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Forensics On Trial -

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There is a crisis
in forensic science.

The most trusted crime-fighting tools

responsible for hundreds of thousands
of convictions...

may not be as bulletproof
as once thought.

There's a laundry list
of forensic techniques

that are now scrutinised.

Fingerprints may not be
as unique as we thought.

Nobody's ever questioned
fingerprints before.

And decades-old techniques
like blood spatter analysis

and bite mark comparisons...

are being exposed
as more art than science.

Killers are walking free

and innocent people
are going to prison.

I don't belong here. I'm innocent.

Can new technologies help put
the science back in forensic science?

Now, researchers
and crime-scene investigators

into the not-so-distant future

where avatar detectives

enter murder scenes
to witness the moment of death.

We can see the body
on the floor.

Forensic engineers
make identifications

from fingerprints of glass.

And coroners conduct
virtual autopsies,

pealing back layers of 3D victims...

exposing once-undetectable evidence
of murder.

March 11, 2004.

7.30 a.m. Rush hour.

Ten bombs rip through Madrid's
crowded commuter trains.

191 people are killed,
more than 1800 wounded.

It is the worst terror attack
in Spain's history

and bears the hallmarks of al-Qaeda.

The scale of these attacks
has horrified Spain.

Soft targets chosen,
no warnings given...

The international manhunt
that follows

triggers a crisis
in forensic science

that will shake it
to its very foundation.

..knew about the shoddy work
of the FBI special agent.

Forensic techniques trusted by police
for over 100 years

are shown to be
dangerously flawed.

Served 18 years in prison
for a murder he did not commit.

Killers are walking free

while innocent people
are sent to prison

and even Death Row.

This was a gross perversion
of justice. The investigation
to find the Madrid bomber

sends shockwaves
through the forensic community...

And it all starts here...

in a commuter parking lot
10 stations away

from where the bomb went off.

Spanish police find a van.

Inside is a blue plastic bag
containing bomb-making materials.

It could be a huge break.

It's possible fingerprints have been
left behind on the bag itself.

The idea that every person's
fingerprint is unique

has been a foundation
of forensic investigation

for over 100 years.

But this case
poses a potential challenge.

The lines and ridges
that form the distinctive patterns

of fingerprints left on evidence

are created from sweat and oil.

A print left on plastic,
like the bag recovered in Madrid,

can be easily wiped off
or distorted.

Mark Acre is a former FBI
fingerprint analyst.

Plastic bags by their
very nature are non-porous.

The fingerprint is sitting
on that surface.

Then it's very vulnerable
to being smeared or smudged.

But there are established ways
to recover prints

from non-porous surfaces.

Evidence ranging from gun handles,
to keys, to plastic bags,

are placed
in an airtight chamber.

Inside, a chemical
called cyanoacrylate -

more commonly known
as superglue...

is heated up.

Its vapours coat the sweat and oil
of the print

with a sticky, white residue,
making the print visible.

But it does have limitations.

Superglue chemically alters
the lines of sweat and oil

and can even obscure details
of a print's unique pattern.

Using this method,

Spanish investigators recover
a partial print on the bag.

They rush digital photos
to forensic labs across the globe,

including the FBI.

Examiners first need to determine
if there are enough lines

and details in the ridges
for a clear comparison.

Ridge details are broken down
into distinctive shapes...

like dots,
that look like islands...

where ridgelines terminate...

and intersecting lines
called bifurcations.

From the Madrid bomber's print,

the FBI is able to zero in on seven
unique traits for comparison.

Now they look for a match.

They take the image,
they encode it

and then it's launched
against this database.

From over 47 million criminals,

federal employees,
military personnel,

and people
of national security interest,

the FBI's supercomputer
identifies 20 prints

that contain some
of the same distinctive traits

as the Madrid print.

Examiners require that 12 unique
traits correspond to declare a match.

The FBI identifies
one of the 20 prints

that actually shares 15 traits

in common with the one
found in Madrid.

It comes from the left index finger
of this man...

a 37-year-old
former US army lieutenant...

and a convert to Islam...

Brandon Mayfield.

As a lawyer now living
in Portland, Oregon,

Mayfield recently represented
a convicted terrorist.

The FBI sneaks into his home
while he's at work...

taps his phones...

collects samples for DNA...

and watches his wife and children.

On May 6, 2004

just two months after the bombing,

the FBI moves in.

They pushed their way
into my office.

They took my hands behind my back

I didn't know what they
were searching and arresting me for.

They never told me.

This fingerprint match sparks the
arrest of American Brandon Mayfield

as the bomber responsible
for the murder of nearly 200 people -

Spain's 9/11.

A fingerprint
top counter-terrorism officials

now tell 'Newsweek' magazine
is a, quote,

"absolutely incontrovertible match

"to Portland attorney
Brandon Mayfield."

Mayfield insists on his innocence.

He hires his own fingerprint analyst
to testify at a pre-trial hearing.

The expert's testimony
is not what Mayfield expects.

He said "It's a match."

That's when I knew
the train to a death penalty

had just pulled
out of the station.

Federal agents take Mayfield
back to jail to await trial.


Hours later... half a world away

Spanish investigators
make a stunning discovery

that changes Brandon Mayfield's life.

I was told
that the Spanish police had found

that this fingerprint
belonged to an Algerian...

that it wasn't me. Heh...

Spanish police determine that the
fingerprint belongs to this man...

Ouhnane Daoud, a known terrorist.

News from Spain.

A fingerprint found on a bag
linked to the Madrid train attacks

belongs to an Algerian national,
not Brandon Mayfield.

Mayfield is released from jail
after 15 days.

Now the question
on everyone's mind is

how could
this misidentification happen?

It's a question
that will eventually make its way

to the United States Congress.

The similarity between Mayfield's
print and the bomber's is undeniable.

It challenges a century-old pillar
of forensic science,

that no two prints are identical.

We always assumed that fingerprints
are very, very unique.

But what the Mayfield case
demonstrates is

that parts of a fingerprint
can be so similar

it's possible for two people

to be identified
to one latent print.

The US Congress calls on
the National Academy of Sciences,

the nation's most prestigious
research institution,

to conduct an investigation

into all forensic technologies
and techniques.

In July 2009
they release their report.

In short, they find,
there's not enough science

in forensic science.

The big news was that
forensic science was fractured...

Jessica Gabel is a professor of law

and frequently lectures
on the NAS findings.

It lacks the rigours,
the standards,

the quality controls and procedures
that we find usually in science

and in that light,

can sometimes contribute

to wrongful convictions.

The Madrid bomber case
is a perfect storm of forensic flaws.

Only a partial print is recovered
on a plastic surface

and that is eventually distorted.

There is also a surprising similarity
between parts of Mayfield's print

and the real bomber's.

Together these could have led
to the conviction of an innocent man.

Can modern science prevent this
from happening again?

The answer is deceptively simple.

Examiners need a way to expose

more of fingerprints'
unique details.

I was talking to Dr Shaler...

Akhlesh Lakhtakia
and his team

at Penn State University's
Materials Research Institute

are eyeing a new technology
that promises to do just that.

His project got wings...

from a fly.

A fly's ability to elude capture
fascinated Lakhtakia

since he was a boy.

Before you can approach the fly,

the fly has seen you somehow
or the other, and has flown off.

Lakhtakia wonders if the structure
of the fly's eye

gives it a unique ability
to see predators approaching

from all angles.

To find out, he turns to
an ultra-thin material called CTF -

columnar thin film -

to make an impression of the minutest
contours of the fly's cornea.

Each square inch of the film contains
billions of glass bristles.

It forms a layer 200 times thinner
than a sheet of paper.

When it coats the fly's eye,

the bristles conform
to every peak and valley.

The result is
that microscopic nooks and crannies

show up
in stunning three-dimensional detail.

The technology
isn't helping Lakhtakia catch flies.

But it does give him an idea
for how to catch criminals.

Could this technology be used
to get the same incredible detail

from a fingerprint?

This film would reproduce
the topographic features,

the geography if you will,
of the ridges in the fingerprint.

If CTF can capture a fingerprint,
it could revolutionise forensics.

But will it work?

The team places a fingerprint
on a glass slide.

The slide is loaded into a chamber
called a thermal evaporator.

Inside the evaporator,

the fingerprint is sprayed
with a microscopically thin layer

of vaporised glass.

Unlike superglue,

the glass does not chemically alter

the oils that form the print.

After about 30 minutes
the glass bristles harden

into an ultra-thin film

that preserves minute details.

Even with the naked eye

the CTF print reveals ridges

that would be missing
in a superglue print.

With the new technique,
the ridges are far more prominent.

You can see creases.
Like this is a crease.

This is a crease.
This is another crease.

Under a microscope, there are
exponentially more ridgelines.

With this technique
examiners in the Madrid bombing case

could have had more points
for comparison

and a better chance to match
the fingerprint to the real bomber.

The CTF fingerprint technique
is currently being reviewed

for use in the field.

But fingerprint analysis is not alone
on the list of forensic disciplines

currently under the microscope.

There's a laundry list
of forensic techniques

that are now scrutinised
based on the NAS report -

bite mark evidence,

footwear impressions.

There's no real science behind it

as much as it's just trying
to match patterns.

And if that matching process
goes bad...

people's lives are changed forever.


SONG: # It's time for giving # And sharing hope
for what the future brings # Scratch and be merry # It's Christmas time
just for happiness... # VOICEOVER:
Make Christmas more Christmassy with the festive range
from Instant Scratch-Its.

May 23, 1991.

2.10 a.m.

In a rural community
outside Syracuse, New York

police and fire-fighters
rush to a blaze at a farmhouse.

Flames shooting
up the front of the house.

Beautiful big two-story farmhouse.

The occupant of the home, 49-year-old
Sabina Kulakowski, is missing.

I took one deputy
and we went up this laneway.

Worked our way up to about here.

She was nude.

Just about totally covered
with blood.

She'd been stabbed numerous times.

A distinctive bruise
catches his eye.

We notice a bite mark
on the side of the body.

But it gets worse.

At the autopsy
Ecker sees bite marks on her breast,

belly, and back.

We discovered that there
was at least four more sets

of bite marks.

These marks could be the key
to identifying Sabina's killer. Dr Lowell Levine is a leading expert
on forensic dentistry.

The teeth cause
a pattern injury in skin.

The person will actually close
their teeth down on some tissue.

So a bite mark is really a bruise.

And it's basically a bruise
with patterning.

Bite mark forensics
is based on the idea

that everyone's teeth
create distinctive patterns.

To find a match, forensic dentists,
or odontologists,

make a wax impression
of a suspect's teeth.

Then they try to match the pattern
made by the size, shape, and spacing

of the teeth on the wax impression

to a photo of the bruise
on the skin of the victim.

What we're basically doing
is looking

for similar characteristics
in similar locations.

In the murder of Sabina Kulakowski,

it doesn't take long to find
a suspect to compare for a match.

Investigators learn
that six days before the murder,

a hard-drinking 31-year-old
is released from prison.

His name is Roy Brown.

After a Cayuga County NY
social service agency

takes away his daughter,
he threatens a massacre.

What was said was
"What do you want?

"Do you want me to come down there
and open up on you all with an Uzi?"

Sabina Kulakowski worked at the
Cayuga County social service agency.

Police interviews with Brown's
ex-wives reveal a bombshell.

When he gets mad...

he bites.

Brown denies involvement
in the killing.

I gave them all kinds of samples
to show it's not me...

I gave them all kinds
of hair samples, saliva samples,

blood samples, you name it.

He allows authorities to take
a wax impression of his teeth.

It reveals a distinctive pattern.

Brown is missing two teeth.

This leaves wide gaps
in the wax impression.

The bruise on the victim
should have the same gaps

that correspond
to Brown's missing teeth.

But it only has a gap
on the right side.

It appears Brown's teeth
don't match the evidence.

The forensic odontologist
examines the bite pattern evidence.

He thinks it shows
that Brown bit down

and, like a pit bull, twisted
his mouth into the victim's skin,

obscuring any gap on the left side.

Based on his interpretation
of the bite marks,

he declares a match.

Police charge Brown
with first-degree murder.

I said "You're making
a serious mistake.

"It ain't my teeth, man."

And they says, "Well, we got
confidence in our dentist."

And that was it.

A jury finds Roy Brown guilty.

He's sentenced to 25 years to life.

Brown spends the next 15 years in
jail trying to prove his innocence.

I don't belong here, you know.
I'm innocent.

I turned my cell into an office,
became my own attorney.

Brown pores over
every scrap of evidence.

11 years into his sentence

he finds a clue.

It's a statement taken
from one of the fire-fighters

on the night of the murder.

The fire-fighter's name
is Barry Bench.

He's the former brother-in-law
of the victim...

They were fighting over her
possession of his family's farmhouse.

Transcripts reveal
that police questioned Bench

on his whereabouts
the night of the murder.

Brown finds something suspicious
in Bench's statement.

He says "I left
my 1983 Datsun Century car

"and went to Jake's Tavern.

"I stayed there
until 12.30 or 1 o'clock."

Bench states he then drove home.

But to Brown,
something doesn't add up.

He has to drive right by
his family farm,

the house that's in flames.

You're gonna tell me
in the dark night

a gigantic ball of fire that big
is just burning away

and he doesn't notice it or stop
or anything... and he's a fireman.

Brown sends Bench a letter
on December 24, 2003.

He accuses Bench of murder.

"Well, Christmas is tomorrow.

"My gift to you is, mark my words,

"they will eventually find out
about your guilt.

"Have a merry Christmas but
don't count on a happy new year."

And I sent it out to him.
And I got a hell of a response.

Five days later, Barry Bench lays
down in front of an Amtrak train.

Police become suspicious
and decide to compare Bench's DNA

to saliva recovered on the victim's
T-shirt found at the crime scene.

They match...

with almost 100 per cent certainty.

Still, the judge believes that the
bite mark evidence is strong enough

to keep Brown in prison.

There is only one way for Brown
to prove his innocence.

Exhume Bench's body...

and compare his teeth
to the marks left on the victim.

The case is assigned
to Dr Lowell Levine

at the New York State
Forensic Science Unit in Albany.

He faces two key questions.

Did Roy Brown do it?
And if not, who did?

First Levine reviews the forensic
evidence that convicted Roy Brown.

He compares the bite marks
on Sabina Kulakowski

to the wax impression
of Brown's teeth.

I can positively tell you,
Roy Brown didn't cause the bite mark

on the skin.

There is no way that Roy Brown could
have caused this area in here.

While the right side
of the bite mark has a space,

the left side does not.

The bite mark evidence
used to convict Roy Brown

was based
on an implausible interpretation.

It is impossible to get a marking
if you don't have a tooth.

Forensic bite mark evidence
is more art than it is science.

There is a lot of varied
interpretation that goes into that.

One thing is clear.

Roy Brown did not murder
Sabina Kulakowski.


Oh, my God!

After 15 years in prison

47-year-old Roy Brown
is finally released.

He sues the state of New York
and wins 2.6 million dollars.

What about Barry Bench? Levine examines the teeth
from Barry Bench's disinterred jaw.

But there's a problem.

Trauma from the train injury

and body decomposition
from being buried

limits Levine's ability
to make a bite mark analysis.

By looking at what
we were able to find on Mr Bench

I can only tell you it's possible.

He could have caused
the bite marks on Ms Kulakowski.

Barry Bench's
badly deteriorated remains

prevent Levine from making
a more definitive match.

The Sabina Kulakowski murder case
is still open to this day.

So what if there were a way
to perfectly preserve evidence,

including bodies....

and be able to access
and examine them in a pristine state

no matter how much time passes?

In Sweden that's already happening.

The corpse inside this body bag
may be the victim of a crime.

It's what police suspect
but have no way to prove.

That's the job of Dr Anders Persson
and his team.

They're about to perform an autopsy.

But this is no
ordinary cut-open-the-cadaver job.

In Sweden's Center for Medical Image
Science and Visualization

this man is about to be sliced up
in a virtual autopsy.

It begins inside this CT scanner.

It's like an x-ray on steroids.

Regular x-rays
scan just the outline of bones.

But CT scans use a rotating x-ray.

It takes 12 images per second...

creating cross-sectional slices
of bone,

thinner than a dime.

These image slices
are stacked side by side,

forming a stunning picture
of a body's skeleton.

Dr Persson's team also scans the body
through an MRI

to search for evidence
of damage to organs.

MRIs create a map
of the body's tissue,

slice by slice, using powerful
magnets and pulsing radio waves.

The victim is never removed
from the body bag.

With the click of a mouse,
the covering can be made invisible

to get a virtual peek inside.

What we're seeing here is
the cadaver inside of the body bag.

Right here is the zipper
of the body bag, which is metal.

we have made everything else, the
plastic of the bag is transparent.

The team merges the CT and MRI data

to produce a 3D model
of the suspected murder victim.

Now the virtual autopsy begins.

I can use a virtual knife
and go into the body.

We get rid of the soft tissue,

then I look for small fractures
in the skeletons

and for small bleedings.

Some of these fractures
and other evidence

are invisible to the naked eye.

The most critical are gases.

Gas is a huge problem
when we do a normal autopsy.

We can't see it.

Gases escape the body

as it's cut open
in a standard autopsy.

But in the virtual corpse,
Dr Persson can punch through the skin

without releasing gases.

If he finds trapped gases inside

it could be a tell-tale sign
of strangulation.

When you try to strangulate someone,
you squeeze your hands.

The pressure in the lungs goes up.

The pressure in the trachea goes up,

and the air goes out
in the soft tissue.

Normally, air flows directly up
and down the throat or trachea.

But when a victim is strangled
the air is cut off

and the pressure forces air outside
the walls of the throat.

In the virtual autopsy
gases show up as blue.

Dr Persson uses his digital scalpel
to get a closer look.

In the soft tissue
outside the trachea

he sees something suspicious.

He calls Detective Conny Petterson,

one of Sweden's
federal crime-scene investigators.

There shouldn't be blue colour
outside a trachea.

That's not normal and seems
that it could be a strangulation.

The virtual autopsy may have
uncovered clues to a murder.

This technology
is proving so effective,

Dr Persson and his team at Sweden's
nearby Interactive Institute

are designing a portable application.

Called the Virtual Autopsy Table,

it's putting digital slice-and-dice
at their fingertips.

When it comes
to medical visualisation

the user interaction design
is really important.

What you want is a easy to use
and simple system.

It's like a giant iPad.

Designer Thomas Rydell
uses simple hand gestures

to peel back skin,
arteries or bone.

It fulfils the very meaning
of the Greek word 'autopsia'...

"to see for oneself".

Right now we're looking at a woman
who had a ruptured aneurism

in the brain

and then by rotating,
we can look inside the brain...

So by just using simple gestures

you can control really advanced
and huge medical data.

And the team has created
a dynamic way

to share investigations visually...

virtual autopsies in 3D.

I can see a future
when it will be a very powerful tool

to show the findings
in front of a jury

or also during the investigation.

No matter how long ago the crime,

investigators will see the dead
as clearly as the day they died.

I thinks this
could be another case...

But incredible as this technology is,

many of the most trusted
forensic disciplines

And with interpretation comes error.

Human error touches
every aspect of forensic science

because every aspect
of forensic science

requires a human interpretation.

Dr Robert Shaler founded
the forensics program at Penn State.

He led the DNA identification
of the victims of 9/11

at the World Trade Center.

He is also one of the authors of the
National Academy of Sciences report.

I have to begin to question
my own training,

things that I've believed
my entire career.

I agree
with the National Academy report.

We need to look at the scientific
basis of these determinations.

One area he is working to improve
is blood pattern analysis,

an important and frequently used tool
for crime-scene investigators.

Shaler created this "blood cottage."

Here he simulates crimes,

then applies rigorous analysis
to the bloody mess.

He hits me,
picks up a baseball bat...

But this is difficult evidence
to interpret.

He hits me a second time.
There's blood spatter on the wall.

Shaler and his colleagues
invent violent scenarios

of bashes and slashes.

Using sheep's blood,
Shaler and his partner in crime,

Ralph Ristenbatt,

carefully recreate a blood pattern
from a knife wound to the neck...

and an impact blow
from a baseball bat,

using a stand-in for a human skull -

the severed head of a pig.

Best thing short
of actually hitting somebody.

Blood splatter seems helter-skelter
to the untrained eye

but blood forms patterns
in several ways...

drips from wounds,

pools from blood
draining from the body,

the result of impact blows...

and spurts from severed arteries.

Examiners can use this evidence
to recreate a crime step by step...

and it can even tell them
the type of murder weapon used.

Because knives has very thin edges

they have a tendency to produce
these kinds of patterns.

So what we see here is an elongated
droplet with a very thin point.

We know that's it's going
from left to right

because it's pointing
in the direction that it's moving.

So what we'd like to do now
is to...

Now Shaler brings in
future crime scene investigators

to interpret the bloody mess.

That interpretation
can mean the difference

between a suspect's innocence
or guilt. We can see that there are bubbles
in the blood,

which indicates
that there's saliva in with it,

which makes it seem that it came
from the person's mouth.

And analysing the angle
of the blood marks

can help investigators pinpoint
the location of each impact.

So we can infer
that this came first

and then as the body fell
to its final resting place

there was a second blow...

and then the pool of blood.

Investigators reverse engineer
from the pool of blood

to reconstruct the story
of the crime -

exactly where the struggle
took place,

how many times the victim was hit,
what kind of weapon was used

and the step-by-step
movements of the killer.

But even the best-trained analyst
can misread that story,

especially if the evidence itself
is compromised.

It's an alarmingly common problem,

which the NAS says is caused by a
lack of standard forensic practices.

Nowhere has this issue
received more attention

than in one notorious case
cited in their report...

On June 13, 1994

about 12.10 a.m.,

in an upscale Los Angeles

these bloody paw prints of a dog

lead police to the site
of a horrific crime scene.

Detectives discover the body
of a woman in a black dress.

Her throat is slit so deeply,

her head is nearly decapitated.

It is Nicole Brown Simpson,

the estranged wife
of football legend OJ Simpson.

Her friend, Ronald Goldman,
lies nearby,

stabbed more than 20 times.

Making sense of this crime scene
is a challenge.

And this investigation is compromised
before it even starts.

Dozens of police and reporters
roam through the crime scene...

smearing the blood and tracking it
with their feet.

The forensic team
finds several shoe prints,

but there's no way to tell
which prints belong to police

and which belong to the killer.

Renowned forensic investigator

Dr Henry Lee is one of the expert
witnesses during the trial.

He believes
any blood pattern evidence found

at this murder scene
is rendered useless.

Once you step on the bloodstain,
you change the pattern now.

The contamination of the crime scene
and evidence only gets worse.

Just before 5 a.m.

detectives race
to OJ Simpson's home,

two miles away.

Simpson is not there.

A house guest lets police in.

In OJ's bedroom
they find crucial evidence...

this pair of dark socks.

Forensic examiners at the LAPD
find four bloodstains on the socks.

Two located near the calf area,

one is the ankle area

and other one near the toe area.

Through DNA,
a person's genetic fingerprint,

the lab finds
that three of the bloodstains

belong to OJ Simpson.

And the fourth
belongs to Nicole Simpson.

That's very crucial for the case.

Because that's a direct linkage.

Put the OJ Simpson, suspect,
socks at the scene,

and victim's blood
somehow transfer to the socks.

DNA, when properly analysed,

is the most scientifically sound
forensic evidence.

Matching a suspect's DNA to evidence
like blood found at a crime scene

gives police
near statistical certainty

that they have the right person.

DNA is based on hard science.

There's chemistry,
there is biology,

there's math involved with it.

The NAS report singled out DNA
as this pillar

of what the other parts
of forensic science should inspire

and ascribe to be.

Nicole Brown Simpson's DNA

found on the socks in OJ's bedroom

is crucial evidence used to link him
to the crime.

Police arrest him for the double
murders of Nicole Brown Simpson

and Ronald Goldman.

Simpson's trial lasts
more than nine months...

the longest in California history.

Jurors make their decision
in just four hours.

We the jury
in the above-entitled action

find the defendant
Orenthal James Simpson

not guilty of the crime of murder

and violation
of Penal Code Section 187...

It is a stunning,
and some say shocking, verdict.

DNA on the sock irrefutably links
Simpson to the victim.

Even Dr Henry Lee, Simpson's defence
team's chief forensic scientist,

admits that.

So how did the jury
find him not guilty?

The OJ case really revealed
the problems that can happen

before the evidence
ever gets to the lab.

The OJ defence team casts doubt
on nearly every piece of evidence,

Illustrating how police contaminated
the crime scene.

And suggesting even worse -

actually planting evidence
to frame Simpson.

Dr Lee points out clothing the LAPD
presented from Simpson's bedroom.

Well, let's bring two picture up.

You see a suspender.

And the suspender actually run
over the end of the bed

near the box spring.

But you have a second picture,

the suspender actually stopped
next to the bed,

did not go over.

So, of course,
this obviously tells us

somebody moved the suspender.

The moving suspender is one
of many contamination problems.

More critical are the bloody socks
that directly link Simpson

and the murder victim through DNA.

This LAPD photo
shows the socks on the floor.

But testimony
from a police videographer claims

earlier in the day,
there were no socks.

How can the socks be there at 4.35

when you just saw
they're not there at 4.13?

OJ's defence team suggested the LAPD
put the blood on the socks

and planted them.

Who's fooling whom here?

The legitimacy of other evidence
is also questioned.

This bloody envelope was moved.

A crucial fingerprint
on this gate was lost.

Shoe-print evidence
was not collected properly.

Time after time
the defence put the evidence -

not OJ Simpson - on trial.

I think it's absolutely a question
of how the evidence was handled.

The prosecution simply couldn't
prove beyond a reasonable doubt

that OJ Simpson
committed that crime.

It's a classic case study
in what can go wrong with evidence.

Beyond the question of OJ Simpson's
innocence or guilt,

the NAS report suggests

justice cannot be served
if the crime scene is compromised.

But what if police had a tool
that could create a digital clone

of the crime scene,

a perfect record
to eliminate any doubt

about evidence
being moved or contaminated?

Well here they do.

When we come into the house
we find a victim

who is laying down
on the kitchen floor.

There's a large amount of blood
round the head area.

From the amount of trauma
that we see on the body

and the amount of blood
on the walls,

we have evidence of a struggle...

Detective Jeff Locklear
starts piecing clues together.

The landlord of this abandoned house,
who discovered the body,

heard rumours of a squatter
and came to check it out.

Through the window of the back door,
he says he may have seen the killer.

I heard the scuffling
and saw the guy run out...

Our witness says
that he came in through this door

and then he saw the suspect flee
through that window.

Then he looks down, sees a body

on the inside of the kitchen,
just inside this wall.

Sorting this one out will be messy.

But, thankfully,
none of this is real.

It's a simulated crime scene,

designed to test a secret
hi-tech weapon called IC-CRIME.

It is being developed by faculty
from North Carolina State University.

David Hinks and his team
use a 3D laser

to create a 360-degree view
of the crime scene.

Then, using the virtual replica,

they'll attempt
to reconstruct the crime.

A 3D scan will actually
take an image

of every piece
of visible evidence in a room.

It means
that you have a permanent record.

You can go back to the scene
again and again and again.

The scan team starts by recording
millions of tiny points

of the crime scene
with an invisible infrared laser.

They record
the victim's exact position...

the severe trauma to his head,

blood spatter on the walls, and
what appears to be the murder weapon.

So when we get it back into
the lab and we've aligned it,

you'll be able to see various
viewpoints coming in

from different angles in the house.

It's a forensic dream come true.

To be able to go back
at any time of our choosing

and be able to view it,
to interact with the evidence,

it's awe inspiring, if you ask me.

With the murder scene digitised,

the data is now ready to go virtual.

And for that,
the laser scanners partner

with some unlikely colleagues
in crime - video gamers.

Inside North Carolina State's
Digital Game Research Center,

director Michael Young and his team
are using similar technologies

as in games like Grand Theft Auto.

Game engines provide a fantastic
opportunity for serious applications

of the technology,
like crime-scene investigation.

The crime scene is built on data
triangles from the laser scan.

Each triangle is one surface.

And they line up perfectly.

So, you have a triangle here
and then a triangle here.

And once you keep doing that,
you have an entire surface.

Next the team overlays
high-resolution photos

of each room...

enabling detectives
to see views from any angle.

With the 3D replica complete,

lead scanner David Hinks attempts to
corroborate the witness's testimony

that he saw the killer leave
through the window.

He positions himself to where
the landlord said he was standing

when he discovered the body.

Now we're in the scene.

I'm standing virtually
at the back door to the house.

The eyewitness said that he didn't
actually enter the house.

He could see
through an interior window

through to the next room...

I heard somebody scuffling,
you know, running like.

So when I looked across
that's when I saw a guy.

Looked like he was going
out the window here.

Hinks discovers that from where
the landlord was standing outside...

he can't see
into the scene of the crime.

You can't see through this door
and onto the exterior window,

as the eyewitness indicated.

Let's go down into the kitchen

and then look to the left
through this open area.

Now we can see the exterior window.

So the eyewitness must clearly have
been around this location

to be able to see anybody leave
from this window.

The landlord's story doesn't add up.

Hinks doesn't have to rely
on his own interpretation.

The scanner proves the landlord
had to go into the house

to see the killer.

And there is another inconsistency.

An interior door behind the body
was open when police arrived.

We can see the body
on the floor.

You can see the blood spatter.
You can see the hammer here.

What we can do virtually
is close the door.

It's clear from the spatter pattern

that the door had to be closed
during the event.

The landlord stated
that no one entered the house

immediately after the murder.

But someone opened the door.

The IC Crime Technology allows
investigators to step into the scene

and catch the landlord in two lies.

That makes the landlord a prime
suspect in this simulated murder.

With a perfect record
of the crime scene

police can be sure
it's the suspect who's put on trial,

and not the forensics.

So now our intent is that we're
linking our virtual environment

to various databases
and the idea would be...

Project manager Mitzi Montoya

believes the power
of the IC-CRIME system

is that it replaces personal
interpretation with objective facts.

We now have a way to collect data
and information about a scene,

keep that in a single record,
in a single environment,

where forensic experts,
wherever they might be distributed

around the country
or around the world

can interact and interpret
that information.

In addition to a virtual crime scene,

investigators will one day
add the very best

of new forensic technologies
being developed -

like 3D fingerprints...

virtual autopsies...

and DNA.

That evidence can be presented
by prosecution and defence...

assessed by medical examiners
and forensic scientists...

and judged first-hand by a jury.

These technologies will ensure
the most reliable evidence

is presented and interpreted
in the service of justice.

Technology moves us forward.

It gives us the ability to do things
we weren't able to do before.

It gives us the ability
to answer questions

that we didn't even think
of asking before.

In the future these technologies
may put science

back in forensic science

and make sure police
put away the right criminal

every time.

Captions (c) SBS Australia 2012

This program is captioned live.The unbearable grief tioned live.The unbearable grief of Newtown - the funerals of the all too young victims. Counting the cost - cyclone Evan's trail of destruction in Fiji.You don't know when you go back if the houses will be this or not.Tributes from a loving son at Dame Elisabeth's memorial. And the world's oldest person still going strong at 115. (VOICEOVER) From SBS, this is World News Australia. Good evening. There are tentative signs tonight of some weakening of tonight of some weakening of the fierce political opposition in America to stronger gun control. Two senators backed by the National Rifle Association have conceded now is the time for change. But any change, even if it happens, will come too late for the grieving people of Newtown Conneticut. Today they began burying the 20 young children killed in the massacre. The hearse carrying the body of six-year-old Jack Pinto moved slowly through the rain, a grim reality for anyone in Newtown hoping the last four days were just a bad dream. Hugs offered some comfort in the face of unimaginable grief. Some of Jack's wrestling teammates paid tribute by wearing