Author(s): MacAulay LE, Barr DG, Strongman DB
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Abstract Information on gunshot wound characteristics has been well documented; however, there is little documented information on the effects of decomposition or environmental conditions on gunshot wound characteristics. This study was conducted in order to determine if decomposition would obscure or alter the physical surface characteristics of gunshot wounds when exposed to a low temperature environment. The study was conducted from November 2005 to January 2006 in Nova Scotia, Canada in forested and exposed environments, with air temperatures between -10 degrees C and +10 degrees C. Pigs were used as human models and were shot six times each at three different ranges (contact, 2.5 cm, and 1.5 m). Gunshot wound characteristics persisted until the wounds were covered with ice and snow, after which changes were observed. The changes were recognized as being unique to the different ranges of gunshots and it was concluded that changes due to decomposition under the conditions tested would not affect the collection and interpretation of gunshot wound evidence.
This article was published in J Forensic Sci
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research