant not guilty.
NARRATOR: that is a stunning, and also some to speak shocking verdict. D.N.A. Top top the sock irrefutably web links Simpson come the victim. Also Dr. Henry Lee, Simpson's defense team's chef forensic scientist, admits that. So how did the jury discover him not guilty?
JESSICA GABEL: The O.J. Case really revealed the difficulties that can happen prior to the evidence ever gets to the lab.
NARRATOR: The O.J. Defense team casts doubt on virtually every item of evidence, depicting how police contaminated the crime scene and suggesting, also worse, actually planting evidence to frame Simpson. Dr. Lee points out apparel the L.A.P.D. Gift from Simpson's bedroom.
HENRY LEE: Let's pull up 2 photos. You see a suspender, and the suspender actually runs over the end of the bed close to the crate spring. Yet you have a 2nd picture, the suspender actually stopped beside the bed, did not go over. So, of course, this clearly tells us somebody moved the suspender.
NARRATOR: The moving suspender is one of numerous contamination problems. More crucial are the bloody socks the directly attach Simpson and also the murder victim with D.N.A.
This L.A.P.D. Photograph shows the socks ~ above the floor. However testimony indigenous a police videographer claims earlier in the day, there to be no socks.
HENRY LEE: How deserve to the socks be there at 4:35 when you simply saw they're no there at 4:13?
NARRATOR: O.J.'s defense team argued the L.A.P.D. Put the blood on the socks and also planted them.
HENRY LEE: Who's fooling who here?
NARRATOR: The legitimacy that other evidence is additionally questioned. This bloody envelope was moved. A an important fingerprint top top this gate was lost. Shoeprint evidence was not gathered properly. Time ~ time, the defense placed the evidence, no O.J. Simpson, ~ above trial.
JESSICA GABEL: ns think it's certain a concern of how the proof was handled. The prosecution simply couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the O.J. Simpson committed that crime. It's a classic case study in what have the right to go wrong with evidence.
NARRATOR: past the inquiry of O.J. Simpson's innocence or guilt, the N.A.S. Report suggests justice can not be offered if the crime step is compromised.
but what if police had a device that might create a digital clone of the crime scene, a perfect record to eliminate any doubt around evidence being relocated or contaminated?
Well, right here they do.
JEFF LOCKLEAR (Fayetteville, north Carolina Police Department, Homicide Unit): as soon as we come right into the house, we discover a victim that is laying under on the kitchen floor. There's a large amount that blood approximately the head area. From the quantity of trauma the we view on the body and also the amount of blood proof that we view on the walls, we have evidence of a struggle.
NARRATOR: Detective Jeff Locklear starts piecing hints together. The landlord of this abandoned house, who uncovered the body, heard rumors that a squatter and came to check it out. Through the window of the earlier door, he says, the may have actually seen the killer.
evil SOT: ns heard the scuffling and saw the man run out.
JEFF LOCKLEAR: our witness claims that he came in with this door, and also then he experienced the suspect flee v that window, and also then he looks down and also he look at a human body right below on the inside of the kitchen floor, simply inside this wall.
NARRATOR: Sorting this one out will certainly be messy, but, thankfully, nobody of this is real. It's a simulated crime scene, designed to test a an enig high-tech weapon dubbed IC-Crime. The is being developed by faculty from north Carolina State University.
David Hinks and his team usage a 3D laser to develop a 360-degree view of the crime scene. Then, making use of the digital replica, they'll attempt to rebuild the crime.
DAVID HINKS (North Carolina State University): A 3D scan will actually take an image of every piece of visible proof in a room. It way that you have a long-term record. You have the right to go back to the step again and again and again.
NARRATOR: The scan team starts by recording millions of tiny clues of the crime scene through an invisible infrared laser. They document the victim's exact position, the major trauma come his head, blood spatter ~ above the walls and also what shows up to it is in the murder weapon.
DAVID HINKS: as soon as we acquire it earlier into the lab and we have aligned it, you'll be able to see assorted viewpoints coming in, from different angles in the house.
NARRATOR: It's a forensic dream come true.
JEFF LOCKLEAR: To be able to freeze something in time, okay, and also to be able to go ago at any time of our choosing and be maybe to see it, have the ability to interact with the evidence, it's awe-inspiring, if you ask me.
NARRATOR: v the murder scene digitized, the data is currently ready to walk virtual. And also for that, the laser scanners companion with part unlikely colleagues in crime: video clip gamers.
within North Carolina State's Digital game Research Center, manager Michael Young and also his team room using comparable technologies as in gamings like grand Theft Auto.
MICHAEL YOUNG (North Carolina State University): video game engines administer a wonderful opportunity for serious applications the the technology, favor crime step investigation.
NARRATOR: The crime scene is constructed on data triangles from the laser scan.
BRAD CASSELL: each triangle is one surface. And also they line up perfectly. So, you have actually a triangle here and also then a triangle here, and you store doing that. And also so, as soon as you have all this triangles, you have an entire surface.
NARRATOR: Next, the team overlays high-resolution picture of every room, allowing detectives to view views from any angle.
v the 3D replica complete, command scanner David Hinks attempts come corroborate the witnesses testimony that he experienced the killer leave v the window.
that positions himself to whereby the landlord claimed he was standing once he uncovered the body.
DAVID HINKS: currently we're in the scene, I'm standing basically at the backdoor to the house. The eyewitness said that he didn't actually get in the house, but he can see v an interior window, through to the following room.
SOT Eyewitness: i heard part scuffling and also then I observed someone run out the window.
NARRATOR: Hinks discovers the from where the landlord was standing, outside, he can't see into the scene of the crime.
DAVID HINKS: friend can't see with this door and onto the exterior window, together the eyewitness indicated. However let's go down right into the kitchen and also then look come the left, with this open area. Currently we can see the exterior window. So, the eyewitness must clearly have been about this place to have the ability to see anybody leave from this window.
NARRATOR: The landlord's story doesn't add up. Hinks doesn't have to rely on his own interpretation; the scanner proves the landlord had actually to get in the residence to check out the killer.
and there is another inconsistency. An internal door behind the body to be open once police arrived.
DAVID HINKS: What we deserve to do practically is close the door. It's clean from the spatter pattern the the door had to it is in closed throughout the event.
NARRATOR: The landlord proclaimed that no one entered the house instantly after the murder. Yet someone opened up the door.
The IC-Crime modern technology allows investigators come step right into the scene and catch the landlord in 2 lies. That provides the landlord a prime doubt in this simulated murder.
v a perfect document of the crime scene, police can be sure it's the suspect who's put on trial, and also not the forensics.
MITZI MONTOYA (Arizona State University): and also so our will is that we're linking our virtual atmosphere to various databases.
NARRATOR: job manager Mitzi Montoya trust the power of the IC-Crime mechanism is the it replaces an individual interpretation with objective facts.
MITZI MONTOYA (Arizona State University): we now have actually a method to collection all the data and also the information about a scene, store that in a solitary record, in a single environment where forensic experts, where they might be distributed about the country or approximately the people can interact and also interpret that information.
NARRATOR: In addition to a virtual crime scene, investigators will certainly one day include the very best of new forensic innovations being developed, favor 3D fingerprints, virtual autopsies and also D.N.A. That proof can be gift by prosecution and defense, assessed by medical examiners and also forensic scientists, and also judged firsthand by a jury.
These innovations will insure the most reliable proof is presented and interpreted in the service of justice.
ROBERT SHALER: modern technology moves united state forward. It gives us the capacity to execute things that we weren't able to perform before. It provides us the ability to answer inquiries that we didn't even think of asking before.
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NARRATOR: In the future, this technologies might put "science" back in forensic science, and make sure police placed away the appropriate criminal every time.