By Mike Byrd
As we learned from the original article (Innovative Evidence Identification Markers at a Crime Scene), evidence markers are a useful tool in crime scene investigations. When used properly they reveal items of evidence that are not normally seen in the overall or mid-range photographs taken of the scene. The evidence markers can be inserted into the scene after the initial photographs have been taken.
The evidence markers will illustrate a single item of evidence and the relationship or orientation of many items of evidence to one another. The markers are designed with unlimited use in identifying items and marking their specific locations.
The words casing, gun, blood and bullet hole can be removed from the above sketch to relieve some of the clutter. The markers themselves are inserted to represent the item or object. In an organized system the evidence marking stands and cone would be photographed in place with the item which they are illustrating. The report that the investigator generates will correspond by listing the marker and the items; and any labels on the items to assist in identifying that particular item.
Just as they are depicted in the sketch the evidence markers should be placed so that they are facing in the same direction, for the series of photographs. This allows for a clear, organized, and easy to understand appearance.
In the above sketch simple adhesive backed letters or numbers add a clear, organized and easy to understand appearance to the sketch and in the series of photographs. With the use of dowel rods, lazier, or string will allow the investigator to track the projectile flight path. This should also give the investigator an idea of whether the door was in an open or closed position during the sequence of shots fired.
The illustration does not necessarily depict the sequence of the shots fired into the windshield. If the investigator is not trained to properly interpret the sequence the marking system is purely to depict the evidence as it is observed.
Hopefully these illustrations will assist you as you explore the many different uses of the evidence markers in documenting the crime scene.