FORENSIC CHEMISTRY LABORATORY MANUAL

by R.Q. Thompson; Oberlin College

CASE OF THE

BLOODIED BULLY

 

Back to the Stories Home Page

Forward to the Case Report (Student Pages)

MAJOR EVIDENCE TECHNIQUES SET UP FOR A PARTICULAR CASE *

Blood Samples

  • from Samuel Herrick
  • from Michael Brown

 

Gas chromatography (ethanol)

Gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (drugs)

  • Herrick: ethanol (0.15 g/100 mL) ; cocaine (200 ng/mL)
  • Brown: ethanol (0 g/100 mL) ; cocaine (400 ng/mL)

Gunshot Residue Samples (Handwashings: left hand / right hand)

  • from Samuel Herrick
  • from Michael Brown
  • from Donna Stevens
  • from Caroline Stevens

Atomic Absorption spectrophotometry (lead)

  • Herrick: 300 ppb / 400 ppb Pb
  • Brown: background level
  • Donna Stevens: 700 / 1300 ppb
  • Caroline Stevens: 700 / 500 ppb

Arson Sample and Flammables

  • carpet from crime scene
  • unburned carpet
  • liquid from Stevens' home
  • liquid from Herrick's apartment
Gas chromatography
  • Crime scene: kerosene added to carpet that is subsequently burned.
  • Kerosene at the Stevens' home
  • Gasoline at Herrick's apartment

Ink Samples from Pens

  • Suicide note
  • from Samuel Herrick
  • from Michael Brown
  • from Donna Stevens
  • from Caroline Stevens

UV-Visible spectrophotometry (color)

Liquid chromatography (components)

  • Suicide note: UltraFine Flair
  • Herrick: Flair B0
  • Brown: PMOP; PaperMater
  • D. Stevens: UltraFine Flair
  • C. Stevens: Sanford Sharpie
White Powder from Michael Brown Infrared spectrophotometry (bulk drug)
  • Mixture of glucose and caffeine ("cocaine")

* ONE POSSIBLE SCENARIO: Samuel Herrick did not kill himself; rather he was murdered by his abused lover, Donna Stevens. After shooting and killing Herrick, Donna started a fire in the apartment in hopes of covering her tracks.