Estimating the time since discharge of spent cartridges: a logical approach for interpreting the evidence

Matteo Gallidabino*, Céline Weyermann, Francesco Saverio Romolo, Franco Taroni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Estimating the time since discharge of a spent cartridge or a firearm can be useful in criminal situations involving firearms. The analysis of volatile gunshot residue remaining after shooting using solid-phase microextraction (SPME) followed by gas chromatography (GC) was proposed to meet this objective. However, current interpretative models suffer from several conceptual drawbacks which render them inadequate to assess the evidential value of a given measurement. This paper aims to fill this gap by proposing a logical approach based on the assessment of likelihood ratios. A probabilistic model was thus developed and applied to a hypothetical scenario where alternative hypotheses about the discharge time of a spent cartridge found on a crime scene were forwarded. In order to estimate the parameters required to implement this solution, a non-linear regression model was proposed and applied to real published data. The proposed approach proved to be a valuable method for interpreting aging-related data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalScience and Justice
Volume53
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jan 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

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