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  1. #1
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    Purported "Bite Mark" is Consistant with the Lake Knife

    The Callahan Case Files Photos archive contains one autopsy photo of laserations around Steve Branch's brow ridge which some have claimed is a bite mark. Also in the archive are mulitple images of the knife found in the lake behind Jason Baldwin's home. When properly scaled with respect the measuring tape and rulers visible in some of the images, the portion of the wounds above the brow ridge and the portion of the wounds below the brow ridge are remarkably consistent with the hilt and blade of the lake knife. I've created the animation below to exemplify this consistency:



    Also, to demonstrate that the above animation was done with proper respect for scaling, I've also gone back and created images with the tape measure and rulers visible and marked, then aligned and mated the images so they can be opened in separate browser tabs and flipped between at one's leisure:

    Wound

    Hilt

    Blade

    I believe the results speak for themselves, but I'm looking forward to seeing others opinions, and will be happy to answer any questions on the matter to the best of my abilities.

  2. #2
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    i appreciate you taking the time to create this. further i really appreciate you slowing it down.
    it appears there is something missing from the hilt, a cap perhaps? could the cap have had a tiny "x" on it which would account for the "x" shaped wound in the center? also i have an issue with the teeth of the blade lining up with the wounds as the lacerations in the bottom arc are at various angles which make it inconsistent with the knife.
    further, iirc was it not proven that the knife found in the lake had a different color hilt from the one JB owned?
    Hinky Dinky Parlez Vous!-Sleuthy Gal

  3. #3
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    So... this would mean that the upper part of the wound (created by the hilt) and the bottom (along the eyebrow) would have been made at different times, correct? I agree that a cap must be missing from the hilt, that would explain the little "x" shape in the center. Like EntreNous, I have a problem with the angles too. We're looking at the blade sideways when it would probably have been used with the teeth down (it's hard to see in the picture, but it looks like a "stab" type would than a sideways scrape). I also think that the fact that the eyebrow ridge is slightly curved would have made it look less regular.

    AS I SAY ON MY SIGNATURE (I forgot to say it on this post again, my bad) THIS IS MY OPINION ONLY.
    Last edited by Veidt; 03-16-2013 at 05:37 PM.

    Everything in my posts is just my opinion unless it's a quote. ||| please don't quote my posts outside of this site without my permission.
    I'm no longer very active on WS due to lack of time, if you'd like to keep in touch feel free to PM me though.

  4. #4
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    Photo 5 shows the hilt along with it's cap, so I used that along with photo 3 to derive the size of the cap, and finally photo 8 is what I used for the animation. When I went back and created the still images I didn't bother to include the cap, as photos 5, 8, and 11 demonstrate how closely it matches the hilt rather well themselves.

    As for the x shaped mark, while there's nothing to account for that on the cap as pictured, there may have been a compass on the end of the cap which could account for such a mark, similar to many of the compasses which can be seen with a Google image search for survival knife compass. Of course it's also possible that the x was inflicted by something else, and one can't rightly even rule out the possibility that it happened in some freak accident shortly before Stevie Branch was attacked, and the same goes for any of the other marks. That said, when the blade is rotated like so, it matches the arc shaped cut at near the edge of the brow ridge. Given the aforementioned facts, it's rather likely that at least the bulk of those wounds came from the Lake Knife, at least absent any alternatives demonstrated to be even close to as consistent with the wounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by EntreNous View Post
    further, iirc was it not proven that the knife found in the lake had a different color hilt from the one JB owned?
    I've can't see I've seen that argument before. However, even if it has been proved that Baldwin owned a similar knife with a different colored handle, that wouldn't remove the possibility that he also owned the Lake Knife. However, I suspect you are actually thinking of Echols, who when asked about the Lake Knife during the trial said:

    I had one sort of like that, but mine didn't have a black handle. The handle on mine was camouflaged, and it had the camouflage case and everything. The blade on mine was black. It wasn't silver like that.
    But again, even if it can proved that Echols owned a similar knife with a different coloring, that wouldn't remove the possibility that he also owned the Lake Knife.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    That said, when the blade is rotated like so, it matches the arc shaped cut at near the edge of the brow ridge.
    Snipped.

    I can see what you mean, but only if I tilt it in the opposite direction so that the left side is facing down, because if you look at the cuts, they seem to become less and less visible as they proceed to the right. The one closest to the bridge of the nose looks like it was the one where most pressure was put, so the teeth of the knife closest to the tip could be set down there with the rest being naturally higher and not touching the skin with so much strength if at all (hence why only the first two fit the knife). To me it all looks like someone could be behind Stevie Branch's head, rather than facing him. To me that explains the angles a bit better.

    AS I SAY ON MY SIGNATURE (I forgot to say it on this post again, my bad) THIS IS MY OPINION ONLY.
    Last edited by Veidt; 03-16-2013 at 05:37 PM.

    Everything in my posts is just my opinion unless it's a quote. ||| please don't quote my posts outside of this site without my permission.
    I'm no longer very active on WS due to lack of time, if you'd like to keep in touch feel free to PM me though.

  6. #6
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    While the marks are certainly less visible as they proceed to the right, I'm at a loss as to what you are suggesting would line up if the knife were rotated opposite what I did. Any chance you could produce an image to demonstrate what you are getting at?

  7. #7
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    1. Knife marks on flesh are not unique like the markings on a bullet fired from a certain gun.

    2. The knife was (conveniently) found in a public lake. It has never been directly connected to Jason Baldwin.

    Nice try.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    1. Knife marks on flesh are not unique like the markings on a bullet fired from a certain gun.

    2. The knife was (conveniently) found in a public lake. It has never been directly connected to Jason Baldwin.

    Nice try.
    Was this a reply to a post which was deleted before I got a chance to see it, or are you simply contesting claims that nobody here has made?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    While the marks are certainly less visible as they proceed to the right, I'm at a loss as to what you are suggesting would line up if the knife were rotated opposite what I did. Any chance you could produce an image to demonstrate what you are getting at?
    I don't have the time to go Photoshop it right now and I don't think it would help as it's not a matter of pictures but of 3D, but I'll try my best to explain different knife positions.

    - With the knife straight: As you can see in your gif, the last two cuts don't quite match up with the teeth of the knife. The sides of the teeth are vertical, so the only way they would be imprinted would be if one of the sides of the blade was pressed down (like in the layered image).

    - With the knife tilted the way you suggested (tip of the blade upward): The last two cuts still don't match up, as the third one at least is in a straight line with the first two. In this case, more pressure would be applied closer to the hilt. I can see how the first would be so deep, as it's on a part of the face that is elevated and therefore would offer more resistance, but I don't think that the second cut would be deeper than the third when they are in an area that is more or less equally elevated.

    - With the knife titled the way I mentioned (tip of the blade downward): The pressure would be closer to the tip than to the hilt. This would explain why the first cut is deep (more strength). It would also account for the second cut being relatively deep (it's also in the area of the blade that was pushing down). Additionally it would explain why the third and fourth ones are much less deep, as the blade would not be putting so much pressure on that area.

    This is assuming that the perp was facing Branch. If the perp were standing behind them, like holding his arms behind his back, or with Branch stretched down facing up and the perp sitting behind his head, I think this would be different (and IMO more possible for the knife's teeth to be imprinted given the angle).

    Regarding the cuts being on a straight line, I feel like I should elaborate. It strikes me as weird because in a fighting scenario or generally a scenario where the perp is facing him and they are standing up, holding the knife completely horizontally sounds odd to me. Holding the knife tilted up with the perp facing Branch, would result in a more diagonal line IMO. I think this is key here. It could tell us whether the knife was used and if so, when and how.

    Everything in my posts is just my opinion unless it's a quote. ||| please don't quote my posts outside of this site without my permission.
    I'm no longer very active on WS due to lack of time, if you'd like to keep in touch feel free to PM me though.

  10. #10
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    I'm having trouble making heads or tails of much of your contentions, and hence and have been struggling to formulate a response for quite a while know. Best I can really do is say that I get the impression you are operating under the misconception that all the cuts have to been inflicted by that knife and in a single instance, when this is really a 4D problem. If you actually do have any issues with my 2D representations when considering them with respect to both depth and time, I'd appreciate it if you could at some point find the time to produce alternative 2D representations to exemplify as much.

    As for scenarios, I suspect Branch was laying face up on the ground with Echols straddling his waist and pinning his head to the ground, the knife in Echol's right hand pressed across Branch's brow ridge in the position shown in the animation and leaving the lacerations consistent with that position (though of course with the saw edge tilted into the eye-socket a bit which can't rightly show in 2D). Then Echols retracted the knife toward himself, rotating it into the position I showed in the rotated image (and tilting the handle down/tip up a bit which again can't rightly be shown in 2D), leaving the mark which aligns with that position. And finally there was the butt to the head with the hilt of the knife, as pinning Branch's head to the ground would likely be superfluous after that.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    I'm having trouble making heads or tails of much of your contentions, and hence and have been struggling to formulate a response for quite a while know. Best I can really do is say that I get the impression you are operating under the misconception that all the cuts have to been inflicted by that knife and in a single instance, when this is really a 4D problem. If you actually do have any issues with my 2D representations when considering them with respect to both depth and time, I'd appreciate it if you could at some point find the time to produce alternative 2D representations to exemplify as much.

    As for scenarios, I suspect Branch was laying face up on the ground with Echols straddling his waist and pinning his head to the ground, the knife in Echol's right hand pressed across Branch's brow ridge in the position shown in the animation and leaving the lacerations consistent with that position (though of course with the saw edge tilted into the eye-socket a bit which can't rightly show in 2D). Then Echols retracted the knife toward himself, rotating it into the position I showed in the rotated image (and tilting the handle down/tip up a bit which again can't rightly be shown in 2D), leaving the mark which aligns with that position. And finally there was the butt to the head with the hilt of the knife, as pinning Branch's head to the ground would likely be superfluous after that.
    - I don't have a problem with your 2D images

    - I asked if it you thought that the wounds could have been made at different times

    - As I said, I don't really have the time to make several sets of images exemplifying what I mean. I'm sorry that you are having trouble understanding what I mean.

    - I think that if he changed the knife from a flat position (as per the image) to a vertical one (perpendicular to the skull) the marks would have been somewhat different IMO. Further, I believe that the flat position was more likely to have produced the consistent (first and maybe second) marks

    - Holding the knife pressed flat and straight while facing Branch sounds like a really awkward way to hold a knife, but that's just my .

    Everything in my posts is just my opinion unless it's a quote. ||| please don't quote my posts outside of this site without my permission.
    I'm no longer very active on WS due to lack of time, if you'd like to keep in touch feel free to PM me though.

  12. #12
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    • Well then, I've apparently misunderstood your "I can see what you mean, but only if I tilt it in the opposite direction so that the left side is facing down" comment.

    • I addressed that question with my comment "Of course it's also possible that the x was inflicted by something else, and one can't rightly even rule out the possibility that it happened in some freak accident shortly before Stevie Branch was attacked, and the same goes for any of the other marks."

    • Fair enough.

    • I suspect you've misunderstood my scenario.

    • Again, I suspect you've misunderstood my scenario.

  13. #13
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    Not being familiar with aspects of this case, other than being called a possible bitemark was there an attempt to link it to an individual?
    RM

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2thdoc View Post
    Not being familiar with aspects of this case, other than being called a possible bitemark was there an attempt to link it to an individual?
    RM
    Yes - the knife was found at a lake behind Baldwin's house. I believe he was questioned on it, too.

    Everything in my posts is just my opinion unless it's a quote. ||| please don't quote my posts outside of this site without my permission.
    I'm no longer very active on WS due to lack of time, if you'd like to keep in touch feel free to PM me though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2thdoc View Post
    Not being familiar with aspects of this case, other than being called a possible bitemark was there an attempt to link it to an individual?
    Yes, Paradise Lost 2 spends the bulk of it's runtime attempting to cast suspicion for the murders on John Mark Byers, stepfather of victim Christopher Byers, including a reality-TV-eque segment where supporters of the convicted hound John Mark Byers to give dental impressions to be checked against the supposed bite mark. Also included in that segment is an argument that the wounds not matching the convicted proves their innocence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Veidt View Post
    Yes - the knife was found at a lake behind Baldwin's house. I believe he was questioned on it, too.
    2thdoc asked about the purported bite mark, not the Lake Knife. Getting back to the Lake Knife though, in West of Memphis (starting around 51:30) Echols' attorney Dennis Riordan makes an argument that prosecutor John Fogleman "knew that knife in the lake had nothing to do with the crime" because "the same people who told him it was in the lake let him know that it was thrown into the lake a year before the crime."

    I considered explaining the fauts in the aforementioned two arguments myself, but I'm curious: would anyone else here care to take a shot at it first?

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