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Identification of Blood Prints on Fabric Using Amido Black and Digital Enhancement

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 50 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2000 Pages: 20-31
Patrick Warrick
Date Published
12 pages
Blood prints were developed on cotton fabric (sheet from the victim's bed) using amido black and digital enhancement and were ultimately matched to a suspect in a homicide case.
After developing the prints on cotton fabric with amido black, several images of ridge detail were captured by using a Kodak DCS 420 color digital camera. High- angle tungsten illumination was used to help eliminate shadows in the weave pattern. The images were then acquired into a digital image tracking computer program called MOREHITS. The system encrypts sensitive case data that are saved into the program. The image itself is not encrypted or altered in any way. In the end, the user has an original image with encrypted data and one or more enhanced versions of that original with any accompanying encrypted enhancement data. King County (Washington State) latent examiners contacted the Kirkland Police detectives and advised them that several identifiable latents had been developed on the sheet. For comparison purposes, the police provided the names of five male suspects who lived in the apartment complex where the murder at issue had occurred; all suspects had prior violent criminal histories. A latent palm print from the foot of the victim's bed sheet matched one suspect's right hand, and a latent fingerprint from the head of the bed sheet matched the right middle finger of the same suspect. After the defendant was convicted for murder in the first degree, his appeal was based on the contention that the trial court erred in admitting the digitally enhanced latent images after conducting a Frye hearing. The Washington State Court of Appeals reviewed the case and affirmed the conviction. 6 figures and 9 references