1. WB_Vasquez

    WB_Vasquez Member

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    About the Legal Process in Murder

    Discussion in 'Research' started by WB_Vasquez, Jul 11, 2017.

    Hi everyone.
    I'm working on a story and I've gotten to the point where I need some input from people that are either knowledgeable about law enforcement or are an expert (someone that has done this for a living).

    Toward the end of my story, the protagonist discovers through her deceased father's "other woman" that her mother committed a murder back in the mid 80s.

    The protagonist's mother has been dead four years at the time she discovers any information about the murder, but she decides to turn her mother in posthumously.

    I need some information about what happens during this process from a legal area. What happens when someone provides information about a murder that was committed enough years ago to where the murderer is also dead? Especially if there is not any physical evidence left over from the crime (DNA wasn't a big thing in the 80s, right?).

    Also, when the protagonist turns her deceased mother in for murder, she later finds that her father was also a criminal, linked to two other murders (one that also involved his dead wife), and that he also assumed a fake name while on the run (meaning that the protagonist's family name isn't their true name). I'm not sure if there is a way to factor this in by connecting it with the initial "turning in" of the mother.

    For example: while opening the case regarding her mother, more information comes out about unrelated murders. Since there was not a DNA sample bank when these crimes were committed (in the late 60s and the mid 80s), what ways could the protagonist find out about the link in these murders?

    I hope I explained this well enough. If you have any questions and need me to clarify anything, please ask and I will do my best.
     
  2. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Keep writing. Contributor

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    You'd have a pretty hard time reopening a 37 year old case with a dead suspect and no evidence.

    You could have your character look into her mothers past, think that the accomplice murderer was an ex-husband, and later find out that it wasn't another ex, but her father changed his name.
     
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  3. WB_Vasquez

    WB_Vasquez Member

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    I thought the same thing, too. Being that there is no real evidence other than a person's word, I figured that the police wouldn't have much to go on, but they would at least take down the information and look into it as much as they could with all of the limitations involved.

    Also, with the father's crimes, we find out later that the mother (the same lady that killed someone in the 80s) was once a prostitute. She fell for a man (the father) and he killed her "manager" before they left the area. This happened in another country, though and this family fled to the US afterward. After the family came to the US, the father killed a second man that he followed to the US in an act of revenge. Still, both of these crimes were in the late 60s.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The bastards hung me in the spring of '25.... Contributor

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    By definition you cannot convict a dead person of murder because they are incapable of standing trial. Think of it as innocent until proven guilty by morbid default. I'm sure the cops do their due diligence and file their reports and close their cases, but beyond that? No clue...
     
  5. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    My mistress tells my daughter that my wife (who isn't around - because she's dead - to protect her name) is a murderer. Unless the mother/daughter relationship is REALLY bad, why would the daughter believe this assertion?
     
  6. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    The only wrinkle I can think of is if there's another person mistakenly convicted of, and still serving time for, the murder that the mother committed. That could force re-opening the case as a means of exonerating that person.
     
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  7. WB_Vasquez

    WB_Vasquez Member

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    That's a really good idea.
     
  8. Hervey_Copeland

    Hervey_Copeland Member

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    They would probably look into it if compelling evidence (irrefutable evidence) was presented. But if that wasn't the case, I don't think they would take it too seriously.

    It's my understanding that serial confessors contact the police to 'confess' to all types of crimes all of the time.

    I guess some people just like that kind of attention.

    H.
     
  9. RWK

    RWK Member

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    It would be investigated; also, the person reporting it would become a person of interest because the first thing an officer should think in this situation is that the reporting party is trying to cover their involvement or someone else's.

    But things like this do happen (kids reporting parent's crimes).

    A lot is going to depend upon the nature of the crime. If it was especially heinous, and if the investigators did a good job, there is a slender chance of proof. My agency cleared an 80s case through DNA because of the way the evidence taken at the time. Keep in mind that while DNA was not around at that time, blood splatter and fiber/hair testing were, so DNA could still be recovered.
     

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