CNN BREAKING NEWS
Interview with Forensic Expert
Aired October 24, 2002 - 11:53 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to bring in Susan Morton, who is a forensic expert, to help us out with this.
Susan, are you there?
SUSAN MORTON, FORENSIC EXPERT: Yes, I'm here.
COSTELLO: What are they going to do with this car?
MORTON: Oh, a car can produce all kinds of evidence -- fingerprints, hair and fibers, possibly gunshot residue; all kinds of physical evidence can be recovered from a vehicle.
COSTELLO: And, of course, the most exciting find for the police is that gun.
MORTON: Oh, yes. I understand that many of the bullets recovered from victims are identifiable, they're not too damaged, so they can be compared to bullets test-fired from the weapon.
COSTELLO: You know, all along in this case, we've heard a white van or a white box-type truck, and now we come up with a blue caprice. What do you make of that?
MORTON: Well, they could have changed vehicles, certainly, or people at the scene may have been panicked, and they saw a white van, but it wasn't the right vehicle.
COSTELLO: Right. Let's talk about the picture we're seeing right now. Can you see it, Susan? They're pushing the car.
MORTON: Yes, well, obviously, you don't want to contaminate the interior by having someone driving it.
COSTELLO: What other precautions do they take to protect the evidence?
MORTON: I'm certain that anyone who approaches the car, at least on the inside, will be wearing a Tyvex (ph) suit so that their own biological material doesn't contaminate anything in there, they're not shedding fibers onto surfaces on the car. So I'm certain it will be handled very carefully.
COSTELLO: And how long do you think that this process will take police?
MORTON: It depends on how much they find. There will be a great number of places that have to be searched in the car. Cars can have hidden compartments. It'll have to be thoroughly searched for that. So it could take weeks to do a thorough examination.
COSTELLO: As for the suspects, what forensic evidence will they take from them?
MORTON: Well, they may take DNA samples from -- usually that's done with cheek swabs. They will certainly take fingerprints, and obviously there was a letter written, so they will be probably at some point taking handwriting specimens to compare to the letter that was left at the -- I believe it was at the Ponderosa restaurant shooting.
COSTELLO: I'll ask you an obvious question, because, you know, people are so hopeful these two men are the snipers, but it seems like police have a bonanza of evidence.
MORTON: I beg your pardon. I didn't hear you.
COSTELLO: It seems that they have a lot of evidence right now.
MORTON: Yes, it seems that way. But, you know, it all has to be thoroughly and carefully examined to make sure it stands up, because you certainly don't want to accuse the wrong people. You need to prove absolutely that these are the right people, and all of the evidence has to be considered very carefully.
COSTELLO: Yes, and I can just imagine the care that they're going to take doing this, because they don't want to make any mistakes.
MORTON: Well, I certainly hope they are, and they certainly do seem to be, and I admire them, and I don't envy them in the least.
COSTELLO: No. Thank you very much for your input, Susan Morton,
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