Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud
MR. MANDEL: United States would call Kimberly Edwards, Your
KIMBERLY EDWARDS, called as a witness, being first duly sworn,
and said as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. MANDEL:
Q. Would you state your name, please?
A. My name is Kimberly Edwards.
Q. Where are you employed?
A. I am employed by the latent fingerprint unit of the FBI.
Q. Where is that located?
A. In Quantico, Virginia.
Q. Do you have a specific title there?
A. My title is physical scientist forensic examiner.
Q. And do you specifically do fingerprint work among other things?
A. That's correct.
Q. How long have you been employed doing fingerprint work?
A. Just about four years.
Q. Can you tell us what your duties are in that regard?
A. I receive and inventory evidence, process the evidence
for presence and development of latent prints. I can then
compare those prints to the known prints of individuals.
Additionally I work with the hands and fingers of unknown
deceased in an attempt to effect their identification.
Q. How long have you been employed -- excuse me. Give us
your educational background, please?
A. I received an undergraduate degree in mathematics and
biology from the University of Virginia, Masters Degree from
University of Maryland at College Park in biological resources
Q. Did you also receive specific training regarding fingerprints?
A. I did. I completed a two year training program with the
latent fingerprint unit with the FBI.
Q. So we understand, although I think we do, explain to us
what a fingerprint is as it is used forensically?
A. On the palmar side of the hand and soles of your feet
there is raised portions of skin, this is known as friction
ridge skin. A fingerprint is typically what is indicated as
the friction ridge skin that is present on the end joint of
the finger, usually recorded in black ink, and rolled across a
contrasting card such as a fingerprint card.
Q. Is there a specific methodology that's used to compare fingerprints?
A. We utilize a methodology known as ACV, which stands for
Analysis, comparison, verification. The analysis portion we
look to see what identification is present in a print, the
ridge flow, pattern type, and presence of characteristics such
as the end of a ridge, dividing ridge and a dot. The
comparison portion we look at both prints to see if the same
information is present in the both prints with out an
explainable difference. In the evaluation phase we make a
determination if the two are from the same source. The last
step, the verification phase, a second qualified examiner
reviews the identification.
Q. Can you tell us what the basic factors are in the use of
fingerprints as a means of identification?
A. Fingerprints are both permanent and unique. They are
permanent in that they form prior to birth and remain
consistent throughout an individual's life barring any deep
scarring. They are unique in that the environmental and
genetic factors influence the formation of the friction ridges
and thus are unique to an individual.
Q. I believe you indicated that one of the things you
specialized in was the identification of individuals who were
A. That's correct.
Q. Can you tell us if there are particular problems that
arise obtaining fingerprints from deceased individuals in general?
A. Well, there is a number of issues relative to the
condition of the hands or fingers of an individual based on
how long that person has been deceased, or where the body was
Q. What types of problems?
A. Those factors might involve if they were in a very dry
or, dry area, then the fingers could be almost mummified. If
it is in a humid or wet area, they may decompose much faster.
If they are water logged or burned, that also can be a factor
in the condition of the fingers.
Q. Are you familiar with a technique whereby the hands of
the decedent are sometimes severed and sent in to the lab in
an effort to effect an identification?
Q. Have you ever had the circumstance to work on any hands
in that situation?
A. I have.
Q. On how many occasions?
A. Approximately I would say three or four times that's occurred.
Q. In total how many such identifications does the FBI
laboratory perform in a year?
A. The laboratory receives about nine to ten sets of hands
or fingers per year.
Q. And particularly why is that technique used, what is the
purpose of that, what does it enable you to do that couldn't
other wise be done?
A. We have the necessary tools and chemicals that we can
use in order to deal with hands or fingers that may not be in
optimal condition. The ideal condition would be you could
actually take the finger and record it, but due to the factor
I mentioned earlier, sometimes it's a little bit more
difficult. And we have a number of procedures and techniques
that we can follow to aid in the recording of the friction
ridges on the skin -- that's on the fingers, excuse me.
Q. Obviously you were not working for the FBI laboratory 28
Q. But did you review the file that was done in terms of
the identification of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash?
A. I did.
Q. I will ask you first of all if you can tell from your
review what took place in that case to effect an identification?
A. Yes, I was able to do that.
Q. What was that?
A. Based on the photographs that were maintained in our
files, there is an indication that the fingers were placed in
a material called Duplicast, which is a material that is
similar to epoxy where you mix two liquids and they then
solidify in a short amount of time, and that way the fingers
can be impressed into the material. The material hardens and
you are left with a cast of the friction ridges on the fingers.
Q. Then what is done after you make that cast?
A. The casts are then photographed, and each individual
finger that is represented is, that photograph is placed in a
ten print block on a fingerprint card.
(Exhibits 40-41 marked For identification.)
Q. I will ask you to look at two Exhibits I have placed ir
front of you, Exhibits number 40 and 41. First of all, can
you tell us what Exhibit No. 40 is?
A. Exhibit No. 40 is a photograph of the impressions that
were made from the hands that were submitted in this case.
And Exhibit No. 41 is the template card bearing the name Anna
Mae Pictou from our files.
Q. That Exhibit 41, was that what is referred to as the
known set of prints?
A. Known set prints, yes.
MR. MANDEL: I offer Exhibits 40 and 41 at this time.
MR. RENSCH: No objection.
THE COURT: Exhibits 40 and 41 are received. I
think this might be a good time to take our morning break. So
remember what I have told you before, members of the jury,
don't talk to each other about the case, keep an open mind
until you have heard all the evidence. Thank you, we will be
in recess for fifteen minutes.
(Recess at 10:25 until 10:45 ).
THE COURT: Re-take the stand, please.
BY MR. MANDEL:
Q. In preparation for your testimony here today did you
review the file in this matter?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. First of all, from the file review did it indicate that
an identification was made in this case?
A. Yes, it did.
Q. Are you able to see that okay on the monitor?
Q. I have put what has been marked Exhibit No. 40 on the
monitor. Can you tell us what that is, and based on your
review of the file how that was prepared?
A. This is the photograph of the card that was created from
the impressions of the fingerprints of the hands that were
submitted. These are actual individual photographs of each
finger that are taken and then placed on the template card,
and the template card is photographed as a whole. Once you
have all ten fingers present, the card is then classified,
this is known as a Henry classification. Prior to when we had
computer data bases, all fingerprint cards received Henry
classifications. Those are what the numbers are up in the top
on the right side in the block where it says 19. All of that
information is derived from the pattern types and the
classification of the fingerprints on the card. This card
would have been then sent down to the technical section where
based on this classification they would have manually searched
through the fingerprint cards on file. At that time when
someone down there found one that matched the classification,
it was sent back up to the latent examiner who compared the
Q. The FBI even at that time had a lot of fingerprints on file, right?
A. That's correct.
Q. In the millions?
A. I would say tens of millions probably.
Q. How long does it take to do a comparison of that type in general?
A. In general it would depend really on how unique the
classification is. For example, the most common pattern type
is loops, so if a person has all loops, it may take a little
longer to search manually through the files. But there is
also information such as how many ridges between two areas of
the fingerprints, that kind of information can help break down
the number of files that need to be searched through. In this
case it was a female, and I believe only 20 percent of the FBI
files are of females, so that again reduces the number of
people that would need to be manually compared to.
Q. I notice on that card there is some numbers written in
the upper right-hand corner of each of the prints that is
A. Yes, those are the indications of the ridge counts and
pattern types that are present in those fingers.
Q. When this fingerprint card was sent into the FBI lab,
was there any information that is in the lab record as to who
it might have been, who in particular to search for as possibilities?
A. Well, this card would have been created by the lab, it
would have been --
Q. Excuse me, actually when the hands were sent in to
produce the fingerprint card?
A. Based on the work sheet from the original examiner there
was a phone call on the 2nd of March from Special Agent Wood.
Q. Is this a type of record that you normally keep in these
A. Yes. Any case that comes in the examiner works, they
keep a work sheet on what steps they have taken in that case.
Q. So at any time, for example if you are working on a case
when a call would be made in by the agent, you would make a
notation in the file reflecting that?
A. That's correct.
Q. In this case were these, were names provided as possible
comparisons that should be checked on as to who it might have been?
A. In this case there was a phone call made stating that
these could possibly be an individual by the name of Donna Sue Fiedler.
Q. Any other names other than Donna Sue Fiedler?
A. There were some aliases of that individual listed as
well. In fact, at a later time they submitted her fingerprint
card in the event we would need it for comparison purposes.
Q. Then was there a comparison done between Exhibit 40 then
and Exhibit 41?
Q. Can you tell us what Exhibit 41 is again?
A. Exhibit 41 is a photograph of the fingerprint card that
was retrieved from our files based on the classification of
the fingerprint card created from the hands that were
submitted. So these are the cards from our files.
Q. At the time that the original comparison was made, was
determination made that the prints in Exhibit 40 and 41 were
from the same individual?
A. Yes, there was.
Q. Who was that individual?
A. This card bears the name Anna Mae Pictou, and it was
recorded, the fingerprint identification listed an individual
Anna Mae Aquash.
Q. That known card, was that a card that was actually made
during a processing in the Marshals office?
A. This would have been the card that was made when she was
fingerprinted at some time, yes. I would need to refer to
when exactly it was recorded.
Q. Is the date reflected on the card?
A. I have a hard time seeing it on the screen. Looks like
September 5, 1975.
Q. Were you also able to conduct your own examination and
do a comparison between the two sets of prints?
Q. In your opinion was the original conclusion correct that
these were the same individual?
MR. MANDEL: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Cross exam.
MR. RENSCH: No questions, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Thank you, Ms. Edwards, you may step
down. Call your next witness.