Latent Hit of the Year 2010
Latent Hit of the Year 2010, San Diego
The FBI Latent Hit of the Year is awarded annually to an outstanding latent examiner or officer who solved a major violent crime by using the FBI’s IAFIS database.
2010. Gloria Pasqual, Dorie Savage, and John Tefft.
NARRATOR: Dallas Texas, 1966. A young man is arrested for Criminal Possession of a Weapon.
No one could have predicted that the fingerprints from that arrest would lead to such an extraordinary breakthrough—almost 40 years later.
John Tefft: In 1971, Gerald Jackson was murdered. He had been in the Army, served in Vietnam, he was a postal worker… he worked, paid taxes, was a good citizen, did everything he was supposed to do.
Jackson doesn’t show up for work. Co-workers get concerned about him, San Diego police show up, go to the apartment, find him deceased.
Linda Keim: We just didn’t understand. We just did not understand how another human being could do that.
John Tefft: I was a senior in high school in Pacific Beach, I lived only five blocks from this house. So I remembered when it happened. It was the talk of the neighborhood.
Gloria Pasqual: It was a pretty bad murder. He was stabbed several times. The suspect stole his car, along with some of his property.
John Tefft: They find the AM FM receiver which had been pawned. When they recover it, on the side of it in dried blood, is a palm print.
In 1971, they didn’t have any of the computer capabilities we have today. It was really typical old fashioned grab fingerprint cards and compare them.
Stacey Houg: It must have been frustrating for everyone involved in this case. Crime lab personnel, detectives, they did a lot of hard work over periods of months to try to solve this crime. And it went cold.
Gloria Pasqual: And then 37 years later, we searched this case through our automated database.
Stacey Houg: When I initiallly submitted the latent impressions through the databases, I only checked the databases here locally, and our state database. And all of those were negative. So the only database left to search was the IAFIS database.
Gloria Pasqual: Stacey entered all the impressions. And then I checked them from the time that she entered. I probably checked them the next day. I looked at this particular impression and things were matching up.
Once we got that hit, then we were able to compare any other impressions that we had to that subject.
John Tefft: The suspect in this case is a Gerald Metcalf.
Gloria Pasqual: I was able to identify the subject on items inside the home, and on his vehicle.
John Tefft: I thought well this is a good lead, but it’s not the knockout punch. Because maybe Metcalf had a legitimate reason for being with Jackson. The hot piece of evidence was the palm in blood.
We just needed now something to compare that palm print to.
Mr. Metcalf makes his way back to Texas, and goes about his life from 1971 on. I located him in a small town in Texas. The goal was to go back and not only interview him and in effect marry him to a story, do you know this guy do you have a right to be there, or marry him to a lie, but also to go back, and execute a search warrant on his person, to collect fingerprints, palmprints, handwriting exemplar, and DNA.
Dorie Savage: So my job was to get a nice clean known print so that she could do a good enough job in comparing the print collected at the crime scene to the print collected from the suspect.
John Tefft: We all went down to the Sheriff’s office, we completed what was required.
Dorie Savage: The suspect appeared a little nervous like he wanted to say something but he couldn’t quite say it.
John Tefft: Showed him a picture of Gerald Jackson, “do you know this man?” No. Showed him a picture of the house, “you ever been in this house?” No. Showed him a picture of the car, “you ever been in this car?” No, no, no. Well, I know yes yes yes, because I have his physical evidence there.
John Tefft: OK, well, like I said we have your fingerprints in the house and in the car. And you know about fingerprints, right? They’re unique, right?
Showed him a picture of the stereo. No he’s never touched that. Well, we’re gonna later learn that that’s his palm print on the side. And he confessed to killing a man.
NBC Today show excerpt: The San Diego Police Department has apparently solved a murder that happened nearly four decades ago. Here’s NBC’s Michael Okwu.
Authorities have now arrested 60-year-old Gerald Metcalf…
Gloria Pasqual: I think that all of the cases that we work on are important. Having solved it after 37 years was pretty special.
Dorie Savage: Everybody’s here, everybody does their job and the people I work with are spectacular. They all do their job well. So I’m proud to be part of that team.
John Tefft: It was a combination of technology and teamwork, of new computers as well as the old fashioned human involvement that made this case happen.
Gloria Pasqual: That card that was in the IAFIS database came from an arrest in Texas. To have something like that come up 37 years later is pretty amazing.
What we were able to do with this 37 year old homicide, what we were able to do is search that database. We would not have solved this crime if we had not had access to IAFIS.
NARRATOR: Tap into the power of IAFIS. To learn more about using IAFIS latent services, go to FBI.gov. To submit for the latent hit of year award, send an e-mail to FBILatentHit@leo.gov.