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Necessary Defense or Homicide?

The Importance of Crime Scene Reconstruction in Crossbow Injuries

Handlos, Petr MD, PhD*; Joukal, Marek MD, PhD; Dokoupil, Marek MD*‡; Uvíra, Matěj MD*; Marecová, Klára MD§

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 12, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000493
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Reconstruction of a criminal offense is a crucial approach in forensics and criminalistics allowing for the verification of the location, the particular method used, or the use of a specific instrument. This report describes the case of a young man who was killed by an arrow shot from a crossbow. The autopsy revealed a penetration of the head and significant damage to the brain stem. Although the cause of death was evident from the outset, it was necessary to clarify whether or not the arrow was shot as necessary self-defense. Ballistic investigation of the seized weapon and reconstruction of the crime was absolutely essential to bring forth conclusive evidence to convict the perpetrators of the murder.

From the *Department of Forensic Medicine, University Hospital Ostrava, Ostrava;

Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno;

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Ostrava University, Ostrava; and

§Department of Forensic Medicine and Medical Law, University Hospital Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech Republic.

Manuscript received February 10, 2019; accepted April 11, 2019.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Klára Marecová, MD, Department of Forensic Medicine and Medical Law, University Hospital Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech Republic. E-mail: marecova.klara@seznam.cz.

© 2019 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.