CSI: Crime Scene Investigation s04e07 Episode Script

Invisible Evidence

I searched the vehicle at the CSI garage.
I discovered the knife under the passenger's seat.
Now, is this the knife you found? Yes, it is.
Who was the registered owner of the vehicle? Michael Fife, the defendant.
Please describe the physical condition of the knife when you discovered it.
The knife was wrapped in a white towel.
Both the towel and the knife were caked with dried blood.
And how did you process this evidence? I swabbed the blood and sent a sample to the DNA lab.
The lab technician ran the sample through CODIS.
The DNA sample was a match to a recent rape and homicide victim, Rachel Lyford.
Rachel Lyford who lived in unit seven of the Saturn Arms apartment complex.
The same complex as the defendant? That's correct.
Is this knife consistent in size and shape to the fatal wounds sustained by Rachel Lyford? Yes, it is.
Thank you.
Your honor, we have no further questions for CSI Brown.
Brown, you stated that you found the knife in Mr.
Fife's vehicle.
Is that correct? Yes, that's correct.
Why did you search his vehicle? I received a call from Officer Watson.
He informed me that he had pulled the defendant over to cite him for a broken taillight.
After running his plates, it was discovered that the defendant had an outstanding warrant for drugs.
He then arrested Mr.
Fife and ordered a respond and tow.
At which point, he asked me to search the vehicle for drugs.
That's when I found the knife.
At what point did you secure the warrant to search Mr.
Fife's vehicle? Officer Watson would have secured the warrant prior to calling me.
Officer Watson never secured a warrant.
Did you? No.
Your honor, the knife is a product of an unlawful search,and under NRS Chapter 179, we submit the knife and the towel be ruled inadmissible.
Furthermore, all evidence acquired as a result of the seizure must at this time be excluded.
So ruled.
Fruit of the poisonous tree.
What else do you have? Additional evidence is pending.
The knife would've been more than sufficient for the purpose of a prelim.
You have no other evidence to present? Not at this time.
I find insufficient evidence to hold the defendant over for trial.
He's free to go.
Your honor, the defendant is accused of raping and killing a Are you suggesting that I violate his constitutional rights, counselor? Ask him for 24 hours.
Your honor, we received no prior notice of this motion.
Um we would ask for a continuance and opportunity to reopen.
We're only asking for 24 hours.
If you can't make your case, Mr.
Fife walks.
We will recess for 24 hours.
The murder weapon's been excluded, that's all.
We still have a lab full of evidence we can process.
We've been completely blind-sided here.
Brown, what is going on? You got to be kidding me.
You were unprepared.
All the evidence you CSls collect, and all you bring into this courtroom is a knife? Come on.
I found the knife.
I processed the knife.
I presented the knife.
All you had to do was the paperwork.
Yeah, blame it on the cop, huh? Look, you wouldn't even have a suspect if I didn't pull that guy over.
If you'd've followed protocol, our suspect would be going to trial.
If you have a problem with CSI, file a complaint -- we're busy.
What about what you said about never rushing evidence? Well, for the next 24 hours, we're breaking the rules.
We need to talk about him.
Nice to finally meet you, too, Sheriff.
Why don't you go ahead and start the briefing? I'll be in in a minute.
Where to? Warrick Brown followed protocol.
You cannot pin this mess on him.
Warrick Brown was on the stand.
He's the face of the case.
It's all about perception.
If Fife walks, the public only hears one thing "evidence against a killer was thrown out of court because CSI conducted an improper search.
" You think I don't know that? What the hell is this? It's irradiated fetal pig.
I used the tissue to determine the effects of radiation Look, Grissom, you and your team have done exemplary work.
Thanks to the crime lab, some very difficult cases have gone our way.
You've elevated the status of the whole bureau.
Then why are you here? I'm holding a press conference in an hour where I'll be telling the media that this case is under your purview.
Oh, it is about perception, isn't it? Glad we understand each other.
Uh why don't you call my office next week? Put a little lunch on the books, hmm? I work nights.
So make it a dinner.
Impound towed the vehicle to the garage.
Michael Fife's outstanding warrant was for marijuana possession, so that's what I was looking for.
I swabbed the knife and I sent the blood sample to Greg.
I ran it through CODIS and matched it to another case.
My case.
Rachel Lyford, 19.
Murdered in her apartment.
The assistant coroner examined the body.
Based on the vaginal introitus, he suspected rape.
I processed the scene.
There was nothing probative.
There were no prints, no DNA.
Everything I collected is in the vault.
Now, once Warrick found the knife, the D.
thought there was sufficient probable cause and rushed the prelim.
Further processing of the evidence became a low priority, pending the trial date.
This is a rush case.
Everyone's in the pool for 24 hours.
Warrick, you need to see Robbins.
Have him walk you through his notes on the autopsy.
Nick, Sara, the Judge issued a warrant for Fife's vehicle.
Detail is towing it back to our garage.
Hold on.
Warrick's already searched the car and the knife's been excluded.
What exactly are we hoping to find? I don't know.
But the knife and the towel are invisible evidence.
The jury will never see them.
So we have to find something that's visible.
Uh, listen, I recognize the importance of this, but I'm in the middle of my own homicide investigation.
I'll talk to your detective.
Explain the deal.
Well, it's not about the detective.
It's about my own responsibility.
I'm handing out assignments, Sara.
It's not a negotiation.
I'll go back to the scene and look at it with fresh eyes.
Deadline's 4:00 P.
"Once more into the breach.
" That was auto detail.
There's a traffic jam on Flamingo.
Tow truck should be here any second.
You know what pisses me off? Lots of things.
Victims aren't equal.
High profile cases get priority.
A ticking clock gets priority.
Every case is a ticking clock.
The only difference between a cold case and a hot case is time.
I don't care if you're working on the hottest case of your career.
If your supervisor tells you to leave a scene to go wash his car, you do it.
You don't have a career without a job.
That's not the right car, man.
Uh, registered owner Michael Fife, BMW 325.
Impounded ten days ago.
What the hell happened? It's been pancaked.
We can see that.
Why? Hey, I just move 'em.
This is evidence in an active investigation.
Paperwork mix-up? Or some moron checked the wrong box.
You can just unload it here.
Sign here.
I got to get back to the lot.
Body was released last week.
Cremated at Desert Haven.
'd by the sister, pretty girl.
Couldn't stop crying.
Yeah, Rita.
They were real close.
Lived together up until a couple months ago.
These stab wounds look like they're limited to the neck and upper torso area, huh? Fatal stab was to the left side of the neck.
The blade traversed the subcutaneous tissue, sternocleido-mastoid muscle, jugular venous complex, the carotid artery and the vagus nerve.
She bled right out.
No semen in the vaginal vault.
I don't know if it's relevant, but check out the abrasion.
There was something around her neck.
What is this foreign substance on her wrist? Pre-autopsy.
David snapped the photo before he washed her body.
He's in clean up.
Bringing your laundry to work again, David? I'm cleaning a pelvis.
I'm here about one Rachel Lyford.
You prepped her body? Yeah, ten days ago.
I thought it was Catherine's case.
It's mine now.
You notice this foreign substance on her wrists? It was flaky.
Like the glaze on a doughnut? I sent a sample to trace.
You're the man.
Have fun.
Sample's still running through the GCMS.
I'll let you know.
How'd you know that I was Must have been embarrassing, huh? Hodges, why'd you leave L.
Again? Never mind, it's probably none of my business.
Hey, Rick, you okay? 'Cause I'm here to drop some more pressure on you.
Yeah? Rachel Lyford's sister showed up at the police station.
Man, she was angry.
She was firing on all cylinders.
I don't blame her.
Apparently, Rachel wore a silver chain around her neck.
It wasn't with her personal effects.
Had her father's army dog tags on it and the family wants it back.
You came all the way over here for dog tags? Well the Sheriff asked me to find it.
You know, Rory Atwater's been in office for - what? - Four months, so it's political.
He doesn't want the victim's sister bad- mouthing his department.
Check it out.
Robbins found consistent abrasions on the back of her neck, so that's probably your chain.
Killer took a souvenir.
I'll let the Sheriff know.
All right.
What do you got? Got a print off this bottle I found in the garbage.
It was the only bottle like it.
None others in the apartment.
Need a hand? You could do the sheets.
You know, the steak knife I found in that car matches that set.
We only found five knives in Rachel's kitchen.
Five's an odd number of steak knives.
Weapon of opportunity, perhaps? Perhaps.
Grissom, what do you make of this? We noted a similar type substance on the girl's wrists.
Doesn't look like it belongs on the victim or her sheets.
Stop it.
What? Watching the clock.
It's just that new evidence is coming in and the old evidence hasn't even been processed yet.
We're running out of time here, you know? If you're watching the clock, you're not watching the case.
Well, not even you can stop time.
Thank you.
Oh I remember now.
I'm reading the same book.
Really? Any good? Yeah, so far.
Hi, it's Rachel.
Sorry I missed your call.
I promise to get back to you as soon as I can.
Have a great day.
Hey, Rachel.
It's Walter.
Walter Burr.
We exchanged numbers at Diane's party a few weeks ago.
Anyway, just thought you might want to grab a drink sometime.
So, give me a call.
I processed this place for twelve straight hours.
I never took a break.
Couldn't eat.
Yeah, my sister calls that the CSI diet.
She's a CSI out in Bakersfield.
Whole family wears a badge.
If you want to ALS again, I'll grab the lights.
No, I went over every square inch of this place.
I did the mattress, the sheets, the floors, the cabinets.
If the rapist ejaculated, he was smart enough to use a condom.
I'm no expert, but most guys can't wait to take off their rubber jacket.
You check the wastebasket? Yeah, I did, but Not every guy uses the trash.
Guy had sticky fingers.
Semen? Oh, yeah.
Fresh eyes, new evidence.
I think we're done.
Then let's get started.
What do you got? Parking placard.
"Saturn Arms.
" It was affixed to the rearview mirror.
It's the same kind of permit we use at my apartment building.
White threads It is impossible to trace the source of a white thread.
Reddish-brown stain consistent with blood.
Really? Mmm.
That could match the bloody towel that Warrick found.
Well, the towel is inadmissible, but the threads are still fair game.
So you still upset about your case being put on hold? Jacqui Franco.
You responded to my page in under 45 seconds.
Gotta be a record.
Tell me you've found something probative.
Extremely probative.
Grissom lifted a print off a beer bottle Catherine found in Rachel Lyford's trash.
Print matches your suspect.
Oh, wicked.
You know, in the pretrial interview, fife denied ever being in the victim's apartment.
Let him try to deny the print.
Thank you.
Counselor, your client's rights Will not be violated.
Detective, let me finish.
I want it on the record that my client has been advised not to take this meeting.
I want to hear what they have to say.
Several hours ago, we found blood-stained threads in the back of your client's car.
DNA ran the blood.
It is consistent with Rachel Lyford's.
It is admissible into evidence.
Now, what do you have to say? I don't know anything about any threads.
How well did you know the victim? That's an easy one.
Rachel was a neighbor.
I'd say, "hi.
" "How are you?" That's it.
Were you ever in her apartment? We've been through this before.
Well, we're gonna go through it again.
He's never been inside the victim's apartment.
Were you ever in her apartment? Your client's fingerprints were on a beer bottle collected from the victim's trash.
You don't have to submit to this, Michael.
Just say the word.
No, I got this one.
The night before Rachel was killed, there was a party in the courtyard She must've taken the trash back inside her unit.
What do I look like, Mike? Listen to me.
I don't know who killed Rachel.
I don't know how that knife got in my car.
I didn't even know my taillight was busted until that dumb- ass cop pulled me over.
I've been in jail for ten days on something I didn't do, and I am tired of this crap! You might want to control your temper, Mike.
It can get you in a lot of trouble.
Detective Brass, if you were to make your case, we'd be back in court, not an interrogation room.
Assuming without the knife, you have nothing to directly connect my client to the attack, in twelve hours, he's going to be getting his street clothes.
I'd like to speak to Mr.
I don't mind waiting.
Oh, ma'am, he's at P.
I can relay a message That's okay.
I'm just I need to talk to him, so Mr.
I know you must be extremely busy but I need to know .
I need you to tell me that Michael Fife is going to pay for what he did to my sister.
I'm doing everything I can.
My mother's been medicated, and I can't sleep, and you're, what? You're on a coffee break? Actually, it's the first break I've had since court, so, if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of work to do.
What's going on here?! Does anyone even care?! Ms.
Lyford? Ms.
Lyford, I'm Nick Stokes.
I'm also a criminalist here in the lab, and I want you to know I understand.
I understand your frustration.
This is not an easy thing to deal with, but I can assure you that this entire lab is on your sister's case.
Okay? I can't make any promises, but we're doing everything possible to keep this suspect behind bars, where he belongs.
Thank you.
That's all I needed to hear.
Thank you.
Hang in there.
What's up, Warrick? What's up with what? With you.
This job is hard enough without having victims' families up in your face.
Her sister was raped and murdered.
She watched the defense decimate your case.
I think you could have given her five minutes.
You want to hold this girl's hand, that's fine by me.
That seems to be your M.
, but when you empathize instead of sympathize, I don't judge you.
She just wants to know that someone around here gives a damn, Warrick.
You know what? Lunch is over.
Time to go back to work.
Hey, you.
How, uh, are you holding up? I'm fine.
You sure? Yeah.
You're in the women's bathroom.
Oh, god, I'm sorry.
No, I I'm all for it.
Oh, god Oh This case is twisting me up.
Interrogation room was a bust.
Fife can lie better than I can tell the truth.
Better to know his lies before we go to trial.
I don't think it's going to trial.
We've got time.
Seminal DNA's being processed as we speak.
This case can break any minute.
I'm not giving up.
I'm just being realistic.
Come on, you know, Warrick, we don't just call these cases rush 'cause we're in a hurry.
It's a rush 'cause our pulse races, it's a rush when we nail the guy I like that.
Oh, hey! Hey, boss! Yes? I just ID'ed the substance from Rachel Lyford's wrist.
Same substance found on the sheets.
Have you told Warrick? He's the lead on this.
Yeah, about Warrick, what exactly happened in court today? I tried to talk to him, he just shut down.
He just shut you down.
What is the substance? Uh wax.
What kind of wax? Uh, still working on that, but I can tell you that it does have a low melting point.
The GCMS doesn't have a wax library.
I've ordered up a reference from the New Jersey State Lab.
Cross-check the product labels off the internet.
And, uh, listen, if you need someone to talk to Yeah, when's a good time? we have a psychologist here on Tuesdays and Fridays.
DNA on the toilet flusher.
On the three-ten, we're five seconds out.
Three, two, one.
Suspect's DNA is inconsistent with the semen found at the scene.
Hey, Grissom, that Sheriff checked with just about every tech in the lab looking for you.
He's bugging for an update.
I suggest you avoid him.
Why? What happened? Our only suspect may be innocent.
You're saying that the DNA results excluded our suspect, but couldn't the semen have come from a prior sexual encounter with another man? Fife still could have raped and murdered Rachel.
Well, the toilet bowl was clean.
The semen belongs to whoever flushed the toilet last, but there was a drop, not a smear.
Look, we have no evidence that he raped her, no evidence that he killed her, and even if we consider the invisible evidence, it still doesn't give us enough to put him at the scene of the crime during the commission of the crime.
Our trinity of evidence is incomplete.
Okay, so, for argument's sake, let's assume that Fife didn't put the knife in the car.
How did it get there? Okay, um, does he live alone? Yeah.
Recently separated.
His wife moved back to Albuquerque.
And no one else had access to his vehicle.
Was there any sign of forced entry? No sign of forced entry.
And what evidence is still outstanding? The wax.
What's-his-name is still analyzing it.
Well, I know that there was wax on the sheets and the victim's body.
How about the murder weapon? I didn't notice, but I wasn't looking.
Doesn't matter.
Knife's excluded.
The exclusionary rule only applies to the person whose constitutional rights were violated.
If we have another suspect, then the knife is back into play.
Grissom? I'm sorry.
You look lost.
I've been calling your cell.
Well, we get bad reception at CSI.
Listen, if this is about dinner, I'm free next week.
I'll be having the fish.
We have nine hours left on the clock, Grissom.
Well, the investigation, which is under my purview, has taken an unexpected turn.
So, when I know something, you'll know something.
I don't like surprises.
Me, neither.
What, you're not going to tell me anything? No.
For now.
Checking my work? Oh, I'm just looking around.
What are you thinking? Well, her body left behind this void.
The attacker was on top.
He held her down by her wrists.
Which would explain the transfer of wax from him to her.
Pin me down.
She would have struggled.
Then, she gave up.
Afterward, when he got up, he put his hands on the sheet for leverage.
Like this.
Which explains how the wax got from him to the sheets.
Grissom, um, I, um, wanted to talk to you about something.
Go ahead.
Well, you know, I applied for the promotion for the key position.
Your application's on my desk.
About that -- I, um I needed to know I I wanted to make sure, rather, that anything that happened or didn't happen between us won't be a factor.
Never mind.
I-I shouldn't have said anything.
I, um I'm always over-talking around you.
Have you ever heard of body wax? Made with soy, burns clean.
Drip it all over your partner's body.
I thought that we installed a fire-wall for sites like these.
This is research.
Body wax has been eliminated.
What have you got? Well, I've I.
'D the wax.
But, per Grissom, I am not allowed to release any of my results except to the lead CSI, and that would be Warrick.
I've already paged him.
Give me.
Axion car wax.
Contains carnuba wax, butyl cellusolve and cationic surfactant.
Exact same ratio as the exemplars.
There's a little souvenir for you.
Thank you.
Axion wax is industrial grade.
It's sold to car washers for commercial use only.
Fife's an electrician.
I doubt he would come into contact with that at work.
Then, we need to know where he gets his car washed.
Except, if we ask him, we show our cards, and his lawyer will know that we're looking in another direction.
Yeah, then he'll petition Judge Brenner for fife's immediate release.
How do you feel about letting him walk? We've got, what, less than seven hours.
Let's not pull any punches.
If the evidence is leading us away from Fife, I say we go with it.
Let's establish a sequence of events.
Walk us through the night of the party at your apartment complex right up until your arrest the next day.
Don't skip a beat.
Devil's in the details, huh? Could be.
I hung out until about midnight.
Drank my six pack.
Hit on a couple girls.
Struck out.
Went back to my apartment, passed out.
In the morning, I drove up to Green Valley and installed a chandelier, two sconces.
At noon, I went back to my apartment, and I made a tuna fish sandwich.
Lettuce, tomato, spoon of relish.
Wheat bread.
Then I took a leak.
I don't want to skip a beat.
So, then what? So, I liked your tough act yesterday.
Huh? "I hand out the assignments.
This isn't a negotiation.
" What, too much? Not enough.
That afternoon, I had a job in Henderson.
On my way, I stopped, uh, at a car wash.
It was a lunch- hour discount.
What car wash? Reliant, on Chardon Circle.
It's about a block from my apartment.
Why are you asking about a car wash? At Reliant, did the attendant say anything about your broken taillight? No.
Yeah, in fact, I mean, they should've said something.
The tenor of these questions leads me to believe the focus of your investigation has shifted.
This conversation is over, Michael.
I just talked to the manager.
Of course, he didn't recognize Fife from the six pack of photos.
We're still cleared to look around.
By bringing your car to a car wash, you pretty much open it up into the entire world, right? Vehicles are most vulnerable down that tunnel.
So, I'm thinking that Michael Fife's taillight was intact when he arrived.
I'm sure the attendant would have told him something.
They're liable, right? Exactly.
So, his car proceeds on down the line, and then inside the tunnel, someone, presumably our killer, stashes the knife, breaks the taillight.
Busted taillight's an equipment violation.
NRS 485.
Yeah, you'd get pulled over for that pretty quickly.
And the killer is banking on some ambitious cop searching the vehicle.
Okay, so, a broken taillight.
The pieces fall into the water.
The fragments have to run off through some kind of drain, right? Uh, excuse me, sir.
A-are you the manager? Yeah.
Does your drain have a filter? There's a screen trap behind the drain.
Catches everything bigger than an ice cream sprinkle.
Well, when was the last time you had it cleaned? About a month ago.
Why? I'm going to have to clean your traps.
Sorry, lady.
Can't just close down the shop.
I got customers.
I understand, sir, but you know, just let us shut you down for about an hour or so.
Otherwise, we can get a search warrant, come back on Saturday, your busiest day, and, well it's up to you.
Soon as that Porsche Cayenne works its way through the line I'll shut her off.
The crime lab thanks you for your cooperation, sir.
You're welcome.
All right, sassy.
Look what I found.
A broken taillight.
Hey, could two cars get too close to each other and have an accident in here? There's no way.
Photocell technology.
Whole system shuts down if the cars get within three feet of each other.
Believe me, in this tunnel, accidents do not happen.
Which means the taillight was broken on purpose.
Okay, uh, thank you, thanks for coming down here and volunteering to give a DNA sample.
We know you work hard, so, in an effort to be nice, we've provided some lunch, some burgers and stuff, compliments of the Las Vegas police department.
Okay, let's form two lines now.
Everybody whose birthday is from January to June in this line, everybody else over here.
How long is this crap going to take? As long as it takes, okay? Thank you.
All right, you guys, I'm going to be swabbing your left cheek, so, uh try not to bite down.
Uh, ma'am, I got to take a leak.
Well, you just hold on there.
It's only going to take a second.
Thank you.
Uh, Akers, do me a favor and escort this guy to the john.
Let's go.
You guys are making a big mistake.
I don't know a Rachel Lyford, I swear.
Really? Well, I swear that you do.
I found semen on the toilet in Rachel's apartment that matches your DNA You don't have to respond, but if you can explain the semen I know a Rachel, okay? I never knew her last name.
Did the girl that you guys are looking for live at the Saturn Arms Apartments? So, you do know her.
I here's the deal, okay? A car wax costs sixty bucks, okay? We give you discounts sometimes.
I' show up early and, you know, I'll go to a girl's apartment before work, or whatever, you know, and all the guys do this.
So, Rachel hired you to wax her car, is that it? I only charged her 25.
Shiny as a new penny.
And your story is that Rachel came on to you? Yeah.
She was all over me.
She answered the door in, like, this sexy little thing, and stuff.
Most of the time, when a woman answers the door, it's in sweats, they got the money ready.
This was not like that.
What am I supposed to think? I don't think so.
Hey, I'm all done.
Uh, hold on a second.
Okay, here you go.
Stop it! Stop it! After raping her, you realized she had your name, knew where you worked.
One call to the cops and you're looking at 25 to life.
You freaked.
So, you killed her.
Forget life; you're looking at the death penalty.
Lady, you are whacked.
You didn't find the murder weapon in my client's car.
Your client went from Rachel's apartment to his job at the car wash.
He took the knife with him.
A few hours later, Michael Fife drove in, and he planted the knife in his car.
He just happened to hide the murder weapon in a car that belonged to one of Rachel's neighbors? It wasn't a coincidence.
It was your lucky day.
You recognized the parking permit in his car window.
You broke the taillight, you stashed the knife.
Instant suspect.
You recognize these? The name on the dog tags is Aaron Lyford.
That's Rachel's father.
She gave them to me.
She gave them to you.
Why did you try to hide them? Why did you take off to the bathroom with the dog tags on? And you came back with them missing.
So, I checked it out.
This is an autopsy photo.
The abrasions are evidence.
Those dog tags were ripped from her neck.
She gave them to you over her dead body.
The defendant arrived at the station on his own accord.
He provided us with a sample of his DNA, and we rushed that sample to our lab for analysis.
You compared Mr.
Quinn's DNA to DNA from semen recovered at the crime scene, is that correct? Yes, that's correct.
It was a match.
Judge, we have no further questions.
Finn? Your honor, we have no questions for CSI Brown.
Based on the evidence, I find sufficient probable cause to order the defendant to stand trial for the sexual assault and murder of Rachel Lyford.
I'm terribly sorry for your loss.
And your father's tags are in a safe place.
I'll make sure they get back to you.
Thank you for everything.
You're more than welcome.
Hey, sorry I'm late.
Well, I think you're right on time.
There must be a press conference nearby, huh? I wanted to include CSI Brown in this.
There might be a few questions outside my purview? Want to meet me out in the corridor ASAP? Sheriff, I'm not too good with cameras.
You won't have to talk much.
Grissom, thanks.
For what? See you back at the lab.