Part of Lesson Plan: Blood Spatter - Understanding the Clues
Activity Overview / Details
Remember the case we opened with; Esther, Matilda and Sid? The clues were:
- Esther was holding the gun when the police arrived.
- Sid said that Esther shot Matilda.
- There was a crescent shaped laceration on Esther's forehead and blood on the back of her head in her hair.
- There was blood on the phone.
- There was blood on the brick fireplace.
- Sid had blood on his hands but no injury.
- Matilda was holding a bloody towel around her thigh where she had been shot.
The nature of the stains on the bricks and phone were smears. The curve of the ear piece matched the laceration on Esther's forehead. It was consistent with a fight where Esther was struck with the phone and later had her head struck against the bricks of the fireplace. The blood on Sid's hands was consistent with him holding something bloody such as Esther’s head.
Later we located additional bloodstains, typical of blood splashes, across Matilda’s lap and the arm of the couch she was sitting on. The point of origin of these stains was Matilda’s thigh where she was sitting when she was shot. The stains were therefore caused as the bullet exited Matilda’s thigh propelling blood across her lap and the couch. This was consistent with the gun being fired at an upwards angle from the floor.
Putting together the information deduced from analyzing the bloodstains it appeared that Sid struck Esther in the head with the telephone. Sid then knocked her to the floor and beat her head repeatedly against the brick fireplace hearth. Esther then fired the gun while lying on the floor. The bullet traveled upwards striking Matilda in the thigh. The bullet passed through her leg leaving the blood splash across her lap and couch.
Once we had removed Sid from the house and secured him in a police car we were able to confirm our observations by talking to Matilda. According to Matilda, Esther was using the living room phone when Sid walked in. Sid told her to get off the phone. Esther refused. Sid grabbed the phone and struck Esther in the forehead with it. They wrestled across the living room until Esther was knocked to the floor at the hearth. Sid grabbed her by the hair and began smashing her head into the bricks.
Esther's purse was nearby and there was a gun in it. She flailed around and her hands hit the purse. It spilled over and Esther grabbed the gun. In attempting to get her brother off of her, the gun discharged hitting Matilda in the thigh. Matilda's story was further confirmed by hair left on the bricks and the upwards path of the bullet through Matilda's leg.
Thanks to the careful, considered, analysis of the clues, detailed description and collection of evidence, and Matilda’s statement, Sid was arrested and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. The weapon was, of course, the bricks of the fireplace. The shooting of the mother was determined to be an accident that happened in the process of Esther trying to defend herself.