…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.
On October 21, 2004 Pittsfield police investigator Mark Trapani was dispatched to a local Subway sandwich shop to process the scene of a sexual assault. Upon arrival he was directed to the victims’s car, a white Oldsmobile Alero parked near the front entrance. While searching the vehicle for evidence, Trapani discovered a badly smudged left index fingerprint on the passenger side window.
Closer examination of the print revealed a surface abnormality which Trapani later referred to as “a blank area of friction ridge skin“. The print was run through the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS), however, no match was found. The case remained unsolved, leaving a chink in Mark Trapani’s ego.
Four months later, on February 23, 2005, I was wrongly arrested by Pittsfield police and booked on charges unrelated to Trapani’s investigation. In addition to having no criminal history, I sported a rock solid reputation and was well respected among peers. But that all vanished when Mark Trapani took a personal interest in me.
Due to his rank and tenure within the Pittsfield Police Department, Trapani’s daily activity went unmonitored by superiors. This afforded him infinite latitude to fallaciously connect me with his unsolved case. He accomplished this through illusory tactics, forged through the discontinuity of time. In essence he made something appear, disappear, reappear, then vanish…
Anyone familiar with basic police department booking procedures knows the process entails fingerprinting. Fingerprints are a standard part of a booking record, typically entered into a nationwide database, easily accessible to local, state, and federal police agencies. An individual’s fingerprints are formed in the womb, usually during the first trimester of pregnancy. Fingerprints grow larger as a person ages but the basic shape and pattern does not change with time. Yet through forensic alchemy, Mark Trapani magically transformed my fingerprints in less than a week.
My official Pittsfield Police Department fingerprint card was created by an automated print device called a Live Scan fingerprint machine. It’s important to note: No blank area of friction ridge skin appears anywhere on the left index finger. This is the fingerprint card stored in the nationwide database. As the fingerprint card of record, it was the only fingerprint card submitted to the assistant district attorney and given to defense counsel.
Unbeknown to anyone, Trapani was secretly withholding a second fingerprint card. For all intents and purposes it appears identical to the official version with one distinct exception. This set of prints, fingerprints never made public, show a blank area of friction ridge skin on the left index finger. The fingerprint card is ink rolled, an outdated method that contradicts departmental protocol. It is also the medium through which Mark Trapani orchestrated my 2007 under-the-counter superior court conviction. Had it not been for an inadvertent release of documents, no one outside the Pittsfield Police Department would have learned of the secret fingerprint card.
Let’s imagine: On October 21, 2004 my left index fingerprint purportedly encompassed a specific blank area of friction ridge skin, discovered at a crime scene. But four months later, while being fingerprinted on unrelated charges, the abnormality didn’t exist…absent from my official fingerprint card. But six days later, when I was supposedly fingerprinted in regard to the Subway restaurant incident, the blank area of friction ridge skin reappeared in exact size, shape and location. The next day this fingertip abnormality vanished forever, evidenced by the fact that it has never shown up on any of my numerous state prison fingerprint cards.
During trial Trapani’s two-card fingerprint ruse was never brought to the jury’s attention. As a result I was found guilty, subjected to eight years of incarceration. I lost my home, my job, my friends, and my reputation. But most significantly, I lost my dignity. I guess that doesn’t matter, so long as Pittsfield police crime scene investigator Mark Trapani appears to have solved his case thereby hammering out the chink in his ego.