PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- The police said Monday that the Rhode Island state crime lab was unable to determine the make-up of a gun that was used to kill a woman in her home on New Year’s Day.
The 9mm handgun seized in the fatal shooting of 54-year-old Cheryl Smith had appeared to be made with a 3D printer, said Pawtucket Detective Sgt. Christopher LeFort.
If so, this would have been the first homicide in Rhode Island committed with a 3D printed gun.
However, the state crime lab at the University of Rhode Island, which had not examined a 3D printed gun before, was unable to determine how the gun was made.
While the lab found the gun has a polymer frame and no serial number, it did not find whether the gun was 3D printed or otherwise, LeFort said. The slide bore the manufacture name of Rock Island Armory.
The police may have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives examine the gun, LeFort said.
Even so, a move to ban 3D guns and other “ghost guns” is already in gear at the General Assembly.
The so-called ghost guns are handmade firearms, assembled from parts that a buyer can obtain without going through criminal background checks required for regular gun purchases. These types of guns have no serial numbers, making them untraceable. Guns made with 3D printers are also undetectable.
Last week, Senator Cynthia A. Coyne reintroduced legislation to make it a crime to use, possess or manufacture 3D printed guns and other untraceable “ghost guns." Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has already given his support.
Representative Patricia A. Serpa, who filed a similar bill last year, also plans to resubmit the bill in the House. Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello has said the House will look at banning those guns.
Jack Doherty, 23, of Albany, and his girlfriend, 18-year-old Shaylyn Moran of Pawtucket, are charged with Smith’s murder. Police seized the 9mm handgun from Doherty as he and Moran were leaving their room at the Hampton Inn, shortly after the shooting, police said.
Smith was the mother of Moran’s ex-boyfriend, Leonard Troufield, and police are investigating whether that past relationship was the motive for the shooting.
Moran had a no-contact order against Troufield, who’d been charged with domestic violence.
However, after his mother was killed, Troufield showed detectives messages that Moran wrote him, where she said, “I’ll kill you," according to an affidavit supporting a search warrant.
A Facebook account apparently used by Doherty showed several photos of the firearm as it was being assembled.
Amanda Milkovits can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org