Family awaits results of fingerprint technology



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Posted on November 25, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 3:31 PM

Fingerprint technology

Jim Douglas reports.

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NORTH RICHLAND HILLS - It was a crime that stunned a north Texas community - a woman, gunned down in the doorway of her own home.

There were not many clues - no witnesses and not much evidence until now.

It comes in the form of new fingerprint technology and a doctor named Bond.

Together, they're giving new hope to Marianne Wilkinson's family.

Mrs. Wilkinson was a 68-year-old grandmother, devoted to her family, her garden and her church.

A fingerprinting breakthrough in England may finally identify her killer. Her family waits anxiously for news.

"We very excited about it. It's beyond what we ever expected," said Mike Wilkinson, her son.

That's because when his mother was gunned down in her doorway last December, there were few clues or witnesses.

And almost no one had ever heard of the work of a forensic scientist in Northamptonshire, England, named Dr. John Bond.

He was developing a technique to lift fingerprints from spent shell casings.

"With conventional techniques they could get nothing," Dr. Bond said.

Last week, a North Richland Hills investigator took the spent casings to Dr. Bond's laboratory.

Police had recovered the pistol used to kill Mrs. Wilkinson four months after the murder, nearly eight miles away.

Marianne Wilkinson was shot dead on her doorstep.

Even after all that time and exposure, there on the brass, a fingerprint emerged.

"It's just amazing. So we're very thrilled. Very excited. And we're very hopeful it will lead to somebody who's responsible for this," said Mike Wilkinson.

Detectives cautioned it could take weeks to try to find a match for the print.

The Wilkinsons find patience through prayer.

"The anger is there, but it's not going to control us. Then we become like that evil, and I'm not going to do that," said Terri Wilkinson.

Dr. Bond's work could eventually rectify many evils by solving cold cases, and perhaps even identifying bomb makers.

In his lab in England, he reveals hidden prints by covering metal shell casings with a conducting powder, and passing a current through them.

Back in Texas, the Wilkinsons lean on faith, and wait for police to call again.

"I know when it's their number. When it comes up, I grab it quickly," said Mike Wilkinson.

Whoever killed Marianne Wilkinson rang her doorbell, shot her and disappeared into the night.

Police do not believe Mrs. Wilkinson or her husband were the intended targets. There is a $25,000 reward in this case.