Forensic Technology Blog

Ballistic evidence without the murder weapon

Posted by Andre Demers Mar 29, 2011 4:01:00 PM

Image courtesy Evidence from the bullet casings found at a 2006 murder crime scene in boulder, Colo., were instrumental in convicting the killer. Here's an article from that discusses not only a variety of NIBIN success stories, but one particular case that was solved using ballistics evidence only and not the murder weapon.

In January 2009 residents of an upscale Boulder, Colo., neighborhood heard three loud explosions shattering the otherwise still, quiet night. A few of the residents looked out their windows and saw a light-colored sedan speeding away from the area. A few seconds later an unsuspecting passerby found a grisly scene. Officers and detectives responded and quickly discovered the victim had been shot three times at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Three spent shell casings were scattered near the victim's bloody body. Crime scene reconstruction would later show that the first two shots, both striking the victim's chest, were most likely delivered as the victim was still seated in the car. One of these shots was fatal; the other wasn't. The victim was dragged out of the car until he was lying on his back on the cold, icy street. As the shotgun muzzle was placed between the victim's eyes, the suspect pulled the trigger for the third and final time.


The ballistic data from this firearm was also entered into a federal ballistics database called NIBIN, the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. If the rifle had been used in another crime, this would be the way to find out. And although we didn't get a match in this case, adding information that could help future cases in any jurisdiction is helpful.

Working with Higashi on this case got me thinking about what most cops know (or maybe don't know) about firearms and ballistics examinations. Hopefully this article can shed some more light on firearms examinations and NIBIN-both important parts of any criminal investigation involving firearms.

Read the full article here.

Topics: NIBIN, Pete's Pick, Colorado, ballistics analysis, ballistics identification

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