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MacDonell, Herbert Leon

MacDonell, Herbert Leon


Herbert L. MacDonell has conducted important research and investigation in the field of forensic science for over forty years. MacDonell is the inventor of the MAGNA Brush fingerprint device, and is considered an expert in blood splatter analysis. MacDonell has written and lectured about a wide range of forensic science topics, and has consulted on several high-profile criminal cases.

MacDonell attended the University of Rhode Island, earning his M.S. degree in 1956. He soon went into the field of forensic science, and in 1960 invented the MAGNA Brush fingerprint device. The brush, which changed the way fingerprint evidence was processed, uses a magnet and metallic powder to identify a latent print. Because the MAGNA Brush has no bristles, it reduces the likelihood of damaging the ridge detail of the print. He also began extensive research and experimentation with blood splatter analysis. In 1971, he wrote the booklet Flight Characteristics and Stain Patterns of Human Blood, published by the U.S. Department of Justice. It contains MacDonell's findings and instructs crime scene investigators on how to interpret blood spatters.

MacDonell continued his successful career by taking the position of director of the Laboratory for Forensic Science in Corning, New York. Because of his breadth of experience, he has consulted on criminal cases across the country and around the world. He testified in the O.J. Simpson case on blood evidence matters, and was involved in the investigations of the assassinations of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He has also appeared on a number of news television programs, including Good Morning America, 20/20, and Dateline NBC.

Along with author Alfred Allan Lewis, MacDonell wrote the 1984 book The Evidence Never Lies: The Casebook of a Modern Sherlock Holmes. MacDonell serves as the subject of the book, and profiles a number of cases that he worked on and solved. He has also written numerous articles for a variety of professional publications . In addition, MacDonell has shared his expertise in academic settings, as a lecturer at various conferences and universities. He also serves as the director of the Bloodstain Evidence Institute, which runs a study program for forensic science students. MacDonell was the 1974 winner of the John A. Dondero Award from the International Association for Identification .

see also Bloodstain evidence; Simpson (O. J.) murder trial.

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