After a detailed review of the submitted
photographs and documents, discussions among the forensic
investigative committee members, and meetings with family and
representatives from Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation the
following summary could be drawn from the limited available
1. There were no scene diagrams or sketches
available, only occasional references to measurements in related
reports. No videotapes were provided, either of the actual crime
scene or of monitoring systems depicting that area of the jail
during the times in question. In order to gather as much
information as possible, so that the most comprehensive
investigation and reconstruction can be conducted, this committee
is requesting an inquiry to obtain all forms of scene and autopsy
documentations. Any form of documentation identified should be
provided in its' original format.
2. There appears to be a significant
possibility that the death scene integrity might be compromised.
There was no indication or report documenting proper scene
security procedures. This concern is supported by factors such as
an unexplained differences in articles located within the crime
scene when comparing the limited photographs depicting the scene.
An example of this is the position of the stool within cell
number 8. More detailed records and descriptions of the original
scene would be useful for future analysis.
3. It would be beneficial to locate the
original photographs of the scene and autopsy. The quality of the
original photos may be sufficient to accurately determine certain
issues, such as whether Douglas Scott's feet were in contact with
the floor. Further, if the original photographs were Polaroid
photos then there is additional information that may be obtained.
Polaroid film is manufactured with sequential numbering;
therefore, it is possible to determine if two Polaroid photos
were taken in sequence, or if there were intervening photos.
4. To insure that all photographs taken at the
crime scene were submitted for review, a request for all
negatives and/or a proof sheet should be made with the agency
responsible for taking the photographs. In addition, it would be
beneficial to know if there are any color photographs available,
as color film was commonly the accepted standard in 1985 to
document crime scenes and autopsies.
5. Based on the height of the ceiling in cell
number 8, and the height of the Douglas Scott it is impossible
for Douglas Scott to tie the sheet around the ceiling grate by
standing on the floor. If Douglas threaded the sheet through the
grate openings and tied the knot he would have needed to stand on
the bed, wall table, or stool. Since the original photograph
depicting Douglas Scott hanging from the ceiling does not show
the stool adjacent to or below him, the stool is an unlikely
6. There is a lack of diagrams or measurements
concerning the heights of the bed and wall table, as well as
their relative position to Douglas Scott.
Therefore; it is important to have an original
sketch design of the cell block, or make a visit to the jail to
determine whether or not it is possible for Douglas Scott to have
stood on either the bed or wall table to tie the sheet to the
7. There is no information pertaining to
potential footprints or fingerprints observed on the tabletop, or
impressions on the bedding. That information might be useful to
reconstruct the incident.
8. Since there is no information regarding the
size of the openings in the ceiling grate, or the distance of the
interior cross pieces in the grate, it is not possible to
determine how difficult it would be to thread the sheet through
the grates and tie a secure knot in the sheet. The presence of
these cross pieces would make it more difficult to thread and
secure a relatively thick ligature such as a sheet. In addition,
there are no close-up photographs depicting the exact location
and style of knot in the sheet.
9. It would be beneficial to determine how much
weight that grate could support before being pulled from the
ceiling. It is essential to determine the exact weight of Scott
and the condition of the grate.
10. There is no report or indication that any
attempt was made to process the grate for latent
fingerprints or trace evidence.
Due to the small size of the openings in this
grate and the cross bars above the grate it is likely that the
person who tied the blanket to this grate would have touched the
surface of the grate, possibly leaving fingerprints. It may be
possible to process the grate for fingerprints at this time as
fingerprints have been proven to be very durable over time.
11. An examination of the sheet is essential to
determine the elasticity of the sheet. It is important to note
the degree of elasticity when the sheet is supporting the weight
of Douglas Scott's body. The elasticity factor would affect the
overall distances from the ceiling, to the neck, to the floor,
and the possibility of there being sufficient material for
Douglas Scott to have stood on either the bed or wall table with
the available slack. It is also important to examine the sheet
for the presence of trace and transfer evidence. This evidence
may provide additional information.
12. Due to the numerous issues regarding the
possibility of successfully conducting a self-induced hanging,
given the dimensions and structures located within cell block
no.8, it is necessary to conduct a detailed re-examination of the
actual cell block.
13. Although the autopsy report by Dr. Lee
provided some valuable information, a direct interview, and
review of the original autopsy records, data, and photographs may
be able to provide some essential information for reconstruction
of the incident.
14. Documents and information supplied to this
committee indicate that were numerous inmate hangings involving
Aboriginal prisoners. A review of all of the records pertaining
to these individual hangings would be beneficial. Information
such as the location of each hanging, and particulars relating to
the mechanism and instruments used during the hanging may provide
Posted on 2000-06-29