Sarasota County detectives extract fingerprint from photograph of hand
Suspect convicted of child porn charges
John Rogers, WFLA via NBC News Channel
6:10 AM, Jun 22, 2015
8:38 AM, Jun 22, 2015
SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - Sarasota County detectives identified a criminal using a technique you'd likely find on an episode of "CSI".
They found a photograph of a hand, and they were able to extract and identify the fingerprint. Detectives say as far as they know, this has never been done before.
Earlier this year, detectives got a tip that Dannie Horner had been making graphic child porn with a 1-year-old boy.
But after Horner was arrested, officials still needed the evidence to prove it.
"You might know a person is responsible for a crime or you may think a person is responsible for a crime, but then you have to find evidence to prove it in court," said Sarasota County Detective Lt. Joe Giasone.
Investigators confiscated the suspect's phone and found pictures of a man abusing a child.
The man's face was not visible, but his fingers were captured in incredible detail, so a detective wondered if a fingerprint could be identified.
"This was something new that we had never done before," said Brenda Viana with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
Detectives used computers to isolate the fingerprints on the photos. When they compared them to Horner's prints, it was a match.
For the prosecutor working the case, it was compelling evidence.
"This was actually more reliable than comparing to prints left at the scene because here you're looking at the actual finger and you're not worried about how much pressure was applied to that print," said Sarasota County prosecutor Amanda Gambert.
Experts say this is a game changer, and in an age of high-tech camera-phones, this new method could help capture other dangerous criminals in the future.
Thanks in large part to that photographed fingerprint, jurors last week found Horner guilty on all charges. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.