Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 18, 1976 · Page 14
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July 18, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 14

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, July 18, 1976
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Page 14
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14A --July 18, 1976 Sunday Gatette-Mail I Chwlnton West Vlrjlnii Chemical Unit of FBI's laboratory in Washington Test Aid Both FBI and Samailer Police Departments Crime Lab Gathers Crucial Evidence By Margaret Gentry WASHINGTON (AP)-In the laboratory's fluorescent glare, a technician examined ugly brown splotches on a tiny yellow quilted robe. A baby girl had been wearing the robe at the time she was raped. The splotches were dried bloodstains. ' It was the technician's job to determine whether the bloodstains on the robe matched those on pair of jeans and a football jersey taken from the key suspect in the case. The results of a variety of chemical tests would be crucial for police gathering . evidence against the man. The chemical analysis could either link him inextricably to the crime or exonerate him. The results would be unusually important in this case because the victim, although she survived. could not of course identify her attacker. * * * THE ROBE, the jeans and the football jersey are among thousands of items sent each year to the FBI laboratory in Washington, which conducts nearly 500,000 examinations annually for criminal investigations throughout the nation. The FBI handles more criminal case laboratory work than any of the 200 state and local police labs in the country. Most . small town police departments rely on the FBI for their lab work. Jay Cochran Jr., an assistant FBI direc- ~ tor who heads the lab. says some sophisticated techniques are available to police departments only at the FBI. These include a method soon to be used for deter- mining whether a blood sample came '. from a male or a female. - On the other hand, some state labs, particularly those affiliated with a medical examiner's office, may do more than the FBI lab in the area of pathology, largely . because some tests on body tissues must - be done immediately and cannot await shipment of specimens to the FBI in Washington. The FBI lab was started 42 years ago as "a one-man, one microscope concept," says Cochran, who is 48 and is trained as a mechnical engineer. There are now 512 employes and equipment worth $7.8 million. About one-fourth of the work is performed for law enforcement agencies other than the FBI, Cochran says. In the physics and chemistry section, that proportion grows to 60 per cent, with the FBI picking up the cost. Some cases end in remarkable success' stories, but other end in failure. Sometimes, lab officials feel they're only one short step ahead of the criminals in scientific knowledge. * « * FOR EXMPLE Maurice Stack, head of the physics and chemistry section, noted that criminals often file off the identifying numbers of stolen cars and weapons. The lab uses a chemical process which can restore the numbers, but investigators are finding that some theft rings file off numbers, then restore them chemically and file them off again. "There's no way we can restore a number a second time," Stack lamented. Bell B. Herndon, the section chief in charge of code breaking and document analysis, said prison inmates often communicate- in simple codes, and this practice once led to the arrest of a prison inmate for the homosexual murder of another inmate. The lab received a prison message written by the suspect. Once the code was broken, analysts found the message to be a murder confession, says Herndon, who is 49 and has a masters degree in forensic sciences. The FBI recently added an electron microscope to the physics lab. Stack said the microscope soon proved vital in the examination of a butcher knife taken from a burglary suspect. The burglar had cut through an alumin- um screen to break into a house. The technician had to determine whether the defendant's knife could have been used to slash the screen. "The knife had shiny places in it, and a regular-microscope just showed the shiny places bigger," Stack said. "But with the electron microscope, it was possible to establish that these shiny places were alum i n u m of the same m a k e u p as the screen." * * * A MAJOR PART of the FBI lab operation involves ballistics tests to determine whether bullets taken from victims were fired from a particular defendant's gun. This involves microscopic examination of the striations on the bullet as well as other tests to determine whether traces of barium and antimony, elements commonly found in ammunition, are present in material swabbed from a suspect's hand. But Stack, a 43-year-old specialist in for-, ensic sciences, said ballistics identification often is impossible to obtain because .22 caliber guns are used in 40 per cent of all murders. "The .22 caliber bullet is so small there's only about a 20 per cent chance of identifying it," he said. The FBI often must identify gun parts found at crime scenes. To make the job easier, the lab maintains a collection of about 3,000 guns valued at more than $1 million. The collection includes rare and valuable antiques such as a World War II- vintage Lugar carbine, one of only 1,200 made, and'a .45 pistol, among 500 made by the Singer Sewing Machine Co. when it switched to military production early in World War II. . FBI officials say that in a few cases, police investigators themselves make it impossible for the lab's analsts to come up with meaningful findings. For example, some have sent in the clothing of a rape victim and that of the suspect in the same package so there's no wav to tell whether hair and fiber found on the suspect's clothing got there during the crime or afterward. Soil samples have been sent in envelopes which broke during transit. * * * ONE POLICEMAN, firing a gun to obtain test bullets for ballistics comparison, sent the FBI lab the trunk of a tree with the eight test bullets still imgedded in it. "They were so messed up we couldn't tell anything about them," Stack said. "And the characteristics of the gun barrel had been changed by so much, firing." The normal procedure is to fire the test bllets into a tank of water or, if that's not available, a swimming pool. One police department sent in dynamite and explosive caps in the same package, creating the risk of a/n explosion in transit. The FBI has put out a manual advising police how to handle and mail evidence, and it conducts training courses for crime scene investigators. There's one FBI lab man whose job could make him the envy of thousands. He watches dirty movies. Herndon explained: "We have a file of about every triple-X and obscene movie made in this country. We keep them in case case testimony is needed about where they were made, who directed them and so forth. We have an older married man in charge so it's perfectly safe to have him looking at them." GEE PAP, IP WEL'P 6ON BlRP'NG [ INSTKAD OF FI5HIN6, YOLi'P HAVE HAP A PRETTY600P DAY! j YOU'LL HAVE A 600P PAY...EVERY PAY F.INPIN6 TfC MANY | eA(?6AINt IN THE. FAMILY WANT APS IN mi: Gazelle-Mail 348-4848 ·vj: Technician Examines Nightgown Collecting Scrapings for Analysis j . Pulsar. In 30 years, give it to your grandson. Flick your wrist, it flashes the time. Stainless Steel case, matching bracelet S295. Also available with 24 hr. display. Pulsar may be the first heirloom created by modern technology. Its little solid state lamps are made to shine brightly for centuries of normal use. Millioncycle switches are designed to last at least 109 years. Ask to see Pulsar's full 3-year warranty. Pulsar JEWELERS 310 Capitol St. KanawhaCity (N«xt to the Diamond] 37l6MocCon\ltAv«,,S.E Hays Preparing Return to Congress BELMONT, Ohio (AP) - Temporarily forgotten in the hoopla of the Democratic National Convention, Rep. Wayne L. Hays is preparing to return to Washington Monday when Congress convenes after a 2Vi week recess. · The 65-year-old Democrat, central figure in the congressional payroll sex scandal, will face his colleagues in the House stripped of his chairmanship of the powerful Administration Committee for the first time since he took an overdose of sleeping pills at his farm home here June 10. Hays has said that the overdose was accidental resulting from h$ inability to sleep, the jitters, and his being dopey. He says that he took at least six Dai- mane tablets and perhaps as many as eight after awakening three times during the night. A SPOKESMAN for the House Ethics Committe which began an investigation of Hays' admitted affair with Elizabeth Ray said the committee has no action planned next week. A justice department probe also is continuing but nothing significant is expected. Hays, in his first public appearance two weeks ago since being released from the Barnsville Hospital June 18, said that he planned to return to Washington on Monday if his physician gave the go-ahead. The physician, Dr. Richard Phillips, confirmed this Friday and said that Hays "is looking and feeling good and is pretty much back to normal." "He's just doing fine," Phillips said. Phillips would not say whether Hays is still taking any kind of medication such as Dalmane, the sleeping tablet that the physician had prescribed for him to help relieve the stress he had been under from the scandal. "That's a physician-patient relationship," said Phillips. · * · BUT HAYS EARLIER had indicated he still might be taking the medication. He told reporters two weeks ago: "I made it a rule now to put it where I can't get a hold of it at night. I mean, you know, fumble around arid take it. You've got to be wide awake or know what you're doing." During his eight-day stay in the hospital, Hays lost about 15 pounds and at his first public appearance July 2 showed signs, of weakness. He said at the time that he had regained some weight and that other than being weak, he otherwise he felt "pretty good." During his final day in the hospital on June 18, Hays sent a letter to the Democratic leadership in Washington announcing his resignation as chairman of the Administration Committee. He indicated he might try to regain the post later, but political observers see little chance of this. "I am confident that I will be vindicated as to any wrongdoing and when that occurs, I shall ask for a reexamination of my position by the (House Democratic) caucus," the letter concluded; Hays has said that he has no present plans to resign from the House itself. He said also that his present plans are to seek re-election to a 15th term in the November general election. FOR QUICK RESULTS USE GAZETTE AND DAILY MAIL WANT ADS PH, 3484848 ROLANOOC.RAMREZMJ). ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF HIS OFFICE FOR THE PRACTICE OF. INTERNAL MEDICINE JUIY 15/1976 CLINIC BUILDING Montgomery General Hospital Montgomery, W.Va. 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FEDDERS The Experts In Air Conditioning Bornette Equipment Golf Heating A/C St.Albant,W.V 727-5421 Callihan Heating Hurrtron«,W.Va. 562-3232 Dunbar Heating A/C Dunbar,W.Va. 761-0049 Charleston, W. Vo. 744-0861 KemperAirCond. Crouton ·vW.Va 776-1021 TAC Heating A/C SiHonv!llt,W.Vo, 984.9760

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