Marco Topete's Murder Scene Analysis

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Marco Topete, 39, was convicted of First Degree Murder with Special Circumstances after a high speed pursuit lead to the death of Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz on 15 June 2008. Diaz was fatally struck in the chest by one of seventeen .223 caliber rounds fired from an AR-15 Assault Rifle fired by Marco Topete.

The .223 Round pierced Diaz’ Kevlar vest and struck the Sherriff’s County vehicle which contained Topete’s daughter who was abandoned in Topete’s car when he fled on foot from the vehicle.

This Crime was one of the first to use 3d imaging ballistic trajectory tracking as a primary source of evidence used in court. I chose this case despite it being an American case because of its revolution in 3D Imaging and ballistics trajectory which sparked an interest and was briefly mentioned in my speak out.

Crime Scene and Evidence

The scene where the shooting took place was a house on the side of a road where Topete was run off the road. Topete proceeded to run around the house before firing on Diaz.

Fig.1 Seventeen .223 Remington cases and the bullet impact sights on the Sherriff’s County Vehicle.

Fig.2 Deputy Antonio Diaz’ Kevlar vest with location of fatal bullet entry.

Fig.3 Timing Data derived from Audio Frequency analysis of the crime recorded by Diaz’ dashboard camera.

Fig.4 Lecica ScanStation II scanning vehicle with trajectory rods.

An AR-15 Rifle similar to that used by Topete

Crime Scene photograph of Topete and Diaz’ cars.

Solving the crime

The crime scene’s largest chunks of evidence included the .223 Remington shells (fired from Topete’s AR-15 Rifle), Topete’s car, Diaz’s Sherriff’s County Vehicle w/ impact points, Topete’s daughter (still in Diaz’ cruiser), Diaz’s ...

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...violence and further fuelled by his alcoholism. I feel that Topete’s actions were worthy of harsh punishment but due to his suffering of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, alcohol addiction, abusing upbringing and complex trauma, I feel that his punishment should have been life imprisonment without parole rather than death.


All 3D imaging © 2014 Precision Simulations, Inc.. All rights reserved

Fries, C. (2014). Precision Simulations, Inc. :: Topete Murder Trial. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 May. 2014].

Keene, L. (2012). Topete gets death sentence for deputy's murder. [online] Davis Enterprise. Available at: [Accessed 18 May. 2014].
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