More than once I have explained that my senses are heightened when I approach a crime scene. This is also true when I open a folder and review a case for the final declaration of death. I concentrate on data and the relationship between one fact and another. In short, I am looking for patterns, which give me the “why” of how things happened.
In this episode, blood patterns played an integral role in understanding what happened in Sam’s apartment. I had to examine the nature of each blood spatter pattern on two levels: macroscopically and microscopically. This is a fancy way of saying that I studied the overall scene and then studied the nature of each blood pattern to determine what they revealed about the movement of the players in the room.
This process told me that the assault started at the door. Sam had opened the door and was immediately attacked frontally. Finally, the attack move deeper into the room, with the last stab wound most likely in his final moments of struggle.
Wound patterns on the body that were examined in the autopsy are also very important. As my forensic pathologist and I studied the body we were able to determine the approximate length of the knife and also that it was a single-edged blade. We were also able to compare the lack of defensive wounds on Sam’s body and concurred that this was consistent with the blood pattern analysis. So you can see that once all data is collected, investigators move from the “how” to the “why,” looking at the macroscopic picture of the whole scene, not just its individual parts.
I noticed on social media during the show that there was a good deal of conversation about the subsequent sentencing of all those involved in the death of Samuel Gore. His ex-wife was a suspect, but it was determined that there was not enough evidence to convict her as a participant in the murder. We must understand the high threshold that is required in criminal court: beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases where only monetary damages are involved there is a lesser requirement for conviction, which is the preponderance of the evidence, meaning the weight of the evidence. In other words, it’s like a scale.
One of the most famous cases in criminal history was the O.J. Simpson trial, in which he was acquitted in criminal court because of faulty forensic processing, which left a reasonable doubt. He was later convicted in civil court due to the preponderance of the evidence.
I believe in this strict standard in criminal court because of the disastrous consequences of being convicted for a crime you never did, even to death.
Thanks so much for watching. You've made this show a success and I couldn’t be more grateful.