What Are the Different Types of Murder Evidence?

Renee Booker

Murder is often the most difficult crime to prove because the victim is unable to testify, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. With the advances in forensic science, however, during the the 20th century, a victim can provide a number of clues and murder evidence for law enforcement to use in apprehending and convicting the perpetrator. Among the various types of murder evidence are: fingerprint and impression evidence; blood, semen, hair, and other biological evidence; eyewitness or videotape evidence; and documentary evidence.

Fingerprints are one type of murder evidence.
Fingerprints are one type of murder evidence.

Fingerprints can be an excellent piece of murder evidence because no two sets of fingerprints are the same. Along with fingerprints, many other things can leave impressions that can be used as murder evidence, such as shoes or tires. Forensic experts are often able to take a cast made from an impression of a shoe or tire and determine what type of tire or shoe made the impression. An analysis of a shoe impression can often give investigators additional information, such as the shoe size and weight of the person wearing the shoe.

Evidence from the perpetrator is often left behind at a murder scene.
Evidence from the perpetrator is often left behind at a murder scene.

When a murder is committed, evidence from the perpetrator is frequently left behind. This is particularly true if a struggle ensued during the crime. As a result, murder evidence in the form of blood, hair, semen, or even nail clippings is often present at the crime scene or found on the body of the victim. Because much of the biological evidence found in a murder investigation consists of evidence that is unique to an individual, it can be the key to solving a murder or securing a conviction at trial.

An eyewitness may be able to identify the defendant as the offender in court.
An eyewitness may be able to identify the defendant as the offender in court.

Eyewitness evidence is clearly valuable in a murder investigation. While, in some cases, a witness may have been close enough to positively identify the suspect, it is more likely that an eye witness can only give general identifying information, such as height, weight, race, and sex. In today's digital age where there appear to be cameras on every corner, there is often video evidence that can be used to identify or rule out a suspect in a murder case as well.

Proof of murder has been referred to as a "smoking gun."
Proof of murder has been referred to as a "smoking gun."

Documentary evidence is often helpful in a murder case to provide a motive or to place a defendant in the area at the time of the murder. Financial gain is one of the most popular motives for a murder, which makes financial records prime murder evidence. Records of financial transaction, such as paying for something or withdrawing money at an ATM with a credit or bank card, can also place the suspect near the murder scene, or prove that the suspect was somewhere else at the time of the murder.

A fingerprinting kit is commonly used to examine evidence from crime scenes.
A fingerprinting kit is commonly used to examine evidence from crime scenes.
DNA is a type of physical evidence that is considered highly reliable.
DNA is a type of physical evidence that is considered highly reliable.

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Discussion Comments

ysmina

Not just shoe size and impression, even the dirt or mud on a person's shoe can be evidence for a murder case. For example, it can show that someone was present at the murder site.

fify

DNA has to be one of the most important types of evidence in solving murders, if not the most important. DNA testing was not possible in the 90s. So when there was a piece of evidence like a strand of hair or a piece of skin tissue, only basic and unreliable tests could be used to compare them with a suspect's. Unfortunately, some of the decisions reached in murder cases before the 2000s were inaccurate for this reason.

Today, if the DNA of the murderer matches a suspect's, then it's definite that this is the killer. I think the exact percentage is 99.999% accuracy, but that's the closest it gets to a definite. And it's possible to determine DNA from any bodily substance, including dandruff! I think that's quite amazing.

candyquilt

Despite there being so many different types of evidence that the police can use to solve a murder in this era, it is unbelievable that in some cases, the guilty are not brought to justice because of evidence tampering and destruction. This doesn't happen as frequently in developed countries, but it is a serious social and legal problem in some developing countries.

Sometimes even though there was plenty of evidence to prove someone's guilt in the beginning, much of the evidence is destroyed, hidden or changed by the time the court can see a case. This is especially true in countries where the judicial system moves at the pace of a snail.

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