On today’s show fingerprint expert Eric Ray joins Felony Friday host John Odermatt. Eric Ray has been a Criminalist with the Arizona Department of Public Safety in the Latent Print Unit since 2007 and is a Certified Latent Print Examiner. Eric earned a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. He is on the Editorial Board of the JFI and on the Special Committee on Latent Print Probability Modeling. Eric is also the Treasurer and Webmaster for the Arizona Identification Council. Eric has published and presented extensively on Reducing Erroneous Exclusions. His company, Ray Forensics, provides expert latent print training and consultation and in his spare time he co-hosts the Double Loop Podcast, a weekly show on fingerprint topics.
During this episode Eric shares the journey that led him to a career in the field of criminal justice and ultimately to a career in latent print forensics. Eric explains in detail how prints are gathered from a crime scenes and shatters faulty commonly held beliefs about fingerprints that movies have gotten wrong. Eric also goes into detail to explain the process used for comparing prints. You can learn more about the finger print process by viewing the following video link supplied by Eric titled: How to Compare Fingerprints – The Basics.
Eric and John also discussed two cases involving fingerprint errors that made headlines recently. The cases of Melissa Neylon and Lana Canen. The Melissa Neylon is the more recent fingerprint nightmare and was covered by Felony Friday in December 2015, before Felony Friday had transitioned into becoming a weekly podcast. Melissa Neylon’s troubles began when she went on a tour of the Inyo County jail for work. When she was going through security deputies arrested her for an outstanding warrant. Authorities claim a live scan of her fingerprints matched Melissa Chapman, a felon wanted in Indiana for identity theft and other crimes. Neylon was arrested and detained for weeks. Eventually Melissa Neylon was cleared. Eric Rays explains what he believes led to the error that caused Melissa Neylon to be falsely identified.
Eric provided me with other fingerprint examples and research papers on latent print analysis that I’ll likely put together for another post. For now, enjoy today’s podcast with Eric Ray and check out RayForensics.com!
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