Crim 340 notes Week 7
Crim 340 notes Week 7 Crim 340
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katelyn Vogel on Tuesday March 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Crim 340 at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania taught by Dr. Richards in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 47 views. For similar materials see Criminal Investigations in Criminal Justice at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
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Date Created: 03/01/16
Crim 340: Criminal Investigations Death Investigations The Legal Definition of Homicide ● Homicide is defined as the killing of a human by another human ● The common notion that homicide and murder are synonymous is false ○ The difference lies in the legality of the death ○ The question is the presence or abuse of criminality ● Homicide can be justifiable or excusable ○ state executes ○ arrest by the police in some circumstances ○ selfdefense ● must prove imminent danger ○ war Murder ● Defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought ● Typical criminal code language ○ A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits murder if, in performing the acts that cause the death: ■ He either tends to kill or do great bodily harm ■ he knows that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm ■ He is attempting or committing a forcible felony other than voluntary manslaughter Criminal Homicide ● The act is murder if the wrongdoer accomplishes the crime with premeditation ● The act is frequently referred to as a premeditated design to kill ● The state must prove that the accused consciously intended to kill the victim ● 58% of murder cases are premeditated ○ The burden is on the state ● Premeditation does not always imply the existence of an elaborate plan ○ The time frame is not important (not defined in minutes, hours, or days) ○ The fact that the design to kill was present before the act is critical ● Murder can be accomplished without premeditation ○ A criminal homicide can constitute murder even when premeditation to kill is lacking altogether ■ When perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another ■ Evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life ● “When someone doesn’t consider the cost of taking another person’s life” ○ If the killing occurs during the commission of a felony (felony murder) Crim 340: Criminal Investigations ● psychopath person who lacks empathy ○ cannot be used as the insanity plea because there is still option for premeditation Murder in Degrees ● Many states have assigned varying degrees to the crime of murder ○ First degree ■ typically includes premeditated murder ○ Second degree ■ an act creating a strong probability of harm, which results in death ○ Third degree ■ Deaths that result during the perpetration (or attempt) of a felony Current State of Criminal Homicide ● Criminal homicide has decreased for the past 7 years in the U.S. ● Prior to that in 1990, homicide was very high Why So Many Murders ? ● The relationship of drugs to murder is unmistakable ● The rapid growth of drugs gangs, particularly those dealing in cocaine ○ Washington, D.C. officials reported that 41% of all homicides were drugrelated ○ 56% of the killings in Savannah, GA were similarly connected to drugs ● The greatest frequency of murder occurs: ○ During July and August ○ On holidays ○ On weekends ○ During evening and night hours ○ In southern states ○ In large metropolitan areas Victims of Criminal Homicide ● 77% of victims are between 20 and 24 years of age ● The residence is the most common murder location ● Males account for 78% of all victims ● 9% are juvenile and male ● Racially, the victims are nearly evenly split between blacks and whites ● Homicide is the leading cause of death among black males 25 to 34 years of age ● 44% of victims know their killer (compared with 80% in 1970) ○ 13% are related ○ 31% are acquainted ○ Of female victims, 33% are slain by husbands or boyfriends ● 56% of all killings are classified as stranger homicides Crim 340: Criminal Investigations VictimPrecipitated Homicide ● Such murders involve a conscious or unconscious action by the victim that is a causative factor in the violent act ○ Victims dare their slayers to assault ○ May provoke the assault by some other action such as: ■ Continually insulting individuals known to be armed and violent ■ Unfaithful wire precipitating her own death by continuing an affair after her husband has sworn to kill her if the extramarital relationships is not terminated ○ Research studies indicated a substantial number of homicides are victim precipitated Offender Characteristics ● Murder suspects ○ the majority of arrested murder suspects (70%) are 1734 years old ○ 90% are male ○ 51% are black (racial question) ○ 46% are white ● Most offenders are in an emotional state of extreme anger when they kill ● Typical murders do not plan their crime Five Murder Causative Categories: Why People Murder ● Emotional disputes ● Matters of sex ○ Jealousy is the causative factor ○ Unfaithfulness is the precipitator ● Related crimes ○ Normally during the commission of a felony ■ Robbery ■ Narcotics ● Severe mental abnormalities ○ Mentally ill ○ mass murders ■ terrorists ■ individuals who experience sudden breakdowns ■ Mentally ill persons who kill to relieve tensions ● Benefit factors ○ to rid themselves of the attachment ○ financial motives Crim 340: Criminal Investigations Psychological Profiling ● Proven successful in the investigation of serial murder ● Profiling is a form of, or classification that works backward: retroclassification ● Profiling attempts to construct a personality portrait of the offender (using behavioral clues) ● Investigators can develop a very accurate portrait of the offender ○ There are only 24 FBI and about 15 federally trained local and state officers working as fulltime profilers Psychological Profiling: What the Profiler Does ● Analyzes ○ Crime scene and crime photos ○ lab test and autopsy reports ○ Police reports ○ Victim information including: ■ occupation ■ general reputation ■ detailed physical description ■ marital status and number of children ■ all known miscellaneous social and personal information ● Conducts thorough interviews of the victim and witnesses ● Reviews all physical evidence ● Listens to any existing conversation of the suspect Psychological Profiling: What Does it Reveal? ● Suspect’s race ● Sex ● Age range ● Marital status ● General employment ● Reaction to questioning by police ● Degree of sexual maturity ● Whether the individual might strike again ● Whether the suspect has committed a similar offense in the past ● Possible police record Weapons Used in Homicide ● Firearms are the predominate weapon ○ 53% of murders were committed with handguns ○ 8% were committed with rifles or shotguns ● 30% of murders were committed with knives Crim 340: Criminal Investigations ● The remainder of murders were committed with: ○ Blunt objects ○ Poisons ○ Fire ○ Direct violence applied by hands, fists, or feet Homicide Investigation Procedures ● Investigation focuses on three main areas ○ The deceased ○ The crime scene ○ Medical expertise Investigating Homicide: Focus on the Deceased ● The deceased can reveal essential information needed to identify the suspect and prove that a crime has occurred ○ Establish death ○ Identify the deceased ○ Determine the time of death using the following factors ■ Postmortem lividity ● settling of blood ■ Rigor mortis ● stiffness of the body ■ Putrefaction ● decay, smell ■ Cooling rate ■ General body indicators ● Determine the cause of death ● There are four general categories of death causes ○ Natural ○ Accidental ○ Suicide ○ Homicide Investigating the Cause of DeathHomicide ● Homicide is usually determined from: ○ Gunshot wounds ○ edged weapon wounds (stabbing and defense wounds as opposed to hesitation marks) ○ Asphyxia ● Manual strangulation ● ligature strangulation ● submersion in water Crim 340: Criminal Investigations ○ Blunt instruments ● abrasions ● contusions ● lacerations Investigating Homicide: Focus on the Crime Scene ● Protect the scene ○ Use crime scene tape and personnel and any other means necessary ○ no one enters without being entered in the log ○ obtain search warrant if necessary ○ keep sightseers from entering ● destroys evidence ● changes the crime scene ● Identify witnesses ○ keep them from leaving the scene ○ separate them from each other ● Maintain the integrity of crime scene ● Search the scene from the outsidein to avoid destroying ○ Trace evidence ○ Foot or tire impressions ○ Blood splatter ● Conduct a crime scene search for any and all evidence ● Record the crime scene ○ videa ○ photograph ○ crime scene sketch ● Recover the victim (with assistance from the Medical Examiner’s Office or Coroner) ○ Note victim location, body position, clothing, visible wounds, signs of death, temperature, etc ○ Bag hands ○ Do not remove clothing (done during autopsy) ● The autopsy ○ A postmortem examination of the victim ○ Autopsies are mandated by law in certain types of deaths ○ Includes: ● An exterior visual examination ● An interior surgical examination ● all vital organs are observed and described ● internal injuries are noted ● samples of tissue organs and bone may be obtained for lab testing ● An investigating officer should be present to note the findings Crim 340: Criminal Investigations Investigating HomicideFocus on Medical Expertise ● Exhumation ○ Requires a court order ○ The majority are performed to establish the presence of toxic materials ● Forensic Anthropology ○ Very valuable to certain types of homicide investigations ○ Can assist in the identification of human remains