January 2013 - Pg 4-Knife Defense
Often times, an important part of my job is educating the attorneys that the participant may not be the best reporter of the event. You need to hold back a little while and wait for the lab reports to come in, for the autopsy reports to come in, and for evidence to be collected, then look at what we have in evidence and then take the client’s story and ask, “What parts fit?” If it fits well, then it all makes sense, but if the client tells us he remembers making only three stab wounds and that is it, but the body has got twelve or fifteen, we have a problem somewhere along the way and that has got to be figured out and explained.
I think my role as an investigator is to always question everything as I work through a case. The work may last for a week or for months, and as the pieces are presented to me, I can start putting the puzzle together and try to make the pieces fit together. I personally believe that it would be professionally wrong to take a statement from somebody up front as the gospel truth. I just do not and can not do that.
eJournal: Let’s say that a Network member used a knife in self defense and was physically and mentally able to function afterward. What precautions do you recommend to that member about their statement to police?
Bunke: On a scene where blood is spilled when a knife is used, one of the biggest things law enforcement will need to know—hopefully sooner rather than later—is where this conflict took place and where it started. With knife injuries, absent a rather large injury, most of the stab wounds and most of the slash wounds may not bleed a lot. The human body is so resilient, it amazes me to this day! You will have a person who will eventually die of the knife wounds, but the amount of travel between where the knife wound took place and where they are eventually found, may be blocks.
They may be found literally BLOCKS away and the body may not bleed a lot between Point A and Point B.
You can have a lot of internal bleeding, with very little blood trail in many, many cases. There are cases of people coming down apartment staircases and crossing city blocks before they sit down and later expire, and they expire because they have bled out internally. But by then they have covered three or four flights of stairs in the apartment complex and crossed the block.
A lot of folks who are stabbed, do not know they were stabbed. They thought they were punched multiple times, and the punches hurt really bad, but they do not realize they were stabbed until they reach down, touch, and look at it and say, “Oh! I must have been stabbed.” That could have happened seconds ago, or minutes ago, or yards ago in travel time.
For Network members, it is important to be able to report WHERE the aggressive action took place, because potentially, the crime scene has just multiplied itself exponentially. With what you might think would be a stabbing in one room in an apartment complex, the crime scene may not be only that room, it may be the whole building or half a city block because they’ve traveled.
That is where blood spatter comes in, time of travel, blood drops, directionality, length of travel and how far they traveled. If they have a knife injury where there is significant blood loss being able to trail them, so to speak, is much easier because there is more physical evidence to look at, but that is not always the case. I’ve seen it where there was very little blood loss from the injury. It is just phenomenal what people can survive and the kind of motion they can do whether that is aggressive motion, defensive motion or even just leaving the area.