John, Fdle, PAT discussed on CounterClock
Shot revolver and a handful of hornady brands 17 caliber bullets that authorities had found in it, and some extras they'd found in a box at pat's house. These bullets had a very distinct red tip on them, and were technically undersized ammunition for John's type of revolver. But they could still be shot out of it. When the sheriff's office had taken possession of the gun and ammo on July 9th, they'd found 5 live rounds inside the cylinder, along with one spent shell casing. In early September, fingerprint analysis results came in, and they showed only one fingerprint was found on John's revolver. Patrick skinners. Now, that didn't come as too much of a surprise because Patrick had already told police that he picked up John's gun at the crime scene. His print was going to be on it. What's interesting is that only Patrick's print was on the gun. Did you find it odd that John's fingerprints weren't on that gun? Absolutely. Why so? Because John's gun. I mean, he takes care of his things, but he doesn't wipe him down every time he touches them. They come out of my possession into their possession. Okay? Obviously they were very careful not to touch any part of the gun. But the skip and pat, I mean. So for it to pass through my hands, skip hands. I don't know if she ever touched it or not. I don't remember. Even though it was in a holster to not have anyone with my fingerprints that's just weird. If someone wiped the gun prior to me getting there is the only way that I can see the only that my parents would be the only ones on the gun. The state at that house that night up until the cops actually went and seized it. John's fingerprint should have at least been on it. Why John's fingerprints weren't on his own gun feel strange to me too. The next finding by the lab had to do with a Coors light beer can from the trash pile that authorities suspected John could have used to smoke cannabis out of in the Woods. Well, their theory about that was off, because testing on that item showed no traces of drugs were present whatsoever. So that put to rest once and for all, law enforcement's initial assumption that John had gone out to the Woods and used the can as a makeshift pipe. The next report from the lab was for swabs of gunshot residue taken from John's body. But for some reason, FDLE declined to run tests on those swabs. Staff stated in their report that because John had been submerged in water after his death, GSR testing wouldn't provide any information of value, so they just didn't even attempt the test and sent back the swabs. On a separate note, nowhere an FDLE reports could I find information about what they found or didn't find in skip's pickup truck. Over a period of weeks stretching from September until December of 2003, results for blood and ballistics tests came in. Staff had spent those months comparing the spent shell casing that was found in John's gun to the bullet found in his head to see if they were a match. Various lab techs had test fired 15 bullets from John's gun, using the 17 caliber ammo they'd seized from pat's house. They wanted to determine if that brand of 17 caliber ammo would even properly fire from John's gun. Like I said before, the 17 caliber ammo was undersized for that make and model of revolver. So it wasn't really meant to be shot from it. Their conclusions were as follows. One. John's gun was functioning properly. Two. There was a high probability that the empty casing found in his revolver was fired in his gun. Three. Because the 17 caliber ammo was undersized and left no rifling characteristics when it exited the barrel. The lab couldn't say with 100% certainty that the bullet retrieved from John's skull, matched that empty casing. The bullet that was found in John's head did not have enough distinguishable microscopic characteristics about it. For the lab to say, yes, it's a 100% a match. The best they could do was say that the spent casing found in the cylinder had likely been fired by John's gun. As far as whether the discharge bullet matched that was unknowable. The fourth thing the lab concluded was that John's particular model of Ruger evolver had a distinct safety mechanism in it that prevented it from firing accidentally. Even if it was cocked and loaded. It had what's called a transfer plate between the hammer of the gun and the firing pin. That transfer plate only moved into place to complete the chain reaction of firing the gun if the trigger was pulled. So in essence, the revolver could be loaded and cocked, but unless someone applied enough pressure and pulled the trigger, it wouldn't go off. This was a really important point because it was the lab's way of saying, hey, the ballistics on this gun show it would be extremely difficult to override this safety mechanism. So it's pretty clear someone else shot this kid. What most supported that conclusion were additional ballistics tests. Lab techs didn't do traditional GSR testing on John's skin. But they did visually inspect his boots jeans and socks for the presence of microscopic burns or gunshot residue. But they didn't find any. The lab determined after test firing John's gun from several distances that traces of burned black vapor residues from the gunpowder could have traveled as far as two feet away from the end of the barrel. Unburned particles of gunpowder traveled as far as 6 feet from the end of the muzzle. So that meant the gun was fired at least several feet away from John at the time it discharged. Otherwise, they would have found traces of gunpowder on his clothing and shoes. The next round of forensic results came in about a week before Christmas in 2003. These results were analyzing which items of evidence showed the presence of blood. According to FDLE report, small traces of John's blood were found on the barrel of his gun. One of his belts, the thigh strap, the Coors light can and on several spots on the four Wheeler. Specifically, there were specks of his blood on the ATV's right side fender mudflap, the center console, and right clutch handle and brake lever. Authorities believe that blood evidence proved John had been shot in close proximity to the four Wheeler. If not sitting on it when he was killed. The cylinder of the revolver, the gun holster, the towel pat wrapped it in, another one of John's belts, and olive skips clothing, along with pat's white tennis shoes, did not have John's blood on them. For some reason, though, FDLE wrote in their report that they did not perform blood tests on the red stained plastic wrap and clump of sand from the crime scene. They also didn't swab the trash trailer for anything. Tex also didn't test several hairs they'd found on skip socks, jeans, and John's clothing. They never provided an explanation as to why none of these items were examined for traces of blood. But the red stained sand and plastic wrap seem like pretty significant items of evidence to me. Unfortunately, as 2003 came to a close, the forensic results had left investigators no closer to making an arrest. While they'd been waiting for results to come in, DeSoto county detectives had tried once to get the state attorney's office to consider bringing charges in the case. In fact, according to paperwork, dcso wanted to arrest pat and skip for evidence tampering in hopes of getting them to crack. But the state attorney's office was like no way, and they declined to press charges. Instead, they told authorities to wait. And detectives took that advice and waited. After the disappointing results from the first round of forensic tests, the department sent off all of their items for additional DNA testing. But those results were expected to take anywhere from 6 months to a year to complete. You've got to remember, this is 2003 we're talking about. The infancy of DNA analysis for labs. In the meantime, detectives had to move on. They wrote in their reports that the circumstantial evidence they'd gathered so far pointed to skip being the best man for the crime, and possibly pat was involved too. Something that bolstered their belief was information they learned after two interesting conversations with skip's girlfriend in August of 2003. And Matt wells,.