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View Full Version : Murder, framing, emergency, and forensics in the snow questions.



Deepthought
06-27-2016, 11:46 AM
Situation: Murderer is in a fight with a couple of people, Victim and Victim's Friend. Due to knowing and tricking them, Murderer gets Friend's knife and fatally injures Victim with it. This happens in the snow. Murderer wants to frame Friend. Murderer is wearing the same kind of shoes and size as Friend to help build evidence against him. And I suppose some kind of sealed clothing to prevent DNA from getting there, but might not be too much of a big deal as he is in contact with them anyway (and it is a surprise attack, so Murderer would not be losing blood in a fight, as he isn't really getting hit at all.) Friend calls ambulance and Murderer is already gone via getaway vehicle.

How would the paramedics get to Victim without damaging the evidence? Perhaps they would ignore that? Victim dies before they can arrive. What kind of case can Friend make for his innocence? (He is found guilty either way though). I can only think of the shoe prints being deeper than Friend's, due to weight disparity. And tire tracks on the road; murder happens in a secluded area with no other cars on the nearby road. Also, would Friend be arrested on suspicion for the murder right there? I believe standard forensics teams get on the scene much later, correct? Would the paramedics leave the body there, or would they take it in an ambulance?

jclarkdawe
06-27-2016, 04:11 PM
Paramedics try to limit how much they move so as to minimize tracks, but don't really care about the evidence issue. Their job is to treat the victim. If the victim is dead, the body stays. If the victim is alive, then transported to hospital. If in doubt, transport.

I don't see how three people are going to fight in the snow and not create a different scene than two people fighting.

When a potential crime occurs in an area subject to changes due to weather, they start taking pictures like crazy. Preservation becomes the big issue.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Deepthought
06-28-2016, 12:48 AM
I see, thank you. For the 3 vs 2 people fighting, might it be possible to accuse someone of retracing their steps in the snow to make it look as though there are 3 people rather than 2? A bit of judicial corruption could help as well.

cornflake
06-28-2016, 12:52 AM
I think you're presuming there's a lot more weight to the forensics of a standard investigation than there is.

Deepthought
06-28-2016, 03:07 AM
So it wouldn't be too hard to frame someone if they put in basic efforts- same weapon, and footprints, for example?

taraesque
06-28-2016, 03:22 AM
I think it would be difficult with the snow, unless the snow melts. Even if the Murderer uses the Friend's footsteps to walk into the scene, you'd be able to see the double impression in the tred. It would be impossible to fight and only step where Friend has stepped. And then there would be one set of tracks leaving away from the scene, so it would be hard for the police to explain where that one set up footprints went. They'd just have to follow those footsteps and find the Murderer.

Outdoor also makes DNA or hair evidence more difficult, since it isn't in a contained area anymore. I wouldn't worry about special clothing, go with generic clothing that anyone could wear.

jclarkdawe
06-28-2016, 05:04 AM
Snow is a funky medium for tracking. Sometimes it is incredibly good, other types it's useless. I don't know if you have experience with snow to figure this out and I don't know how to describe it. It's something that has to be experienced to understand. But if it is at all decent for tracking, it will be hard to fool people.

Jim Clark-Dawe

cornflake
06-28-2016, 06:22 AM
So it wouldn't be too hard to frame someone if they put in basic efforts- same weapon, and footprints, for example?

No, that's not what I meant. I meant it seems like you're thinking a murder investigation is all about the forensic details. It's usually not. Thus it's not going to be easy to frame someone by mussing up footprints or wearing the same shoes, no. I mean that wouldn't really fool forensics either, but that's not the basics of an investigation.

Deepthought
06-28-2016, 11:13 AM
Oh, so the other details are more important? Which would make sense now that I think about it, like motives, past history, etc. Framing Friend shouldn't be too difficult in that case, seeing as he is a criminal himself.

ironmikezero
06-28-2016, 08:29 PM
You seem to be focused on the potential forensics rather than the witness--the friend who is initially a person of interest. Everything he says must be corroborated or refuted through further investigation (which will include the forensic analysis of any physical evidence). His account of the encounter with the alleged perpetrator will put the investigators on the search for that third party (another witness or the actual perpetrator? a person of interest assuredly). The interviews and interrogations in the course of the investigation that provide facts corroborated by the evidence will be the heart of the case; that's what will matter in court. An arrest is not going to happen until sufficient probable cause has been established.

Catherine_Beyer
06-28-2016, 08:29 PM
Having the same shoes is very circumstantial evidence. It's not going to weigh much. A suspect's past criminal history might make police more suspicious (depending on the crime) but I don't believe it can be introduced as evidence in court.

He's present, so he has opportunity, but does he have a motive? Motive's a big deal.

To defend himself, he's going to say "Look, I was there, and this is how it happened. Also, I have no reason to kill him, as he's my friend. And I called an ambulance for him." Remember, he doesn't have to convince jurors that's the truth. He only has to create reasonable doubt.

I would think it's pretty hard to frame someone, no matter what TV/movies suggest.

Deepthought
06-29-2016, 01:14 AM
I think in this situation, I can pull the framing off, as Friend himself is a killer who killed someone close to him (which he tried to hide, until the investigation uncovered it) and has done other crimes, and Murderer was previously spotless. Murderer's motive would be hidden (and also considered Victim's friend) and hard to connect to him. I think just about everything is stacked against Friend, while Murderer has got a lot going for him.