The effect of latent fingerprint processing on the recovery of gunshot primer residue particles from latex gloves
Jenquine, Kelsie Lynn
MetadataShow full item record
Gunshot primer residue (P-GSR) is released from the openings of a firearm when it is discharged12,13. P-GSR is made of microscopic particles that are considered characteristic of being derived from firearm ammunition when composed of barium (Ba), lead (Pb), and antimony (Sb) and have the correct morphology4. Morphology describes the shape of the P-GSR particle, which can be spherical, irregularly shaped, and must be non-crystalline. Forensic labs are commonly requested to test for the presence of P-GSR on evidential items, such as hands, clothing, vehicles, and gloves, in order to provide circumstantial evidence showing that they were, in some way, possibly involved with a shooting. Occasionally these evidential items are also expected to undergo fingerprint processing to potentially link someone to a crime. Latex gloves are often utilized in the commission of a crime with the impression that fingerprints cannot be left behind, however latent prints can often be developed on this non-porous material. Due to the evidential value of fingerprints and in order to ensure that potential prints are not damaged during P-GSR collection, latent print development is routinely performed first. Considering that P-GSR particles are easily dislodged, it is possible that some loss of P-GSR may occur during latent print processing. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of processing a non-porous item for latent fingerprints on the subsequent recovery and detection of P-GSR. Latex gloves were worn during the discharge of either a pistol or a revolver and then processed for latent prints by undergoing cyanoacrylate fuming followed by either white powder or yellow dye. The latex gloves were then sampled for P-GSR using aluminum stubs containing an adhesive coating which were dabbed over the gloves until they loss their tackiness. The stubs were then carbon coated using a Denton Vacuum Desk IV in order to prevent charging in the analytical instrument. Utilizing a JEOL JSM-6460LV Scanning Electron Microscope (JEOL USA Inc., Peabody, MA coupled with an EDAX Apollo X Analyzer (EDAX Inc., Mahwah, NJ) and EDAX Genesis GSR Software, the stubs were processed for three-component particles characteristic of P-GSR. It was determined that P-GSR can still be recovered on latex gloves after undergoing latent print processing involving cyanoacrylate fuming followed by either white powder or yellow dye processing. Three-component particles were found on both the interior and exterior of the latex gloves after being processed for latent prints. On average, 33 P-GSR particles were found on the exterior of the gloves and four P-GSR particles were found on the interior of the gloves. Although significantly less were found on the interior of the gloves (<10), it is recommended that both sides of gloves be stubbed when collecting P-GSR for the greatest chances of collecting three-component particles if they are in fact present on a pair of gloves. Although more particles were found on the gloves that were not processed for latent prints, a sufficient number of particles (≥3 particles) were consistently found on the latex gloves after undergoing latent print processing to provide a positive P-GSR result according to the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab guidelines for P-GSR analysis. Therefore, this research shows that latex gloves can first be processed for latent prints and then subsequently be processed for P-GSR effectively in order to try and obtain both forms of evidence for a case.