NATHAN DARBY'S Erroneous ID

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On March 12, 1998, a 1951 fingerprint of Malcolm "Mac" Wallace was positively matched with a copy of a fingerprint labeled "Unknown," a fresh print lifted on November 22, 1963, from a carton by the southeast sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. This carton was labeled "Box A," and also contained several fingerprints identified as those of Lee Harvey Oswald. The identification was made by A. Nathan Darby, a Certified Latent Print Examiner with several decades experience.
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKestes.htm

A March 9, 1998 affidavit recounts Nathan Darby's work history:

His employment began with the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1938. In October of 1940 he joined the Austin Texas Police Department. He was promoted to sergeant in 1948 and lieutenant in 1953. He became supervisor of the Identification and Criminal Records Section in 1956. He was on the board of directors of the Texas Division of the International Association for Identification. He held an Advanced Certificate in Law Enforcement and an Instructors Certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. He was a member of the Texas Division of the International Association for Identification from November 1946 until his death.
http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_issues/24th_Issue/darby.html

Darby did a "blind" study comparing a fingerprint found on one of the boxes in the Kennedy assassination "sniper's" nest against Malcolm Wallace's fingerprint card. He determined there was a match. However in his 1998 affidavit concerning the study he conducted I found the following:

"7. "Recently I received a photocopy of an inked print along with a photocopy of a latent print from [Texas researcher]. After careful and extended examination of the inked print photocopy and the latent print photocopy given me. I have their identifying characteristics marked and numbered. The inked print is Exhibit DAN #3, and the latent print is Exhibit DAN #4." (Emphasis mine)

http://davesjfk.com/guilty.html

The charted enlargements Mr. Darby presented in defense of his findings can be found at: http://spot.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_issues/23rd_Issue/breakthru.html as copied on May 18, 2007.

To demonstrate a couple of the major differences, I offer the following analysis.  The images used for this analysis are not high-resolution images, and are not considered to be "best evidence" under a legal standard.  These demonstrations have been prepared based upon the only images available - those copied from the spot.acorn.net url above.  They bear sufficient quality and quantity of ridge detail to accurately demonstrate that the impressions were not made by the same source, as purported in the article.  These images were originally prepared on May 18, 2007 for demonstration of exclusion to readers of a google newsgroup circulating this as a correct identification.  The conclusion of exclusion is based on a review by the author of this web page, Kasey Wertheim, an IAI Certified Latent Print Examiner, in a capacity associated solely with his private business (Complete Consultants Worldwide) and not in an any official capacity with any government agency or other organization.

Demonstration 1:

 

In this first demonstration, the green short ridge was marked by Mr. Darby as being identical (#6 and #7).  However, if the reader will proceed upward across the divergence of two ridges (blue) another ending ridge can clearly be seen in the latent print, and it is clearly not present in the known print.  There is sufficient quality of detail in both images to determine that this is not a product of any type of distortion, but rather is an actual difference in the two friction ridge sources.  The two impressions could not have been made by the same friction ridge source.

 

Demonstration 2

In this second demonstration, the green ridge ending was marked by Mr. Darby as being identical (#3).  However, if the reader will proceed upward and to the right, the divergence of two ridges (blue) reveals another clear feature (red ending ridge) in the latent print, and it is clearly not present in the known print.  There is sufficient quality of detail in both images to determine that this is not a product of any type of distortion, but rather is an actual difference in the two friction ridge sources.  The two impressions could not have been made by the same friction ridge source.

Additional demonstrations could be made, but I think readers will get the point after just these 2.  This was an erroneous identification.

For readers wishing to do some additional research on this case, I make reference to several starting points.

There was some 2004 activity in a JFK-related blog that provides some history, background, and insight.  This includes reference that two San-Bernardino examiners refuted the identification in 1998:
http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2321

A. Nathan Darby would go to his grave (in his own words) believing, with all his experience, and "with no question" they positively matched, and he would say so to anyone who asked, including the media.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB6kfmaA2wU with attention to segment 3:52 - 4:14

Darby died in 2006 at the age of 91.
http://www.clpex.com/Information/A-Nathan-Darby-Obituary.pdf

The heart of his work occurred in the 1940's and 1950's, and could potentially be stretched into the 1960's.  Why 30 years after his service in the state of Texas, at the age of 83, would he undertake a complex examination and issue an affidavit of identification in one of the largest forensic cases in the world, based only upon photocopies?