The Forensic Crime Scene

The Forensic Crime Scene

Collected and properly stored, it could become contaminated, lost or tampered with causing the evidence to be thrown out of court if it even makes it that far. After taping off the scene, investigators will collect any evidence found around the crime scene. All fingerprints, DNA samples and objects will be sealed and tagged for transport to the forensic lab. If a body is involved, the body is not moved until a coroner arrives and does a primary examination of the body. Then the body is bagged and transported.


The autopsy will tell the cause of death, time of death, manner of death, any evidence of marks on the body and then it is stored. This was not the case in the Laci Peterson murder. Scott Peterson, her husband was convicted of killing his pregnant wife and disposing of the body. Forensic science could not determine the exact cause of death. Laci disappeared December 2002, her body was not found until April 14, 2003, and the unborn baby was from April 13, 2003 about three miles from where her husband had said he had been fishing.


The bodies were badly decomposed and the autopsy could not pinpoint the cause of death, but DNA proved that the baby was Conner and the female was Laci Peterson. The autopsy did prove that Laci has three broken ribs prior to her death. The only forensic evidence found was a hair of Laci’s on a plier in Scott’s boat. The conviction of Scott Peterson was circumstantial more than it was based on forensic evidence.


Because Scott was not a suspect in his wife’s death, key pieces of evidence in the home, boat, garage and other places may have been missed. If he had been suspected, it is possible that investigators could have found forensic evidence connecting Scott to the murders. In any case, Scott Peterson was convicted on key witness information and sentenced to death. Scott is appealing.


If the court grants the appeal against the conviction because no forensic evidence directly connects Scott Peterson to the murder of his wife and baby, he could stand a chance of being released. There is a need for forensic evidence in a criminal act. If the case stands only on circumstantial evidence, it may not be enough for a conviction. In some cases, it is, but not all.


Forensic science told investigators that the baby, Conner, was not a full term baby. Even though the defense speculated that he was full term to draw suspicion away from Scott and more at a kidnapper. A hydrologist that studies tides could not precisely, but only probably say how the tide was flowing when Laci disappeared.  More forensic science, but it did not confirm anything that pointed at Scott Peterson.