Bloody print found near beheaded teen matches that of accused - expert

2016-02-17 15:02
Exhibits that a pathologist was asked about in the trial of Aljar Swartz, accused of beheading a 15-year-old Ravensmead teen. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Exhibits that a pathologist was asked about in the trial of Aljar Swartz, accused of beheading a 15-year-old Ravensmead teen. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – A bloody fingerprint found near the body of a beheaded Cape Town teenager matched that of the man accused of killing him, a police expert told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Aljar Swartz is standing trial for allegedly killing 15-year-old Lee Adams in October 2013.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the accused before the court placed his finger, wet with blood, on the wall at the crime scene," testified Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker, of the criminal record centre in Port Elizabeth.

He was referring to bloody marks on a wall at an abandoned school in Ravensmead, Cape Town, where a security guard found the boy’s body.

The head was later found in a shallow grave in the accused’s yard.

Bekker, who had been a crime scene investigator for 16 years, was one of only a few police officers nationally who was certified to do a type of fingerprint analysis known as the ACE-V method.

He believed the class and character of the fingerprints lifted from the scene matched that of the accused’s right index finger.

As a blood stain pattern analyst, he also confirmed that the blood was wet when the finger made contact with the wall.

Defence lawyer Sheriff Mohamed reminded Bekker that fellow fingerprint expert, Warrant Officer Neville McNabb, had been unable to positively match the prints to the accused.

Bekker replied that he was not asked to provide a report on McNabb's report. He added that reading a previous fingerprint report was the "worst thing to do" in a comparative study, because it created bias.

Adams’s sister, his dad Deon and other family members listened carefully during the proceedings.

The State then called McNabb, who had been a fingerprint expert for 13 years, to the stand.

He said he was familiar with a different method of analysis and did not find enough points in the prints to make a positive identification.

He testified that he didn’t have the advanced training that McNabb had.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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