Bloodstain Pattern Analysis with an Introduction to Crime Scene Reconstruction: 3rd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis with an Introduction to Crime Scene Reconstruction

3rd Edition

By Tom Bevel, Ross M. Gardner

CRC Press

440 pages | 399 Color Illus. | 399 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2008-04-08
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Objective establishment of the truth is the goal of any good crime scene investigator. This demands a consideration of all evidence available using proven scientific methodologies to establish objective snapshots of the crime. The majority of forensic disciplines shed light on the “who” of a crime, bloodstain pattern analysis is one of the most important disciplines to address “what” happened. Understanding the discipline, its underlying scientific basis, and how best to apply this knowledge is crucial in the investigator’s quest for the truth.

Internationally known experts in crime scene analysis, Tom Bevel and Ross M. Gardner explore bloodstain pattern analysis in depth, explaining what it is, how it is used, and the practical methodologies employed to achieve defensible results.

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis with an Introduction to Crime Scene Reconstruction, Third Edition:

  • Presents a specific and detailed taxonomy of bloodstain pattern characteristics
  • Offers a full-color fold-out Decision Map to guide analysts through the classification process
  • Uses full-color photos and diagrams to illustrate concepts
  • Describes the theory, principles, and methodology for crime scene reconstruction
  • Details proven, applicable scientific methodologies
  • Emphasizes observable and reproducible results to mitigate accusations of subjectivity in evidence and testimony
  • Provides more than 60% new or significantly revised information

Offering practical advice and tips for novices and experienced professionals, this book employs clear, lucid, and reasoned scientific arguments to provide the tools to guide and focus any investigative effort.

Captain Tom Bevel is a 27-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department, retiring in 1996 as Commander of the Homicide, Robbery, Missing Persons, and Unsolved Homicide units. He is held in high esteem as a qualified expert in crime scene reconstruction and bloodstain pattern analysis in state, federal, and foreign courts. His knowledge and expertise as a crime scene consultant has been sought after in 45 US states and 11 foreign countries. He owns a forensic education and consulting company in his home state of Oklahoma.

Ross M. Gardner retired as a Command Sergeant Major and Special Agent in 1999 after serving a total of 24 years in US Army law enforcement. Certified by the International Association for Identification as a Senior Crime Analyst for the past 16 years, Gardner is an active instructor and consultant throughout the United States in crime scene analysis, bloodstain pattern analysis, and crime scene investigation.


“… completely revised and enhanced … a practical and concisely written text. … the most complete and comprehensive handbook to date from the perspective of the criminal investigator and forensic scientist on the subject of bloodstain spatter analysis….an eloquent and practical guide…”

—(from the foreword) Vernon J. Geberth, M.S., M.P.S., Author of Practical Homicide Investigation

"Mr. Bevel and Mr. Gardner have expanded on the earlier editions of this book and although bloodstain pattern analysis can be a complicated and highly technical subject, this book, although comprehensive, is written in a manner that is easy to understand."

--Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology; Humana Press

"Overall the text is entirely comprehensive and up-to-date in its content; it would be a wise choice for a student of bloodstain pattern analysis."

—Tom Mavin, Sgt., Forensic Identification Branch, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Cambridge, Ontario, writing in Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal

Table of Contents

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis: Its Function and a Historical Perspective

The Function of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Historical Perspective of Bloodstain Pattern Evidence

Early Scientific References

Modern Works in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Bloodstain Pattern Terminology

Referring to the Discipline

General Terms Relating to Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Angle of Impact

(Arterial) Spurt/Gush

Atomized Blood/Misting

Blood into Blood Patterns

Blowback Effect

Capillary Action

Cast-Off Patterns


Contact Stain


Directional Angle

Drip/Drip Trail

Expectorate Spatter/Blood


Fly Spot

Impact Site

Non-Spatter Stains

Origin/Area of Origin

Parent Stain

Pattern Transfer

Primary Stain

Ricochet Stain

Satellite Stain/Spatter

Saturation Stain


Skeletonized Stain/Skeletonization


Spatter Stains




Bloodstain Classification

Classification vs. Overall Opinion

Classification vs. Definition

Why a Taxonomic Classification System?

A Taxonomic Classification System for Bloodstains

The Spatter Family

Category: Spatter

Category: Linear Spatter

Category: Spurt

Category: Cast-Off

Category: Drip Trail

Category: Non-Linear Spatter

Category: Impact Pattern

Category: Expectorate Spatter

Category: Drips

The Non-Spatter Family

Category: Non-Spatter

Category: Irregular Margin

Category: Gush/Splash

Category: Blood into Blood

Category: Smear

Category: Wipe

Category: Swipe

Category: Regular Margin

Category: Pattern Transfer

Category: Pool

Category: Saturation

Category: Flow

Complex Patterns

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Decision Map

Altered Stains and the Decision Map

Practical Application of Taxonomy and Decision Map

Applying the Decision Map with Other Bloodstain Pattern Classification Systems

Low, Medium, and High Velocity

Spatter, Non-Spatter

Passive, Spatter, Altered

Passive, Transfer, Projected/Dynamic

A Methodology for Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Scientific Method

A Practical Methodology for Applying Scientific Method

Step 1: Become Familiar with the Entire Scene

Step 2: Identify Discrete Patterns

Step 3: Classify the Patterns

Step 4: Evaluate Aspects of Directionality and Motion for the Pattern

Step 5: Evaluate Point of Convergence and Area of Origin

Step 6: Evaluate Interrelationships among Patterns and Other Evidence

Step 7: Evaluate Viable Source Events in an Effort to Explain the Pattern

Step 8: Define a Best Explanation Given the Data

Applying the Methodology in Different Environments

Active Scenes

Released Scenes

Cold Case Scenes

The Medium of Blood

Spatter Droplet Dynamics

Spatter Drop Dynamics on Impact





Liquid-to-Liquid Impacts

Blood Behavior When Exposed to Different Mechanisms

Blood Dispersed through the Air as a Function of Gravity

Blood Dispersed from a Point Source

Blood Ejected from an Object in Motion

Blood Ejected in Volume under Pressure

Blood That Accumulates and/or Flows on a Surface

Blood Deposited through Transfer

Anatomical Considerations in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, M. Ferenc


Blood Cells and Plasma

Coagulation and Hemostasis

The Circulatory System and Shock

Non-Traumatic Causes of Bleeding

Traumatic Pathology

Firearm Injuries

Sharp Force Injuries

Blunt Injuries

The Forensic Pathologist as a Resource

The Author

Determining Motion and Directionality

General Sequence of Events

Droplet Directionality

Recognizing Blood Trail Motion

Determining Motion from Wipes and Swipes

Repetitive Pattern Transfers


Determining the Point of Convergence and the Area of Origin

Identify Well-Formed Stains in the Pattern

Identify Directionality of the Stains

Identify Point of Convergence for the Pattern

Identify Impact Angles for the Stains

Stain Measurement

Combine the Information to Establish an Area of Origin

Graphing Points of Origin

Defining Area of Origin with the Tangent Function

Three-Dimensional Evaluations of Area of Origin

Stringing Scenes

Forensic Software Applications

How Many Stains Are Enough?

Automation Efficiency or Precision — An Important Distinction

Limitations in Area of Origin Evaluations

Evaluating Impact Spatter Bloodstains

Methods of Description

Understanding the Concept of Preponderant Stain Size

Impact Droplet Size

Pattern Configuration and Dispersion in Impacts

Spatter Resulting from Gunshots

Gunshot Spatter — Forward Spatter and Back Spatter

Size Ranges of Gunshot Spatter

Kinetic Energy, Wound Cavitation, and the Creation of Gunshot Spatter

Double Shot Impact Events

Gunshot Pattern Shapes and Dispersion

Expectorate Blood

Fly Spots

Understanding and Applying Characteristic Patterns of Blood

Impact Patterns

Cast-Off Stains

Projected Blood — Spurt and Gush Patterns

Expectorate Patterns

Drips and Drip Trails

Pattern Transfers

Flow Patterns


Wipes, Swipes, and Contact

Blood into Blood

Altered Stains



Drying Time of Blood


Bloodstained Clothing Issues

Applying Good Clothing Documentation Procedures

Overcoming Poor Collection/Documentation Procedures

Distinguishing Contact from Spatter on Fabric

Directionality and Impact Angle Issues on Fabric

Pattern Transfer Issues

Clothing Documentation

Presumptive Testing and Enhancement of Blood, C. Marie

Presumptive Tests




Choosing a Reagent

Genetic Testing Considerations



Hemastix™ Procedure

Preparing Phenolphthalein, Leucomalachite Green, and o-Tolidine

Phenolphthalein Solution

Leucomalachite Green Solution

o-Tolidine Solution

Testing Procedure Using Phenolphthalein, Leucomalachite Green, and the o-Tolidine Solutions


Searching for and Enhancing Latent Blood

Leucocrystal Violet (LCV) Preparation

Alternate LCV Reagent Preparation Method

Fluorescin Spraying Solution Preparation

Fluorescin in Alcohol Preparation

Fluorescin in Water Preparation


Reagent Preparation

Alternate Reagent Preparation

Safety Considerations

Procedure for Using Luminol, LCV, and Fluorescin

Protein Stains



Confirmation of Blood

Immunoassay Confirmation of Blood

Documenting Bloodstains

The Function of Documentation


Bloodstain Pattern Photography

Scene and Pattern Sketches

Written Reports

A Spatter Pattern Description/Conclusion

A Blood Pool Description/Conclusion

A Pattern Transfer Description/Conclusion

A Complex Pattern Description/Conclusion

An Introduction to Crime Scene Reconstruction and Analysis

Crime Scene Analysis and the Archeologist’s Dilemma

A History of Crime Scene Analysis

The Correlation of Crime Scene Analysis to Behavioral Analysis

The Application of Scientific Method in the Reconstruction Process

Theory and Principles of Crime Scene Analysis

Locard’s Principle of Exchange

Nicolas Steno’s Principle of Superposition

Nicolas Steno’s Principle of Lateral Continuity


A Methodology for Crime Scene Analysis — Event Analysis

Putting the Pieces Together

Presenting Evidence

Understanding the Nature and Content of Daubert or Similar Challenges

Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 113 S.Ct. 2786 (1993)

Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923)

U.S. Federal Rule 702

Responding to Daubert or Similar Challenges

What Is Bloodstain Pattern Analysis?

What Is the Purpose of a Bloodstain Pattern Analysis?

What Principles Apply to Bloodstain Pattern Analysis?

What Is the Methodology Used in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis?

Where Has Blood Pattern Analysis Been Accepted in Judicial Settings and within the Scientific Community?

What Scientific Studies Have Been Published in Peer Review Journals?

Are There Professional Associations That Recognize Bloodstain Pattern Analysis?

Is There an Identified Error Rate for Bloodstain Pattern Analysis?

General Concerns for Testifying

Maintaining Objectivity

Settling in and Establishing a First Impression

Understanding Cross-Examination

Using Demonstrative Aids in Court

Building Demonstrative Presentations Using Computer Resources

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Software Applications

Experimentation in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Considerations for the Design and Conduct of Experiments in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Identify the Investigative Question

Initial Observation and Information Gathering

Identify Variables and Form a Hypothesis

Design a Functional Experiment to Test Your Hypothesis

Obtain Materials and Equipment

Conduct the Experiment and Record the Data

Analyze and Summarize Results

State the Best Explanation

Maintaining a Reality Check, Comparing against the Crime Scene

Experimental Errors

Pitfalls to Experimentation and Reconstruction Attempts

Case Example 1— “Painted Fibers”

Case Experiment 2 — An Odd Impact Spatter

Case Experiment 3 — Spatter or No Spatter

Experiments vs. Demonstrations

Dealing with the Risk of Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne Diseases

Crime Scene Considerations

Dealing with Accidental Exposures

Packaging Biohazard Evidence

Exposure Risks in Training and Experimentation

Other Sources of Information on Managing Bloodborne Pathogen Risks

Appendix A: Weight/Measurement Conversion Table

Appendix B: Trigonometric Functions and Their Application in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Accuracy, Precision, and Significant Digits


About the Originator

About the Series

Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science