Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud
Call your next witness.
MR. MANDEL: United States would call Evan Hodge, Your Honor.
called as a witness, being first duly sworn, testified and
said as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. MANDEL:
Q. Sir, could you state your name, please?
A. My name is Evan Hodge, E-V-A-N, H-O-D-G-E.
Q. What is your current occupation, sir?
A. I am retired.
Q. Can you tell us what your previous work background is?
A. I retired earlier this, earlier last year from the
Vermont State Police Forensic Laboratory where I worked for
approximately fourteen years after my retirement from the FBI
laboratory in 1988.
Q. How long were you with the FBI laboratory, sir?
A. Approximately 26 years.
Q. Can you tell us what your duties were there at the FBI laboratory?
A. I retired as the chief of the firearms and tool mark
identification unit. I was prior to that a firearm and tool mark examiner.
Q. That would have been for the entire time you were there at the lab?
A. Well, from 1970. I spent a short period of time in the
field in 1969 and 1968. Prior to that I was a technician in
the FBI laboratory prior to becoming an FBI agent. I returned
to the laboratory in late 1969. Stayed there until 1988 when I retired.
Q. Was one of your duties to perform ballistic examinations, sir?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Can you tell us, did you have specialized training in
order to be able to do that?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. What was that?
A. Well, as I said a moment ago, I did have approximately
five years in the firearms and tool marks unit as a support
technician, which pretty well taught me the expertise of
firearms and tool marks identification. When I returned as an
agent I went through the formal aspect of training which would
include reading whatever literature that I didn't read, and
going through a series of moot courts, and visiting various
firearms manufacturing facilities to see exactly how guns were made.
Q. Was there also educational background regarding this, sir?
A. Well, I did, I have a Bachelors Degree and my
undergraduate studies were engineering and business
administration. I also have a Masters Degree in forensic
science, but I earned that degree after I returned to the laboratory.
Q. Sir, can you tell us generally what types of things you
are able to determine through ballistic examination?
A. Well, if we are talking about strictly a bullet, you
look at the bullet, you can determine its caliber, you can
perhaps determine who made the bullet. You can determine the
type of rifling in the gun barrel from which it was fired, and
if the rifling impressions in that bullet are sufficiently
detailed, you can identify it with the gun from which it was
fired if you have that gun.
Q. So did you conduct an investigation as to some ballistic
evidence in a case that involved the death of Anna Mae
A. Yes, sir, I did.
Q. Sir, I have handed you what's been marked Exhibit No.
33. I will ask you if you recognize that item?
A. Yes, sir, I do.
Q. Can you tell us what that is?
A. This is a lead bullet which I designated as Q 11. It
was received by me from Rapid City, South Dakota in March of 1976.
Q. Did you conduct an examination of that item?
A. I did.
Q. Can you tell us what you were able to determine from
that examination, sir?
A. Very little. Only that it is a 32 caliber lead bullet
of the type used in revolvers, and that is basically it.
There are no remaining rifling impressions so I could
determine the type of rifling in the gun barrel from which it
was fired. And that's basically all I could tell was that it
was a 32 caliber lead bullet.
Q. Were you able to tell anything as to the probable
manufacturer of the bullet?
A. It looks to me it is most likely of Winchester manufacture.
Q. Is it unusual to have that little identifying material
or markings on a bullet?
A. Not at all.
Q. Why not?
A. Well, it is soft lead, so that anything that comes, it
comes in contact with it will distort the bullet. The other
very good reason for not having those marks is the condition
of the gun barrel. If the gun barrel was badly rusted, then
the bullet may never actually get involved with the lands and
grooves in the gun barrel. Or if the barrel was heavily
leaded, that could also preclude any markings from the barrel
being put on the bullet itself.
Q. So beyond the probable manufacturer and the fact that it
was 32 caliber, and probably from a handgun, is there anything
else you are able to determine, sir?
A. No, sir.
Q. And you had no weapon to do any kind of comparison on, correct?
A. No, I didn't.
Q. If you had a weapon available, would it have been
possible to do a comparison based on the condition of this bullet?
A. No, it would not.
MR. MANDEL: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Cross examine.
CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR. RENSCH:
Q. The bullet was copper coated, is that right?
A. Yes. It is one of the reasons why I would think it is a
Winchester. There was copper coating on it.
Q. Would a bullet of that type be accurate for thirty feet?
A. At thirty feet?
A. That's problematical, I don't know.
MR. RENSCH: Thank you.
THE COURT: I have a question. Sir, you mentioned
revolver, with that were you being specific as to revolver or
within that did you mean to include pistol also.
THE WITNESS: Normally, Your Honor, I am only going
by probabilities here, normally this type of bullet is found
in revolver cartridges, which is why I would say revolver.
THE COURT: Thank you, the Court's question give rise to questions by either side?
MR. MANDEL: No, Your Honor.
MR. RENSCH: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Thank you, you may step down. Call your next witness.