The Physical Evidence: Hidden or Destroyed
Given that Woody was shot seven times in a location that was secured immediately after the shooting, there was a considerable amout of forensic evidence that should have been able to distinguish between the competing accounts of the shooting given by the three officers on the one hand and those given by the church eyewitnesses on the other. Yet virtually all of this hard evidence disappeared into secretive official custody in the wake of the shooting and has yet to see the light of day. The forensic evidence includes:
- Woody's body
- the bullets and firearms
- the clothes Woody was wearing at the time of the shooting
- the rug on which Woody fell
- the scene, and traces therein of bullet impacts, blood spatter, and the like
What the Forensice Evidence Would Reveal
Woody's Body: Woody's body would reveal the position and direction of entry of the bullet wounds, and exit wounds, if any. If the direction of entry indicated that most of the bullets were fired into Woody from his right side, it would strongly corroborate Tommy Thomas' account that most of the shots were fired from above, after Woody fell onto his left side.
Bullets and Firearms: The analysis of the bullets and firearms would allow the matching of each bullet wound with one of the two officer's guns. This, combined with evidence about the positions of the officers and Woody at the time of the shooting, would further clarify the positions of the three at the momments that each of the shots were fired.
Woody's Clothes: Woody's clothes, and particularly his shirt, would reveal whether he was shot from point-blank range from above, since shots delivered at close range leave gunpowder residues on the target.
The Rug: It clear that Woody collapsed on a a rug that covered the area in front of the podium. The rug rapidly became saturated with blood following the shooting as Woody remained handcuffed there. The rug may have contained bullet impact damage, blood spatter, and gunpowder residue, all of which could have shed vital clues about the shooting.
The Scene: The room in which Woody was shot may have contained other clues, such as blood spatter and bullet holes. In a January 2001 interview before his death, eyewitness Tommy Thomas pointed out a bullet hole in the moulding of the window moulding, explaining that he thought this was the first bullet fired at Woody. This evidence is inconsistent with the official version of the shooting which implies all the bullets staying in Woody's body.
What Became of the Forensic Evidence
Woody's body was returned to his family after being cremated. The autopsy and ballistics reports remain secret despite promises to release them. We know nothing about what happened to Woody's clothes, except mentions by EMTs that his shirt had been ripped off before they got to him. The church replaced the rug, but we do not know what became of the blood-filled rug. We know nothing about what analysis was done at the scene beyond the assertion in Sorrell's report that photographs and measurements were taken. All of the physical evidence, it seems, has been kept firmly behind the wall of silence.