New animation technology now used in local courtrooms - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New animation technology now used in local courtrooms

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Prosecutors in San Diego have a new tool when it comes to putting criminals behind bars. Instead of relying on just pictures and witness statements, they can now recreate what happened using computer animations.

Investigators are now able to create animations of events that have happened in San Diego using crime scene photos, notes and witness statements. 

"From that point, we take that information and we build an actual 3D computer model of the scene," said Nathan Cunningham, Investigative Technician San Diego DA's Office. "We can get aerial shots. Take the roof off. We can do what we need to do to make the area visible that you couldn't obtain from photos," said Cunningham. 

Cunningham regularly uses crime scene animations during investigations to provide judges and juries an in depth look at the scenes. 

"Now you are getting into situations where we can have crash scenes reenacted, fights reenacted and robberies reenacted," said Deputy DA Lucy Yturralde. 

The animation videos are designed not only to help prosecute people, but also to help exonerate those who are innocent. 

"We resort to using diagrams to show the jury what the injuries were and whether or not the injuries were consistent with someone in a fight or if they're consistent with a defendants claim of self-defense," said Yturralde. 

Technicians say that when it comes to how long those animations take to build, it depends on the case. In some instances, the animations take months to complete. 

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