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Crime Lab Cuts DNA Testing Time in Half

October 2, 2013 11:03 am | by Shannon Prather, StarTribune | Comments

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory in Minnesota has cut its DNA testing turnaround time by half. At the same time, scientists have increased the number of biology cases they handle each year, expanding DNA testing to property crimes, including burglary and auto theft.

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How Science Helps Solve the World's Most Notorious Crimes

October 2, 2013 10:49 am | by Nigel McCrery, Express | Comments

Your average criminal today knows how to handle even the cleverest questioning. Most will say nothing at all until their lawyers are present. The expression "no comment" has become commonplace. And eyewitness evidence has become less reliable, as defense teams become more adept at casting doubt upon it. The fact is that most major cases today are closed by the use of forensic science.

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Dangers of the Fake Marijuana Called 'Spice' or 'K2'

October 2, 2013 9:25 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

The harmful effects of increasingly popular designer cannabis products called “Spice” or “K2” have puzzled scientists for years, but now a group of researchers is reporting progress toward understanding what makes them so toxic. The study describes development of a method that could someday help physicians diagnose and treat the thousands of young adults and teens who end up in emergency rooms after taking the drugs.

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Cambridge's Criminal Past Revealed in Centuries-old Court Records

October 1, 2013 2:59 pm | by Univ. of Cambridge | Comments

Adultery, libel, bribery, attempted murder: Cambridge University’s criminal underbelly has been exposed after painstaking research on its Vice-Chancellor’s Court records from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. At Cambridge University Library, thousands of pages chronicling the crimes and misdemeanors of staff, students and townspeople connected to the university are being cataloged and summarized for the first time.

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Is the CSI Effect Waning?

October 1, 2013 2:43 pm | by Ahmad Samarji, The Conversation | Comments

You’ve heard of the so-called CSI effect — the manner in which the exaggerated portrayal of forensic science on crime television shows influences public perception. This effect is not exaggerated. But research in 2009 reported a downturn in student enrolments and a corresponding drop in entry scores for forensic science . Is the public mood about to move on to the next interesting thing?

Pistorius Calls in American Forensic Experts

October 1, 2013 9:49 am | by Gerald Imray, Associated Press | Comments

Oscar Pistorius' lawyers are working with a team of American forensic specialists to help prepare the double-amputee Olympian's defense, and likely counter any evidence given by the nearly 50 police officers and criminal experts that prosecutors could call at his murder trial early next year.

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Life for NJ Chemist Convicted of Poisoning Husband

October 1, 2013 9:23 am | by David Porter, Associated Press | Comments

A Chinese-born chemist who worked for a decade for one of America's biggest pharmaceutical companies was a cold, calculating murderer who poisoned her husband rather than let him divorce her, a judge said as he sentenced her to life in prison. 

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CAFDA Launches Next Gen Forensic DNA Technology Service at ISHI 2013

October 1, 2013 9:05 am | by The Center for Advanced Forensic DNA Analysis | Comments

Genome ID Group, LLC, d/b/a, The Center for Advanced Forensic DNA Analysis (CAFDA) will launch its advanced forensic DNA analysis services utilizing SNP array technology and its Quantum SNP Forensic Informatics, (patent pending) developed by Dr. Kevin McElfresh, Chief Science Officer of CAFDA, at the upcoming International Symposium of Human Identification, (ISHI) in Atlanta, October 7-10, 2013.

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Citing New Evidence, Innocence Project Calls for Pardon

September 30, 2013 3:57 pm | by Brandi Grissom, The Texas Tribune | Comments

Cameron Todd Willingham's stepmother and cousin, along with exoneree Michael Morton, joined the Innocence Project to call on Gov. Rick Perry to order the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to investigate whether the state should posthumously pardon Willingham, who was executed in 2004.

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No DNA Evidence to Place Amanda Knox at Murder Scene

September 30, 2013 3:04 pm | by Nick Squires, The Telegraph | Comments

Amanda Knox’s DNA was nowhere to be found in the bedroom in which Meredith Kercher was found stabbed to death, an Italian court heard. On the first day of the Amanda Kox’s retrial, the court in Florence was told that there was however ample DNA evidence from Rudy Guede, the Ivorian drifter who is serving a 16 year jail sentence after being convicted of the sexual assault and murder of Kercher, 21.

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Research Aims to Reduce Security Threats from Explosives

September 30, 2013 2:52 pm | by Purdue Univ. | Comments

Purdue University researchers are working on ways to detect explosives and neutralize their impact as part of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security center led by Northeastern and Rhode Island universities. The researchers are participating in the Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats center (ALERT).

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Weapons Experts Arrive in Beirut on Way to Syria

September 30, 2013 10:54 am | by Albert Aji, Associated Press | Comments

An advance group of weapons inspectors who will oversee Syria's destruction of its chemical arms arrived in Beirut en route to Damascus, Lebanese airport and security officials said. The inspectors from The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are to help Syria meet a November 1 deadline to scrap its ability to manufacture such arms.

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Forensic Firearm Expert Looks Back on High-profile Cases

September 30, 2013 10:03 am | by Emma Smith, Daily Record | Comments

As a teenager, Angela Shaw’s favorite television program was Silent Witness. So it’s hardly surprising that she wanted to become a doctor or a scene of crimes officer. But Angela’s CSI love affair turned into a fascination with firearms and now she is one of the UK’s top forensic gun experts.

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FBI Resumes DNA Tests in Murder Mystery

September 30, 2013 9:24 am | by Jim Kenyon, CNY Central | Comments

Cayuga County, N.Y., District Attorney Jon Budelmann says the FBI Crime Laboratory has resumed DNA tests of hairs found on the body of Julie Monson in hopes of solving a 32 year old cold case. Had she lived, Julie Monson would be 50 years old today, but the Auburn girl died at the age of 18. The last time Monson was seen alive was on September 28, 1981. She was seen getting into a car on Prospect Street in the city of Auburn.

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DNA Links Mysterious Skull to Disappearance 15 Years Ago

September 30, 2013 9:11 am | by Douglass Dowty, The Post-Standard | Comments

A mysterious skull found in May 1998 on the Onondaga Nation has been identified as belonging to a troubled woman who went missing from Syracuse, Sheriff Kevin Walsh said. The cold case took twists and turns in its 15-year history, leading to its conclusion, when the victim's family was able to exhume Maryann Krepps' skull and bury it closer to home.

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