The March 6 Star Tribune article about the found gun and sock that are being linked to Terrance Franklin has the police telling us that a certain study/report has shown that only “12 percent of the time are there usable fingerprints on a weapon.” This handgun that was found had no fingerprints or DNA from Franklin on it, but the sock is said to have Franklin’s DNA on it.
Deputy Chief Kris Arneson was asked if the sock and gun were proof that Franklin was armed on the day he was shot. She said she couldn’t comment on that, but then said “people can draw their own conclusions.”
He wasn’t armed when he was shot. Are you armed even when you are unarmed if you were armed earlier in the day? Just what is the City of Minneapolis trying to do here? How far back will they go with this, killing an unarmed man and then saying he was armed the previous week?
I wonder if more than “12 percent of the time” a piece of clothing is found not at the scene where the police encountered the suspect, nor at that suspect’s home, car, gym locker or girlfriend’s place, but rather by great fortune a Minneapolis resident brings the item to the police after it had been exposed to six months of Minnesota weather, May 10 to October 28 — rain, heat and humidity — and is claimed to have the suspect’s DNA on it. Does this occur more than 12 percent of the time? Could usable DNA survive under such conditions more than 12 percent of the time?
The Tribune article says the gun and sock were “under a porch.” That’s not a porch in the photo; that’s a deck, a backyard deck without a roof. Decks also have gaps between the floor boards. As you can see in the photo, that is what this deck has, gaps in the floor boards, meaning rainwater will flood the ground under the deck.
This gun and sock got washed many times during the summer of 2013. Porches have roofs. This gun and sock were not covered and kept dry when it rained. If weapons that are not exposed to six months of Minnesota weather have usable prints only 12 percent of the time, what survival chance does DNA have on a sock that is exposed to six months of Minnesota weather?
Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.