I witnessed the body of a victim lying supine on an outside deck on arrival to the location of the reported shooting. From observation, it is evident that the victim is an elderly man since he has grey hair. The victim is dressed in a blue jacket (that is zipped up past the halfway point), blue shirt, and blue pants. The victim is wearing wire-rimmed silver glasses with blood spatter on the left lens. Closer examination of his face reveals that there are numerous evident blood spatter patters below his nose on his upper lip, chin, and upper left earlobe cartilage and on his neck region. Examining the victims face reveals that his iris is brown while his eyeballs are white showing no sign of petechial hemorrhages. The victim’s mouth is ajar with his tongue and front upper teeth visible. His facial muscles, as well as other muscles on his body also appear rigid. This may be evident indications of rigor mortis. There is also an apparent gunshot wound on his upper chest area.
Observing to the right side of the victims body, there is an apparent semi-automatic handgun on the victim’s right hand. The gun is lying by its side on the floor with the barrel end pointing to the victim’s mid-section and the grip facing away from the victim. Upon closer inspection, the victim’s right thumb is resting on the gun’s trigger. The other four fingers (index, middle, ring, and little) lightly wrap around the gun’s grip. This light grip is inconsistent with cadaveric spasm, which is expected in the limbs of victims of traumatic deaths (Katy, 2013). Closer inspection of the gun reveals that its safety is off as evidenced by the red dot above the grip. Furthermore, there is no evident blood spatter on the gun, the victim’s right hand, and right hand jacket sleeve. There is also no evidence of gunpowder residue or soot on the area between the victim’s right thumb and right index finger. This observation is inconsistent with the expected observation.
Observing to the left side of the victim’s body, there is a red flashlight next to his left hand. The flashlight is parallel to the victim’s body with the bulb end pointing to the direction of his feet. There is an evident blood spatter pattern between the red torch and the victim’s hand. To the left of the victims head there is a dried pool of blood on the deck floor. The blood spatter pattern of the pool is consistent with a gunshot. The dried pool of blood extends from the left side of the victims head to the wall. There are multiple pools of blood next to each other on the deck floor separated by some areas without blood. Towards the end of the deck floor, the pool of dried blood extends from the victims head to left shoulder. On the wall, there is also an evident blood spatter pattern. The patter extends about 15 inches vertically above the deck floor on the wall. Horizontally, the blood pattern extends from the victim’s head to left shoulder.
A bullet entry wound is observed on the upper left side of the victim’s chest. The entry wound is located on the victim’s shirt pocket flap. The wound is located 6 inches to the left of the chest’s midline, and 2 inches above the nipple. There is an evident abrasion ring on the victim’s shirt above the wound. The hole is consistent with a gunshot since the edges of the hole on the clothing show evidence of gunpowder residue, soot, or burning. Observing the direction of the wound, it is evident that the bullet had an upward trajectory. This is also evidenced by the blood spatter pattern on the victims face.
Upon turning the victim’s body and lifting the clothes off his torso, there was an evident exit wound on the victim’s back. The main reason for concluding that it was the exit wound is mainly because it was bigger in size as compared to the entrance wound (Jack, 2015). There is also evidence of extensive bleeding on the victim’s back, which is consistent with exit wounds. There is evidence of the bullet around the victim.
Based on the evidence collected from the crime scene it is evident that the victim bled out after shooting himself or being shot on the deck floor. This is mainly because there are no blood spatter patterns more than 15 inches above the body of the victim. If the victim shot himself or was shot while standing there would be blood spatter patterns above 15 inches off the deck floor. The blood spatter pattern on the victim’s face also supports that the victim was lying down during the shooting.
Examining the crime scene, it is evident that it appears staged. This is mainly because of the fact that there is no gunpowder residue on the victim’s right hand. As mentioned earlier, the gun is lying by its side on the floor with the barrel end pointing to the victim’s mid-section and the grip facing away from the victim. The victim’s right thumb is resting on the gun’s trigger. Based on the hand’s position it is expected that evidence of gunpowder residue or soot on the area between the victim’s right thumb and right index finger would be found.
The other four fingers wrap around lightly around the gun’s grip. This light grip is inconsistent with cadaveric spasm, which is expected in the limbs of victims of traumatic death such as the one experienced by the victim. This implies there may have been a perpetrator who tried to stage the crime scene in an effort to make it look like a suicide. On the left side of the victim’s body in front of the torch, a blood spatter pattern looks consistent with a shoe-print. This may be an indication of another individual at the crime scene at the time of the shooting. Lastly, there is no evident blood spatter on the gun, the victim’s right hand, and right hand jacket sleeve. This would be expected in the event that the victim shot himself.
There is a need to carry out further DNA and finger print analysis on the handgun and torch found at the scene. Furthermore, it is important to carry out a background check aimed at establishing the ownership of the gun. This will provide additional information on the shooting. It is also imperative to locate the bullet in order to assist in ballistics analysis. A post mortem also needs to be conducted on the victim in order to establish the cause of death.
Jack, C. (2015) Entrance and Exit Wounds. Retrieved 2/1/2016 from: http://www.exploreforensics.co.uk/entrance-and-exit-wounds.html
Katy, M. (2013) New Morbid Terminology: Cadaveric Spasm. Retrieved 2/1/2016 from: https://bonesdontlie.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/new-morbid-terminology-cadaveric-spasm/