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Robert Knight Murder
Transcript of Robert Knight Murder
by Mara Conway, Maerek Kiros, Berny Llerena, and JAcob Swartz
In March of 1990, Dawn Bruce was found dead in her home in West Virginia.
Bruce, 22 years old at the time, had been sexually assaulted then stabbed to death.
Little evidence was found.
The analysis of bloodstain and fingerprint evidence played a crucial role in finding the perpetrator.
Main suspect: neighbor, Robert Knight
Semen found on victim's leg that was DNA match to Robert Knight and he was arrested.
Full set of Robert's prints were taken. Match to latent print on pillowcase.
The defense heavily attacked the image processing used to enhance the print because it was a new technique.
Knife appeared as new piece of evidence.
June 18, 1991 Robert Knight was found guilty of the murder of Dawn Bruce and was given four life sentences.
This case proved the validity of of the new technique for enhancing and analyzing fingerprint evidence.
Revolutionized cases involving fingerprint evidence.
possibly transferred from knife blade but no knife was found
possible finger smear
new technology enabled investigators to ID a fingerprint
Background of The Case
1,8-Diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) applied to the bloodstain and then made to fluoresce.
Due to the poor quality of ridge detail & the weave of the fabric, a culprit could not be identified.
Prime suspect Robert Knight's fingerprints from a prior arrest did not extend to ridge detail so he could not be arrested for the murder.
New image enhancement technique used to improve latent print.
Filter that could take away fabric patterns to have a more accurate fingerprint, helped with the matching.