CJE 3762 Florida State University Forensics Lab Report

DescriptionBallistics: Virtual Lab
Introduction:
When cartridge shell casings are recovered from a crime scene, they are photographed and compared to
national databases to determine if these casings match any found at previously committed crimes. This allows
investigators to link a series of crimes to the same perpetrator.
Spent cartridge/shell casings can contain impressions that are crucial to firearms identification. During the
discharge of a firearm, the firing pin strikes the primer cap in the center ring of the bottom of the casing,
creating a distinct impression somewhat unique to that firearm. When a firearm is shot, the explosive force
pushes the bullet forward and the cartridge backward hitting the breechblock as it recoils. The breechblock
markings formed on the casing can be unique to a firearm.
In this activity, you will compare the firing pin impressions and markings of various shell casings in order to
identify a suspect in a spree of crimes (using photos at the end of this document).
Scenario:
Three suspects were apprehended and accused of armed robbery.
Empty shell casings were found at two different crime scenes
during the past month. Police test-fired the firearms belonging to
the suspects and compared the firing pin impression marks to the
empty shell casings that were found at the two crime scenes.
1. Look at the embedded casing marked Crime Scene 1. In the data table, record the manufacturer’s
mark and the caliber. Examine the breach face of the casing, including the damage to the primer cap.
Refer to the key below and note the location of the dent, the shape of the dent, and the relative depth of
the dent. Also, note any other scratches or dents on the breach face cause by recoil.
2. Examine the sidewall of the casing. Note any dents or scratches.
3. Look at the casing marked Suspect 1. In the data table, repeat steps 2 and 3 for this casing, recording
data in table. Repeat steps 2-4 for Suspect 2 and 3.
4. Compare all the markings with those on the Crime Scene casing. If all makings are the same size,
shape and in the same relative location, then you should declare a “match.” If any markings differ
between the two samples, you should declare “no match.”
5. Look at the embedded casing marked Crime Scene 2. In the data table, record the manufacturer’s
mark and the caliber. Examine the breach face of the casing, including the damage to the primer cap.
Refer to the key below and note the location of the dent, the shape of the dent, and the relative depth of
the dent. Also, note any other scratches or dents on the breach face cause by recoil.
6. Look at the casing marked Suspect 1. In the data table, repeat steps 2 and 3 for this casing, recording
data in table. Repeat steps 2-4 for Suspect 2 and 3.
7. Complete the Forensic Analysis Report.
Data Table:
Sample Manufacturer Caliber
Mark
Crime
Scene 1
Crime
Scene 2
Suspect
1
Suspect
2
Suspect
3
CRIME SCENE 1
Primer
#/
Dent
diameter Location
Primer Primer
Dent
Dent
Shape Relative
Depth
Other
damage to
breach face
or outside
casing
Type
of
Gun?
Is there a
match
with a
suspect?
CRIME SCENE 2
SUSPECT 1
SUSPECT 2
SUSPECT 3

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