For current Cold Case File click the "Features" section and click Cold Case Files. Cold Case FIles: James Tuff, Jr.
"Always ready to help a friend" is just one way James Tuff, Sr. of Gainesville describes his son, James Tuff, Jr.
The only problem is, his son appears to have had a hard time recognizing who wanted to be his friend, and who wanted to take his life.
A story of murder and a forensic expert thousands of miles away who may be on the right road to turning up the heat on this Cold Case File.
James Tuff, Junior was killed December 4th 2006.
On the side of a rural dirt road in northeast Alachua County, James, Jr. was pushed out of a car, shot three times and left to die in the dirt.
Tuff's father James Tuff, Senior remembers his son as a young boy who loved to go to church saying "James, yeah. He loved that. He loved his Sunday school too. He liked that and asked a lot of questions. He liked the church he was getting 'me' up the mornings."
Despite the lessons he learned in church and at home, James Sr. says his son struggled to pick the right friends. The wrong friends took him down the wrong path.
James, Jr. had just overcome a wrong turn. In October of 2006, he was released from a medium security facility in Marion County after serving two years.
James, Senior believes his son was trying to change his life because he now had a 2 year old son of his own.
Two months later, another turn would be prove to be deadly.
Around noon, James, Jr. willingly left this trailer with what was reported to be 3 people at the Lamplighter Mobile Home Park in a light colored sedan. His father doesn't know why he was in the car, or what road they were headed down.
He was not the only one who would have questions.
Alachua County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jack Jacobs says, "A lot of people have been talking to each other on this case and we believe there was only one shooter in this case and the other two were involved by association to go along with the plan."
The end of the road for James, Jr. began a new journey for deputies at the Alachua County Sheriffs Office.
Spent shell casings found at the crime scene would linger in evidence as the case grew cold.
The investigation took a new turn thanks to an A.S.O. cold case analyst .
Jamie Whiteway read about a forensic technique that is so new that there is only one machine in the world that can do it.
It's a hot topic in the world of law enforcement.
The technique was developed by Dr. John Bond at the University of Leicester's Forensic Research Center in England.
Dr. John bond says fingerprint sweat actually changes the surface of a shell casing.
He says the technique relies on the sweat changing the surface properties of the shell.
The cartridge is fired and when a fine carbon powder is applied, the original fingerprint is revealed... No matter how old the shell.
Dr. Bond says, "this can work when conventional techniques will fail."
Because the technique is so revolutionary it has yet to be validated in the U.S. court system.
As the cold case teams waits for the arrival of the shell casings... James senior wishes he could backtrack and lead his son down the path of righteousness.
Dr. Bond is providing his services to the sheriff's office free of charge.
The shell casings in this case arrived in England on February 16. They are expected back any day.
If you have any information about the death of James Tuff, Jr., please contact the cold case unit at the Alachua County Sheriffs Office at: 367-4161
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