Contact Gun Shot Wounds... did the State Investigator and the Prosecution Lie to the Jury?
The State testified that the wound defect in Baldwin's chest was of indeterminate range. The definition of indeterminate range is any where from 12 inches out to 3 feet. The prosecution throughout the trial maintained that Knospler shot through the car window, while Baldwin was standing outside "taping on the window" innocently wanting to get into his car. This was disproved by Dr. Judy Melinek's statement, saying “He was clearly leaning over”, and John Daily statement "he was in the car after punching out the window". The prosecution failed to produce evidence of glass shards and/or the stippling from glass particles that would be present in the clothing or on the victim's skin resulting from a projectile shot through a glass window..Medium or indetermimate range gunshot entrance wounds are characterized by gunpowder stippling, but no soot ring surrounding the abrasion collar entrance defect. These typically occur when the weapon is greater than 12 in. but less than about 3 ft from the skin. Once the weapon is more than about 3 ft from the skin or clothing surface, gunpowder particles do not typically have enough energy to produce stipple injuries. Gunshot entrance wounds with no associated soot or gunpowder stippling are referred to as distant wounds, meaning the shot was taken from more than about 3 ft away. The preferred term used by many forensic pathologists is indeterminate, since closer range shots where the soot and gunpowder is totally blocked by clothing or some other interposed barrier may produce identical appearing wounds.
Gun shot range could not be determined from the amount of GSR found on Baldwin's shirt. The top of the inside door panel of the driver's side door tested positive for GSR. There was a gun fired inside the vehicle as we know. But being partially in the car, Baldwin's body blocked the GSR from reaching high concentration on the lower inside door panel, had the window been shot out.
Lab tests were conducted at distances of 3", 6", 9" and out to 24" all on nice clean pristine test bed. Yes they proved the presence of GSR in laboratory conditions and that's about all. Baldwin's shirt was soaked with water and blood and was left to lie in the parking lot all night with melting snow and ice. These conditions were not duplicated in the laboratory. GSR is water soluble and may well have washed out during the eight hours that Baldwin lay in the parking lot.
Insoluble shards of glass would not have been washed out and glass would be imbedded in the fabric and around the T-shirt defect. Remember the shards of glass were noted in the wounds of the right hand and on the surface of the right arm as viewed in the autopsy photos, but never mentioned in John Carvers report. The trace glass is also absent visually in the close up photograph of Baldwin's entrance defect or in the immediate area of the T-Shirt's neck line and defect.
Carvers report also stated "focal sparse black particulate is in the subcutaneous tissue." This material in the subcutaneous tissue was not tested for residual gunpowder; much like the "refractile material" was not tested for silicon dioxide. Was this done purposely to allow the prosecution to manipulate the findings to fit a predetermined outcome? Was the defense team negligent by not hiring an independent contractor to investigate this evidence?
John Daily indicated that the gun shot defect in Baldwin's chest appeared to be a "close contact" gunshot wound during his investigation. Daily's testimony at trial recanted that position. The defense during testiomy never went there, why?.
Daily's Testimony cross by DA Blonigen
Blonigen. Okay. And at that meeting, you pointed to multiple autopsy photos showing various things to Mr. Ellis and stated without a doubt this was a contact wound?
Dailey. "It looked like it at the time."
Blonigen. "Okay. You told him it was a contact wound; it turned out not to be?"
Dailey. "Yeah, that's right."
Blonigen. "Now, also, when you looked at the wound itself, you showed him various things in the autopsy photos that convinced you it was a contact wound?"
Dailey. "There were some things that I thought indicated that, yes."
Blonigen. "And then we -- when we go to the body then and we do this dramatization or this -- it's not directly a recreation in that every fact in it is absolutely known to be true, is it, and exactly the same as the scene?"
Dailey. "Well, nothing is exact, no."
The court never learned why John Daily's position changed from a contact gunshot wound, as Blonigen quickly moved the questioning to the recreation done by the state. We never learned what the existing wound was classified as. Carver and Norris classified it as an indeterminate range during their testimony.
Knospler's statement that Baldwin was "inside the vehicle". Knospler has maintained from the beginning that Baldwin smashed in the widow and said, “I am taking the car and I am going to kill you". When Knospler was stopped on the road by sheriff's deputy Johnny Taylor, he asked Knospler "What was going on at the bar?” Knospler replied "somebody threatened to kill me" and also said, while in the police car, "I acted in self defense only".
Take note of the inset picture of Knospler's .45 Night Hawk (left photo). The Night Hawk is fitted with a unique barrel flange that matches the Muzzle stamp located at the coroners measuring square. Prosecutions state witness attempted to pass off the Muzzle stamp as bullet wipe during trial.
Prosecution presented Baldwin's dried out, aged T-Shirt (center left) as evidence at trial, while keeping the colored photos which speaks volumes, from the jury (left, and center right photos).
Photo (center right ) taken in the Casper County Morgue prior to being transferred to medical center in Colorado for autopsy.
Far right is the muzzle profile of a standard issue model 1911. Note the difference between the the standard 1911 and Knospler's Night Hawk Predator muzzle profile. Is there any doubt that Knospler's Night Hawk with the unique muzzle configuration left the muzzle stamp that we observe in the autopsy photos on Baldwin's shirt?
This contact gun shot is irrefutable hard evidence that Baldwin was in the drivers compartment assaulting Knospler at the time of the shooting. Hard exculpatory evidence that the Knospler was defending himself and the prosecution chose to ignore. Absent of any glass stippling, the prosecution claimed that all GSR was "washed out" during CPR....how ever the muzzle stamp remained due to the high temperatures of the muzzle gasses present, impregnating the cloth of Baldwin's shirt.
Wounds Through Clothing "The passage of a bullet through clothing can alter the appearance of the wound and cause the examiner to reach different conclusions regarding factors such as the range of the gunshot. When there is clothing between the firearm and the skin, you will not find soot and powder on the skin, and searing is lessened or can be prevented. Therefore, the usual methods of determining the distance of the shooter from the victim cannot be used. Whether the powder passes through the clothing depends on the material, the number of layers of clothing, and the form of the powder. Ball powder can penetrate up to three layers of clothing, while flake powder may fail to penetrate a single layer."
Blonigen . "Okay. And when we have a gun pressed up against the clothing over just the top of the body, this is a relatively thin white T-shirt; is that correct?"Carver.."It's a -- it's a common white T-shirt, yes." .
Blonigen. "Okay. What do we see in our entry wounds when we have this gun pressed tight up against the skin?"(so what happened to the T-shirt Blonigen?)
Carver. "If it was pressed tight up against the skin, you might see an abrasion from the muzzle of the gun surrounding the gunshot entry wound. The next thing to remember is that not only the projectile comes out the end of the barrel, but a number of other things. There can be a small flame that may extend out for a short distance.So if you have a contact wound, you may actually see burning or searing of the skin on the borders of where the bullet went in."
What would the wound characteristics appear to be if the barrel was pressed up against the shirt?. Blonigen never went there and neither did the defense on cross examination. Blonigen got "muzzle pressed against the skin" in the record with no objection from the defense. Blonigen led Carver to state it was not a contact wound due to the lacking attributes Carver states he would of witnessed in a gun against skin wound. Blonigen by leading questions, subtly manipulating the narrative, having Carver correctly answering these questions could call it a distance wound. Was Blonigen really interested in finding the truth....or winning the case, going to any means to win it. You decide for yourself.
After three long years this evidence to clear Knospler is finally made public.