|San Jose State University
|Physical anthropology; Forensic anthropology
|Full text PDF:
Although sharp force trauma is not the most common form of homicide in the United States, it accounts for the majority of violent crimes committed in the United Kingdom, and the frequency of knife related crimes has been increasing over several decades. Despite the prevalence of sharp force trauma in forensic literature, there is still a large gap linking weapons to skeletal injuries. Although there have been forensic studies on the effects of fabric during decomposition, very little data exist on the effects of fabric and bodily coverings on wounds during stabbing events. In a significant number of homicide cases, victims are clothed. Therefore, understanding the effects of bodily coverings is crucial to better understanding a number of forensic contexts. In this thesis, a preliminary pilot study and a skeletal cut mark analysis study with a guided-drop impacting device were used to address this issue by analyzing the effects of fabric resistance during stabbing events. The results indicated that weapon type and fabric type significantly altered kerf mark appearance (p<0.05). Weapon type had a significant effect on kerf wall gradients, marginal distortion, width, and depth (p<0.05). Fabric type significantly altered wall gradients, width, and depth (p<0.05). Finally, low powered standard light microscopy was shown to be an accurate and inexpensive method for examining cut marks on bone.