3 Court Cases That Used Forensic 3D Scan Data

In some situations, using 3D laser scanners to capture the details of an object or an environment provides higher-definition information. In areas where access to taking measurements could prove hazardous or difficult, 3D scanning equipment offers a powerful solution for capturing data quickly, accurately and safely. Learn more about 3D scanning and how it’s been used in forensic court cases below.


What is 3D scanning?

3D scanning harnesses the power of laser technologies in order to quickly and efficiently gather a multitude of surface data points that can be used in a variety of ways. Once a 3D laser scanner has captured millions of points of data, those data points are plotted using software to create a 3D rendering of objects in space. These renderings are called 3D point clouds. This same technology can be used to accurately represent the geometry of an environment in digital space, too. Due to its precision, a Forensic 3D scan can be incredibly valuable when it comes to investigating crime scenes. As a result Forensic 3D scans are playing a pivotal role in documenting and rebuilding crime scenes and accident sites. From blood to bullets, 3D scanning is revolutionizing how evidence is reviewed and accessed in the 21st century. As the technology continues to progress, more and more experts in the field of crime scene reconstruction and law enforcement rely on 3D laser scanning technology to reconstruct crime scenes for insurance, investigation and court room purposes. 


Court Case #1: Antonio Jerome Greenlee Homicide Case

The murder trial of Antonio Jerome Greenlee was able to be prosecuted, in part, due to 3D imagery captured using Leica Total Stations. Thanks to Leica’s panoramic TruView software, jury members were able to take a virtual tour of the scene of the crime and “walk” through how the death of Ebony Clarke took place following an altercation in the street. The technology allowed the jurors to gain a full understanding of where various witnesses were in relation to Greenlee when he fatally shot Ebony Clarke. The 3D environment presented  by Forensic 3D scans was crucial to the success of the prosecution. Post-conviction, many jurors commented that they were grateful for the technology as it allowed them to better understand and visualize the scene of the crime. 


Court Case #2: Assault and Murder in Marietta, GA

In 2013, four teenagers assaulted a man at a Chevron gas station in Marietta, Georgia, kicking him until he was unconscious before leaving him in the street. Unfortunately, due to his location in the street the man was hit by a moving vehicle and was killed on impact. During the murder and assault trial of the four teenagers involved in the altercation, 3D scans were used to offer jurors a better understanding of the vastness of the crime scene and the proximity of witnesses to the events that unfolded. 


In cases where the crime doesn’t involve a weapon, it is crucial to offer jurors a clear picture of how actions can lead to injury and/or death. In this instance, 3D laser scanners provided the jury with a clear picture of how the actions of the accused led to the death of the decedent. Thanks to Forensic 3D scan data, the jury was able to come to a conclusion based on evidence. 


Court Case #3: Unidentified Human Remains

3D scanning can do more than just recreate environments. Recently, an initiative involving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police called upon Forensic 3D scans of human remains in order to help investigate missing persons cases. By digitally recreating  skulls and remains, potential evidence will be preserved for use in future cases. This is a major advancement in missing persons cases, which can sometimes take decades to definitively solve.


As evidenced by the above three court cases, 3D scanning is offering new advancements in the way legal systems tackle criminal investigations both in and out of the court. Our team at Datum Tech Solutions has years of experience in the 3D laser scanning industry and can offer training and pointers on how to 3D scan an object. Reach out to us today to learn more about how our expertise can play a role in your next court investigation.