Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Mistress of Hollywood: June Cassandra Mincher

Building the Case

It's possible tell something about the make of a gun from the type of cartridge case or bullet found.  The direction of twist refers to the way the rifling gives a right or left-handed spin to the bullet when fired. Smith & Wesson guns have five lands that twist to the right, for example, and a Colt .32-caliber revolver has six that twist to the left.  To get this determination, the analysts point the casing away and examine how the lines of striation angle from base to nose, and they add up the number of marks around it.  To say that two bullets are from the same gun, the land impressions must match both in number and on the angle of twist.

Rich Maruoka working in the lab, comparing bullets
Rich Maruoka working in the lab, comparing bullets

So, SID fired Rider's handgun and then compared the shell casing against the casing from the wig.  The markings were a match.  In addition, the magazine capacity of this gun, which accommodate nine rounds (with one more in the chamber), meant this gun could have fired one shot at Pierce and seven at Mincher. Rider's gun had been used to shoot June Mincher, and Rider's recollection had put that gun into Mentzer's hand.

"It gives you the momentum for the next group of things that you feel you have to do," Rick Jackson stated, "to tighten up the case."

There was additional evidence as well, albeit circumstantial.  Mentzer had rented a blue Mustang convertible on the day of Mincher's murder, and witnesses still around identified it as similar to the car they had seen.  The implication was that Pascal, in taking his orders for protection too far, had hired Mentzer to make the hit.

One final issue to resolve was the eyewitness identifications.  Some had identified Antonelli, but Antonelli looked similar in body shape, as well as in skin and hair color, to Mentzer.  The witnesses looked at Mentzer's mugshot and decided they could have been mistaken about Antonelli.

The next step was to get Mentzer's admission on tape, along with that of others who had been involved.  Lowe had been part of both crimes, and Marti an accomplice on the Radin murder.  And then, there was Laney Jacobs.  The case had grown complex.

 

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