Read this fictional crime case study, review the related sample evidence, victim information and suspect information, and conclude by answering the seven related questions.

 

The Mysterious Death of Scott Jameson


The burned interior of Scott Jameson’s car.

Background

Late one summer night, an anonymous 911 phone call came in around 3 a.m. reporting a vehicle fire.  The vehicle had exploded after crashing to the bottom of a deep ravine.  After a fire department crew put out the fire, the burned remains of an adult male were found in the car wreckage. 

As a precautionary measure, homicide detectives were called to the scene because the cause of the crash is somewhat suspicious.  No other vehicles were involved, road conditions were good, and the tire tread marks leading into the ravine indicated that the car was moving at a fairly slow speed.

Evidence

An autopsy and dental record analysis indicate that the victim is a 24-year-old male named Scott Jameson.  Scott died from smoke inhalation and the severe burns he suffered in the fire that occurred in his car.  However, the Medial Examiner told police that Scott had a large 10 cm gash on the side of his neck, and because of the severe burns he suffered, it could not be confirmed whether the injury occurred before or during the crash.  Also, tests indicate that Scott’s blood alcohol concentration was 70mg% at the time of his death.  Another notable discovery at his autopsy was the presence of numerous animal hairs imbedded in the melted plastic of the inside of the long rain coat Scott was wearing in the car.  (See evidence #1 below.) Unfortunately, no clear fingerprints could be lifted from this piece of physical evidence.

Raincoat

Hair sample taken from the rain coat

After interviewing members of Scott’s immediate family, police learned that he ran a successful used car dealership.  His only brother, Bob Jameson, stated that Scott lived alone, with no pets.  He thought Scott was suffering from depression due to the recent death of his father, and his impending divorce from Annie Franklin.  Investigators found from Scott’s only sister, Tanyia Jameson, that tension existed among the siblings over the inheritance of money from their father’s estate.

Shortly after Scott’s death, investigators went to his house and discovered a handwritten suicide letter.  (See evidence #2.) 

The letter appeared to have been written by Scott.  Forensic fingerprint analysis of the letter found two individual thumb prints on the letter.  (See evidence #3.)

During the search of Scott’s house, investigators noticed that the carpets in the living room were damp and had apparently been cleaned.  There were no visible stains on the carpet surface, but when the police pulled back the carpet, they discovered several circular stains and one larger stain on the underside of the carpet, which appeared to be blood stains.  They conducted a simple test to confirm that it is blood; they later seized the carpet for further analysis.  (See evidence #4). All of the blood evidence on the carpet was found to be blood type A+.

In Scott’s bathroom, investigators found small dark specks on a portion of the wall.  Testing confirmed that they were blood stains.  They collected as much of this blood as possible and took it for testing.  (See evidence #5.)  Because the bathroom appeared to be quite clean, a test was conducted to enhance blood that has been cleaned up.  This confirmed that many circular droplets of blood were recently cleaned from the floor and sink. All of the blood evidence in the bathroom was found to be blood type AB+.

The Victim - Scott Jameson

Blood type A+, no pets owned

Handwriting Sample:

Suspect #1 - Tanya Jameson, Scott's sister

Blood type B+, owns 2 cats

Suspect #2 - Bob Jameson, Scott's brother

Blood type AB+, dog owner

Suspect #3 - Annie Franklin, Scott's ex-wife

Blood type O-, dog owner

DNA Evidence

Carpet sample (mtDNA)

Bathroom sample (nuclear DNA)

Related questions  (18 marks)

  1. What type of animal hairs was found in Scott’s coat?  (1 mark)
  2. What technique was used by investigators to enhance the fingerprints on the suicide letter found at Scott’s house?  (1 mark)
  3. Name the fingerprint patterns left on the suicide letter and state who they likely belonged to.  (4 marks)
  4. Was Scott’s blood alcohol level above or below the legal limit in Canada?  (1 mark)
  5. What tests did investigators likely use to confirm that the dark specks on the bathroom wall were blood and to enhance the cleaned up blood in the bathroom?(2 marks)
  6. Explain why an mtDNA analysis was done on the blood found on the carpet while a nuclear DNA analysis was done on the blood found in the bathroom.  (4 marks)
  7. Who was responsible for Scott Jameson’s death?  Justify your choice using at least four pieces of evidence.  (5 marks)

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