In 1995, former Baltimore police Sgt. James A. Kulbicki was convicted of first-degree murder. The prosecutor convinced the jury that Kulbicki killed his mistress with his off duty .38-caliber revolver. The scientific evidence was irrefutable. The bullets recovered from the victim's body and from the crime scene had been fired by his gun."I wonder what it felt like, Mr. Kulbicki, to have taken this gun, pressed it to the skull of that young woman and pulled the trigger, that cold steel," the prosecutor asked rhetorically during closing arguments.
Kopera, one of the forensic experts who testified at the trial, presented formal reports to the defense. But his working notes were not given to them either at the trial, or at the appeal, which Kulbicki lost.These notes conflict with the report on all grounds. Kopera testified that the fragments were consistent with a large caliber, probably a .38. His notes tell that the first fragment came from a medium caliber and that the origin of the second fragment could not be determined.Kopera testified that the gun had been cleaned. His notes read, "Residue in barrel: Yes. Bore condition: Dirty."Kopera testified that he could not identify the grooves and lands on the fragments. His notes reveal that the fragment's land width was 0.072 inches and its groove width was 0.083 inches. Bullets fired from Kulbicki's Smith & Wesson revolver had a land width of 0.100 inches and a groove width of 0.113 inches. The difference is significant enough to state beyond doubts that Kulbicki's gun did not fire the bullet that killed his mistress. Read full story