Imagine responding to the scene of a suspected homicide by gunshot...

Imagine responding to the scene of a suspected homicide by gunshot in the upstairs bedroom of a single-family home located on the corner of Maple Street and Second Avenue. Discuss what you think is the most important step in the process of collecting evidence and why.

Answer & Explanation
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Step-by-step explanation

The homicide crime scene is as in this case, is without a doubt, the most important crime scene a police officer or investigator will be called upon to respond to.


In this regard, the most important step in the process of collecting evidence is the collection of physical evidence constitutive of the crime of homicide at the prime crime scene. This is in consonance with the determination of the dimensions of the crime scene.


Any item can and may constitute physical evidence; therefore, it is imperative that nothing be touched or moved at the scene before the arrival of the investigators. If the need arises that something at the scene be immediately secured or removed before it is destroyed or lost, the officer handling the evidence must document its location, appearance, condition, and any other feature that might affect the investigation. The officer must be sure to inform the homicide detective of the item's original position so that it does not lose its evidentiary value. 

The crime scene, especially in homicide cases, is proof that a crime has been committed. It often contains many or all of the elements of the corpus delicti, and provides an abundance of physical evidence that may connect a suspect or suspects to the crime. If you can control the primary crime scene, you can control the investigation. 

Remember, once an item of evidence has been moved or altered it is impossible to restore it to its original position or condition. (Emphasis supplied)


The reason why the homicide investigation starts at the PRIMARY crime scene is twofold: 

1.  The police are usually called to this location by the person who discovers the body, a witness to the crime, or, in some instances, the victim.

2.  In homicide cases, the location where the body is discovered yields an abundance of physical evidence and serves as a base of inquiry.

It is important to repeat that anything and everything may eventually become evidence. The list of items that may constitute physical and/or testimonial evidence is as extensive as the number, type, and causes of homicide itself. Whether it is the res gestae utterances of the suspect murderer at the scene or an important piece of trace evidence, the fact remains that the PRIMARY crime scene is the logical and proper point to start the murder investigation.