Investigation Techniques of A Homicide

The O. J. Simpson double murder trial is perhaps the most publicized
case this decade. However, before the police can arrest Simpson and prosecute
him, they must investigate. The investigation techniques LAPD used are used all
over the world.

Patrol officers received a disturbance call at Nicole Simpson's
residence. They arrived on scene and discovered two bodies. They looked around
to see if the suspect is anywhere around then they checked to determine the two
subjects were dead. The officers immediately contacted the detectives on duty
and supervisors and then secured the area to ensure no contamination to the
scene. The officers' duties included making sure that no unauthorized people may
enter the scene. They also have to protect all possible evidences left by the
In the Simpson case, the officers did not do a very good job at securing
the scene. They had allowed unauthorized officers the go through the scene, thus
causing some contamination to the crime scene. This error had allowed the
defense to attack the creditability of the police department.

When the officers first arrived the scene, they saw two people lying in a
pool of blood. The officers did not know if they were dead and if they were, how
and when. After the medical examiner looked at the bodies and the wounds on the
victims, he concluded that they were stabbed to death. The time of death was a
bit harder to determine. Death caused some changes to the bodies. The
investigator looked at the changes and was able to estimate a time of death.
Some of the changes the examiners look for are: lost of body temperature,
rigor mortis, and postmortem lividity. The body temperature will start to
decrease after death. The body will also start to stiffen after death, this is
call rigor mortis. Rigor mortis usually starts to set in two to four hours after
death. Time of death can be estimated by the stiffness of the body. Another way
to estimate the time of death is postmortem lividity. When the body ceased to
function, gravity pulls the blood down and settled at the lowest points of the
body. Postmortem lividity may appear on the body between half hour to four hours
after death.
The determination of the time of death is important in a homicide
investigation. This information can give the police a viable suspect. It can
also break the suspect alibi.

There were numerous evidences at the residence of Nicole Simpson. There
were the bodies of both Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. There was a large amount
of blood of both victims. There were also shoe prints and other evidences. These
evidences could tell the investigators how the and where the victims were killed.
The importance of crime scene security is once again emphasized here. On the
bodies and the scene, there may be trace evidence from the suspect. These trace
evidences could help the investigators learn about the suspect. There might be
hair and clothe fibers transferred on to the victims by the suspect. These trace
evidences can tell what sex, age, and race of the suspect. If the scene was not
protected well against contamination, some of these trace evidences could be
The main evidences of this case are the bodies, blood, and the questionable
bloody glove. The bodies were searched thoroughly and removed. Then the scene
was searched for more obvious evidences and processed. Then trace evidences were
searched for and collected. Since most of the evidences had blood on them, the
were treated with extreme caution. The evidences were also collected in a paper
bag to prevent moisture build-up, hence ruining the evidences.

The first officers on the scene had taken some notes regarding the
murder case. The investigators made more detailed notes. They also made sketches
of the scene. They marked down where Nicole Simpson's body was and the patterns
which the blood splattered. They did the same thing with Ron Goldman's body. The
investigators also wrote down where every thing was found and marked them on
their sketches.
On their reports, there were the overall description of the scene, date
time and location, victims' description, and wounds of the victims. Numerous
photographs were taken as well. With all these information, the investigators
were able to reconstruct and estimate how the crime was committed. With the aid
of computers, LAPD reconstructed what might have happened with computer
Photographs were also very important. Every inch of that crime scene was
photographed. The pictures showed where everything was and the exact location of
the evidences. All these pictures and the sketches and reports were used in
court to help the prosecution.