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Old 10-09-2018, 06:03 AM   #31
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Hiding the Bodies

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
The reliability and admissibility of video evidence is a constantly evolving topic in the field of criminal justice. While the general consensus is that video evidence helps support physical forensics evidence, the problem is that contemporary technology can allow people to alter video data in a fashion that leaves traces that are quite difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish from normal recording errors. If the system used to record the digital video was connected to the Internet on any level, a good defense attorney can create reasonable doubt about its authenticity by suggesting that the video file could have been altered/planted by third parties to incriminate their client in order to hide the identity of the 'real' killer.
Yes, but surveillance video of the PCs entering the crime scene at or near the estimated time when the murder may have occurred will make them suspects, subject them to intense scrutiny and generally suffice to allow police to obtain any warrants considered necessary to investigate the PCs as the prime suspects.

Even if circumstantial video evidence may not, in itself, be enough to convict the PCs, it could create more trouble for them than they are prepared to deal with, not to mention actually subjecting their clothes, vehicles and other possessions to intense forensic analysis, as well as allowing comparison of their DNA to trace evidence, in ways that would never occur if there exists no reasonable basis to link the PCs to the crime scene or victim.

Being accused of a crime, whether this ends with a conviction or not, is an inherently bothersome, expensive, painful and risky process. It may leave a PC unable to participate in adventures for years, even if he is eventually cleared of the accusation. And innocent and guilty, anyone not independently rich will probably find their financial situation dramatically affected by the necessity of defending themselves from any accusation of a serious crime. If at all possible, PCs should attempt to avoid even being interviewed in connection to a crime, preferably by being completely unknown to the investigators.

Of course, for professional criminals who routinely commit dramatic and gory crimes, like Monster Hunters, this gets increasingly difficult over the course of their career, as diligent investigators will probably eventually discover the fact that the PCs are 'coincidentally' present at way too many crime scenes for plausibility. Which is why it's always best to be gone as soon as the target is confirmed as no longer a threat, if at all practical.
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:40 AM   #32
johndallman
 
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Default Re: Hiding the Bodies

Tim Dorsey's Florida Roadkill series of novels contain many weird ways of killing people, and some imaginative ways of transporting and disposing of bodies. Dorsey used to be night editor of the Tampa Tribune newspaper, and collected a lot of ideas on that job.
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:49 AM   #33
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Default Re: Hiding the Bodies

My Player's PC's do so fairly often, by local standards. However, as they're usually in areas where 'unlawful' means 'foreigners did something we don't like' and they're the foreigners, I'm not sure that it really counts. By their own lights, it's been rather less common (and 'never', for some characters).
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:29 AM   #34
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Default Re: Hiding the Bodies

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Of course, for professional criminals who routinely commit dramatic and gory crimes, like Monster Hunters, this gets increasingly difficult over the course of their career, as diligent investigators will probably eventually discover the fact that the PCs are 'coincidentally' present at way too many crime scenes for plausibility.
Any cop in MH who is likely to notice that is probably also aware of the monsters, and is thus likely either a monster hunter himself, or part of some conspiracy. In neither case is he likely to report the situation to normal authorities, though there's a chance the PCs wind up with monsters trying to climb through their windows.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:56 AM   #35
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We don't have this problem very often. Most of our games in the age of gunpowder involve avoiding conflicts at all cost. When we can't convince the police to do our badguy shooting for us we're usually shooting people very carefully and putting a lot of thought into making sure we're not connected to the scene or the victims. We avoid leaving DNA. We don't phone the location or the victims. We don't park near the meeting place or ambush and we go out of our way to avoid being seen by witnesses. If the police come to our door we're not smarmy, we don't play games. We're just as perplexed as they are and the character with the highest Fast Talk does most of the talking.

What we don't tend to sweat is forensics. We don't try to mangle bodies to hide the blades or guns we use. We don't sweep up our shell casings or dig out the slugs because we don't have weird martial arts blades that are unique, we have large knives. We don't fire exotic bear-hunting pistols that leave .675 shell casings around. We use .45apc, 9mm, 12 gauge or any of a dozen of other calibers that 10,000 other average citizens in the city own. The labs for our crime scenes offer more from the treads of our shoes than the bodies we leave on the ground.

Also, we shoot dirtbags, gangsters, hit men, drug pushers, kidnappers, vampires, demons. The guys who end up on the ground after a fight are not people who get their forensics rushed through or who get their case moved to the top of the pile. If we end up looking at a respectable citizen, or GOD SAVE US a cop, as an enemy and our only option is to take them out we do it with the understanding that that is the endgame, we're going to jail or going to go broke fighting charges and we're going to be on the news. And as a GM I make that clear when players start to reach for weapons with an upstanding citizen, that if this person turns up dead it will be on the news and the police will investigate it.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:56 PM   #36
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Default Re: Hiding the Bodies

Clearly some folks here need to go back and watch Burn Notice, which has many examples of getting a bad guy to kill another bad guy for you, but he thinks he's doing it for himself.
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:09 AM   #37
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Something that gets ignored in fiction, but which is huge in real life, is cost of doing a decent investigation.

A small police department in a poor state isn't likely to have the resources to do a good job of detecting, collecting, or protecting forensic evidence. For example, some police departments have untested rape kits going back for decades. They've never been tested because the money, manpower, and political will isn't there.

Additionally, in some US jurisdictions, there is no requirement that the local coroner be a forensic medical examiner or even a doctor. Having a dedicated forensic anthropologist and/or forensic pathologist available, much less a team of highly-skilled, lavishly-funded technicians as in TV shows like "NCIS," "CSI," or "Bones," is a rarity. That means that the local coroner is likely to miss, or mishandle, critical evidence. They're also likely to automatically assume that seemingly "natural" deaths are just that, and quickly release the remains to the decedent's family.

If you want to make a body "go away" with minimal fuss, try to kill your victims, and dispose them, in ways which don't leave obvious marks and which can easily be passed off as suicide or accidental death.
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:56 AM   #38
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Default Re: Hiding the Bodies

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Something that gets ignored in fiction, but which is huge in real life, is cost of doing a decent investigation.

A small police department in a poor state isn't likely to have the resources to do a good job of detecting, collecting, or protecting forensic evidence. For example, some police departments have untested rape kits going back for decades. They've never been tested because the money, manpower, and political will isn't there.
Interestinly, under 65% of murders are cleared today, compared to around 90% in the mid 1960's. The reasons range from less exacting forensics (which are more likely to implicate the innocent) to fewer restrictions on police and prosecutor conduct.

A USA Today article from this year paints an even better picture for the PCs:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...sis/951681002/
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Last edited by copeab; 10-11-2018 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 03:51 AM   #39
corwyn
 
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Default Re: Hiding the Bodies

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It gets much easier if you have people to help you
Friends help you move; Real friends help you move bodies.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:11 AM   #40
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Hiding the Bodies

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Originally Posted by copeab View Post
Interestinly, under 65% of murders are cleared today, compared to around 90% in the mid 1960's. The reasons range from less exacting forensics (which are more likely to implicate the innocent) to fewer restrictions on police and prosecutor conduct.

A USA Today article from this year paints an even better picture for the PCs:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...sis/951681002/
In previous decades, it was sadly acceptable to grab the nearest male non-white and 'convince' him to confess despite being innocent. The techniques ranged from deceptive plea deals to threats against the family, with torture sprinkled in without question. During the 1960s, it was not unknown for police officers to punch suspects until their knuckles bled and then charge the suspect for assaulting officers because they 'made' them bleed.
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