Washington Post claims first time that ballistic fingerprinting was used to solve case.

Although the weapon, a .40-caliber handgun, never was found, county police and prosecutors connected the firearm to Garner through 10 shell casings found at the scene. A handgun leaves unique markings on shell casings each time it is fired, according to firearms experts.

The casings recovered at the murder scene matched a casing that was on file with Maryland State Police, showing that the weapon was purchased by Garner's then-girlfriend (now his wife) in a Forestville store about three weeks before the killing, according to trial testimony.

"That evidence was the cornerstone of our case," said Glenn F. Ivey, the Prince George's state's attorney. "It was powerful evidence. I hope this verdict helps our efforts to have the [ballistics identification database] continued and expanded."

Strangely, while the crime took place on 4/23/04, the testimony before the state legislature on the usefulness of the ballistic fingerprinting system occurred on 3/1/05 and the trial was just completed. Yet, during the legislative testimony it was clear that the Maryland state police did not believe that the ballistic fingerprinting had been useful. During the testimony, Tobin stated that something to the effect that "I don't consider 165th record to be a hit" and that might have been referring to this case. Even in this case there were apparently multiple eye witnesses so there is the issue of what additional role the ballistic fingerprinting played, indeed if the Maryland State Police are wrong and it indeed played any significant role. I have not read the transcript of the trial.

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