The first victim is Robert “Capper” McWilliams, a 24-year-old male with an extensive criminal history who is a senior officer in a (fictional) local gang, the Lordz. The Lordz is a gang of around 30 hardcore members whose primary criminal activity involves the distribution and sale of crack cocaine. McWilliams was in second command of the gang and responsible for running the gang’s highly profitable drug trade. He has a reputation for ruthless brutality in overseeing his gang’s crack cocaine market and is usually armed with one or two expensive handguns; none of Mr. McWilliams’ weapons were recovered at the scene.
He was found badly beaten and shot to death in a sitting position, arms behind his back and further tied to the to a chair in the center of a warehouse floor. The warehouse is quite large (over 10,000 square feet). The victim was fully clothed, but his wallet and a collection of gold chains, including a custom-made gold chain with the emblem “L4L” (“Lordz for Life”) were missing. Marks on the victim’s neck suggest that the gold chains were forcibly removed from around his neck.
The second victim is Gordon Witt, a night watchman employed by the warehouse owner was also found near the door to the warehouse. He had been shot multiple times by a small caliber (most likely a .32) handgun. He has no known connections to the Lordz or any other criminal group. He has no prior criminal record.
The warehouse is in a semiremote location, not far from major streets or highways but in a section of town that is largely empty at night. This particular warehouse is currently empty and is available to be rented. The lock to the back door of the warehouse was kicked open, suffering significant damage in the process. The night watchman happens to habitually check every door in his route and tries to visit every building in his patrol area at least once an hour.
CSI Findings: First Victim
The two fatal gunshots were fired from a large caliber handgun; two spent .45-caliber automatic shell casings were recovered at the scene, and they were most likely from the murder weapon. The wound pattern indicates that the gun was very close to the victim’s face when it was fired. The close range and powerful rounds left the victim almost unrecognizable. He was identified on the basis of his tattoos and fingerprints.
Elevated levels of free histamines and serotonin in the victim indicate that he was alive and in pain for at least an hour before he was killed. Blood spatter evidence and wound pattern analysis suggests that he was extensively beaten about the head, face, arms, hands, and kneecaps, with numerous signs of blunt force trauma and broken bones evident. Four bloody metal pipes were found at the scene that were smeared with the victim’s blood; several sets of fingerprints were also recovered from the pipes. He had also vomited on himself while he was in the chair, probably as a reaction to intense pain.
There were also indications that he was restrained and beaten prior to being secured in the chair.
CSI Findings: Second Victim
Mr. Witt was shot a total of 4 times; twice in the abdomen, once in the back and once in the left foot. Eight .32 caliber spent shell casings were recovered from just within the doorway to the warehouse. The shooter was at least 3 feet (or more) from Mr. Witt when he or she shot him. None of the Mr. Witt’s wounds were immediately fatal; cause of death was due to exsanguination and shock.
No other injuries were noted to the second victim. None of the second victim’s possessions were missing.
Questions to be answered!
- Why was the night watchman murdered?
- How many offenders were involved in this crime?
- Why was McWilliams beaten before being killed?
- Excluding robbery as a motive, why is he missing his custom “L4L” medallion?
- Is this an example of organized or disorganized offenders?
- Your chief of detectives has some ideas as to potential suspects. Review the list that follows, and thoroughly evaluate each suggestion as to its merits and likely truth, based both on the known facts and inferable analysis, picking the one(s) that you think most likely reflects the actual perpetrator:
- “This was the work of a professional, mafia-type criminal crew.”
- “This was the work of a rival crack gang wanting to move into the Lordz territory.”
- “This was the work of his own gang, probably because McWilliams cheated them on sharing drug profits.”
- “This was the work of rogue police officers who tried to make it look like a gang-related killing to disguise the fact that they stole his drugs.”
- “This was the work of parents whose children were killed either by the Lordz in drive-by shootings or who died from using their drugs.”