- Area: Social and Behavior Sciences, Education, & Human Services
- Program: Criminal Justice
- Type of Writing: Critique/Evaluation
- Course Level: 1000
- English Speaking Nativeness: Non-Native
- Year: 2020
- Paper ID: SaBSE&HS.C.J.C.1.N.2.2.2108
Title of the TV show: Forensic Files Collections
Date of the Crime: August 9, 1986
Homicide: A 51-year-old female named Lynnea Gran was murdered at her workplace Les’s Grocery Store next to her house.
Investigating Agencies: Wisconsin Police Department, Crime Laboratory in Maddison and Forensic Science
Cast of Characters:
- Lynnea Gran divorced mother of four children and employee from Les’s Grocery store who was murdered.
- Wisconsin police investigators who’s searched Lynnea’s home next door and found what looked like the murder weapon, a wood-handed claw hammer in a drarwer, next to the kitchen sink.
- Gary Gravesen [Ret.] Juvenile Investigator. Asked Rodger about the blood on his clothes and he said he tried to revive his mother. With few clues, no witnesses, no suspects and no apparent motives, the case went cold.
- Investigations Commander Police Captain Chad La Lor. In the 20 years following an unsolved murder, was assigned to head a new cold case unit. The first case that caught his eye was the Lynnea Gran case.
- Special Agent John Christophersen was also assigned to the case.
- Analyst Ken Olson from Crime Laboratory in Madison.
- Rodger Gran, Lynnea’s son who found his mother’s body.
Rodger Gran who found his mother’s body at 2:00 am when he returned from the County Fair and called the police and ambulance.
Police Captain and Special Agent looked up all the evidence was kept from 1986, and they subsequently transported the evidence to the Crime Laboratory in Madison. Analyst Olson first examined the claw hammer and found minute amounts of what appeared to be blood in the hammer’s graves and edges. Stain was identified as human blood. Once DNA was tested on the hammer, it came back to be Lynnea’s DNA. The hammer became a probable murder weapon.
Next, Investigators examined a denim jacket confiscated from Rodger Gran’s bedroom on the night of the murder. On the right sleeve, Olson found tiny mist-like droplets of blood high-velocity impact spatter, which is very different from a blood drop or smear. Inside the jacket, there was more blood. The shoes Olson examined he found two small, one millimeter and less in diameter blood stains, on the shoes that were consistent with a high-energy impact spatter.
The DNA of the blood on Rodger’s jacket and shoes was his mother’s. Prosecutors believe Lynnea’s son Rodger was drinking with friends and doing drugs. Rodger admitted he went to the store around 10:00 pm and asked his mother for money to go to the County Fair. Prosecutors think Lynnea refused, probably because she knew he was using drugs and alcohol. And she also told him he couldn’t drive the family car. They argued. Rodger lost control, grabbed a hammer from a toolbox, and struck his mother repeatedly. The force created high-impact blood spatter on Rodger’s denim jacket, particularly on the right sleeve and on his shoes. He looked the front door, went back to his home, and washed the hammer, removed his jacket, then, met his friends at the County Fair. When Rodger returned home at 2:00 am he called 911 to report finding his mother’s body in the store.
Cause of death: There were massive injuries to her head and to her face. The medical examiner estimated somewhere in the range of 15 to 30 blows to the head it was clearly done in fit of rage.
Investigators ask him again, what happens at the night his mother’s was murder. This time, he said he had an argument with his mother around 10:00 pm before he left to the County Fair. He said he asked for money. His mother refused to give him any money that night. He continues to deny he killed her mother.
New DNA testing and advances in forensic science revealed what happened on the night of Lynnea Gran’s murder 20 years earlier. He confessed.
- They were DNA evidence
- Then there was the interview of suspect
- And finally the confession
The suspect confessed he killed his mother. Pled guilty. He was prosecuted and convicted to 15 years of prison.
This TV show was credible to me. It is very interesting and rings true. I like to see how is the step by step of a crime investigation of a crime or homicide. The police and analyst were real people telling their cases. They dialogue was true and interpreted of crime scene.
I believe in the justice, and I know that sooner or later it arrives. Like in this case, after 20 years, justice was finally done. In the 20 years following an unsolved murder, lives change, and so did forensic technology. In time, a high-powered microscope and DNA profiling revealed a clue no one had seen before. Is incredible how the technology advances.
At the beginning of the investigation, the investigator suspects to a relative such a family member. An emotional dispute or something. He said, random killers rarely spend that much time and effort killing someone. In fact, that kind of violence usually indicates a relationship between the victim and the killer. It was really frustrating not obtain evidence or witness or to have technology.
The officer and special agent were very good working on cold cases. They demonstrate good skills and knowledge, they were faster solving this case getting all evidences needed to finally arrest the guilty.