By Colin Evans
Clinical sleuthing and slip-ups within the investigations of fifteen recognized casesRanging from the Turin Shroud and the suspicious loss of life of Napoleon Bonaparte to the homicide situations of Dr. Sam "The Fugitive" Sheppard and O. J. Simpson, a question of facts takes readers inside of essentially the most vexing forensic controversies of all time. In each one case, Colin Evans lays out the conflicting scientific and medical proof and exhibits the way it was once used or mishandled in achieving a verdict. one of the different circumstances: the assassination of JFK, the unusual heritage of Alfred Packer (the simply convicted American cannibal), the loss of life of Vatican banker Roberto Calvi, and the rigors of Lindy Chamberlain (the "dingo child" case) and Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald (the case mentioned in deadly Vision). even though the technology of forensics has helped clear up a tremendous variety of crimes, it is transparent from a question of proof that many situations are extra open than shut.Colin Evans (Pembroke, united kingdom) is the writer of the preferred Casebook of Forensic Detection (Wiley: 0-471-28369-X) in addition to nice Feuds in background (Wiley: 0-471-38038-5).
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Extra resources for A Question of Evidence: The Casebook of Great Forensic Controversies, from Napoleon to O.J.
But was Alfred Packer really the blackhearted demon of mountain lore, or was he, as Pry insisted, the tragic victim of a justice system that overlooked facts in favor of emotion? The quarrel raged through most of the twentieth century. In 1989 a battalion of forensic scientists converged on Lake City, Colorado, determined to settle the argument once and for all. 36 A Question of Evidence Alfred Packer just before his release in 1901. (Courtesy of Colorado State Archives) Many people are uncomfortable with the notion of exhumation.
At this distance of time it is difficult to comprehend just how famous he was, but in his heyday this sober-sided pathologist with his wire-framed spectacles and his stern, unyielding expression enjoyed a recognizability factor that put him on a par with politicians, movie stars, and top sports figures. When newsboys stood on street corners and bellowed at the top of their lungs, “Orrible murder—Spilsbury called in,” they did so in the certain knowledge that that day’s edition was a guaranteed sellout.
Even setting aside the clinical objections, what about the logistics of murdering Napoleon in the manner suggested? The biggest single drawback is the time scale. According to the conspiracists, the systematic poisoning of Napoleon began even before Waterloo—only such devious intervention could account for the great man’s curious battlefield detachment, apparently—which means that the poisoner’s lethal activities were drawn out over six years at least. If true, this must be the slowest assassination in history.