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Forensic Evidence in Homicide Investigations and Prosecutions

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 60 Issue: 5 Dated: September 2015 Pages: 1188-1198
Tom McEwen; Wendy Regoeczi
Date Published
September 2015
11 pages
This article adds to the literature by providing the results of a study of 294 homicide cases (315 victims) occurring in Cleveland, Ohio, between 2008 and 2011.
Even though forensic evidence is collected at virtually every homicide scene, only a few studies have examined its role in investigation and prosecution. Using a logistic regression on open versus closed homicide cases, the current study found that the collection of knives, administration of gunshot residue (GSR) kits, and clothing at the scene were positively and significantly related to case closures, but collection of ballistics evidence and DNA evidence were statistically significant in the opposite direction. With regard to analysis, the clearance rate for cases with probative results (i.e., matches or exclusions) was 63.1 percent compared to a closure rate of 56.3 percent for cases without probative results; however, only 23 cases had probative results prior to arrest compared to 128 cases with probative results after arrest. (Publisher abstract modified)