April 6, 2006 by Tp10cwox


									                                Actual Report#1
                   Names have been omitted . R=deceased L=accused

Re: Oregon v L

The following is a narrative of the shooting reconstruction in an incident that finalized in
the death of Derek Bradley R on April 26, 2003. I am a Forensic Scientist with 28 years
of experience. Twenty Five years were with the Oregon State Police and I retired as the
director of the Oregon State Police Forensic Lab in Coos Bay, Oregon. I have previously
testified as an expert in shooting reconstruction, bloodstain pattern analysis and the
laboratory examination of evidence. I have published the following articles in peer
reviewed journals that have national or international distribution:

"High Velocity Backspatter on Shirt Sleeves," Pex, Hurley and Vaughan, Newsletter of the
       Northwest Association of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 11, No. 4 December 1985

"High Velocity Backspatter on Shirt Sleeves," Pex, Hurley and Vaughan, Newsletter of the
       California Association of Criminalists, July 1986

"Observations on High Velocity Bloodspatter on Adjacent Objects," Pex and Vaughan,
Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 32, No. 6 November 1987

"Sequencing of Bloody Shoe Impressions By Blood Spatter and Blood Droplet Drying
      Times," Pex and Hurley, International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts,
      December 1990.

"Accidental Discharge of a Smith and Wesson Model 659", Pex, Journal of the
Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners, Vol. 26, No. 1, January 1994.

“Bullet Databases for Field Use”, Wildlife Forensic Manual, third edition, April,2003.

“Simplified General Rifling Characteristics Databases for Field Use”, Pex, AFTE Journal,
Volume 35 Number 3, Summer 2003

“The use and limitations of Luminol in bloodstain pattern analysis” International
Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts News, Dec. 2005, Vol.21, Number 4
Relevant Reports

I have reviewed numerous reports and photographs related to this case and I have
personally visited the scene, obtained photographs and measurements. I have
received and examined physical evidence in this case also. Of particular
importance was R’s shirt, the firearm and the recovered bullets.

 On page 140 of the discovery, Detective C makes the following summary
statement, “On 042604 I attended the post mortem examination of the deceased at
the State Medical Examiner’s Office. Dr. LX. conducted this examination as a
result, recovered five what appeared to be .45 caliber slugs from the deceased’s
body. The trajectory of these wounds indicated a downward to upward angle. This
was consistent with what L. told us the night he was interviewed on how he was on
his back firing at R. who was coming down over him.”

On page 141 of the discovery, Detective C states the following,” In examining R.’s
outer body, I noticed his right hand to have some injuries. Specifically, the last two
knuckles on his hand were bruised in a dark purplish color. He also had a cut
between his pinkie and ring finger of his right hand which had bled slightly. There
was also a smaller cut at the base of his right index finger.
 “The presence of fresh blood suggests at least some of these injuries were recent.
Injuries of this nature are not uncommon as the result of a fist fight. If he had keys
in his right hand as he struck another object, this may have caused cuts to his
hand. A ring of keys was visible on his left arm in scene photographs.

On page 48 of the discovery, Detective C states the following, ”At 0350 hours, a
male subject came out the front door of the apartment building stating that he had
just shot him, how he was beating him up, and how he had shot him. Det. P noticed
a small amount of blood on his shoes and saw a gun visible in a holster in this
subject’s waistband.”

On page 110 of the discovery (interview of L) Rh asks “How did you fall? Did you
trip?” L. responds,” No, he punched me. He punched me in the head and just
knocked me completely off balance and plus, while he was punching me, I was
trying to dodge his punches.”

On page 115 of the discovery, a continuation of L.’s interview he states,” He was
right coming down on me, like it was, like if I hadn’t of pulled it out right then, I
would’ve been fuckin’ dead, you know what I’m sayin’? He would’ve been on me
like stranglin’ me until I was completely unconscious.”


The firearm used in this case was a TAURUS model PT 945 semiautomatic pistol
in .45 Auto caliber. The serial number was NU....... This weapon was test fired and
found to be operable. The ammunition of interest was Winchester .45 Auto with
silver colored hollow point bullets. Proximity testing performed by the OSP crime
lab, and statements in autopsy report was critical to range determinations in this
case. After the bullet, unburned gunpowder and vaporous lead also exit the barrel.
Their range is limited and testing revealed that this weapon would cast gun powder
particulates 16-20 inches. If the weapon was held parallel to the testing material it
could cast lead vapor 2.5 inches.

                   vapor                                  Gunpowder


Crime Scene

On May 3, 2004, I examined the apartment at ......... A. Street, Portland, Oregon.
Of special interest was a bullet hole in the south wall at a height of 5’10”. The bullet
hole was not typical of a bullet that struck another object prior to striking the wall. A
few gunpowder particulates were visible around the hole. The angle of entry with
the wall was thirty-seven degrees, which would create an intersect with the floor at
3’ 9 ½” from the wall. Other areas of damage were noted to the walls and ceiling,
but paint particulates on the floor were absent near these sites suggesting that they
were not recent. In order to accomplish this shot, the most probable position was
sitting, kneeling or lying on the floor. The following photos in Fig 1 and Fig. 2 were
taken at the apartment. One photo demonstrates a possible shooting position
consistent with previous recorded statements by Matthew L. and the angle of entry.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

                                    Injuries to L.

Photographs taken by Portland PD of L. demonstrate red areas on the side of his
face and his nose. In personal conversation with Mr. L. he indicated that he was
struck by R.’s fists during the altercation. This is also consistent with earlier
statements where he thought his nose was broken. Photographs of the bicep area
of his right arm depicts four linear bruises consistent with finger marks from a tight
grip. I have seen bruises of this nature often when photographing victims of
domestic violence.

                                    Injuries to R.

An autopsy was performed by Dr. LX. on ....,2004. He lists the cause of death to R.
as gunshot wounds of chest and heart. In his anatomic diagnoses, he lists five
gunshot wounds and a blood alcohol content of 0.18gm%. Bruises to his right hand
knuckles were visible in autopsy photographs.

                             Shooting Reconstruction

The organization of the shooting reconstruction will be based on the order of
gunshot wounds listed in the autopsy report. This may or may not have any
relevance to the sequence of shots. Each shot will be depicted by a photograph of
the injury, changes in the outer shirt worn by R., and an artist conception of the
most probable position of both parties at the time the shot was fired. These
reconstructions were based on physical evidence. Some minor changes in position
may also apply.


    This is an intermediate range entrance wound 2 ½ inches below the elbow in
   the right forearm. There is a stippling pattern around the entrance wound with a
   maximum diameter of four inches. This is consistent with the elbow bent and
   the arm across the body at the time of discharge. The bullet was recovered
   from the auxiliary region (arm pit) of the upper arm. The upper arm would have
   to be extended toward the firearm with the elbow bent. Fig 3 demonstrates the
   entry wound with the surrounding stippling. The circular nature of the entry
   wound indicated this part of the arm was directly in line with the muzzle.
   Stippling represents unburned gun powder particles that exit the barrel after the
   bullet. The diameter of the pattern has a relationship to the distance the
   particulates have traveled. Normally, they will not travel further than three to
   four feet. A pattern diameter of four inches indicated a close shot of a few

                                           Fig. 3
The following diagram depicts a position of both parties that is consistent with the
facts in this case for this particular shot.
     Autopsy #1

                                                                    Portland Oregon


                                                                    Bl 2

                                        Fig. 4


 This bullet in the left chest area, travels under the skin and stops in the left
shoulder area. The trajectory through the body was described as sharply below
to above, slightly left to right. Further description in the autopsy report stated
that there is a corresponding defect in the white T-shirt which has a 1 inch
diameter surrounding dense gunpowder fouling pattern. Heavy fouling in the
absence of stippling indicates a near contact muzzle to shirt distance.

Fig. 5 depicts a bullet entrance hole in the T-shirt worn by R. This is confirmed
on page 3 of OSP lab report dated October 26, 2004. The location in the report
is hole #5. The bullet penetrated the sleeve of the shirt but missed the arm
before entering the chest. The left lateral side would have to be exposed to the
weapon muzzle held close but sharply below this site with the arm raised.

                                      Fig. 5

                                       Fig. 6

The arrow in Fig. 6 indicates the direction of bullet travel after penetrating the
shirt. This bullet did not enter the inner chest, but lodged in the shoulder blade.

      Autopsy #2

                                                                       Portland Oregon


                                                                       Bl 2

Fig. 7 represents a shooting position that would cause an injury to R.’s left side.
If the arm was across the chest of L. on the floor, the entry would be outside the

The autopsy report indicated a trajectory of front to back, left to right and below
to above. The bullet entered the chest 5 ½ inches left of the midline and is
recovered from the right lateral chest wall. As the bullets pass through the chest
it rises in elevation about four inches. No indication of fouling or stippling was
noted in the autopsy report. OSP crime lab examinations indicate lead wipe
around hole #3 that would correspond to this injury. This area was blood
soaked which makes further chemical testing of gunshot residue more difficult.

                                      Fig. 8

Two bullet holes were noted in Fig. 8. The hole marked #3 represents the
entrance hole for this shot.

                                        Fig. 9

The bullet trajectory from this entrance wound depicted in Fig. 9 is left to right and
   slightly upward. The weapon could be held to the side or if L. was on the floor,
                         the upper torso of R. may be twisted.

  The following graphic (Fig. 10) may represent the shooting circumstance that
               accounts for this shot.

              Autopsy #3

                                                                      Portland Oregon


                                                                      Bl 2

                                         Fig. 10


The bullet entrance was on the left lateral side. Trajectory reported to be front
to back, left to right, below to above. Further statements indicate 5 ½ inches left
of the midline. OSP Crime lab reports list this as hole #2 in the T-shirt. In Fig.
11, this is listed as hole #4. Due to the trajectory through the body, shots III
and IV were probably made in close succession to one another. In both shots,
R.’s body would require a slight twist to the right to align the trajectories with a
weapon held by L. on the floor. It is not possible to determine which shot (III or
IV) came first, there are too many variables.

                                      Fig. 11

                                         Fig. 12
   The arrow indicates the bullet entrance wound. Gunshot residue on the shirt
   indicated a muzzle to shirt distance of less than 16-20 inches.

Autopsy #4

                                                                  Portland Oregon


                                                                 Bl 2

             Fig.13 depicts a possible shooting position for this shot.


The entrance is to the right upper abdomen. The trajectory was front to back,
slightly below to above and slightly right to left. The autopsy report further states
there is bullet wipe with no gross visible fouling or stippling. The bullet enters 50
inches above the heel and is recovered 52 inches above the heel. Fig. 14 depicts
the bullet entry and the oval shape consistent with a shot from below to above.
Bruises to the right knuckles are also visible.

                                       Fig. 14

                                        Fig. 15

OSP crime lab report dated October 26, 2004, identifies an “area #1” which is a V
shaped pattern on the lower front of the shirt. Vaporous lead was detected. The
report further states vaporous lead was detectable to 2.5 inches when the weapon
was held parallel to the shirt. This shirt was extra large and was likely worn outside
the belt. If the weapon is held in a manner demonstrated in Fig. 15, this area #1
pattern would be consistent with the escape of gases from the breech when the
weapon was discharged. Bullet hole #5 would correspond with the weapon held in
this position. If the T-shirt was worn outside the belt, the front of the shirt may fall
forward when a person is leaning forward. The trajectory through the body is
almost horizontal. This means the longitudinal axis of the body had to be almost
perpendicular to the firearm. The combination of the shirt information and the
trajectory indicate R. was bending over L. at the time of discharge was probable.
The graphic in Fig. 16 suggests a manner in which this shot may have taken place.
This bullet penetrated the spine and would have incapacitated Derek R.. This may
have been the last shot fired.

Autopsy #5

                                                               Portland Oregon


                                                               Bl 2

                                      Fig. 16
The graphic in Fig. 16 suggests a manner in which this shot may have taken place.
his bullet penetrated the spine and would have incapacitated Derek R. This may
have been the last shot fired.

                                   Shot in Wall

The T-shirt worn by Derek R. has information that suggests another shot that may
have missed him. None of the other bullets exited the body. Consequently, a sixth
shot made the hole in the wall at the apartment. OSP crime lab report dated
October 26, 2004, describes an “area #2” that is a circular area of discoloration on
the front left sleeve of Derek R.’s T-shirt. This was processed and found to be
positive for vaporous lead. The muzzle of the weapon had to be held within 2.5
inches of this location at the time of discharge. The circular location on the shirt
does not correspond with any of the other shots to the shirt. This can be seen in
Fig. 17.


Wall Shot #6

                                                                Portland Oregon


                                                                Bl 2

                                       Fig. 18
Fig. 18 may represent this shot. Not much is known about this trajectory across
R.’s body. Only the trajectory from the wall and the possible position of L. on the
floor are material physical evidence.


An altercation between two individuals is not a static event. Both parties are or may
be moving and there may be no physical evidence to support these minor actions.
It was reported to me that all shots were fired in rapid succession. The final position
of R. was on the floor parallel to the south wall with his head toward the door, on his
back, with a set of keys on the left shoulder. His feet were near the wall with the
bullet hole. Two cartridge cases were discovered in the bathroom across from R.’s
body. Their position may be the result of bouncing off nearby objects or he may
have been falling in that direction when two shots were fired. When the empty
cases eject, they usually move up and to the right when a weapon is held parallel to
the floor. When a weapon is held in other positions during an altercation, the
ejection pattern may be difficult to discern. In crime scene reconstruction, the
common phrase used with cartridge cases is “they are where you find them”.
Frequently, insufficient physical facts exist to explain how they arrived at a
particular location. Bloodspatter, witnesses and fingerprints are sometimes helpful
in crime scene reconstruction. No bloodspatter or fingerprints were observed at the
scene to assist in position determination. This is not uncommon when shots are
made through clothing to the torso. No other witnesses were present.

In this evaluation, I considered alternate possibilities, such as R. was on his back
on the floor at the time of the shooting with L. standing over him. It was known from
laboratory testing that the Taurus .45 Auto pistol will cast unburned gunpowder
particulates. With five shots striking him, these particulates should have been
visible, scattered about, on R.’s clothing in this scenario. This was not observed.
Bullet trajectories, the hole in the wall and shot proximities are not consistent with
this scenario either.

The graphic scenes used to represent the bullet trajectories are based on available
physical evidence. There may be other minor changes to these positions that could
be supported also. The bullet hole in the wall and statements by L. are the anchor
points for these graphics. In my opinion, the physical evidence supports his
statements that he was on the floor with R. above him at the time of the altercation.
Police officers are trained to fire their weapons repeatedly when confronted by
present or perceived deadly physical force. R. was in close proximity to L. at the
time the firearm was discharged. Bruises to R.’s knuckles and injuries to L.’s face
and arm support a close contact altercation. In my opinion, L.’s actions may be
justified if he believed that his life was threatened by imminent deadly physical force
against him.

James O. Pex M.S.

To top