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Peter Douglas Ware, Witness for the State


THE COURT: Call your next witness, please, Mr. Panosh.

MR. PANOSH: Yes, sir.

Special Agent Ware, please.

PETER DOUGLAS WARE, being first duly sworn, testified as follows during DIRECT EXAMINATION by MR. PANOSH:

Q    Would you state your name, sir.

A    Peter Douglas Ware, W-a-r-e.

Q    And you're a special agent with the State Bureau of Investigation?

A    Yes, sir.

Q    How long have you been with the State Bureau of Investigation?


A    Approximately nine years.

Q    In addition to the normal training that you received in order to become a special agent, did you receive specialized training?

A    Yes, sir.

Q    In what field?

A    Forensic firearm and toolmark examination.

Q    Would you state for the ladies and gentlemen of the jury your background and training in forensics firearm and toolmark examination.

A    Yes. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia. And prior to my employment with the State Bureau of Investigation, I was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C., in their laboratory, at which time I underwent training in the areas of toolmark identification and physical match identification.

In August of 1989, I began my employment with the State Bureau of Investigation, and underwent a two-year training program specifically for the area of forensic firearm and toolmark identification, using the AFTE, which is the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiner's guidelines for their training program. This includes such areas as ammunition identification, firearms identification, the mechanics and safety systems of firearms, internal, external


and terminal ballistics, toolmark identification, microscopy, gunshot residue, and pellet pattern distance determination, and so forth.

In addition to this training program, I've also attended various firearms manufacturing facilities, to see the weapons being manufactured. And I'm also a certified armer for various firearms manufacturers.

And that's the extent of my training at this point as it deals with forensic firearms identification.

Q    And in the course of your duties with the State Bureau of Investigation, have you testified as an expert?

A    Yes, sir, I have.

Q    And have you been recognized in state courts?

A    Yes, sir.

MR. LLOYD: We'll stipulate that he's an expert, qualified to give opinions in firearms identification, Your Honor.

THE COURT: All right. The Court finds the witness, P.D. Ware, is an expert in the field of firearms identification and toolmark identification, and may express an opinion in those areas, based on training, education and experience.

Q    Agent Ware, in the course of your duties, did there come a time on or about October the 10th when the weapon which is State's Exhibit 84 was submitted to you?


A    Yes, sir. It was submitted to the SBI laboratory on October 10, 1995.

Q    And can you identify the type of weapon that is?

A    Yes, sir, I can.

Q    What type weapon is it?

A    It is a Glock caliber .45 auto semiautomatic pistol.

Q    Is there anything unusual or different about this particular weapon?

A    Other than having a laser sight attached to it, there's nothing unusual, except for the condition it was in when it was submitted.

Q    What condition was it in?

A    It had some soot and ashes and debris that had adhered to the weapon itself. And I had to clean the weapon, prior to test firing it.

Q    Would you explain briefly what a laser sight is.

A    A laser sight simply is an apparatus designed to aid the shooter in aiming the weapon more quickly than your conventional sight. And it's simply a small attachment that attaches to the weapon in some manner, that has a -- some type of power source, a battery, that projects a laser beam, a very small red dot in the direction that you would be aiming the weapon, and allows the shooter to pick up that dot quicker than conventional sights during the firing process.


Q    What is the purpose of having that type of a sight?

A    So that you can see it in low light or dark scenarios.

Q    And what is the difference in using a weapon with a laser sight as compared to using a weapon without one?

A    There's basically no difference, except for, it allows the shooter to acquire the area where the projectile is supposed to strike usually faster than a conventional sight would.

Q    More accurately?

A    Not necessarily more accurately, but quicker.

Q    Essentially, where you see the red dot is about where the bullet's going to go?

A    Yes, sir.

Q    In the course of examining State's Exhibit 84, what did you do?

A    After cleaning off the weapon, I then did a standard function test, which is a test to determine that the -- it was safe to test fire the weapon. After I did that, I then test fired the weapon, using two of the rounds that were submitted also to the laboratory.

Once I test fired the weapon and recovered those cartridge cases and projectiles from the weapon, I compared them to each other on what is referred to as a comparison microscope. And a comparison microscope is basically a standard microscope with two separate stages that will allow


you to view two different items side by side, in the same viewfinder or view-- viewing apparatus, so that you can see the two separate items side by side.

Q    Let me ask you this. You said that you test fired two of the rounds submitted. Submitted by whom?

A    They were submitted -- they were submitted on October 12, 1995 to the SBI laboratory by a L.A. Lindell, I believe it is, from the Guilford County Sheriff's Department.

Q    And what type of rounds were submitted to you on October the 12th by Sergeant Lindell?

A    There were two Remington caliber .45 auto cartridges and two Federal caliber .45 auto cartridges.

Q    And which ones did you test fire?

A    I test fired the Remington cartridges, which was their Item Number 16.

Q    Why did you select the Remington to test fire?

A    I selected the Remington to test fire because of a spent projectile bullet jacket and deformed bullet fragment that was submitted to me was of Remington manufacture. Q    Looking at 84-B there, should be in front of you, is that the expended projectile that was submitted to you from the medical examiner's office?

A    Yes, sir, it is.

Q    And in the course of your observation of 84-B, were you able to determine what manufacturer it was?


A    Yes, sir.

Q    What manufacturer was it?

A    It's a Remington.

Q    In addition to being a Remington, did it have any further designation that you were able to determine? A    Yes. It's referred to as a Golden Saber projectile.

Q    What are the specifics or -- of a Golden Saber projectile?

A    A Golden Saber projectile is simply a line of ammunition that Remington manufactures that uses a brass material, instead of a copper material for the jacket. And it also uses a, what they refer to as driving band technology, which simply means the diameter at the base of the bullet is wider than it is further up the bullet, and it's the only area of the -- of the bullet that comes in contact with the interior of the weapon, the barrel, once it's -- when it's being fired. And it's patented, and they're the only manufacturer that manufactures this type of ammunition.

Q    And you were able to specifically identify the expended projectile as a Golden Saber; is that right?

A    Yes, that's correct.

Q    And after you fired the two Golden Sabers that were submitted to you by the State -- by the Guilford County Sheriff's Department, Sergeant Lindell, what comparison were


you able to make?

A    I compared those tests to each other. And after I compared them to each other, then I compared them to the fired projectile, State's Exhibit 84-B.

Q    And what were your results?

A    That State's Exhibit 84-B has the same class characteristics and a few microscopic similarities to the test bullets that I had fired from K-1, which is the Glock pistol. When I refer to class characteristics, that simply means it's the same caliber, it had the same number of lands and groove impressions and the same type of land and groove impressions as the test bullets fired from the weapon. And there was some microscopic similarities or some striations on the test fires that were also on the questioned bullet. However, there was an insufficient number or quality of detail to conclusively determine that it was fired from that weapon.

Q    Under normal circumstances, are you able to make a positive identification, if you have a weapon and the projectile that was fired from it?

A    In some cases, not in all cases.

Q    And what factor or factors determines whether you can make a positive identification?

A    The type of ammunition that's fired, as well as the condition of the weapon, and the type of weapon it is.


Q    Does the condition of the recovered projectile also come into play?

A    Yes, sir, it does.

Q    In regard to the recovered projectile in this case, State's Exhibit 85, what condition was it in?

A    When it was originally submitted, State's Exhibit 84-B had some organic matter and blood on it. I cleaned that off. It's -- it is deformed and disfigured in some manner. And the lead core or center of the bullet is separate from the jacket material.

Q    Is it your opinion then that State's Exhibit 84-B and the markings on it are consistent with State's Exhibit 84, and that 84-B could have been fired from 84?

A    State's Exhibit 84-B could have been fired from State's Exhibit 84-A, yes, sir.

Q    And there were no markings that eliminated it?

A    No, sir, there was no markings to eliminate it.

Q    In addition to that, the ammunition is the same manufacture and model type?

A    Yes. It's the same manufactured ammunition and the same design as the two other cartridges that were submitted, yes, sir.

Q    Would you please examine State's Exhibit 85. It's that little pill box there. What is that?

A    State's Exhibit Number 85 is a small, white pill box


that contains a Remington caliber .45 auto Golden Saber cartridge.

Q    And is that consistent with the other ammunition you've tested?

A    Yes, sir, it is.

MR. PANOSH: May I approach?

THE COURT: Yes, sir.

Q    Showing you State's 91, does that -- is this a report detailing your results and findings?

A    Yes, sir, it is.

MR. PANOSH: Your Honor, we'd seek to introduce 91, and have no further questions.

THE COURT: The Court'll allow the introduction -‑

MR. LLOYD: Object to the introduction of the report, Your Honor. The report -- he's testified. The report is clearly hearsay.

THE COURT: Overruled.

MR. LLOYD: We can't subject the report to cross-examination.

THE COURT: Well, you can examine him on it.


Q    Agent Ware, in your report, you state that you cannot conclusively say that the bullet submitted to you by the medical examiner's office was fired from the Glock pistol; is that correct?


A    Yes, sir, that's correct.

Q    So your testimony before this jury here is that while there were some characteristics, I believe you said, that were similar, you cannot say that in your opinion, this bullet was fired -- the bullet you got from the medical examiner's office was fired from the Glock pistol; is that right?

A    Yes, sir, that's correct. I cannot say conclusively that that projectile was fired from that weapon.

Q    Now, Agent Ware, does the Glock pistol have what is known in the forensic firearms trade as polygonal lands and grooves?

A    Yes, sir, it has -- it contains polygonal rifling.

Q    And there are other manufacturers who have polygonal lands and grooves, are there not?

A    There is some other manufacturers that do make polygonal rifling, yes, sir.

Q    All right. Are you aware of which ones those are? A    H&K or Heckler and Koch, or Coach (phon.) or Cock (phon.), however you want to pronounce it, manufactures firearms with polygonal rifle. The Glocks do. And I'm unaware of any other major manufacturers at this time that are making any --

Q    Are you aware --

A    -- handguns with polygonal rifling.


Q    Are you aware that Taurus manufactures a pistol line with polygonal lands and grooves?

A    I'm aware that they manufacture -- they were manufacturing one in caliber .380 auto, but I was unaware that they were manufacturing it in other calibers.

Q    And the bullets from the medical examiner's office that you examined did exhibit these polygonal lands and grooves

A    Yes, sir, they do.

Q    -- is that correct? All right. Of course, those polygonal lands and grooves would be consistent with the other manufacturers you've already mentioned, the Heck (sic) manufacturer and Koch manufacturer?

A    Yes, sir. They both manufacture firearms with polygonal rifling, with six impressions with the right-hand direction of twist. The H&K also manufactures some with, I believe it's four groove impressions with the right-hand direction of twist.

Q    Now, as you indicated on direct examination, the -­essentially the -- any advantage that a laser sight might have over a regular sighting system is that it's more quickly; is that correct?

A    Yes, sir. Basically, it's -- for most individuals, it's quicker, and it allows you to utilize the weapon in low light or nighttime conditions, without having to rely on the


conventional sights.

Q    And of course, the purpose of any sight or any sighting system is to get the bullet to go where you want it to; is that correct?

A    Yes, sir, that's correct.

Q    Now, was the Glock pistol that you examined, after you examined it or before you examined it, did anyone at the SBI examine it for latent prints, to your knowledge?

A    I received the Glock pistol, State's Exhibit 84-A, from Special Agent Brenda Bissette in the -- from the serology section at that time. I'm unaware of whether or not it went to the latent evidence section before that.

Q    So you had gotten it from another SBI agent in the serology section of the SBI; is that right?

A    Yes, sir, that's correct.

Q    And did you send it to the latent print section after you got through with it?

A    No, sir.

Q    All right.

MR. LLOYD: That's all I have, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Step down, sir.

MR. PANOSH: May I, please, Your Honor?



Q    You indicated Heckler and Koch is one manufacturer?


A    Yes, sir.

Q    And Glock is the other?

A    Yes, sir.

Q    So there's only two; is that correct?

A    It's the only two that I'm aware of. Aside from the Taurus and the .380 auto, I'm unaware that they are manufacturing a line in other calibers with polygonal rifling.

Q    And the reason that you didn't send this for fingerprint analysis is, because you cleaned it; is that correct?

A    Yes, sir, that's correct. Normally if it goes for fingerprint analysis, it would go there before it would be received by myself.

Q   What, if any, characteristics that you observed on this weapon that would have prevented it from being analyzed for fingerprints when you received it?

A    Well, I'm not qualified to say why it wouldn't have fingerprints on it, but it was covered with some soot -‑

MR. LLOYD: Well, then, objection, Your Honor. He's not qualified to --

THE COURT: Overruled as to what he saw.

A    The weapon was covered with some soot and ash material.

MR. PANOSH: No further questions.

MR. LLOYD: All right. Just a couple, Your Honor.


THE COURT: All right.


Q    Agent Ware, you certainly, before you examined the gun, you could have taken it over to the latent print section and asked them to check it for latent prints, couldn't you?

A    Yes, sir. If it had been requested of me, I would have.

Q    Okay. But it was not requested of you?

A    No, sir.

Q    And the requests come from the submitting agency, in other words, in this case, the Guilford County Sheriff's Department; is that right?

A    Yes, sir.

Q    All right.

MR. LLOYD: Thank you very much, Agent Ware.

THE COURT: Step down, sir.

(The witness left the witness stand.)



Published August 15, 2006.  Report broken links or other problems.

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