Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fourth Edition

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  • Introduces a completely new chapter on the latest DNA technology, as well as a new chapter on Equivocal Death Scenarios
  • Includes new murder cases for reference and review
  • Contains a revised Homicide Investigator's Checklist
  • Provides a revised chapter on Profiling and Investigative Assessment
  • Presents an updated bibliography and listing of additional reference sources, in addition to an updated and expanded Glossary of Terms
  • Summary

    Renowned for being THE definitive source of homicide investigation, Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques is the recognized protocol used by investigative divisions of major police departments throughout the world. It is also the text used in most police academies, including the prestigious FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. It emphasizes essential procedures, combines detailed techniques with instructive case studies, and outlines the foundation on which to build a solid, prosecutable case.

    The fundamental criminal investigative techniques stressed in the Fourth Edition are crucial for effective inquiry into sudden and violent death. Eminent author, lecturer, consultant, and expert witness Vernon J. Geberth begins the book with a comprehensive discussion of homicide crime scenes. The book evolves 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 more technical aspects of homicide investigation, augmented with numerous pictures and full-color illustrations that involve pertinent case histories.

    The book features two new chapters along with major revisions of those from the previous edition. In addition it contains 675 photos and illustrations - including 300 new entries that incorporate depictions of wound structures and procedures that portray exactly what to do and how to do it. All illustrations are presented in full color, including new medical-legal drawings for instruction and courtroom testimony.

    Vernon Geberth was featured in an interview on News 14 Carolina in Fayetteville discussing his 3-day seminar on Practical Homicide Investigation.

    He also discusses the book in a video on the CRC Press YouTube channel.

    Vernon Geberth was recently interviewed for an article entitled, The Hunt for a Serial Killer: Revisting the Gilgo Beach Murders.

    Table of Contents

    The Homicide Crime Scene
    The Five Components of Practical Homicide Investigation
    The Crime Scene
    At the Crime Scene
    The Homicide Investigation Starts at the Crime Scene Determining the Dimensions of the Homicide Crime Scene Protecting the Crime Scene
    The Homicide Crime Scene Sign-In Sheet
    The Preliminary Investigation at the Primary Crime Scene Victimology
    Equivocal Death Investigations
    The Staged Crime Scene
    Types of Crime Scene Staging
    Example of Homicide Made to Appear an Accident
    Example of a Homicide Made to Appear Sex Related Conclusion Investigative Strategies
    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
    Protection of Life
    Safeguarding the Scene and Detaining Witnesses or Suspects
    The First Officer Initiates the Homicide Investigation
    Dealing with Emergencies at the Scene Conclusion
    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
    Initial Call/Receipt of Information
    Arrival at the Homicide Crime Scene
    Protection of the Crime Scene
    Preliminary Investigation
    Suspect in Custody
    Suicide and Accidental Death
    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
    Case Examples Conclusion
    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 Obtaining a Dying Declaration
    Questions to Be Asked in a Dying Declaration
    Documentation of the Dying Declaration
    Handling Buried-Body Cases
    The Discovery of the Buried Body
    Initial Response
    The Excavation
    The Body
    Search for a Buried Body
    The Investigative Checklist
    Documentation of the Initial Report
    Initial Receipt of Information
    Arrival at the Homicide — Death Scene
    Preliminary Inspection of the Body at the Crime Scene Implement Crime Scene Control Procedures
    Initiate a Crime Scene Log
    Establish a Policy for Crime Scene Integrity
    Establish a Command Post or Temporary Headquarters
    Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and Ambulance Personnel Initiate a Canvass Weapons
    The Suspect in Custody
    Suspect in Custody: Interrogation at the Scene A.D.A.P.T. Crime Scene Photographs
    Documentation of Crime Scene Photographs
    Recommended Crime Scene Photographs
    The Crime Scene Sketch
    The Crime Scene Search
    Dust for Fingerprints
    Description of the Deceased
    Preliminary Medical Examination at the Scene
    Victim — Hospital Information
    Evidence Process and Control Procedures
    Release of the Homicide Crime Scene
    Suicide Investigation — Investigative Considerations
    Evaluation of the Wounds
    Psychological State of the Victim
    Any Prior Mental Disease or Defect
    Recognized Warning Signs in Suicides
    Extreme Danger Signs in Suicides
    Autoerotic Fatalities (Accidental Asphyxia): Investigative Considerations
    Investigating Fatal Fires
    The Investigative Considerations
    The Fire Incident
    Suspicious Designation: General Determination Factors
    Maintenance of the Fire Crime Scene
    Investigation at the Scene
    Determination of Arson
    Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Investigative Checklist Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) Warning Signs References
    Selected Reading
    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
    Outdoor Locations
    Indoor Locations
    The Body Suspects
    Type of Film
    Recommended Crime Scene Photographs
    Practical Application of Crime Scene Photography
    The World Trade Center Attack
    The Polaroid Macro 5 SLR Camera
    The Panoscan MK-3 Digital Panoramic Camera System Examples Videotaping
    Advantages of Videotaping
    Purpose of Videotaping the Crime Scene
    Recommended Procedure Videotape Protocol
    Arrival at Scene
    Taping Protocol
    Videotaping Suspect Statements Conclusion
    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
    Definition Operation
    Practical Application
    Selected Reading
    The Homicide Crime Scene Search
    Legal Considerations
    Warrantless Searches Where Suspect Shares Possessory Right to Premises
    Practical Examples of Reasonableness: Officers Arriving at Scene of
    Violent Crime
    Physical Evidence
    Types of Physical Evidence
    The Concept of Linkage
    Methods of Crime Scene Search
    Formulating the Search
    The Homicide Kit
    Crime Scene Integrity Kit
    Evidence Collection Tools
    Fingerprint Kit
    Photography Kit
    Sketching and Mapping Kit
    Casting Kit
    Evidence Collection Containers
    Lasers and Alternate Light Sources (ALS)
    The Search
    Examination of the Body at the Scene
    Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
    Release of the Body
    The Scene
    Processing a Vehicle (See Chapter 17)
    Examining the Outdoor Scene
    Examples of Evidence Found Outdoors
    Examination of an Outdoor Scene at Night
    Physical Examination of a Suspect in Custody
    Gunshot Residue Testing
    Release of the Scene
    Crime Scene Process Protective Equipment and Clothing
    Antiputrefaction Masks
    Crime Scene Protocol for Protection from Airborne Pathogens and Other Biohazards
    Communicable Diseases
    Required Precautions
    Decontamination of Equipment
    Decontamination of Clothing
    Precautions Prevention
    Exposure of First Responders
    Exposure to Blood-Borne Diseases
    Infection Control Techniques
    Universal Precautions
    Body Substance Isolation
    Exposure Treatment
    Selected Reading
    Estimating Time of Death
    The Process of Dying
    Body Changes after Death
    External Agents of Change Insects
    Bodies in Water
    Information Derived from the Scene
    Selected Reading
    The Identity of the Deceased
    The Identification
    Identification at the Scene
    Personal Identification Clothing and Possessions
    Identification by Photographs
    Description of the Body
    Jewelry and Watches
    Obtaining Fingerprints from Dead Bodies
    Mass Fatality Events
    The World Trade Center Attack
    Mass Fatality Considerations
    DNA Testing in the Identification of WTC Victims
    The Iceman Case
    Dr. Zugibe’s Medical Evaluation
    Forensic Evaluation
    The Teeth Age
    General Facial Characteristics
    Socioeconomic Group
    Occupation or Habits
    Positive Identification
    Bite-Mark Identification
    Inquiries Relative to Forensic Odontology
    The Bones Age
    Height and Other Individual Characteristics
    Determination of Cause of Death
    Determination of Whether Bones Are Human or Animal
    Examination of Bones
    Facial Reconstruction
    Forensic Art
    Introduction to Forensic Art
    Four Categories of Forensic Art
    Forensic Art in Identification of Human Remains
    Postmortem Drawing
    Two-Dimensional Facial Reconstruction from the Skull
    Three-Dimensional Facial Reconstruction on the Skull
    Methods of Superimposition Conclusion
    Selected Reading
    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
    Victim’s Assistance Organizations
    Selected Reading
    Modes of Death
    Gunshot Wounds
    The Projectile Striking the Body
    The Nature and Extent of Gunshot Wounds
    Smudging or Smoke
    Tattooing or Stippling Reentry
    Shotgun Wounds
    Contact Wounds
    Bullet Track
    Cutting Wounds
    Stabbing Wounds
    Blunt Force Injuries Lacerations
    Chopping Wounds
    Deaths by Asphyxia
    Investigative Considerations Hanging Drowning
    Inhalation of Poison Gases Suffocation
    General Forms of Suffocation
    Deaths by Fire
    Severity of Burn Injuries
    Investigative Considerations
    Scalding Burns
    Deaths Caused by Injection
    Sexual Asphyxia: The Phenomenon of Autoerotic Fatalities Introduction
    Preliminary Investigation at the Scene
    Atypical Autoerotic Deaths
    Asphyxial Deaths — The Pathology of Autoerotic Death
    The Reality of Asphyxial Death — Videotaped Cases
    Equivocal Death Investigations
    Sexual Asphyxia — the Psychosexual Aspects of Autoerotic Activity
    Female Victims of Autoerotic Fatality
    Equivocal Death Investigation
    Crime Scene
    The Victim
    Investigative Considerations Opinion
    Notifying and Advising the Surviving Family of the Mode of Death
    Investigative Considerations
    Determining the Involvement of Sexual Asphyxia: Autoerotic Checklist
    Selected Reading
    Suicide Investigation
    Risk Factors
    Depression: A Clinical Perspective
    Emotional Symptoms
    Cognitive Symptoms
    Motivational Symptoms
    Somatic Symptoms
    Clinical Scenario
    Other Motives for Suicide
    The Investigation
    Staging a Scene
    Investigative Considerations
    The Weapon
    Medicolegal Analysis
    Bizarre Suicides
    Suicide by Blasting Cap
    Suicide by Fireplace
    Attempted Suicide — Self-Mutilation
    Barrel of Gun in Suicide Victim’s Head
    Equivocal Death Investigations
    Motives and Intent
    Suicide Notes
    Background Information
    Psychological Autopsy
    Warning Signs
    Extreme Danger Signs
    Investigative Considerations
    Evaluation of the Wounds
    Psychological State of the Victim
    Any Prior Mental Disease or Defect
    Final Exit Suicide Investigations
    Synopsis of Contents
    Investigative Considerations
    Letters to Be Written
    Police Investigation
    Self-Deliverance via the Plastic Bag
    Police Investigation
    The Final Act
    Police Investigation
    Investigative Checklist for Final Exit Cases
    Recommendations Conclusion
    Staged Crime Scenes Involving Final Exit
    Early Example
    Clinical Interpretations
    The Psychopathology of Suicide-by-Cop Scenarios
    Hostage Situations
    Psychological Ramifications for Police Officers Involved in Suicide-by-Cop Incidents
    The Racial Component in Police-Related Shooting Incidents
    Investigative Considerations
    Selected Reading
    The Investigation of Sex-Related Homicides
    The Crime Scene Investigation
    Sex-Related Crime Scene Checklist
    Method for Diagnosing Abrasions, Lacerations, and Other Skin Disruptions in the Perineum and Perianal Areas
    Human Sexuality and Sexual Deviance
    Determining Motivation
    Significance of Fantasy in Sex-Related Incidents
    Organized and Disorganized Offenders
    The Organized Offender
    The Disorganized Offender
    Interpersonal Violence-Oriented Disputes and Assaults
    Rape- and/or Sodomy-Oriented Assault
    Investigative Strategy
    Categories of Rapists
    Deviant-Oriented Assault — the Lust Murder
    Anatomy of Lust Murder
    The Serial Murder
    The Serial Killer Profile
    Organized Serial Killer Activities
    Disorganized Serial Killer Activities
    Serial Murder Investigation
    Command Responsibilty
    Linkage Blindnesss
    Typical Serial Murder Task Force
    The Typical Serial Killer
    Three Main Methods Used to Link Murders
    Investigative Considerations
    A Clinical Perspective
    Selected Reading
    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 Significance
    Psychological Considerations
    Robbery/Homicide of Homosexuals
    Homophobic Assault and "Gay-Bashing" Incidents Conclusion References
    Selected Reading
    Forensic Application of DNA Analysis
    Deoxyribonucleic Acid — DNA.
    The Cell
    Molecular Biology of the Cell
    Structure and Function of DNA
    Nuclear DNA
    Y-Chromosomal DNA
    Mitochondrial DNA
    Techniques and Procedures in Forensic DNA Analysis
    Collection and Preservation of Biological Evidence
    Scheduling Analysis
    DNA Extraction
    Differential DNA Extraction
    DNA Quantification
    DNA Amplification (Polymerase Chain Reaction)
    Multiplex PCR Analysis
    STR Multiplex PCR Analysis
    Amplification of mtDNA
    DNA Detection and Analysis
    STR DNA Analysis
    mtDNA Analysis
    STR DNA Databases
    Population Statistics CODIS
    National Missing Persons DNA Database
    The Choice of Analysis
    Admissibility of DNA Evidence
    Laboratory Accreditation
    Forensic DNA Case Studies
    Victim Identification Conclusion References
    Selected Reading
    Collection of Evidence
    Procedures for Collection of Evidence
    General Types of Evidence
    Classifications of Physical Evidence
    Class Evidence
    Individualistic Evidence
    Collection of Specific Types of Evidence
    Body Materials
    Blood (Wet)
    Blood Stains (Dry)
    Field Test Reagents
    Saliva or Spittle
    Objects Bullets
    Discharged Casings or Cartridges
    Shotgun Shells
    Live Cartridges or Rounds of Ammunition
    Shotgun Wadding
    Cigarette/Cigar Butts
    Displaced Furniture
    Tools Vehicles
    Documents (Letters, Notes, Papers)
    Fingerprint Examination
    Protein Enhancement Reagents
    Fatty Acid, Elements, and Compounds Enhancement Reagents Tire Tracks and Footprints
    Tool Marks
    Bite Marks
    Bullet Holes
    Newly Damaged Areas
    Selected Reading
    The Autopsy
    The Medical Examiner/Coroner
    Investigation of Death
    Cause, Mechanism, and Manner of Death
    Practical Application of Terminology
    Purpose of the Autopsy
    Investigative Information Provided by the Autopsy
    The Medicolegal Autopsy
    Examination of the Crime Scene
    Identification of the Body
    External Examination of the Body
    Preliminary Procedure
    The External Examination
    Internal Examination of the Body
    The Head
    The Chest
    The Abdomen
    The Pelvic Cavity
    The Protocol Summary
    Human Anatomy
    Directional Terms
    Body Cavities
    Dorsal Cavity
    Ventral Cavity
    The Skeletal System
    The Heart
    Selected Reading
    The News Media in Homicide Investigations
    Establishing a News Media Policy
    Building a Relationship with the News Media
    Homicide News Release Policy
    Offering Rewards
    Handling the News Media at the Scene
    Preparing the News Release
    Handling Questions During News Conferences
    Selected Reading
    Identification of Suspects
    Bite-Mark Identification
    The Bite Mark.
    Collection of Bite-Mark Evidence at the Scene
    Photographs of the Bite-Mark Wound
    Saliva Washings
    Interpretation of the Bite-Mark Evidence
    Examination of the Bite Mark
    What Is Hypnosis?
    Value to the Investigator
    Shortcomings of Hypnosis Summary
    Latent Prints on Human Skin
    General Considerations
    Fingerprint from Human Skin Using the Magna-Brush Technique
    Polygraph Examinations
    The Examination
    Possible Subjects for Polygraph Examinations
    Subjects That Cannot Be Tested
    Investigator’s Duties prior to the Examination
    Polygraph Procedures Summary
    What Is Psycholinguistic Analysis? Methodology Psycholinguistics as an Investigative Tool
    Utilizing Psycholinguistic Analysis
    What Is a Psychic?
    Police and Psychics Summary
    Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP)
    Munchausen Syndrome — History and Application
    Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) — History and Application
    The Investigative Response
    Team Approach
    Collection of Evidence
    Interviewing the Munchausen Syndrome-Related Offender
    Homicides Involving Theft of a Fetus
    Infant Abductions — Infant Cut from Mother’s Womb
    Case 1
    Case 2
    Case 3
    Case 4
    Case 5
    Case 6
    Case 7
    Attempted Theft of Fetus Offender Killed by Victim Mother Case 8
    Investigative Assessment and Analysis
    The Offender Profiles
    Offender Motive
    Investigative Strategies
    Police Response
    Detective Response
    Additional Information Summary
    Orders of Protection
    Anti-Stalker Legislation
    Types of Stalkers
    The Psychopathic Personality Stalker
    The Psychotic Personality Stalker
    Erotomania Involving Obsessed Fans and Stalkers
    Law Enforcement Response to Stalker Incidents
    VICAP, Statewide and Regional Information Systems
    The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program — VICAP
    Profiling and Consultation Program
    The Regional Organized Crime Information Center
    Submission of Cases
    The Homicide Investigation and Tracking System (HITS)
    Selected Reading
    Bite Mark Identification
    Latent Prints on Human Skin
    Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
    VI-CAP, State-Wide and Regional Information Systems
    Investigative Assessment: Criminal Personality Profiling
    History of Profiling
    Application of Abnormal Psychology
    Criminal Personality Profile
    The Purpose of the Profile
    When Profiling Can Be Productive
    Factors That Can Be Determined by a Criminal Personality
    The Investigative Approach to Profiling
    Investigative Assessment — The Profiling Process
    Clinical Considerations and Descriptions of Behavior
    The Psychopathic Personality
    Psychotic Personality (The Psychosis)
    Sexual Sadism (302.84 DSM-IV)
    Psychopathic Sexual Sadists
    Crime Scene and Profile: Characteristics of Organized and Disorganized Murderers
    The Organized Offender
    General Behavior Characteristics
    Overland Park Police Information
    Missing Persons’ Cases
    Lenexa Police Investigation
    Background Information
    Investigative Information
    Internet Information
    Additional Information
    Robinson, the "Slave Master" Vickie
    Investigative Break
    Second Investigative Break
    Investigative Status in May 2001
    Tactical Decision
    The Arrest and Execution of Search Warrants
    Search of the Kansas Storage Locker
    The Linn County Search
    Raymore, Missouri, Storage Unit
    Sheila and Debbie Beverly
    Task Force Investigation Revelations
    Bizarre Twist in the Case Disposition
    The Disorganized Offender
    General Behavior Characteristics
    Ted Bundy: Serial Killer — Offender Profile
    Offender Profile Program Background
    Investigative Analysis
    Postcrime Behavior Conclusion
    Additional Information on Ted Bundy
    Investigative Considerations
    Criminal Personality Profiling — The Signature Aspect in Criminal
    Clinical Perspective
    Investigative Perspective
    Linkage Blindness
    Investigative Application of the "Signature" Aspect
    Signature Aspect
    Signature Aspect
    Signature Aspect
    The Suspect
    Signature Aspect of the Crimes
    Practical Examples of Signature Activity21 Conclusion Geographic Profiling
    Investigative Elements to Consider in Geographic Profiling
    Investigative Elements in the Criminal Case Assessment Process Types of Crime Locations
    Investigative Considerations
    The Police Investigation
    A Psychology of Evil
    A Model for a Psychology of Evil Conclusion
    Selected Reading
    Equivocal Death Investigation
    Equivocal Death Investigations
    Initiating the Investigation
    Case Number 1: An Equivocal Death and Staged Crime Scene — Making a Homicide Appear to Be a Suicide Introduction
    The Crime Scene
    The Police Investigation
    The Autopsy
    Consultative Analysis
    Investigative Considerations
    Investigative Issues
    Critique of Police Investigation
    Forensic Pathologist Report
    Evaluation of the Weapon and the Wound Structure
    Response to Insurance Company Medical Expert Opinion
    Case Number 2: An Equivocal Death Investigation with Staged Crime Scene
    Death Classified as Undetermined Manner
    The Initial Police Investigation
    Initial Detective Investigation
    Initial Medical Examiner Investigation
    Autopsy Findings
    The Follow-Up Medical Examiner Investigation
    The Follow-Up Police Investigation
    Investigative Assessment and Analysis
    Initial Response
    Review of the Police and Medical Examiner Investigators’ Reports
    The Ligature
    Victimology Conclusion
    Case Number 3: An Equivocal Death — Homicide or Suicide? Introduction
    Case Facts
    U.S. Army Autopsy Report Case# ME98-006
    USACID Position
    Second Medicolegal Examination Requested by Family
    Investigative Assessment and Analysis
    NYS Medicolegal Analysis Conducted for the National Guard
    Preliminary Consultative Reports
    USACID Follow-Up
    Medical Significance of the Wound Structures
    Review of Medicolegal Findings
    Final Report
    Conclusion Opinion
    Case Number 4: Staged Crime Scene — Homicide or Suicide?
    Selected Reading
    Narcotic-Related Homicides
    The Drug-Related Murder: The Investigative Dilemma
    The Drug-Related Murder and the Investigative Reality
    The Three-Phase Strategy
    Phase 1 — The Homicide Crime Scene
    Phase 2 — The Application of Drug Intelligence
    Phase 3 — Crime Clearance Procedures
    Practical Homicide Investigation: Supervision and Management of the Homicide Investigation
    Management Policy
    Police Department Policy
    Criminal Investigation Management
    Major Pitfalls to Practical Homicide Case Management
    Procedures for Effective Management and Supervision of Homicide
    Supervisor’s Homicide Checklist
    Supervising the Preliminary Investigation at the Scene
    Directing Specific Investigative Duties
    Supervising Homicide Crime Scene Search
    Providing for the Effective Documentation of Events
    Case Management
    Note Keeping
    Official Reports
    First Day of Investigation
    Indexing the Homicide Investigation
    News Clipping File
    Conducting the Investigative Conference
    Investigation of Police-Related Shootings (OIS/Use of Deadly Force Incidents) Protocol1
    Assigning Investigative Responsibility
    Investigation of OIS/Use of Deadly Force Incident
    IV. Interview of Employees Involved
    V. Taped Interview of Employees Involved
    VI. Follow-Up Investigation
    VII. Background Investigation
    VIII. Preparation of Investigative Report
    IX. Conclusion
    Apprehension of Homicide Fugitives
    Use of Wanted Posters
    Distribution of Photographs and Information Flyers to Patrol
    Cell Phones
    Planning the Apprehension
    Assessment of Physical Hazards
    The Tactical Plan
    The Tactical Operation
    Notification to Central Communications by Land Line
    Cold Case Investigations

    Editorial Reviews

    Most readers will feel the fourth edition was well worth the wait. …Updates of prior images, as well as new photographs and numerous professional medical illustrations, undoubtedly improve the quality of the book. …This book continues to be a solid and necessary resource for anyone tasked with the responsibility of investigating not only homicides, but also other manners of death.

    —John P. Black, CLPE, CFWE, CSCSA, Journal of Forensic Identification, Vol. 57, No. 1, January/February 2007

    Vern Geberth is the Avenging Angel of Homicide Victims… Sharing his 40 plus years of experience and diligently tapping into the expertise of others, the book is an A through Z of homicide investigation. …Practical with a capital "P"…a truly comprehensive text for the student of political science as well as a – must have – ready reference for the police practitioner. A passionate mentor as well as an effective writer, Geberth is mindful of the solemn responsibility that homicide investigators and police are entrusted with and deeply reverent in his approach to always doing things right because of it. At the end of the day, Geberth’s work should empower and motivate police investigators to remove more murderers from our communities and bring comfort to the families of homicide victims.

    —Pete Gagliardi, Vice President, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Forensic Technology, Cote St-Luc, Quebec, Canada

    Geberth is the real thing. He was my top homicide commander in the NYCPD. Practical Homicide Investigation is a one of a kind textbook based on real experience coupled with an extensive knowledge of the forensic sciences. The techniques he recommends and pitfalls he warns against are gleaned from years of successful investigative work. His writing glows with authenticity. It is THE recognized guide for every police officer and should be on the top shelf of every attorney, prosecutor or defense.

    —Edwin T. Dreher, Deputy Chief (Retired), Office of the Chief of Detectives, New York City Police Department, March 27, 2007

    It is refreshing to see an edition that is really just not a re-print of outdated material. Moreover, from my point of view you took a huge step forward with this publication by publishing the photographs in color. --- This is extremely important and I am surprised that it hasn’t been done years ago. When teaching topics which deal with evidence such as powder burns, stippling, lividity, and the hue of blood itself, to name just a few, this can only be accurately portrayed when illustrated in color!

    Color is critical to differentiate physical evidence. --- Nice job! ---- Maintaining current information on the forever changing types of homicides gives the investigator the leading edge. In this most recent addition, I noted cases presented which, prior to just a few years ago, never occurred. Kudos’ Mr. Geberth! – This is an excellent resource.

    --Peter A. Siekmann, Coroner, DuPage County, Illinois Coroner’s Association

    This clearly is the best teaching text on homicide out there for those serious about the field of homicide investigation.

    --Donna Pendergast, First Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division, Michigan Attorney Generals Office

    Vernon J. Geberth is the only person in the country, that I am aware of, who has continued to incorporate the latest investigative techniques, forensic procedures, innovative theories and updated real cases illustrating these and compiled them into a book that should be in every police department library and every detective’s desk.

    The law enforcement community owes Geberth tremendous thanks for continuing to be the country’s most highly regarded and respected authority on homicide and death investigations.

    --Thomas N. Jordan, Magisterial District Judge, Past President of the Pennsylvania Homicide Investigator’s Association

    The new FOURTH edition of Practical Homicide Investigation is a Must Have. This is the recognized Bible in homicide investigation. Once again, Mr. Homicide, retired N.Y.P.D. Lieutenant Commander Vernon Geberth, has hit a home run. … I strongly recommend this new edition, which has been completely revised and updated. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned investigator or a rookie officer. P.H.I. covers every aspect of homicide investigation from the first officer on the scene to the complex forensic processes involved in the investigation of murder.

    --Detective Al Sheppard (Retired), NYPD-Major Case Squad, USA

    … This is truly a brilliant and exhaustive presentation of the subject matter that remains absolutely faithful to its title. The color photos and life-like illustrations (over 600) provide the reader with a most realistic presentation of the homicide investigation from arrival at the crime scene through the autopsy, never losing sight of the ultimate goal of a successful court room presentation and prosecution… . Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fourth Edition will empower you to be faithful to your solemn obligation to speak for the deceased and their families.

    --Anthony Magnetto, Captain, Troy, New York Police Department, USA

    …Unquestionably, Geberth has fully succeeded in his mission to provide a comprehensive and practical resource text that will serve as an investigational guide for the homicide professional. …An important addition is the inclusion of several check-off lists that greatly simplifies an investigation with the added advantage of obtaining all the information critical to the investigation …A major feature of this new edition that is really impressive derives from his use of numerous color photographs throughout the book… .

    This book is a must for anyone involved in law enforcement and forensic investigations including seasoned homicide investigators, police personnel, forensic investigators and forensic pathologists.

    --Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D., Emeritus Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County and Emeritus Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA

    It appears the author has revisited every chapter, but this latest revision especially provides new forensic coverage; in particular recent DNA developments. …Many new photographs and illustrations have been included and nearly all of them are in bright, graphic color. As usual with Commander Geberth's literary efforts, the faint-hearted should proceed with utmost caution… .

    --Director Larry Welch, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Topeka, Kansas, USA

    Vernon Geberth's Practical Homicide Investigation in its first edition has been the backbone of my research shelf for years, and I have turned to it hundreds of time. This Fourth Edition is a spectacular upgrade, the ultimate 'Bible' that every homicide investigator, criminalist, medical examiner, and those in dozens of other professions must have. It is the gold standard in advanced techniques for working crime scenes in all classifications--from fire deaths to lust murder, and everything in between … I am tremendously impressed with the scope and detail in this meticulously researched book. It is a triumph for Geberth and a bonanza for the investigator!
    --Ann Rule, Ph.D., Author of The Stranger Beside Me and Green River and Running Red

    Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures and Forensic Techniques should be required reading for all criminal investigators. This NEW Fourth Edition … actually makes you feel like you are in the scene and Vernon is walking you through all the steps as he is conducts the homicide investigation and answers your questions before you ask them. … The colored pictures are clear and detailed and the reader is able to visualize the homicide scene. Vernon, as usual does not take all of the credit for the contents of this professional book. Instead, he has made sure that he acknowledges all of his sources for their contributions and provides the reader with additional citations. This fantastic book is Vernon's contribution to everyone in law enforcement.

    --Captain Frank Griffin, Executive Officer, Connecticut State Police, Eastern District Headquarters, USA

    In this new 4th Edition Vernon Geberth presents THE cutting edge resource book for all criminal investigators and prosecutors.  … takes the reader step by step, from the first officer arriving at the scene, through identification of the nature of the crime, the handling of the crime scene, expanding the investigation, through laboratory analysis of the evidence and up to the successful prosecution of the suspects… Practical Homicide Investigation provides a clear, detailed outline for investigators and prosecutors, both of whom only get one chance to do it right.

    --Jim Yontz, Assistant District Attorney, Potter County, Texas, USA

    …This book will take the reader where many an author dare not tread. Geberth pulls no punches, this book is the real deal and not for the squeamish or weak of heart. Its content is not meant to shock the reader, but to emphasize the cold cruel reality of murder and sexual assault, and the importance in solving these crimes. The book has been updated to include advanced techniques for working crime scenes. As criminals become more educated in their trade via the internet, television programs on Crime Scene Processing and through incarceration in jails and penitentiaries, it is compulsory for homicide investigator to keep pace with the daily advancements in crime fighting tools that are available to him or her.

    --Detective Mark J. Czworniak, Area Three Homicide Sex Crimes Unit Evidence Response Team, Chicago Police Department, Illinois, USA

    Vernon Geberth has provided the definitive roadmap for those who wish to successfully investigate homicides … . [He] was the Commanding Officer of the Bronx Homicide Task Force when murder in New York City was at an all time high and has an uncanny understanding of what is essential for the investigation of murder or suicide. … Geberth has seen it all and is more than willing to share his own personal experiences and case histories, which he utilizes to instruct the reader and make a point relating to the dynamics of conducting death investigations. If you follow the procedures and tactics in this book, you will be able to sleep well, knowing no murderer has escaped justice because of a poor investigation.

    --Thomas P. Fahey, Assistant Chief (Retired), Chief of Manhattan Detectives, NYPD, USA

    …a tremendous aid to homicide and crime scene investigators, prosecutors and serious students of forensic identification procedures and abnormal human behavior. ..His methodical approach provides the seasoned and less experienced investigator every opportunity to, ‘Get it right the first time.’ …This publication is an invaluable asset to law enforcement and will be considered the Bible of homicide investigation.

    --Raymond M. Pierce, Criminal Profiler, Detective 1st Grade, Ret., NYPD

    …thanks to professionals around the country who share their information with Geberth, there are several new cases in this new edition. As well, he offers the latest DNA technology and more information (much needed) about equivocal death analysis, as well as a revised checklist for homicide investigators. The bibliography, too, includes more resources and the glossary more terms.

    But actually the best thing about this new edition is the replacement of black-and-white with color photos and illustrations – 675 of them…a number of new ones that refined my understanding of wounds, manner of death and investigative analysis…the full-color crime scene sketches and reconstructions are particularly instructive. …This book now stands out even more clearly as the definitive guidebook for homicide investigators. It will be difficult for anyone to top it.

    --Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology, Desales University, reporting for Court TV’s Crime Laboratory

    During my tenure as Homicide Bureau Chief, I had the great pleasure of working closely with Vernon J. Geberth. …Commander Geberth’s extensive knowledge, unmatched expertise, and boundless creativity…was responsible for the successful prosecution of countless homicides in Bronx County. …In my opinion, it is essential that the professional involved with the investigation and prosecution of a homicide have a copy of Vernon J. Geberth’s Practical Homicide Investigation, 4th Edition.

    -- Philip G. Schnelwar, former Prosecutor and Homicide Bureau Chief, Bronx County, New York.

    …the New Testament in The Bible of homicide investigation.

    --Larry Welch, director, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Topeka

    This edition is one of the finest books on homicide investigation. It is filled with practical tips, interesting cases, numerous photos and all basic topics from tactics to provedures and forensic techniques. 3 Stars.

    Journal of American Association of Forensic Dentists

    This volume, the latest rendition of what has become the classic homicide investigators’ manual, is the next best thing to having a mentor with the understanding of the author. … It is, like the earlier volumes, the seminal work on this topic. There is not a better one on the market.

    —Frank Horvath, Ph.D., writing in Journal of Forensic Science, May 2009, vol. 54, no. 3