Questioning eyewitnesses is a fundamental police procedure in criminal investigation. The statements of these witnesses are vital in corroborating evidences and strengthening theories of what actually happened during the crime. In this particular case of a robbery-homicide, I conducted an interview to the victim’s wife, a lone witness who discovered the body. 1. For the record, ma’am, could you please state your name and address? This is to establish the identity of the witness and her current location for easy follow ups in case I need her for further questioning. 2. What is your relation to the victim?
This will tell me how close the witness is to the victim. In this way, I could get more personal information about the victim like his character and relations with other people. 3. What time did the robbery took place? This is to establish the precise time of the incident as well as the time the crime was reported so police could conduct follow up operations in a timely manner. 4. Could you exactly tell me what did you see and hear? This will simply give me the whole picture of the crime. Knowing the details of the crime will guide me to investigate the incident faster and correctly.
5. What were you doing in the back room at the time of the incident? Knowing her whereabouts and activities during the crime will tell me how much she really knows about the robbery and how strong her testimony will stand in court. 6. Are there other people inside the store, customers or employees, at the time of the robbery? I hope to get other witnesses besides the wife. Maybe these people got scared and just disappeared before the police responded. The more witnesses, the stronger the case. 7. Why did the other suspect shot your husband?
I want to establish the motive of the killing whether the husband fought back or was simply shot at random. This will be noted to the character profile of the suspect. 8. Could you describe the two suspects? How tall they are? What clothes were they wearing? What body type they have? I hope to get the physical description of the suspects to help me further construct their profile, match their description to the database, and alert police patrol. 9. Did the suspects use any kind of getaway vehicle, a car or a motorcycle? Did you get the plate number?
Having information about the getaway vehicles will certainly hasten the investigation and even apprehend suspects in road blocks or in their houses if the plate number was known. 10. Do you know where they headed after the robbery? Perhaps, knowing where the criminals went could speed up police patrol in following up their trail especially carrying the description of the getaway vehicle. 11. Ma’am, have you been robbed before? If this couple was robbed in the past, perhaps there was a police report that I could use for comparison on the modus operandi, and description of suspects.
Even more, I could check recent reports of robberies in the area. 12. Do you have other employees in the store or perhaps records of past employees? This is to locate and interrogate possible suspects, possibly disgruntled workers. 13. Have you ever received threats from other nearby stores? At times, people fight for competition in business. If this couple did receive threats from their competitors, it is worth checking out this angle to identify suspects. 14. Does your husband have enemies or grudges with other people?
If so, scrutinizing these people would lead me to believe that perhaps robbery was only a diversion to intentionally kill the victim. 15. Do you have any surveillance camera installed in your store? If there is such a camera, identifying the suspects will be faster. The camera itself will tell the whole story and if shown on television, more likely other people close to the suspects would have informed the police right away. References National Institute of Justice. (2003). Procedures for Interviewing the Witness by the Followup Investigator. Eyewitness Evidence: A Trainer’s Manual for Law Enforcement.
Retrieved January 21, 2007, from http://www. ncjrs. gov/nij/eyewitness/188678. pdf Kebbell, M. R. & Wagstaff, G. F. (1999). Face Value? Evaluating the Accuracy of Eyewitness Information. Police Research Series, Paper 102. Policing and Reducing Crime Unit. Research, Development and Statistics Directorate. Retrieved January 21, 2007, from http://eyewitnessconsortium. utep. edu/Documents/Kebbell. pdf Swanson, C. R. , Chamelin, N. C. , Territo, L. & Taylor, R. W. (2005). Criminal Investigation, with PowerWeb and Student Simulation CD. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 9 edition. ISBN-10: 0073212784