Crime Scene Revisited

Was someone else involved?

Chicago police detectives were called to investigate what was thought to be a fatal drug overdose. The victim was lying face down on a couch. Nearby, the detectives found a used syringe and trace-evidence of heroin. The door to the apartment was locked from the inside, but detectives were not able to find the victim’s keys. This raised the thought that someone may have been with the victim at the time of his death.

While examining the digital crime-scene photographs at headquarters, one of the detectives observed what appeared to be an unusual discoloration on the abdomen of the victim (Photo 1). When that photo was enlarged, detectives were able to see the faint outline of keys in the livor mortis on the victim’s abdomen.

They returned to the victim’s apartment and searched the couch. There, they found a set of keys under the cushions (Photo 2). Apparently, the keys slipped between the cushions when the victim’s remains were moved. The keys fit the apartment door.

This case material was sent to us by Det. Mark Czworniak of the Chicago Police Department’s Area 3 Homicide Sex Crimes Unit, Evidence Response Team.

Crime Scene Revisited
September-October 2008 (Volume 6, Number 5)
Evidence Technology Magazine
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Court Case Update

FINGERPRINT EVIDENCE went through a nearly three-year ordeal in the New Hampshire court system, but eventually emerged unscathed. On April 4, 2008, the New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision of a lower court to exclude expert testimony regarding fingerprint evidence in the case of The State of New Hampshire v. Richard Langill. The case has been remanded back to the Rockingham County Superior Court.