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Crime Scene Investigation Walk-Through
Overview
When you arrive on the scene of a crime, you must follow certain procedures to ensure the admissibility of evidence. For this assignment, you will use a case file of a real crime scene and assume the role of the crime scene investigator. You will create a presentation in which you document your process, present your findings, and provide an evaluation of the scene in a narrated PowerPoint or presentation tool of your choice.
To help you prepare for this assignment, use the Mock Crime Scene to review the steps of evaluating a crime scene.
Instructions
Choose one of the following cases from your textbook resource:

“He Hit Her Until She Fell… and That Was Just the Beginning,” Brandl, pp. 363–373.
“A Mutilation Murder,” Brandl, p. 670.

Then, create a 5–10 minute presentation in which you:

Identify the tools you used to evaluate the crime scene. Provide a rationale for your choices.
Outline the steps you took to secure the crime scene.
Describe the techniques and procedures you used to process the crime scene, including a list of the evidence collected. Explain the reasons for your procedures.
Describe the steps you took to preserve the evidence and provide an explanation for your process.
Provide photos of the crime scene.
Create a crime scene map that illustrates the crime scene upon arrival.
Narrate your presentation to walk the audience through the crime scene.
From the Case File A Mutilation Murder
The Crime
The New York City Police Department requested the assistance of the FBI after police detectives came to an apparent dead end in their investigation of the murder and mutilation of a twenty-six-year-old woman whose body was found on the roof of a Bronx public housing apartment building where she had lived with her parents. An investigative task force of twenty-six detectives and supervisors had interviewed more than 2,000 individuals, many of whom lived or worked in the apartment building. Record checks of known sex offenders in the area were of no assistance. The police had twenty-two “good” suspects but nothing conclusive.

A fifteen-year-old boy had discovered the victim’s wallet in the stairwell as he was leaving the building on his way to school. Upon returning home from school for lunch that afternoon, the boy had given the wallet to his father, who went to the victim’s apartment to return it. The victim’s mother then called the day care center where the victim worked to notify her daughter that her wallet had been found. At that time the victim’s mother was told her daughter had not shown up for work that morning. The mother, the victim’s sister, and a neighbor then proceeded to search the building and discovered the body. The body was located at 3:00 p.m.; the victim had left her apartment at approximately 6:15 a.m.

The victim was found nude. She had been beaten about the face and strangled with the strap of her purse. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation—first manual and then ligature. The victim’s jaw and nose had been broken, and several of her teeth were loose. She had sustained several other facial fractures. Her nipples had been cut off after death and placed on her chest. There were bite marks, which were determined to have occurred after death, on her thighs. Numerous contusions and lacerations were present on her body. “You can’t stop me” was written in ink on the inside of her thigh, and “Fuck you” was written on her abdomen. A necklace pendant she usually wore was missing and presumed taken by the killer. Her underpants had been placed on her head and pulled over her face. Her nylons had been removed and loosely tied around her wrists and ankles. Her earrings had been removed and placed symmetrically on each side of her head. An umbrella and writing pen had been forced into her vagina, and a hair comb had been placed in her pubic hair. Semen was recovered from the victim’s body; it appeared that the killer had stood over the victim and masturbated. Human feces were discovered on the roof landing and were covered with the victim’s clothing.

Key Crime Scene Characteristics
The crime did not appear to be planned. All the instruments used to perpetrate the crime were the victim’s (e.g., purse strap, umbrella, pen) except for the knife used to remove the victim’s nipples. This knife was probably small enough to have been routinely carried by the killer. He probably first hit the victim with his fist to render her unconscious and then used his hands and the purse strap to strangle her. These are weapons of opportunity. He did not have a gun, rope, tape, or gag. If the perpetrator had such “tools,” it would indicate a degree of planning. Rather, this crime appeared to have been a spontaneous event. In addition, the victim did not appear to have been threatened by the perpetrator’s presence. She did not attempt to flee or scream prior to being rendered unconscious by the offender. The initial violence to the victim was sudden.

Although the crime was unplanned, it did appear to be well rehearsed and thought out. The positioning of the body, the mutilation, the placement of the umbrella and pen, the removal and placement of the earrings, the writing on the body, and the bite marks indicated that the perpetrator was acting out something he had seen before. The crime may have been based on sexual fantasies possibly rooted in sadistic and violent pornography.

The offender was best classified as disorganized (see a later discussion for details on this classification and the importance of it). The crime appeared to be a spontaneous event; the victim was not stalked but confronted. The victim appeared to have been immediately overcome with sudden violence and rendered unconscious. The victim was not moved from the general crime scene. The body was left in view at the location in which she was probably killed. There were sexual acts performed on the body after death. Evidence and the tools used to commit the crime were left at the scene. All these crime scene characteristics are reflective of a disorganized offender.

The crime was high risk. It was committed in daylight. Considerable time was spent by the offender in perpetrating the crime (e.g., removing earrings, masturbating, defecating). The victim was at low risk of becoming a victim. She was a quiet woman, small in stature (4’11,” 90 lbs.). She was plain-looking and did not date. She lived with her parents. Her lifestyle did not expose her to much risk for victimization. The area in which the crime occurred had a low rate of violent crime, further reducing the likelihood of victimization.

The Resulting Crime Scene Profile
The profile suggested that the offender was a white man, between twenty-five and thirty-five years of age, and of average appearance. The methodical organization of the crime scene—positioning of the body, placement of earrings, and so on—would be unusual for an impulsive teenager or someone in his early twenties. It was not likely the perpetrator was in his late thirties or forties because someone of that age would have probably committed earlier murders and it would be difficult to commit such crimes over the span of years without being apprehended. According to the profile, he was of average intelligence and a high school or college dropout. He was most likely unemployed; if he was employed, it was in a blue-collar or unskilled job. Alcohol or drugs did not play a role in the crime. The suspect was socially inadequate and not married. He lived or worked near the crime scene. All these characteristics are typical of disorganized murderers.

The fact that the crime was a spontaneous event further increased the probability the offender lived or worked near the scene of the crime. He had reason to be there at 6:15 a.m. If he was not planning to commit the crime at that time, he had to have some other reason for being there—probably because of employment or because he lived in the apartment building. The crime being high risk and the victim being at a low risk for victimization also suggested the killer felt comfortable in the area.

The sexual acts performed on the victim showed sadistic tendencies and obvious mental problems. The perpetrator likely had a collection of pornography. A rage or hatred of women was present in the crime. That he inflicted these acts on a dead or unconscious victim indicated an inability to interact with a live or conscious person and reinforced his social inadequacy.

The Outcome
After receiving the profile of the killer, the police reviewed their list of twenty-two suspects. One person seemed to resemble the profile more closely than the others. The suspect’s father lived on the same floor of the apartment building as the victim and had initially told the police his son was a patient at a local psychiatric hospital. Now, upon investigating further, the police learned the son had been missing from the hospital the day and evening prior to the murder. Investigators also discovered he was unemployed and had dropped out of school. He was thirty-two and had never married. He had no girlfriends. He suffered from depression and was receiving treatment at the psychiatric hospital. He had attempted suicide before and after the offense. A collection of pornography was discovered during a search of the suspect’s father’s apartment.

The suspect was arrested, tried, and found guilty of the homicide. He never confessed to the crime, but it was proved that security was lax at the hospital in which he was staying; he could come and go as he wished. The bite marks he inflicted on the victim were the most influential evidence against the suspect at trial. He was sentenced to twenty-five years to life for the crime.1 (Note: This crime occurred before DNA printing was available.)

Case Considerations and Points for Discussion
What was the most important evidence that led to this murder being solved? How valuable was the crime scene profile in the investigation? If DNA profiling was available at the time of this investigation, how would the investigation have been different?
Do you think investigators made any mistakes in this investigation? If not for the crime scene profile, do you think the killer would have been identified?
What do you think should be the biggest lessons learned by the police as the result of this case?