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39 Int. J. Offender Therapy & Comp. Criminology 1 (1995)

handle is hein.journals/ijotcc39 and id is 1 raw text is: 






Guest Editorial



A   Personal Perspective Concerning

Homicide Investigation

Vernon  J. Geberth


Homicide  investigation is a serious duty with awesome responsibilities. It
requires that the homicide detective possess a dynamic understanding of
human  behavior and the ability to conduct a thorough criminal investiga-
tion.
    We  in homicide have a mission. Our mission is to bring justice to the
deceased and their surviving family. Our task (mission) demands a complete
investigation that terminates in the identification and apprehension of the
killer and leading to a successful prosecution of the case.

                      A  CLINICAL  APPROACH

     In order to conduct  an efficient and effective investigation, two
requirements are necessary: training and experience. The detective first
concentrates on the mechanical  aspects of the death, i.e. motives and
methods; wound  structures; crime scene reconstruction; the cause, manner,
and  time of death, as well as other factors that provide clues to the
dynamics  of the event. Detectives focus on consistencies and inconsisten-
cies. They must alter their investigation when new information develops.
Fundamentally, homicide investigation is an information-seeking function.
Physical evidence, namely hairs, fibers, blood stains, and other materials
that are  gathered are useless until a base population of  suspects is
established for purposes of comparison.
     Homicide  without witness are difficult to solve because the main
witness-the   deceased-is  dead. The   detective needs to  read the
uncollectible nuances of the event. This includes the psychodynamics,
namely, the underlying motivations and human  emotions. Moreover, the
deliberate staging of the scene in an attempt to mislead or redirect the
investigation must be kept in mind.
     Experienced homicide  detectives possess the ability to investigate
sudden  and violent death. Their knowledge and  training assist them in
processing the stressors associated with death and provide them with the
ability to concentrate on the homicide inquiry.

International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 39(1), 1995

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