5th Edition

Practical Homicide Investigation Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fifth Edition

By Vernon J. Geberth Copyright 2015
    1296 Pages 917 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    1296 Pages 917 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Renowned for being THE definitive resource for homicide investigators, Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques details the recognized protocols used by investigative divisions of major police departments throughout the world. The text is used in most police academies, including the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

    Now in its fifth edition, the book begins with a comprehensive discussion of homicide crime scenes and moves chronologically from initial police notification, the correct police response that follows, and the subsequent steps necessary to conduct an intelligent investigation. It then delves into the more technical aspects of homicide investigation, augmented with numerous pictures and full-color illustrations that involve pertinent case histories.

    This latest edition includes three new chapters along with fully revised chapters with new case histories and techniques that reflect the latest forensic methods and modern investigative procedures.

    Highlights of the Fifth Edition Include:

    • Newly revised "Homicide Investigator’s Checklist"
    • A new chapter on the latest DNA technology
    • A rewritten chapter on equivocal death investigations that includes staged crime scenes
    • Additional information on modes of death
    • Fully updated chapters on death notifications, sex-related homicide, management for police administrators, suicide investigation, and narcotics-related and homosexually based homicides
    • Over 920 photos and illustrations, 250 new photographs, and several new case histories

    Eminent author, lecturer, consultant, and expert witness Vernon J. Geberth incorporates his more than four and a half decades of real-world law enforcement experience in this quintessential reference. This classic and must-have resource provides the most vital information needed by detectives and police investigators responsible for cases in violent and sudden death.

    Remember: do it right the first time. You only get one chance.
    —Vernon J. Geberth, M.S., M.P.S., Homicide and Forensic Consultant, Author of Practical Homicide Investigation, and Series Editor of The Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations

    The Homicide Crime Scene
    The Five Components of Practical Homicide Investigation
    The Crime Scene
    The Preliminary Investigation at the Primary Crime Scene
    Equivocal Death Investigations
    Most Common Errors or Missteps in Death Investigations
    Selected Reading
    First Officer's Duties: General
    Notification of a Possible Homicide: The Official Notification to the Police
    First Notification of Homicide Received in Person by Patrol Officer
    First Officer's Duties on Arrival at the Scene
    The First Officer Initiates the Homicide Investigation
    Dealing with Emergencies at the Scene
    Selected Reading
    First Officer's Duties: Specific
    The Suspect in Custody
    Transporting the Suspect
    Examination of the Suspect for Evidence
    The Dying Declaration
    The Victim Removed to the Hospital
    The Victim Pronounced DOA at the Hospital
    The Officer's Duties at the Hospital
    The Victim Confirmed DOA at the Scene
    Handling Witnesses at the Scene
    Additional Officers at the Scene
    Handling News Media Personnel at the Scene
    The Documentation of Events by the First Officer
    The Changing Sequence of Command
    Patrol Officer's Checklist
    The Preliminary Investigation at the Scene: The Detectives
    Initial Receipt of Information
    Arrival at the Scene
    Preliminary Steps to Be Taken by Detectives upon Arrival—Checklist
    Describing the Scene
    Implementing Crime Scene Procedures
    Direction of Uniformed Personnel at the Scene
    The Teamwork Approach
    Directing the Investigation at the Scene
    Duties of the Detective Supervisor on Arrival at the Scene
    Preliminary Interview of the First Officer
    Interview of Ambulance Personnel
    Handling Curious Onlookers
    Handling Witnesses at the Scene
    The Canvass
    The Preliminary Medical Examination at the Scene
    Special Procedure to Follow in Specific Cases
    Selected Reading
    Specific Investigative Duties at the Scene
    The Suspect in Custody
    Interview and Interrogation of the Suspect in Custody
    Examination of a Suspect for Evidence
    Evaluation of the Suspect’s Demeanor and Mental Capacity
    Homicide Calls and Statement Analysis
    Obtaining a Dying Declaration
    Handling Buried-Body Cases
    The Investigative Checklist
    Selected Readings
    The Crime Scene Photographs
    The Value of Crime Scene Photographs
    Crime Scene Photography and the Investigator
    Admissibility of Photographic Evidence
    Photographing the Homicide Crime Scene
    Type of Film
    Recommended Crime Scene Photographs
    Practical Application of Crime Scene Photography
    Digital Video Recording
    Selected Reading
    The Crime Scene Sketch
    The Sketch
    Preparing the Crime Scene Sketch
    Utilizing Aerial Photographs for Mapping Outdoor Crime Scenes
    The Total Station Crime Scene Reconstruction Program
    The Homicide Crime Scene Search
    Legal Considerations
    Physical Evidence
    The Concept of Linkage
    Methods of Crime Scene Search
    Formulating the Search
    The Homicide Kit
    The Search
    Examination of the Body at the Scene
    Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
    Documenting Bloodstain Patterns
    Release of the Body
    The Scene
    Physical Examination of a Suspect in Custody
    Release of the Scene
    Crime Scene Process Protective Equipment and Clothing
    Crime Scene Protocol for Protection from Airborne Pathogens and Other Biohazards
    Exposure of First Responders
    Exposure to Blood-Borne Diseases
    Infection Control Techniques
    Selected Readings
    Estimating Time of Death
    The Process of Dying
    Body Changes after Death
    External Agents of Change
    Information Derived from the Scene
    Selected Reading
    The Identity of the Deceased; Resources for Missing and Unidentified Persons Cases
    The Identification
    Mass Fatality Events
    The Iceman Case
    The Teeth
    The Bones
    Forensic Art
    Resources for Missing and Unidentified Persons Cases
    Selected Readings
    Death Notifications: The Surviving Family as Secondary Victims
    Psychological Reactions to Death
    The Normal Grieving Process
    The Stages of Grief
    Psychological Reactions to Murder
    Psychological Reactions to Murdered Children
    Psychological Reactions to the Murder of Police Officers
    Notifications of Death by the Homicide Detective
    Recommendations and Guidelines for Proper Death Notifications to Surviving Family Members
    Providing Information to the Surviving Family
    Guiding the Surviving Family through the Criminal Justice System
    Selected Reading
    Modes of Death
    Gunshot Wounds
    Cutting Wounds
    Stabbing Wounds
    Blunt Force Injuries
    Deaths by Asphyxia
    Deaths by Fire
    Deaths Caused by Injection
    Sexual Asphyxia: The Phenomenon of Autoerotic Fatalities
    Selected Reading
    Suicide Investigation
    Suicide Risk Factors
    Depression: A Clinical Perspective
    Other Motives for Suicide
    The Investigation
    Staging a Scene
    Investigative Considerations
    Chemical Suicides in Automobiles
    Bizarre Suicides
    Equivocal Death Investigations
    Motives and Intent
    Suicide Notes
    Background Information
    Psychological Autopsy
    Final Exit Suicide Investigations
    Seven Major Mistakes in the Investigation of Suicide
    Suicide Investigation Checklist Protocol
    Selected Reading
    The Investigation of Sex-Related Homicides
    The Crime Scene Investigation
    Human Sexuality and Sexual Deviance
    Paraphilic Disorders
    Determining Motivation
    Significance of Fantasy in Sex-Related Incidents
    Technology and the Sex Offender
    The Identification of the Victim
    Modus Operandi and Signature
    Organized and Disorganized Offenders
    Four Classifications of Sex-Related Homicides
    Interpersonal Violence-Oriented Disputes and Assaults
    Rape- and/or Sodomy-Oriented Assault
    Deviant-Oriented Assault—”The Lust Murder
    The Serial Murder
    Selected Readings
    Homosexual Homicides
    Homosexual Relationships
    Homosexual Lifestyles: Investigative Considerations
    Interpersonal Violence-Oriented Disputes and Assaults
    Murders Involving Forced Anal Rape and/or Sodomy
    Lust Murders and Other Acts of Sexual Perversion
    Homosexual Serial Murders
    Investigative Assessment and Analysis of Case History
    Investigative Significance
    Psychological Considerations
    Robbery-Homicide of Homosexuals
    Homophobic Assault and "Gay-Bashing" Incidents
    Selected Readings
    Forensic Application of DNA Analysis: Introduction
    An Introduction to Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)
    Cells: Structure and Molecular Biology
    Structure and Function of DNA
    Techniques and Procedures in Forensic DNA Analysis
    Techniques and Procedures in Forensic DNA Analysis
    Admissibility of DNA Evidence
    Laboratory Accreditation
    Relatedness Testing
    Familial DNA Analysis
    Touch DNA
    Ancestry Determination
    Forensic DNA Case Studies
    Collection of Evidence
    Procedures for Collection of Evidence
    General Types of Evidence
    Classifications of Physical Evidence
    Collection of Specific Types of Evidence
    Selected Readings
    The Autopsy
    The Medical Examiner/Coroner
    Investigation of Death
    Purpose of the Autopsy
    The Medicolegal Autopsy
    Human Anatomy
    Selected Reading
    The News Media in Homicide Investigations
    The Changing Media Dynamic in the New Millennium
    Establishing a News Media Policy
    Homicide News Release Policy
    Offering Rewards
    Handling the News Media at the Scene
    Preparing the News Release
    Selected Reading
    Identification of Suspects
    Bite-Mark Identification
    Latent Prints on Human Skin
    Polygraph Examinations
    Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
    Homicides Involving Theft of a Fetus
    ViCAP, and Statewide and Regional Information Systems
    Selected Reading
    Investigative Assessment: Criminal Personality Profiling
    Early History of Profiling
    Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP)
    The Application of Abnormal Psychology
    Criminal Personality Profile
    The Investigative Approach to Profiling
    Investigative Assessment: The Profiling Process
    Clinical Considerations and Descriptions of Behavior
    Crime Scene and Profile: Characteristics of Organized and Disorganized Murderers
    The Organized Offender
    The Disorganized Offender
    Criminal Personality Profiling: The Signature Aspect in Criminal Investigation
    Geographic Profiling
    A Psychology of Evil
    Interview Strategies and Techniques for Dealing with a Serial Killer
    Selected Reading
    Equivocal Death Investigation
    Initiating the Investigation
    Case 1: An Equivocal Death and Staged Crime Scene—Making a Homicide Appear to Be a Suicide
    Case 2: An Equivocal Death Investigation with Staged Crime Scene Death Classified as Undetermined Manner
    Case 3: An Equivocal Death Analysis—Homicide or Suicide?
    Case 4: A Staged Crime Scene—Homicide or Suicide?
    Selected Reading
    Narcotics-Related Homicides
    The Drug-Related Murder: The Investigative Dilemma
    The Drug-Related Murder and the Investigative Reality
    The Three-Phase Strategy
    Selected Reading
    Practical Homicide Investigation: Supervision and Management of the Homicide Investigation
    Management Policy
    Police Department Policy
    Criminal Investigation Management
    Supervisor's Homicide Checklist
    Providing for the Effective Documentation of Events
    Conducting the Investigative Conference
    Investigation of Police-Related Shootings (Officer Involved Shooting/Use of Deadly Force Incidents)
    Apprehension of Homicide Fugitives
    Planning the Apprehension
    Cold Case Investigations
    Appendix—Supervision and Management: How to Be an Effective Homicide Commander


    Vernon J. Geberth

    "Geberth has succeeded in the impossible. … Practical Homicide Investigation, Fifth Edition, explains every aspect of a homicide investigation, with an easily understood, how-to approach from a professional who has been there. In my opinion, it is essential that the professional involved with the investigation and prosecution of a homicide have a copy…. This is the most outstanding and comprehensive encyclopedia on the tactics, procedures, and forensic techniques of homicide investigations."
    —Philip G. Schnelwar, Attorney at Law, White Plains, New York

    "This book leaves no question that now more than ever, a homicide investigation must be based on a mix of the practical and the scientific. In fact, the new chapters and revised materials, along with the descriptive photos in this text … will place this edition in the category of a police text classic, an authoritative standard on the subject, and make this book the most complete homicide textbook available on the market today."
    —Pierce R. Brooks (Deceased), from the Book's Foreword, Writing about the Previous Edition

    "One of the most difficult aspects of homicide investigation…is to keep current and up-to-date with techniques, laws and procedures. Vernon Geberth continues to update and review critical matters…relating to the ever-changing world of homicide investigation. If you do not keep up to date with the latest techniques and investigative practices as Vernon explains them, you will wish you had when you are confronted with them on the witness stand at trial. I have prosecuted murder cases for over thirty years in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. This book and its accompanying Field Guide are used by me and our local investigators constantly."
    —James Yontz, Deputy District Attorney, Pueblo, Colorado, USA

    "Vernon Geberth, a retired NYC homicide detective, is a prominent forensic consultant and the recognized clearinghouse for all things related to death investigations. The 1st edition had become a veritable bible for investigators, so I could just imagine what a 5th edition offered. I couldn’t wait to see it. At a crime scene, investigators should observe, describe, record anything they find, and use proper procedures to collect the evidence. This book goes over every known scenario: inside, outside, typical, atypical, straightforward, ambiguous, staged…you name it. In short, this book is impressive. Geberth leaves no stone unturned. I pride myself on my collection of unusual suicide cases, but he includes some in this book that riveted me."
    Psychology Today’s "Shadow Boxing" blog June 2015, Katherine Ramsland. Katherine Ramsland, PhD, an expert on murder and serial crime, teaches forensic psychology and has published 46 books.

    "This newly published 5th edition of Practical Homicide Investigation is 1226 pages in length, and … is a collaboration of information made possible by the author, who has dedicated his life to providing the most up to date reference tool to homicide and death investigators and prosecutors throughout the country. This behemoth of a text continues that legacy …which make this latest edition a valuable tool for any investigator charged with the ‘profound duty and awesome responsibility,’ of conducting a homicide or death investigation."
    —Detective Mark J. Czworniak (retired), Chicago Police Department, Area North - Homicide Sex Crimes Unit

    "This edition not only provides the scientific basis for homicide investigation, it also describes in intimate detail the procedures and techniques necessary for a comprehensive and successful investigation. The text is replete with photographs, drawings and illustrations ... including multiple case examples that are very clearly written and pertinent to the science as well as the practical procedures of homicide investigation. This is the most complete text available on the subject ... I highly recommend it to any officer involved in homicide investigation as well as forensic scientists."
    —Ronald Turco, Past President, American Academy of Psychoanalysis and The American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians, Former Reserve Police Officer of 30 years

    "This is a must-have reference for all homicide detectives. This comprehensive opus is nothing less than a masterpiece. The amount of information packed into 1200 pages is astonishing …truly a wonderful resource for all persons investigating and seeking to gain an understanding of every aspect of homicide. No question this text is the gold standard in the field. Truly a remarkable resource."
    —Donna Pedergast, First Assistant District Attorney, Michigan Attorney General’s Office

    "Geberth, the world-wide expert on homicide investigation, is the real thing. His chapter on DNA is one of the most readable and comprehensive treatments on the subject. His expertise and clarity make this a must read. All of the twenty-four chapters have been excellently written and revised to make this textbook the continued recognized ‘Bible of Homicide Investigation’ for all members of the criminal justice and legal system."
    —Edwin T. Dreher, Deputy Chief (Retired), Office of the Chief of Detectives, New York City Police Department

    "The best book on death investigations just got better. I love the new book … it has been significantly expanded and goes into even greater detail than Geberth’s previous editions. The use of case studies to explain the importance of the different steps is magnificent. The information has been updated to acknowledge the increased role technology plays in death investigations. This is the ultimate manual for death investigations; every homicide investigator should own a copy and use it like a physician’s desk reference."
    —Larry Hallmark, Detective Lieutenant, Grapevine Texas Police Department

    "Practical Homicide Investigation, Fifth Edition, will be your one-stop shopping resource for successful death investigations. The updates and additions are massive … the incorporation of today’s forensic and technological advances will keep you on the cutting edge of death investigations."
    —Larry Thomas, Assistant Director, Kansas Bureau of Investigation (Ret.), BTK Serial Killer Task Force Supervisor

    "Once again, Vernon Geberth has set a new standard for learned treatises in homicide investigation … (the) Fifth Edition is thoughtful, provocative and, most of all, provides an expert guide for the men and women of our police forces."
    —Charles S. DeAngelo, Esq., Attorney-at-Law

    "Practical Homicide Investigation, Fifth Edition contains just about everything there is to know about death investigations and is a must read for anyone that investigates deaths and homicides."
    —Heath Taylor, Sheriff, Russell County, Alabama

    "[With] the first edition to this textbook … and each successive edition, Practical Homicide Investigation has exemplified the most comprehensive and up-to-date compilation of homicide and death investigative knowledge available. This fifth edition is similarly an unsurpassed reference."
    —Joseph A. Bobak IV, Ph.D., Professor of Criminology and Forensic Investigation, Mount Aloysius College

    "This intelligent, all-encompassing book is a veritable encyclopedia for successful homicide investigations."
    —Marvin Skeen, Chief Criminal Investigator, Office of Attorney General of Washington

    "Vernon Geberth’s Practical Homicide Investigation, Fifth Edition leverages his 46 years of experience with that of many colleagues to put everything you need to know about murder investigation in one place—at your fingertips."
    —Pete Gagliardi, Author, The 13 Critical Tasks: An Inside-out Approach to Solving More Gun Crime, www.triplebarrelstrategies .com

    "This comprehensive book is a must-have item for every detective and investigator to use as a guide and reference. Vernon’s Fifth Edition successfully ties together the old-fashioned principles of good investigative police work with the latest advances of forensic science and technology."
    —Tom Jordan, Judge, District Court, Center Hall, Pennsylvania

    "Practical Homicide Investigation is to the police profession what the Physicians’ Desk Reference is to the medical profession. In the Preface Geberth writes, ‘A homicide investigator is street smart and book wise.’ This Fifth edition is a one of a kind source that provides professionals the ‘street smart’ with ‘book wise’ in a very practical way."
    —Anthony D. Magnetto, Police Commissioner (ret), City of Troy, NY Police Dept.