Old fingerprints help solve heretofore unresolved crimes

Published 8 December 2008

A forensic scientist at Northamptonshire Police and the University of Leicester has helped detectives move a step closer to solving a murder case; the key: lifting fingerprints off bullets

Here is an interesting story about a new method to lift finger prints off bullets (yes, bullets): Dr. John Bond, scientific support manager at Northamptonshire Police and honorary research fellow at the University of Leicester Forensic Research Center, is tackling a murder case on America’s Most Wanted list. Using a revolutionary new forensic technique, Bond has found fingerprints on bullet casings used in the murder.

Bullet casings from the shooting — which took place in Texas on 9 December 2007 — have been analyzed by Bond using a method that enables scientists to visualize fingerprints even after the print itself has been removed. The casings were brought to the United Kingdom by Detective Tony Roten from the Crimes Against Persons Section — CID, North Richland Hills Police, Texas.

Detective Roten said: “We are very pleased with Dr. Bond’s work. There appears to be good fingerprints on one of the casings.”

Chris King, a detective from Kingsland Police Department, Georgia, recently visited the Force to see whether Bond could help with a 10-year old unsolved double homicide case. The initial findings — which identified a partial print — have enabled U.S. officers to eliminate suspects in the case.

Bond has been receiving calls from police forces from the United Kingdom and across the Atlantic asking for help with unsolved cases. Bond said: “I have now examined in excess of 100 shell casings in the past couple of months. This current case for Detective Roten would appear to be the best print we have so far been able to enhance. We are very pleased that we have been able to help Detective Roten with this inquiry.”