“There is not as much blood there as I would have expected probably because the perp only hit her about four times. The first two blows would have incapacitated her even more after being slugged. The next two would have opened up the skin causing the spatters. Had there been more blows, there would have been more blood.” “Interesting theory,” Danny said.
“These two golf clubs? You brought them in thinking they were used to do this.”
“Yeah, that was our thinking. But they don’t have any blood on them. The driver we brought in because it was found in a closed cabinet and not with the rest of the other clubs in the bag. The putter because it had a bent shaft,” Danny said to the professor.
“Well, we can prove or disprove that fairly quickly. Let’s take them to your lab. In this case, we can use Luminol and UV. Even though an item doesn’t appear to have blood on it from an attempted cleaning, telltale signs say otherwise.”
Danny picked up the clubs and, along with Joe and the professor, directed them to their forensics lab on the other side of the building where they met a technician. They explained what they wanted to do, and the Luminol and UV light were brought to them.
Everybody donned latex gloves and paper face-masks covering their noise and mouth. The professor sprayed the clubs with Luminol. They then all walked into a small room that could easily be blackened out and turned on the UV light. The putter showed no signs of blood; however, the driver lit up like a Las Vegas boulevard at midnight. The entire head of the club indicated that blood had been present. Even though under normal lighting conditions the club looked clean, the Luminol, which is highly sensitive, can detect blood in the parts per billion. No doubt, the murder weapon had been found. But the fact remained, who used it on Mrs. Dobbins?
After this revelation, the trio walked back to the conference room where a stack of store-bought hamburgers and French fries had been delivered along with several cans of iced tea. It was just after the typical lunch hour and they were hungry. Lieutenant Hastings, to save time, brought in the lunch. It was a welcomed gesture.
Sitting at the large conference table eating, they further discussed the case and tried to come up with who may have committed this crime.
Professor Cho opened up first.
“You care to enlighten me as to your suspect, Danny?”
“Well Professor, I think it’s the husband, Dr. Dobbins.”
“And your thinking is?”
“It’s my hypothesis that a break-in did not occur as opposed to what the doctor told us. He said he was confronted in the family room, which is just off the bedroom by a masked individual wearing driving gloves and was subsequently shot by this person.
“He tells us this person was the one who beat his wife. Apparently he passed out shortly after being shot. When he came to, he went to the bedroom, saw his wife unconscious on the bed, and then called 9-1-1. After that, he passed out again. The police and medical team had to break down the front door to get to him. However, we did find the sliding door to the patio unlocked.”
“And what is your theory?”
“I think he got up at a predetermined time, went to the garage, retrieved the driver, went back to the bedroom, and then beat his wife. Afterwards, he cleaned up the club, put it in the storage bin above the workbench, presumably to hide it, and returned to the family room where he shot himself in the abdomen, and I might add, away from any vital organs. When he regrouped from this non-severe wound, he safely disposed of the gun, which we have yet to find, unlocked the patio door on the pretense somebody jimmied the lock, and then called 9-1-1. After doing so, he laid down beside the bed and waited for the emergency crew to arrive.”
“Most of our early investigation does point in his direction; however, and unfortunately, we failed to test him for gunshot residue. It wasn’t until several days later that we suspected him. By then, he had been thoroughly cleaned up at the hospital, and we felt our efforts would’ve been pointless.”
“Yes, that’s probably true. The residue would diminish over that period of time. However, if you could find his pajamas, the residue from the gunpowder would still likely remain.”
“Yeah, we know that. But they’re gone. Probably incinerated.”
“Those pajamas could have also revealed something else.”
“Blood spatters from the victim. Whoever beat that poor woman would have gotten a mouthful of blood. The front of that person would have been almost soaked from her blood.”
“You think so?”
“On examining the driver, I have no doubt. After determining the club had blood on it, and presently believing it’s the murder weapon, I looked back over my notes. Now it makes perfect sense why there wasn’t that much blood on the wall. It was thrust back onto the perp.”
“I don’t know that I understand what you’re saying.”
“You see, in this case, the driver is a right-handed club. When the perp used the club, he did so with the face of the driver contacting the left portion of the victim’s head and neck. The point where the face of the club joins the sole plate, called the leading edge, there is some sharpness. This club could be considered blunt with a sharp edge. The sharp edge is what severed the carotid artery.
“But the specs of the driver is another telling factor. It’s marked on the club that it has an eleven-degree loft. All drivers have some degree loft because that’s what gets the ball into the air. No club has zero-degree loft. And, as I said, this club has eleven-degrees.”
“I’m trying to follow you, Professor.”
“Anyway, because of the way the perp was holding the club and the angle with which he hit the victim in a downward motion, the face angle of the club was situated so that it would force any blood back towards the person doing the hitting; that is, given where he was standing just off to the side of the bed.
“If the club had zero-degree loft, the blood would have dispersed out equally in a roughly 360-degree fashion. But because of the face angle, and also the head angle relevant to the shaft, the blood was mostly dispersed backwards towards the hitter. I would estimate that 75 percent of the blood was dispersed back within a 210-degree arc where the perp was standing. The remaining 25 percent of blood was dispersed out over a 150-degree arc. That’s why there wasn’t that much blood on the wall.”
“And if the perp held the club so that the housel or back of the club hit the victim?”
“The blood would have dispersed in an entirely different fashion and splattered higher onto the wall. As you can see, the back of the club is parabolic. Just that alone would have caused a different pattern. But it’s also doubtful it would have cut the carotid artery. I think whoever used this club to kill Mrs. Dobbins knew what he was doing. He knew the face of the driver would do the most damage with the least amount of effort. It’s quite possible, if it wasn’t Dr. Dobbins, that he, too, was a golfer; and probably a right-handed golfer at that.”
“So, now we need to be looking for a right-handed perp golfer with a chest full of blood. And given the time frame from then to now, I believe that will be virtually impossible,” Danny said looking grim.
“Well, maybe not,” the professor said.
“Your prime suspect, Dr. Dobbins. When he was admitted to the hospital, the attending physician might have noticed blood patterns on his face and pajamas.”
“But the pajamas were dark burgundy. It’s doubtful blood could have been seen on them,” Danny said with trepidation.
“I think you’re wrong. Blood does not hide itself very easily even against another dark red. It would show up as being darker. And in this case, the blood being thrown back would produce large spatters. It’s very conceivable they could be seen. You might want to revisit the hospital and talk to the attending physician who first saw the doctor to see what he might’ve recognized when he came in.”
“Well, okay. I think it’s time we re-interview Dr. Dobbins!”
Danny, Joe, and Professor Cho continued discussing more of the evidence, especially going over various theories of why the sliding glass door was unlocked. Some good came of the continued conversation but there was still some sliver of doubt that Dr. Dobbins just might not have done this terrible deed to his wife. Anyway the detectives looked at it, more digging was necessary to either solidify their case against him—or find evidence to the contrary exonerating him of the pending charges. But for the moment, things were at a standstill.
“Good luck to you,” Cho said as he left the squad room.