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JANUARY 2013

IS DNA EVIDENCE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?

8

STEPS TO YOUR OWN PORCH

FILTERING The Man Behind

INSTAGRAM

FOOTBALL VS.

FOOTBALL

A special Thank You from our Founders

Are you ready to be a homeowner?

Become a Traveler, NOT a tourist, in Italy

ART B Y THE NUMBERS

THE

G R E A T B I R D S U RV E Y

Forensic Failings!


NAVIGAT ION

12 27

44 59 09

06

71 02 | WEDGE MAGAZINE

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Features

12 27

NOT BY THE HAIR... Forensics have been around for longer than you or I, but are they as fool proof as we all thought. This article will have you wondering if you’d be better off with a shaved head and burned off fingerprints.

THE GREAT BIRD SURVEY There comes a point when we have to accept the science of global warming. Meet a lady who has tracked climate change through the bird life at The Great Salt Lake, through beautiful infared photography.

44

ART BY THE NUMBERS

59

Ole! Ole! Ole!

Take a calculator, wait, just take a computer, and start plugging in all those things you never wanted to learn during freshman year math class, and press play, and watch these beautiful new art pieces begin to paint themselves.

Futball is the new Football! With the growing diversity in the United States, soccer is quickly becoming one of the most viewed sports. So lets evaluate, which teams we should be cheering for if you don’t have one in your current home town.

In Every Issue

09

06

04

PEEPS

FRESH AIR

CHARGIN’

Ciao!

Purchasing your 1st home

INSTAMAN @INSTAGRAM

71 A letter from our founders

Look at all the changed around us. You never know whats going to happen next, and what will be the new trend. At WEDGE we want to make sure we never get put on a dark library shelf, we want to stay ahead of the times. Therefore, we introduce the new ipad verison of our magazine.

JANUARY 2013 | 03


CHARGIN’

Are You Ready to Buy? Ready!

Start Here

CREDIT REPORT IN GOOD SHAPE It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you’ll want at least a year of a good track record before you apply for a loan.

PREPARED TO BE YOUR OWN LANDLORD Once you’re a homeowner, when something breaks, get ready to pay someone or fix it yourself.

RELIABLE INCOME SOURCE Buying a home is a long-term financial commitment, you’ll need consistent cash flow .

EMERGENCY SAVINGS FUND Simply said, crap happens, and you can’t default on your mortage regardless of what happens in life.

YOU HAVE A BUDGET If you don’t have a household budget, start one. You need to know where you are to know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a new home.

SIZABLE DOWN PAYMENT Traditionally, you’ll need a down payment worth 20% of the home price. That means for a $250,000 home, you’ll need $50,000 upfront.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like not to have strangers on the other side of the walls? Read and see if you’re ready to move into your very own walls. BY JESSICA KUNZ

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imusape ritat. Aquam doluptas demquibusdam delestio esequid et occulliquo es reperro essinumque vendia dolorposti nihicabo. Ditatem percieturis repudisse eni ulloratet apidusda imendande con pos dolore nobitii ssimus natis int iuntinumquis rempos ex escium es et a con nietur, idipsaecerit auditemquam la que prae pore nesequame estium res dolo tem. Ime sumqui officipsam ea expliaspe il ipsunt earum volleni squisquas idis ea quae eumquias moloritecto comnis digene con eos magnistem. conectur sende et volecae.


JANUARY 2013 | 05


FRESH AIR

Italians Know Best

Feel free to read on the travel websites of the best places to see, eat, and things to do, but if you want to really experience the secrets of Italy, you should listen to an Italian, after all, they know best!

BY ELENA ALMERICO

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5

MUST EATS IN ITALY

PORCINI

06 | WEDGE MAGAZINE

TRUFFLES

PROSCIUTTO

PIZZA

TRIPPA ROMANA


FRESH AIR


PEEPS

The Instaman at Instagram

The world is documenting history through the filters that inspired him. Now, meet the man behind his smat phone camera.

T YLER EVANS

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HEFE VALENCIA

X PRO II BRANNAN AMARO EARLY BIRD

MOST POPULAR FILTERS

HUDSON LO-MO-FI

NASHVILLE

MOST POPULAR #HASHTAGS #LOVE #INSTAGOOD #ME #TBT #CUTE #PHOTOOFTHEDAY #INSTAMOOD #IPHONESIA

JANUARY 2013 | 09


THE COST OF

Not Finishing

CollegeDegree YOUR

47%

of all full-time undergraduate students attend a four-year college that have published costs of less than

$9000

$74,602

ta-da! $51,206

0

10

$27,915 AVERAGE EARNINGS

$18,734

NO HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA

10 | WEDGE MAGAZINE

HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA

BACHELOR DEGREE

ADVANCED DDEGREE

AN EAR


LIFETIME EARNINGS HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA

70

1.2 MILLION

THAT’S LIKE HONDA CIVICS

BACHELOR DEGREE

2.1 MILLION 2.5 MILLION MASTERS DEGREE

10 10

NNUAL RNINGS

A COLLEGE DEGREE NEARLY DOUBLES ANNUAL EARNINGS

24

THAT’S LIKE BMW X5S

20

THAT’S LIKE GRAN TURSIMO MASERATIS

X2 JANUARY 2013 | 11


BY LEONARD DEMOY PHOTOS BY ZUES KOLECI

12 | WEDGE MAGAZINE


TESTIMONY FROM FORENSIC EXPERTS CAN BE THE MOST PERSUASIVE EVIDENCE PRESENTED AT TRIAL, BUT OFTEN JURIES DON’T REALIZE THAT THE ANALYSIS OF HAIR, FIRE, AND EVEN FINGERPRINTS MAY NOT BE SO SCIENTIFIC. SOMETIMES FORENSICS LEAD TO THE GREATEST CRIME OF ALL: PUTTING INNOCENT PEOPLE BEHIND BARS.

Quincy, the amazing blood hound, sniffed the air around the body of Sally Blackwell, who lay half-naked in a field just outside Victoria. Blackwell, a supervisor for Child Protective Services, had been missing for a day when a county-road crew found her in a brushy field on March 15, 2006. She had been strangled with a rope, which was still on her body. Quincy’s handler, Deputy Keith Pikett, held the leash and surveyed the scene, which was teeming with officers from the Victoria Police Department, the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Public Safety, and the Texas Rangers. It was almost seven o’clock and would be getting dark soon. HOW IT WORKS A few hours earlier, Sam Eyre, a sergeant with the Victoria police, had called Pikett, who lived in Houston and worked out of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s

Office, about two hours away. Pikett (pronounced “Pie-ket”) was something of a star in law enforcement circles. For years he and his dogs—Quincy, James Bond, and Clue—had helped find missing children and escaped convicts, and they had investigated murders all over the state, including one in Victoria in 2003. They had worked with the FBI, the ATF, the Texas Rangers, and the state attorney general’s office, and they had helped solve hundreds of crimes with Pikett’s version of a technique called a scent lineup, in which his dogs matched an odor found at a crime scene to the person who left it. His dogs were so good at sniffing out the bad guys, he said, that they had made only five mistakes in fifteen years. Standing in the field, Pikett, a lean man of 59, took out a couple of gauze pads. He knelt down and wiped one on Blackwell’s body; the

other he wiped on the rope. Then he held the first up to Quincy’s nose. “Seek,” the deputy said. Quincy took off, with Pikett on the other end of the leash. An excited cry went up from the other investigators, who jumped in their vehicles. Eyre ran alongside Pikett, while Pikett’s wife, Karen, followed in an SUV with James Bond. THE EXPERTS They cruised down Hanselman Road, a two-lane blacktop, for about half a mile, then took a hard left at Loop 463. Quincy loped along, her head bobbing between the air and the pavement. She crossed under U.S. 59 and led the officers up a wide overpass that went over Business 59. Pikett stopped, put Quincy in the vehicle to rest, and took out James Bond. He pulled the scent pad out of a Ziploc bag and held it to James Bond’s nose. Again they were off. By this point

JANUARY 2013 | 13


they were inside the Victoria city limits. James Bond, younger and faster than Quincy, took a left at Airline Road into a suburban neighborhood called Cimarron. The twenty-month-old bloodhound jogged through the quiet streets, finally stopping on Laguna Drive at Blackwell’s house. A truck from a local TV station was parked across the street. It had been a five-anda-half-mile journey from the victim’s body to her home, but the dogs weren’t finished. There was a killer to catch. So Pikett held one of the scent pads to Quincy’s nose, and she took off again, turning onto the first street, Navajo Drive. At this point, Sheriff T. Michael O’Connor told Eyre that a “person of THEY SAY NO TWO interest” in the case, Michael FINGER PRINTS Buchanek, lived ARE THE SAME, on the street. BUT CAN WE Buchanek had gone out on a PROVE THAT? couple of dates with Blackwell, and he had been questioned that morning. Now Quincy led Pikett and Eyre down Navajo, around a long bend, up a driveway, and to the front door of a brown brick home. He was not your typical suspect. The divorced father of two had been an officer with the sheriff’s department for 24 years. He’d run the SWAT team, taught firearms classes, and had some

14 | WEDGE MAGAZINE

experience with police dogs, rising to the rank of captain before retiring, in 2004, and taking a job with a contractor training police officers in Iraq. He had asked O’Connor to care for his children if anything happened to him while he was overseas and even left his friend a signed document granting him power of attorney. Buchanek had returned in late 2005, but only after being injured when a suicide bomber attacked his hotel. THE UNSCIENTIFIC METHOD The law enforcement officers all reconvened at ten o’clock at Cimarron Express, a nearby convenience store, buzzing with excitement about the break in the case. What was next, they asked the deputy? To be certain of the connection and to have probable cause for a search warrant, Pikett suggested a scent lineup. All he needed was a scent sample from Buchanek. O’Connor told Pikett about the document Buchanek had signed two years earlier; it was still sitting in an envelope in O’Connor’s desk drawer. Pikett said that that would do, so O’Connor retrieved it. Pikett wiped a pad across the signature and put the gauze in a bag. Some time before midnight, at Pikett’s direction, detectives set up six paint cans twenty feet apart in the parking lot of the police station. Five of the cans contained scent samples from five other white males as foils; in the sixth


JANUARY 2013 | 15


was the scent pad that had been wiped along Buchanek’s signature. Pikett then held the scent pad from the rope to the nose of James Bond and walked him along the cans.

conducted another lineup, this time with a scent taken directly from Buchanek’s arm, in a grassy area of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. The three dogs did fourteen line-

STORIES OF THE INNOCENT

A LITTLE MORE CAUTION, OR EVEN SKEPTICISM, BY LAW ENFORCEMENT WOULDN’T HURT EITHER. IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.

According to Pikett, James Bond “alerted” on the one that held Buchanek’s scent. Pikett did the same with Quincy, using the scent pad from Blackwell’s body, and Quincy also matched Buchanek’s scent to the victim. Though Buchanek had denied having anything to do with Blackwell’s murder, he officially became a suspect, and officers obtained a warrant to search his home and car. He was barred from his home, and his car was seized. Six days later Pikett and Eyre

ups using various scents from the crime scene. In every one, according to Pikett, the dogs picked Buchanek’s scent. Once again, Pikett’s dogs had nailed their man. They did it again a year later, when in the summer of 2007 Pikett helped Houston police

WHO ARE ARE WHO THE REAL REAL MUDERERS MUDERERS ?? THE For every eight people WE put on death row, one should have never been convicted. Approx

COUNTRIES STILL SUPPORTING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT*

Iran, Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan,Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United States of America *This list is not complete

16 | WEDGE MAGAZINE

nab Ronald Curtis for a string of cell phone store burglaries. It wasn’t long before Houston investigators called again, asking for help in solving a brutal triple slaying; Pikett and his hounds

matched two men to the crime, Cedric Johnson and Curvis Bickham, both of whom were charged with capital murder. In March 2009 an officer with the Yoakum Police Department took a scent pad to Pikett after two women, on two separate Sunday mornings, had been attacked—one was raped and the other robbed. The pad had come from the hand of Calvin Miller, a mechanic who, an informant told police, had been buying a lot of cocaine lately. Pikett ran a series of scent lineups using all three dogs. Each one picked Miller. Buchanek had denied having anything to do with Blackwell’s murder, he officially became a suspect, and officers obtained a warrant to search his home and car. He was barred from his home, and his car was seized. Buchanek, Curtis, Johnson, Bickham, Miller: five men from three cities incriminated by one forensic technique. But they had one other thing in common: All five were innocent.


JANUARY 2013 | 17


WEDGE Magazine