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Forensic Science

ENTERTAINMENT
December 9, 2008 | Sarah Weinman, Weinman writes the Dark Passages column at latimes.com/books.
Patricia Cornwell's name comes with more than a whiff of myth and expectation. Almost every woman writing thrillers with extreme violence gets compared to Cornwell's bestselling work featuring forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta. Interviews focus less on the books and more on Cornwell's Armani suits, personal security concerns or her obsession with solving the Jack the Ripper murders.
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NEWS
May 16, 2004 | Wayne Parry, Associated Press Writer
Near the tennis courts at Centenary College, a student is itching to set something on fire, and only too happy to oblige when asked to toss a lighted match into a plastic garbage can filled with newspaper. A thin wisp of smoke appears after a few seconds and flames curl lazily upward. Another trash pail, this one filled with paper doused in gasoline, is set ablaze.
NEWS
October 18, 1997 | From Associated Press
Despite promising to seek an experienced crime lab scientist, the FBI has hired the former head of a government nuclear weapons laboratory with no background in forensic science to direct its troubled laboratory. The new director is Donald M. Kerr Jr., 58, a physicist-engineer who headed the government's Los Alamos National Laboratory, where nuclear weapons research is conducted, from 1979 to 1985.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 1990 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
An FBI forensics expert testified Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court that hair fibers found in the house where U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena was murdered matched hair samples taken from defendant Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros' head after his arrest. Matta is one of four men being tried in Camarena's abduction and murder. Matta, 45, contends that he was not at the house in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the agent was interrogated and killed in February, 1985.
NATIONAL
May 28, 2006 | Julie Bykowicz, Baltimore Sun
The FBI is no longer analyzing gunshot residue in its investigations, a blow to the once-highly regarded evidence used to suggest that a suspected criminal had fired a weapon. Lawyers, scientists and law enforcement officials across the country said that they were astonished by the decision and that it could sound the death knell for the evidence. It also could become a weapon for defense lawyers in pending cases and in efforts to overturn convictions.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 22, 1991 | ERIC LICHTBLAU, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A few years ago, when deoxyribonucleic acid was the latest and hottest tongue-twister to hit the forensic community, Keith Inman recalls that there might have been a single session on the topic at the annual forensics convention.
NEWS
January 26, 1989 | STEVEN R. CHURM, Times Staff Writer
Bone fragments found near the desert campsite where Laura Bradbury was last seen more than four years ago apparently are the remains of the missing Huntington Beach child, authorities said for the first time Wednesday. Acknowledging that a sophisticated DNA analysis, known as "genetic fingerprinting," had been performed on the skull fragments, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said that the genetic composition of the fragments was "consistent with Laura Bradbury."
NEWS
November 13, 1997 | From Times Wire Services
DNA evidence, used for years to bolster criminal cases, now is technologically advanced enough to specifically identify murderers, rapists and other criminals, the FBI said Wednesday. The improvement in technology has spawned a change in FBI policy that has already helped convict a Wisconsin rapist, even though he had four alibi witnesses that distanced him from the crime, FBI officials said at a news conference.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 25, 1994 | KAY HWANGBO
Magnum the dog has a nose for narcotics. The golden retriever--a seven-year veteran of the Port of Los Angeles police department--showed how keen his olfactory senses were at a demonstration put on by detectives at James Monroe High School in North Hills. After containers of marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine were hidden in a music classroom, Detective Leo Stekkinger led Magnum on a search of the room.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 16, 1990 | GEORGE FRANK
Orange County's new genetic testing laboratory, with its computers, radioactive incubators, freezers and cameras, was officially opened Thursday with authorities saying it will be ready for its first case in two weeks.
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