Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt


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The yacht became contaminated by the large number of people who went on board to rescue the yacht from sinking when it was first found. Police picked up on a statement from Sue that she believed that someone had winched something from the cabin. But, they did not test a dead weight, using a female, middle-aged wincher. They did not perform the test all the way up the companionway, or into the dinghy, or the disposing of it including the risk of capsizing upon tipping a body out of the dinghy.

This test did also not involve rope configurations to match the burn marks on the timber that had been noted. The possibility of her going to Bunnings that afternoon is also consistent with the phone call to Sarah at 1. The Bunnings security footage is quite grainy, and the family maintains it is still possible Sue went to Bunnings and has simply has not been identified on the footage. This is based on flawed logic and inconsistent with the ATM footage.

Money is very low down on the list. Such statements are clearly not evidence-based and are inaccurate. Sue ran a successful horse riding school business for many years, raised two girls she put through private school, involved herself in property development, and paid off her own farm, on which she did extensive improvements.

Circumstantial evidence of one form or another arises in most criminal matters. For example, a warrant for listening devices was issued on the 18 th February and they were installed on 3 March , warrants for financial records were taken out very early in the investigation and persons who should have been persons of interest or possible suspects were not even interviewed.

This statement is misleading. There was no number plate. See CT p. The incident happened on 26 January and she was arrested on 20 August , some seven months later. This is inaccurate. The trial began in September This is not the correct title of the relevant organisation. Such basic errors indicate that facts for the article were not checked.

Whilst it is recognised that this is a quote from an unnamed source, the statement should have been recognised as being inaccurate and therefore not utilised. The treatment of class in this article seems unreasonable in the circumstances and seems to be being used as a tool to alienate Ms Neill-Fraser from the broader community. The information of how many carpet squares were missing is scant and not properly recorded.

Detective Senior Constable Sice in his statement dated 23 November states at p. A number of loose carpet squares located in the saloon were placed back in place on the floor. Many of the squares were cut to specific shapes and their original location could be determined. After doing this it was apparent there were a number of squares missing from the area in front of the engine room hatch. Nor did the statements outline the extent of the area left bare although the photographic evidence is available. Of particular interest is the statement of Sice in which he indicates that loose carpet squares were only sourced from the saloon.

No stocktake seems to have been undertaken to ascertain the total number of carpet squares present in all areas of the yacht. There appears to be carpet squares scattered around the interior of the yacht. Nor was there any forensic evidence to suggest that the flooring beneath the missing carpet squares and near observed bloodstain patterns was bloodied in any way. If in fact there were carpet squares missing, the issue was whether the absence of the squares could properly be attributed to Sue Neill-Fraser. This is a gratuitous and unnecessary comment and does not reflect the professionalism of many of those involved in a search for the truth and justice in this matter.

I spent 4 years making this film, and doing a lot of research and fact checking. You be the judge! I will do the conga with a line of supporters when the real facts about this case are openly reviewed at a full judicial enquiry and Sue walks out from behind the prison walls. The whole trial was laughable to any rational thinking person. Obviously, the jury were obviously kept in the dark about a great number of things.

I wish Sue well an look forward to the day she is vindicated. I am of the opinion that this cas should be squashed and her to be satf ree and hope that she sues the Hobart police for everything they have done to her. A Royal commission should be made and the police be made accountable for there incompetence in this case. I as a lay person could see that there is no way sue cold of pulled this wonderful up from the lower deck of the boat. How could the police ignore the DNA that was left by Megan??? Talk about a miscarriage of justice if ever there was one.

Lets all get a petition going to set her free. I find the liany statements not based on facts is quite disgusting. No body but yes of course the partner is guilty. Tasmanian judicial system like the police department needs a total overhaul and intense investigation. Being an isolated Island..

Where are we …still back in early convict times. Is anyone using some intellifence?? How can someone possibly be jailed for a death of a person if there is no body? Or the son? Good luck sue!! But five days later, she told her sister-in-law by telephone that she had lied. Police were recording the conversation. Days later, she admitted to a reporter she had gone to the waterfront that night. One reason she had to change her story was the police had security film of a car identical to hers passing a local bank after midnight, when she had claimed she was in bed.

Andrew Rule is,one of Australias best recognised experts on criminal behaviour …. The inconsistency of the police seems very shakey and I know in times of horrific stress, the mind can play nasty tricks. In the justice system the prosecution is NOT required to prove to a jury that no one else in the universe could have committed this crime.

They are only required you prove that the accused did. Interestingly, this case has taken another turn which is a conveniently omitted update from a great many of the supporter sites! His original statement supported the defence and he has now admitted it was a complete fabrication that he created because he felt pressured by certain supporters of Sue and also because he wanted her to get off because he thought she was innocent.

Again, this does not create an honest perception- rather one of smoke and mirrors and of a perception of calculated deception with a number of vested interests at play. The lack of transparency and disclosure of such information on many of these sites creates an overt perception of a lack of objectivity on the part of the supporters of these sites- which, simply put, does not appear to further the wrongful conviction cause for Sue.

Just as those in my family did with my own family member who committed a terrible crime…they refused to believe he could ever be capable of such a thing. Well said. Andrew Rule is an excellent journalist and obviously did his due diligence on this one. Would be good to see a panel discussion on this one though. There looks to have been some sloppy police handling of evidence and witnesses as well. And he chose not to report on what he found out from those he interviewed. Here is his latest article after he was confronted by the facts from Colin McLaren, Robert Richter and others.

Please read his book Southern Justice, released 2 weeks ago. We are planning some speaking events and a panel discussion will be one part of it. Hopefully in months. I tend to agree that in this refutation only minor errors by Rule are identified. Also, the failure to address the serious issues raised by witnesses recanting or changing their stories while in the presence of obviously biased supporters of Sue is an omission I cannot overlook. Did they reenact their theory with SNF herself on the same boat with something of the same dead weight of RC?

Why is it that the large grey scruffy dinghy with the lee cloth was not found. Because the police had decided Sue did it. Why complicate a good story. Eve are you helping the families of the people caught up in trying to help SNF? The statement coerced for the homeless girl was disgraceful. You should be ashamed to be involved. If you had bothered to watch the whole piece about Meghan you would see the girl was not coerced or threatened or bullied and she has no repeated the same version of events to 60 minutes its pretty clear she was telling the truth about being there.

Why did the defence choose jury as against judge only? Particularly as there was no body…. Female and thus must be a murderer…hello. There appears to be a total injustice and new evidence should be submitted and accepted for a further investigation. It certainly appears the wrong person is in jail.

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The police are disgraceful in their woeful investigation. A disgraceful miscarriage of justice, with a veeeeeery narrow focus by the police on just one person, lots of evidence such as drug smuggling not followed up. What should happen:. Sue made her situation worse with her inconsistencies. Has there been a petition started to reopen this case? Where is one for Sue Neill Fraser?? Thanks Juels, for this valuable comment. Watching undercurrent I noticed that the police interviews with Sue at the end of the desk were by herself. With regard to a previous comment I do agree that good journalism requires a balance, opposing view and let the viewer make up this mind.

In fact we could do with the over and over recap of the same thing and more explanation about why the evidence uncovered is important and instead of the same recap a summary of what each episode has uncovered would have been better than the generic recap. Curious to see where it goes and how Tasmanian police handle any new evidence.

It is the first time I have ever heard of this case. To fresh eyes like mine, overall, Sue should never have been charged. The police appear to have ignored huge mounds of evidence and a number of potential witnesses. I sincerely hope there is eventually an official inquiry into police management of this matter.

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Sue Neill-Fraser should be a free woman. The truth will out. In my opinion, Andrew Rule has a poor track record when it comes to interpreting criminal events. This is just another example of his inability to analyse a crime and then to come to a logical conclusion. I believe Sue is innocent but I am shocked at how the police have behaved. This should make people very scared that investigation into the disappearance of Bob was not performed properly.

This case was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. In fact there appear to have been several reasonable doubts and numerous leads that were not even investigated by police, either then or now. Should bring in the Feds. Also, Will Hodgman has been made to look like a slimy toad, which I find politically quite distressing. Attempting to obstruct their efforts is not helping the police, the legal system or law enforcement.

Shadow of a Doubt (Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries)

It simply makes Tasmanians and Australians in general, look like stupid, narrow minded, brainless bigots. I remember everyone breathing a sigh of relief, when LIndy Chamberlain finally walked free from prison. Justice would be served! We had learnt from our past mistakes. It took an Inquest to discover this. The judge has obviously never attempted to step from a yacht , wharf , power boat , jetty etc into a tinnie—yet alone transfer a body into one , without getting awefully wet. If that part of the evidence had been ruled out ,the case against her would have collapsed. I cannot believe the injustice shown here.

It is like there is a conspiracy happening. Go Sue, I and a lot of others are behind you. Lets hope you get your Appeal happening and the truth will finally come out. As an x Tasmanian I have been following this case. Hi Eve I just want to let you know. I think you are amazing and such a God sent.

I pray for sue and her family that the justice system see the truth and set her free. This poor lady can never get those stolen years back. Dad was exhausted from work, which was not unusual. It was a normal night. Mother took me up to bed and tucked me in, which was usual, and I said my prayers and went to sleep. When they arrived, they found Marilyn Sheppard dead. The house had been ransacked. Sheppard was injured.

Forensic Files - Season 6, Ep 29: Treading Not So Lightly

He had a fractured vertebra and a swollen face. When questioned by police, Sheppard told them a harrowing tale. He said that he had fallen asleep the evening before on a downstairs daybed. He was awakened from a heavy sleep by his wife's screams. He raced up the stairs. As he entered the bedroom, he was hit hard from behind. He blacked out. When he came to, he saw his wife - dead. Suddenly, he heard a noise and realized the intruder was still downstairs.

The Sheppards' house looked out on Lake Erie. Sheppard said that he chased the man down the stairs to the beach. He caught up and struggled with the man, but the intruder was too strong, and knocked him out again. Sheppard described the attacker as tall, with a large head and bushy hair. But the police were never convinced of his story. And over the next few weeks, there was mounting pressure to make an arrest.

The husband was on the scene. They really had no other leads but him, and he was an easy target. My mother was a cheerleader and good at school, and my dad was kind of an American prince in many ways. He was handsome. He made good grades. He was athletic. There were rumors that that he had cheated on his wife.

And from the first day they focused on Dr. Sheppard to the exclusion of anyone else. Sheppard of his wife's murder. Three weeks after the murder, Sheppard was arrested and charged with the crime. TERRY GILBERT: The story that he gave was, to many people, just too preposterous, That while the wife slept upstairs, and the husband was downstairs on a daybed, that somebody could just walk into that house and commit this horrible crime.

Then prosecutors caught him in a lie. At an inquest, Sheppard stated that he had never been unfaithful to his wife. But at trial, prosecutors presented Susan Hayes, a year-old medical technician. She described a three-year sexual affair with Dr. The revelations rocked Cleveland, and the trial soon became an international story.

NARRATOR: Throughout the trial, Sheppard's attorney objected to the crush of reporters and cameras in the courtroom, but the judge, running for re-election, refused to restrain the media. After eight weeks of testimony, the jury returned its verdict. They felt that if he could lie about that, he could lie about the murder, and I think that helped convict him. Then, three weeks later, his mother shot and killed herself. His father died days later from a bleeding ulcer. Sheppard would later write that the only thing keeping him from suicide was Sam Reese, his son. He lived for me.

I am thankful for that because if he had taken himself out, I don't think I would have survived all of this either. Now, Gilbert's team of experts is ready to go to work. Over the next few days, they'll re-examine every aspect of the case - particularly the work of Paul Kirk, a pioneering forensic scientist who studied the crime scene after Sheppard's conviction.

Kirk, who usually worked for prosecutors, was hired by the Sheppard family to evaluate the evidence. He agreed to take the case, but warned that he might only find further evidence of Sheppard's guilt. BART EPSTEIN: He was clear to the people that retained him to come and see this scene that he was going to observe it in neutrality, that he was not going to come with any preconditioned ideas and that he would find whatever he was going to find.

The police had treated the crime scene as little more than a bloody mess, but Kirk understood something the police didn't. The spatters of blood left on the walls and floors of the Sheppard home, if properly interpreted, might provide clues about how the crime was committed. He's been analyzing blood spatters for 30 years. The shape of the stain indicates not only the direction of travel, but also how far the drop has flown. In the Sheppards' bedroom, Kirk analyzed the shapes of hundreds of blood drops.

On the set, Epstein will attempt to reproduce Kirk's findings. He'll work backwards - first, retracing the original blood patterns as Kirk found them, then re-enacting the murder itself. Epstein draws his own blood. Scientific accuracy requires the real thing. A specialized helmet is soaked with the blood. The splatter pattern produced by Epstein's simulation is strikingly similar to the original.

The two patterns exhibit drops of similar size, spacing and height. But that's not all. Epstein's splatters matched the ones Dr. Kirk found in another way. This is a bird's eye view of the murder room drawn by Kirk. In one corner of the room, he noted that the walls were completely free of splatters, as if something had blocked the flying blood. It was the killer himself. Marilyn Sheppard's attacker had shielded the corner of the room with his own body. So he had to have been splattered with blood.

Anybody can see from that scene that the perpetrator had to be covered in blood from the struggle with Marilyn Sheppard and the banging of her on the head. Sheppard because, on the morning of the murder, the police noted that Sheppard had no blood on him, except for a small smudge on his trousers. But Kirk wasn't finished. He turned his attention to the closet door, and one, unusual blood stain. This stain was significantly larger than the others. It could have flown only inches before hitting the wall.

It couldn't have come from the bed. So where did it come from? BART EPSTEIN: Observation of the blood stains on that closet door revealed a large stain, about an inch in diameter, that clearly was produced by some other mechanism than the beating of Marilyn Sheppard that caused all the other stains. Kirk believed that the large stain was left by the killer, who must have been wounded during the struggle. Evidence for this theory came from outside the bedroom - the trail of blood drops leading out of the house.

Investigators documented over 40 drops in the blood trail. At trial, the prosecution claimed that the blood trail came from the dripping murder weapon. They said that Dr. Sheppard himself had carried the weapon, probably one of his surgical instruments, through the house, dripping along the way, but Kirk knew that was impossible. A murder weapon could not retain enough blood to create such a long blood trail.

But if a weapon couldn't leave the blood trail, there was something that could - an open wound. Kirk believed that in the desperate struggle for her life, Marilyn Sheppard had wounded her attacker. The killer then spilled his own blood as he escaped. Kirk wrote in his report that it wasn't a dripping murder weapon, but the bleeding murderer who had left the blood trail - and the large stain on the closet door. This finding as well flew in the face of the case against Dr.

Sheppard because on the morning of the murder, investigators examined Dr. Sheppard top to bottom. Their finding: not a scratch on him. From a seemingly random set of blood stains, Kirk had found compelling evidence that Dr. Sheppard might have been telling the truth all along.

Kirk basically broke the case, and through forensic science, showed Sheppard was innocent. The Ohio Court ruled that the report had come too late to be considered. That a man could be accused and convicted of killing his wife and be innocent. Sheppard would spend the next ten years behind bars.

The case takes a turn when a brash young attorney named F. Lee Bailey becomes Sheppard's lawyer. Bailey files a new appeal - claiming that Sheppard didn't get a fair trial, a result of the slanted media coverage at the time. In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court overturns Sheppard's conviction and sets new rules for media coverage.

Within months, Sheppard is tried again, but this time, Dr. Kirk is the star witness. The trial lasts three weeks. The verdict - not guilty. Sheppard, can you describe your recent experience in the Ohio state penitentiary - nightmare for you? He and his new family are determined to put the long nightmare behind them. I mean we were all full of hope.

But as time went on, Dad couldn't live a regular life. He continued to be harassed. Dad couldn't work.

He could hardly walk down the street. People would yell murderer, wife murderer at him.

He was in utter despair. He had nothing left to live for. He became kind of a satirical caricature of himself. His life was poisoned. That is wrong. That should not happen again. Now, he has his final chance in the lawsuit he and attorney Terry Gilbert are bringing against the state of Ohio. To win, they'll need an Ohio jury to declare Dr. Sheppard innocent of his wife's murder.

That's a much tougher legal standard than a simple acquittal. Here was a man who, of course, after his conviction, his case was reversed. He goes to trial. He's acquitted. It doesn't mean that you have proven to a higher standard - innocence. He'd like to use a powerful new scientific tool, unavailable at the earlier trials, that could potentially settle the question once and for all - forensic DNA analysis.

DNA is the material that makes up our genes, found within almost every cell in our body. Human DNA is made up of billions of chemical building blocks. At certain locations, the arrangement of these building blocks varies in predictable ways from one individual to another. These variations are called alleles, and they are the key to DNA fingerprinting. If enough of them can be observed and compared, these genetic variations can identify an individual as uniquely as a fingerprint. From those comparisons, they can identify likely participants in a crime. And if you have a suspect, or a victim, or someone that you think might match, you can compare their reference sample to the evidence type and say that, yes, they are a potential contributor, and so few other people are possible contributors that it's almost certain that it's this individual.

Simpson case, sees it as a revolutionary new tool to give those falsely convicted a way to prove their innocence. We've taken people off death row, people that were days, five days from execution. We've proven them innocent with this DNA testing. This is an unprecedented number of exonerations in the history of American jurisprudence. But they need biological evidence, so they've spent years tracking down surviving artifacts from the crime. He sends Tahir a set of artifacts, all stained with blood from the crime, among them: a wood chip lifted from the stairs of the Sheppards' house; a section of flooring from the porch and a scraping from the closet door blood stain.

Tahir agrees to test the samples, but warns that any biological material in them may have already decomposed. And that was the only concern, that we might not be able to get any results. The test is named for the tiny segment of human DNA that it analyzes. The test can identify only 8 different alleles in 42 possible combinations. Any one of those combinations is shared by millions of people. So the power of the test to pinpoint any one individual is limited, but with only degraded DNA in the samples, it's Tahir's best choice.

His first step is to increase the quantity of DNA the test will have to work with. To do this, he places a portion of each crime-scene sample into a vial. Then he adds a chemical cocktail that stimulates the process of DNA replication. The samples are then placed into a thermal cycler, which speeds the process of replication through precise warming and cooling of the samples. Within hours, any DNA present in the original samples has replicated into millions of copies. He obtains Marilyn's DNA from a few strands of her hair collected after the murder.

Finding Dr. Sheppard's DNA proves more difficult. So Sam Reese Sheppard grants permission to have his father's body exhumed for tissue sampling. Even though his test is limited, Tahir still hopes he can answer the crucial question: Was Dr. Sheppard's blood part of the gruesome crime scene that night? Or will the DNA exclude him? Until the test is complete, the team won't know whether the DNA helps or hurts them. So they'll continue to chip away at the original case against Sheppard. One unresolved aspect of the crime is the murder weapon. It was searched for, but never found.

At Sheppard's first trial, the coroner presented his theory of the murder weapon. He said it was probably a hinged surgical instrument with sharp edges. Coroner Sam Gerber testified that an imprint of the weapon could be seen on Marilyn's blood-stained pillow. The testimony was damaging to Dr. But was the murder weapon really a surgical tool? The team discovers a never before seen police report that raises another possibility. The report describes the discovery of a badly dented flashlight, found in the lake near the Sheppard home. Kirk believed that a cylindrical object was the most likely murder weapon.

The team contacts Dr.

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Michael Sobel of the University of Pittsburgh. Using forensic skin mark analysis, he'll try to determine the most likely shape of the murder weapon. I will outline it for you here, which is similar to some of these other wounds that we see. Gilbert also asks Wecht about another unresolved aspect of the case.

Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt
Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt
Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt
Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt
Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries: Shadow of Doubt

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