Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Murder: Future Implications for Police Investigations

Reasoning (Continued)

(3) On the issue of severing counts six and seven the court stated:
Two or more offenses are properly joined if they are based "on two or more connected acts or transactions."

Additionally, the court considered the temporal and geographical association, the nature of the crimes and the manner in which they were committed.

Here the crimes occurred within a few blocks of each other and within the space of a couple of hours. The crimes were similar in that they involved a person entering the residences of female students in an off-campus neighborhood and beating young white women with a club as they slept.

Hence the criminal acts are connected by the close proximity in time and location, by their nature, and by the manner in which they were perpetrated.27

(4) Bundy moved to exclude dental testimony on the ground that the comparison techniques were not reliable. The court explained:

Bite mark comparison evidence differs from many other kinds of scientific evidence such as blood tests, "breathalyzer" tests, and radar (as well as from inadmissible techniques such as the polygraph and voice-print analyses) in that these various techniques involve total reliance on scientific interpretation to establish a question of fact.

With bite marks evidence, on the other hand, the jury is able to see the comparison for itself by looking directly at the physical evidence in the form of photographs and models.28

The probative value of bite mark comparison in a case is for the trier of fact to determine. Bundy offered no basis for finding that the trial judge abused his discretion in allowing the bite mark evidence to be admitted.29

The Theodore Bundy appeal and the previous four cases presented in this text demonstrate not only an appellate court's willingness to review but also give careful consideration to the police methods used in investigation. From these cases, one can identify the answers to questions in how to handle the process involved in the investigation of future serial murder cases.

These cases point to the following serious questions that law enforcement agencies must be prepared to deal with in the future. Under what circumstances have the police broken from tradition and chosen to form a task force to investigate these difficult cases? How can a killer continue to murder without discovery? What is the importance of the living witness or victim? How do serial killers get caught? What interviewing techniques are most important in serial murder cases? On what occasions are arrest, search and seizure attacked on appeal? The answers to these questions, in addition to issues such as mobile killers, murders of opportunity, crime scene investigation and police conduct, are dealt with in the next two chapters.

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