The Crime Labs RoLe In Criminal InvesTIGATIoN

In criminal investigation the first duty of the investigator is to determine whether or not a crime has been committed. This involves evaluating whether a suspect's testimony is consistent with the lab results. Results of

A young man with no prior criminal record was arrested for shooting his girlfriend in the head. According to the defendant, he kept a revolver in a nightstand beside the bed. He and his girlfriend had been arguing in the bedroom, he said, and she had made a move toward the drawer where the gun was but he beat her to it. They then faced each other as he held the gun down at his right side. At this point, he stated, she grabbed an iron from the ironing board with her right hand and swung it from left to right at his head. He ducked and raised his hand that was holding the gun to ward off the blow, he said. Instinctively he clenched his hand when the iron struck the barrel of the gun. At that point the gun fired and shot the victim in the head.

When the weapon was examined by the firearms examiner, it was determined to have a trigger pull of only 1.5 pounds. According to the defendant he had cut the trigger spring to lighten the trigger pull for target shooting, a fairly common practice. An examination of the iron revealed what appeared to be soot on the side. Also present were tiny droplets of blood consistent with a gunshot. All of this was consistent with the defendant's version of events; nonetheless, the jury found the defendant guilty.

Whether firing is unintentional or intentional, as the jury in this case apparently believed, a hair trigger greatly increases the chance that a shot will be fired.

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