Tuesday September 10, 2013 at 8:00 AM CDT
Thursday September 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM CDT

Add to Calendar 


St Paul Police Department-Western District 
389 N. Hamline Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104

Driving Directions 


Edward Lemon 
St Paul Police Dept 

"Inside the Tape" Homicide Investigation Course 

COST: $305.00

This three day death investigation course instructs & consults fellow members of law enforcement at each level in the successful investigation and prosecution of violent offenders. Because of its unique presentation and course content, this continues to be one of the most requested and popular death investigation training courses available today.

Those who attend will learn to develop successful crime scene strategies that will afford them the best opportunity to properly document a violent crime scene and have analyzed the very probative evidence that will eventually lead them down that path of truth. Concentration is on the crime scene and the ability for the homicide detective to recognize various crime scene indicators coupled with victimology that will make it much easier to establish a proper motive.

 Successful prosecution always begins at the initial crime scene. The recognition of physical evidence and its documentation, collection and analysis are key to an accurate and reliable reconstruction. This course also teaches and stresses the importance of proper crime scene protocol that will ensure the thorough process and documentation of any homicide scene, which often is followed by arrest of the offender and successful prosecution.

Course Objectives:

  • Provide an understanding of crime scene management and control - to include personnel responsibilities and duties
  • Injury recognition and establishing time of death.
  • Increase knowledge of evidence recognition, documentation and recovery
  • Recognizing crime scene indicators and contaminants
  • Grain an understanding of equivocal death
  • Recognition of bloodstain patterns
  • Recognize SIDS deaths vs. potential infant homicide
  • Instilling confidence in those who are tasked with investigating the ultimate crime
  • The overall objective of this training course is simply to stress that there is a proper way to approach and document the homicide or suspicious death crime scene. Proper documentation also allows the investigator to identify and use all five categories of evidence to aid in scene reconstruction. There is no doubt that this course will have a great influence over those who attend on how they approach future death investigations and will help to establish the proper foundation by which every suspicious death scene should be approached.

Crime Scene Management & Individual Perception

The underlying theme of this course is to stress how important that a properly managed crime scene is to the presentation of the evidence to a judge or a jury. Circumstantial evidence presented to a jury to support any direct evidence is only as credible as the crime scene was managed. A properly managed scene is one where an in place SOP outlines individual duties and responsibilities which will make accountability and documentation much easier. 

Analysis of the 911 Call

As part of a homicide investigation, any and all 911 calls should be obtained and reviewed. Often time’s statements made by the 911 caller may offer insight to their possible involvement in a suspicious death or homicide. Several cases will be reviewed along with the analysis of the 911 call that will assist the investigator in developing a strategy to approach and interview the caller. Tracey Harpster’s words should never be overlooked when first responding to the homicide scene. The caller may be the killer.

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (Pattern Evidence Category)

Blood has three characteristics which will cause it to behave according to the laws of physics once it leaves the body. This allows the investigator to testify to its reliability and consistency as it is found and documented at the crime scene. Patterns covered are to include:    

  • High velocity spatter
  • Medium velocity spatter
  • Low velocity spatter
  •  Cast off patterns
  • Swipe patterns
  •  Wipe patterns
  •  Points of convergence
  •  Points of origin
  •  Blood photography & documentation
  •  Bloodstain collection
  •  Blood spatter analysis for crime scene reconstruction

Crime Scene Reconstruction

A crime scene reconstruction model is presented which allows the investigator to take and examine all categories of physical evidence and review the analysis along with the autopsy protocol, and place into a logical sequence the most likely order of events at the scene of a violent crime. The initial and final detailed reconstruction phases are covered in detail, and will explain the overall importance and objectives of having a detailed reconstruction completed. Actual case reviews are also incorporated in this phase to give a practical example as to how this reconstruction model can be used to not only make sense of a dynamic and confusing scene(s), but also place the order of events in a proper sequence supported by the physical evidence.

Specific Types of Crime Scenes

Several different types of crime scenes regarding settings and motives will be discussed along with the various forensic applications appropriate to each type of investigation. Types of scenes reviewed are to include:

Arson scenes and fire deaths

Autoerotic Death Scenes

Outdoor scenes and the buried and partially buried body

Sex related scenes to include rape

Domestic homicide scenes

Homosexually motivated scenes

Suicide & Equivocal Death Investigation

This block of instruction shows the investigator what crime scene indicators are normally present at suicides vs. homicides, and how to recognize and distinguish between the two. Victimology is always key to equivocal death investigation. Several case examples are shown to illustrate the difference in injuries and patterns.

SIDS & Infant Homicide

Several cases are reviewed in order to enable the investigator to recognize injuries associated with infant abuse and infant homicide. The investigator will also be taught how to manage SIDS and Infant Homicide Deaths. Other topics covered include:

  • Infanticide
  • Neonaticide
  •  Filicide
  •  Gentle Homicide
  •  Angry or Impulse Homicide
  •  Neglect by Act or Omission/Homicide vs. SIDS
  •  Pedophilia

Cold Case Investigation

Strategies will be discussed that are important when a homicide or equivocal death investigation is to be re-examined in the hopes of bringing it to a successful conclusion. From evidence initially gathered, the crime scene and re-interviewing of witnesses a step by step approach is laid out that will enable the homicide detective to have guidance when working through these cases. The results of a long passage of time and possible DNA implications are also reviewed and attending agencies are encouraged to bring cold cases to the course for examination and review.