FBI’s Hit of the Year Video Wins Award

Highlights Successes of Latent Services to Solve Crimes

November 1, 2011
Originally published in the September 2011 edition of the CJIS Link, Volume 13, Number 3

Each year since 2007, law enforcement agencies have shared their successes using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) latent services to assist in solving major crime cases, and CJIS staff selects one case as the “Hit of the Year.”

A video highlighting The 2010 Latent Hit of the Year was awarded the 2011 Silver Award of Distinction in the category of government relations at the 17th Annual Communicator Awards.

After viewing this video, a law enforcement official shared information about the following: On August 3, 2005, an elderly Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, woman was found stabbed to death, and her home had been ransacked. Investigators developed several latent prints from a wrist watch box on a stand near a window where the offender appeared to have entered the home. They submitted the prints to the Pennsylvania State Police’s Wyoming Regional Crime Laboratory.

Hit of the Year: Crime Solved Thanks to Latent Technology graphic (from CJIS Link article)

A sergeant with the Pennsylvania State Police searched the latent prints against the state’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System, but the latent prints did not match any in the state system. However, he then submitted the prints for a search against the IAFIS. Within 5 hours, the IAFIS returned a response with 20 possible matches. From these results, the sergeant was able to make a positive identification of the latent prints.

Investigators from the Wilkes-Barre Police Department confronted the suspect, who confessed to the murder and stealing a large amount of money before leaving the scene. On February 10, 2006, the suspect made a plea bargain with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty. He pled guilty to first-degree murder, robbery, and additional charges. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Law enforcement officials with similar stories that they would like to be considered for the next “Hit of the Year” can e-mail the case details to fbilatenthit@leo.gov.