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Persistence of Biological Traces at Inside Parts of a Firearm from a Case of Multiple Familial Homicide

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Backspatter from wounds caused by contact shots against a biological target had before been shown to be propelled into firearms' barrels where they can persist and be retrieved from as relevant forensic evidence. Herein, that insight was applied to the investigation of a case of multiple familial homicide with a firearm. Samples of backspatter were collected from the firearm using DNA‐free swabs. DNA was extracted from the swabs, and 16 STR systems were PCR‐amplified to generate DNA profiles of all victims shot by the firearm. The quality of the resulting DNA profiles was sufficient to exclude the perpetrator as donor and to differentiate the three closely related victims thereby proving that all three victims had been shot by the same firearm from very close or contact distance. A key insight gained from this case was that not only a firearms' barrel inside but other inner surfaces may be charged with profilable DNA.
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Keywords: firearms; forensic ballistics; forensic genetics; forensic science; homicide; trace DNA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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