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Sample Crime Scenario

A jewelry store in San Mateo was robbed last night! The perpetrator appeared to cut him/herself on the broken store window; blood was found on glass at the scene of the crime. The blood-spattered shards of glass were taken to a forensics lab to extract DNA.

SUSPECTS Woman, in 40's Man, ex-con, in 30's Young man in 20's
ACTIVITY AT TIME OF ROBBERY (probable cause) Owner of jewelry store. Had worked in the store that day. Was observed meeting with jewelry appraiser in 'bad' part of town earlier. Notorious jewel thief, paroled from prison. Crime statistics show that a large fraction of ex-cons return to criminal behavior. Police had observed the man in the area of the jewelry store. Busboy at restaurant near jewelry store. Was seen running down the street near the store late at night (after midnight).
MOTIVE Would collect on theft insurance; if she had 'arranged' for the robbery, she'd also still have the jewels. Had returned to theft/fencing of jewelry for money Was in need of money to support his family; his hours at the restaurant had been cut way back.
ALIBI Had gone home from the store not feeling well. Spent evening alone at home. As far as the appraiser -- he was a friend of a friend. Had gone to a crowded movie by himself. Ticket taker could neither confirm nor deny that the man had indeed gone to that theater. Had worked the late shift and was running down the street to catch the bus.

I read the above information out loud, but did not allow students to take notes (just as most jury members are not allowed to take notes during a trial). Later, based on students' reports, I noticed a lot of erroneous recollections! Some students told me the busboy had a bag with him (???); that the jewelry store owner was a man (?); that the busboy was in fact a bellboy from a local hotel (?); and all the alibi's and motives were mixed up!

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