Crime Scene Staging

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One of the main methods of determining the nature of a case is by analysing the crime scene, particularly analysing the body of the victim including its location.
Over 98% of offenders left the bodies in the location they died in noted Keppel and Weis (2004). The movement of a body is limited by the physical strength, victim’s state, size and manoeuvrability.
Changing the crime scene to avoid prosecution is termed crime scene staging; that may be by attempting to redirect the investigation onto someone else or by endeavouring to change the appearance of the case nature from homicidal to either suicidal (by writing a suicide note) or accidental. Crime scene staging has been regularly documented in the last century. Turvey (2000), noted that
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Crime scene photography and the autopsy are of vital importance in dealing with a death.
Staging types
Hazelwood and Napier (2004) remarked that verbal staging is when one disposes of the victim then files a missing person report. The purpose of verbal staging is to mislead the police, by alerting the police to the missing person perpetrators would be less likely to be thought of as suspects. In addition, they may also stage the crime scene; however, verbal staging has not been highly associated with crime scene staging since many of the victims’ bodies and/or murders were not in the house of neither the victim nor the murderer Hazelwood and Napier (2004).
Other types of staging involve the movement, destruction, addition or removal of something in the scene or the body. These changes are of a wide variety and the perpetrators psychology and imagination may be unique or general such as burning the scene and body. This type of staging is classified in levels.
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An example of minimal staging is the placement of the murder weapon such as the gun or knife in the victim’s hand. This would directly be discerned as a staged suicide by the forensic pathologist as the body tends to become flaccid after death and the weapon should fall out of the hand unless the body is in a position that the weapon wouldn’t fall which is highly unlikely. Furthermore, cadaveric spasms, otherwise thought of as instantaneous rigidity, would probably be asked about in court or by the police is believed not to exist. Furthermore, even if they did exist, they have only been reported in intense physical and emotional distress such as in a battlefield or drowning in a
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