How are criminal experts able to determine which gunshot wound was first?


How are criminal experts able to determine which gunshot wound was first?

In: Biology

Bullets go straight so the first shot would go horizontal through a target. When that target starts to fall or move the trajectory of the bullet through the body would have a different path. Angle of impact would change.

You’ll need a shitload of data to work it out tho. Can’t just grab a corps with multiple holes and say that one is the first hit.

This is not going to be an accurate or great explanation, I’m just guessing here so do not take this as fact.

I would have to assume that it’s a culmination of the work of the mortician and crime scene investigators. They most likely take clues from the crime scene, like what blood spray patters are present or where blood is pooling, and use those along with where the victim was shot and what was hit to estimate what bullet was shot first.

Typically they don’t. When you hear reports about who fired the fatal shot in the media those are usually just based on statements that the Defendant(s) made while being questioned.

In an actual trial who fired the fatal shot is more or less never relevant and that’s not what experts will try to determine. What’s relevant in a criminal trial is just whether or not you shot someone and whether the person was likely to die from that wound if it was left untreated. If you shoot someone in the finger and your friend shoots them in the head, then the fact that they probably wouldn’t have died from the finger wound *might* be a mitigating circumstance at sentencing.

The closest experts will come to figuring out when someone died is when a corpse is particularly brutalized. In that case the expert will give an opinion on how likely it is that the person was still alive when a particular wound was inflicted. In that very rare case where whether a wound was inflicted while the person was alive or not is relevant to a charge of desecrating a corpse.

For example, if a corpse is stabbed and dismembered an expert might say “well the person would have died within a few minutes from the stabbing wounds and it would have taken a few hours to dismember the body so they were probably dead by the time that started.” Because the dismemberment occurred after death, its a separate crime from the murder.

They take into consideration the other clues and formulate a narrative of events. If a gun was fired thru glass for instance, one shot creates a spider web of fractures, the second can only create fractures up to the cracks created by the first. On a body, you can position the deceased so that you follow the wound path of the bullet and figure out how the person was positioned when shot.

Sometimes those details dont matter as much. If two people ran up to someone and shot them down, but only one of the suspects actually hit, both are guilty of murder anyway.