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Evidence: Forensic Analysis of prints, stains, and, fibers
 
Handprint after treatment with Ninhydrin
Handprint after treatment with Silver Nitrate (under UV light)

YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

Investigating Officer(s): Det. S. Murphy. Det. T. Armstrong

Incident No.: 000524-27A-2001

Case Description: Melissa Hammond Homicide

The following report on forensic analysis results was received from the State Crime Lab on March 20, 2001.

Handprint:

After experimenting with handprints in the laboratory, two methods were used to visualize the unknown handprint on the fitted sheet (000524-21). Initially, ninhydrin was used revealing a faint purple print, but not enough detail was available for identification of characteristic patterns. A 3% solution of silver nitrate (which reacts with sodium chloride left from perspiration) was then applied to the print and visualized under UV light revealing a strong black print. Sufficient ridge detail was present for identification of the handprint as consistent with Jonah Dale.

Stain Analysis:

Clothing items taken into evidence from the R. Hammond and Kirby residences were analyzed to determine the presence of blood (Kastle-Meyer test/Phenolphthalein)

Evidence #

Description

Location

Results

000524-40

One (1) men's dress shirt, white, size M

R. Hammond Master Bedroom

positive for blood, subsequent precipitin test using electrophoresis was positive for human blood, inconsistent with the victim

000524-41

One (1) pair ladies' trousers, gray, size S

R. Hammond Master Bedroom

positive for blood, subsequent precipitin test using electrophoresis was positive for human blood, inconsistent with the victim

000524-42

One (1) pair men's trousers, khaki, size 31W

R. Hammond Laundry Room

negative for blood, substance could not be identified

000524-43

One (1) pair men's trousers, gray, size 31W

R. Hammond Laundry Room

negative for blood, subsequently identified as wine (consistent with Evidence #000524-38: One (1) liter bottle Copperridge merlot wine)

000524-44

One (1) turtleneck shirt, blue, size M

R. Hammond Laundry Room

negative for blood, substance could not be identified

000524-45

One (1) sweatshirt-type jacket, hooded, black, size XL

R. Hammond Laundry Room

negative for blood, subsequently identified as wine (consistent with Evidence #000524-38: One (1) liter bottle Copperridge merlot wine)

000524-49

One (1) t-shirt, white, size M

R. Hammond Garage

negative for blood, substance could not be identified

000524-50

One (1) sweatshirt, hooded, blue, with Ole Miss logo, size XL

R. Hammond Vehicle - Cadillac

negative for blood, subsequently identified as tomato juice

000524-51

One (1) pair ladies' trousers, khaki, size M

Kirby Master Bedroom

negative for blood, subsequently identified as cranberry juice

000524-52

One (1) pair men's trousers, brown, size 33W

Kirby Master Bedroom

negative for blood, substance could not be identified

000524-53

One (1) men's dress shirt, white, size 15 long

Kirby Master Bedroom

negative for blood, subsequently identified as ballpoint pen ink

000524-54

One (1) pair ladies' trousers, green, size M

Kirby Laundry Area

negative for blood, substance could not be identified

000524-55

One (1) pair men's trousers, khaki, size 33W

Kirby Laundry Area

negative for blood, subsequently identified as inkjet printer ink

000524-56

One (1) pair men's trousers, gray, size 33W

Kirby Laundry Area

negative for blood, substance could not be identified

000524-57

One (1) men's dress shirt, white, size M

Kirby Laundry Area

negative for blood, subsequently identified as felt tip pen ink

000524-58

One (1) sweatshirt, white, with Mississippi State University logo, size XL

Kirby Laundry Area

negative for blood, subsequently identified as tomato juice

000524-59

One (1) ladies' dress shirt, blue, size M

Kirby Laundry Area

negative for blood, subsequently identified as wine (inconsistent with Evidence #000524-38: One (1) liter bottle Copperridge merlot wine)

000524-60

One (1) t-shirt, white, size L

Kirby Laundry Area

positive for blood, subsequent precipitin test using electrophoresis was positive for human blood, inconsistent with the victim

000524-61

One (1) sweatshirt-type jacket, hooded, black, size XL

Kirby Laundry Area

negative for blood, substance could not be identified

000524-62

One (1) turtleneck shirt, black, size L

Kirby Laundry Area

negative for blood, subsequently identified as tomato sauce

000524-64

One (1) pair ladies' trousers, gray, size M

Kirby Vehicle - Honda

negative for blood, substance could not be identified

000524-66

One (1) men's dress shirt, blue, size L

Kirby Vehicle - Mustang

negative for blood, subsequently identified as power steering fluid (polyalpha olefins, zinc alkyl dithiophosphate)

Document Examination:

Questioned Document Examiner David Vogel was provided with the life insurance policy of Melissa Hammond. Comparison of the angularity, slope, spacing, etc. of the signature on the policy (Q) with three known samples of Melissa's handwriting revealed five major similarities (noted in the photos). It was concluded that Melissa Hammond was the author of the questioned signature.

Fibers:

Fibers from the ligature wound of the victim were compared to the fibers of the following evidence items.

Evidence #

Description

Location

Results

000524-46

One (1) bundle of rope with wrapper labeled "Clothesline," approx. 66' length remaining

R. Hammond Laundry Room

consistent with fibers from ligature wound

000524-47

One (1) segment of rope, approx. 34" length, tied around cardboard box

R. Hammond Storage Room

consistent with fibers from ligature wound, gold links found embedded in this item were determined to be 14K gold and appeared to be forcibly broken from the original item of jewelry

000524-48

One (1) plastic bag of rope labeled "Sash Cord," open, approx. 37' rope length remaining

R. Hammond Storage Room

inconsistent with fibers from ligature wound

000524-63

One (1) cone of rope, approx. 320' length remaining.

Kirby Laundry Area

inconsistent with fibers from ligature wound

000524-65

One (1) plastic bag of rope, labeled "Multi-Purpose Cord," open, approx. 19' length remaining.

Kirby Vehicle - Honda

inconsistent with fibers from ligature wound

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