An organic compound, originally marketed as an antistatic, can form an extremely thin electro-conductive coating upon
drying. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) application for this compound was first explored in the late 1960s. A
coating of this compound eliminates the need for carbon or gold coating in some applications. It is well suited for the
viewing of fabric samples and associated gunshot residue (GSR) in the SEM and makes it possible to quickly analyze
fabric bullet wipe and bore wipe GSR. Fabric samples can also be examined for GSR from intermediate-range shots to
estimate muzzle-target distances.
The defendant had three trials. The first and second ended in mistrial; the third he was convicted. Examination of the
gunshot residue evidence presented in the first and third trials starkly define an extraordinary difference: science versus
junk science. The defendant was convicted on the junk science.
The victim was alleged to have been shot in the head with a .40 caliber pistol from several feet. The
defendant claimed that the shot was on the order of inches. Examination in the scanning electron
microscope of the hair from around the victim's wound showed no adherent gunshot residue (GSR).
However, when the hair was pulled apart by the adhesive of a standard GSR sampler, GSR was found
associated with the exposed inner surfaces of the cuticle and cortex fragments. The pistol was discharged
close enough to the victim's head that some of the cuticular scales were lifted in the muzzle blast which
allowed GSR to be inserted under those scales. Gunshot residue associated with the surface of the victim's
hair had somehow been removed. The defendant's account of the shooting was verified by the presence of