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Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon

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How to turn from Innocent Bystander to Fugitive in a second.

"You know what this murder weapon needs? My fingerprints!"
Unskippable's commentary on The Getaway's use of this trope

A person not only is the first to find the body, but takes that extra little bit of effort necessary to get their fingerprints all over the murder weapon lying right next to the bloody body. Preferably they do this while an unrelated person is walking by so they can see the innocent person with a bloody knife in his hand staring at a dead body with a giant knife wound in it. This behavior might be justified if the finder thinks the killer might still be in the vicinity and grabs the weapon for self-defense purposes, but no one ever seems to consider that explanation.

In a similar situation, if present during the murder, the killer will hand the dupe the murder weapon (while the killer is wearing gloves or made other precautions) to invoke this.

As a general rule, this trope only applies to the actual murder weapon. Characters who are just holding random implements for whatever reason more clearly fall under The Corpse Stops Here.

This is Truth in Television, of course; If you find the victim of an attack, whether they're alive or not, and if there's a weapon present, under no circumstances should you touch it.

As a Death Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In ERASED, the protagonist's mother gets murdered by the killer. When the protagonist comes home shortly afterwards, he finds her corpse and accidentally covers himself in her blood while he tries to wake her up in disbelief and also holds the knife that was used to stab her (which doesn't have the killer's fingerprints since they were using a glove). A neighbor who hears the commotion checks to see what the problem is and calls the police to report him for murdering his mother. Also not helped that the protagonist and his mother got into an argument the previous night, which makes people think he killed her in a fit.
  • In Getter Robo Armageddon, Ryouma ends up snatching the gun used to kill Professor Saotome in an attempt to kill his murderer, Hayato. When Genki discovers Ryouma with the gun over the professor's body, Ryouma tries to plead his innocence, but it doesn't work.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka has a non-murder example where Teshigawara attempts to invoke this by conspicuously touching every surface in Azusa's apartment when Onizuka and Makoto catch him there when they're investigating her kidnapping. Of course, his suspicious behavior is a Revealing Cover Up that all but proves his guilt (which is probably exactly what Makoto intended).
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Keiichi heads off to the Furude Shrine with Satoko. Satoko goes to her house to find some clothes (given that she's only wearing a bath towel). Keiichi hears some crows cawing and walks up to the shrine... only to find Rika's dead body, surrounded by crows tearing at her insides. After proceeding to bat them away with the axe he was carrying, he drops it... into a pool of blood. He then picks it up while it's still covered in blood...right when Satoko shows up to witness him holding an axe over her best friend's dead body. Kinda subverted in the sense that it wasn't actually the murder weapon he was holding, he was carrying an axe at the time (although he was planning to murder someone with it. Just not Rika).
  • In the Yoroiden Samurai Troopers (Ronin Warriors) OVA, which takes place in New York City, Touma Hashiba (Rowen) visits the apartment of a photographer, only to discover him dead. Being a smart cookie, he pulls out the bloody knife... and stands staring, as a secondary character sees this, and runs away, screaming. In a weird way though this makes sense, Touma has always been shown to be highly intelligent, but severely lacking in common sense.

    Comic Books 
  • Just before the police arrive in Bad Kids Go to Hell, Dr. Day throws the fire axe to Matt, who instinctively catches it; thereby ensuring that his fingerprints are on the murder weapon.
  • The very first Batman story ("The Case of the Chemical Syndicate" in Detective Comics #27) uses this trope. A son finds his father stabbed and dying, and reaches down and pulls the knife out of his back in an effort to save his life, ensuring he is found crouched over the body with the murder weapon in his hand. Unusually for this trope, when he explains what happened to the police, they seem to believe him, especially after one of the man's business partners is also killed, apparently while the son had an alibi.
  • Deadly Class: When Saya comes home one day to find a friendly Yakuza boss stabbed to death in her house, she pulls out the sword. Then her mother comes in, sees her standing with the sword over the dead guy, and things get worse from there.
  • Coming upon a murder scene, Claire Temple picks up the gun seconds before the police enter the room in an early issue of Luke Cage.
  • The Punisher MAX: In O'Brien's redebut after the first arc, a fellow inmate makes an attempt on her life. O'Brien survives without a scratch only to see her assailant dropped her shiv and that it's covered in blood. Curious, she picks it up, walks just outside her cell, and sees she just got framed for the murder of a guard.
  • Being a parody of Batman, it's fitting that Rat-Man does it in a Marvel crossover... twice. First by "securing" the weapon used to kill an old Punisher's relative, just in time for the latter to see him. After several pages of dodging bullets, he manages to escape only to "secure" a metal pipe used to beat a certain "Mrs May". Seconds before Spider-Man enters the scene.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Beverly Hills Cop III, Axel is meeting with Uncle Dave, when he's interrupted by the Big Bad, who shoots Dave (he gets better). He then hands the gun to Axel, who is initially reluctant to touch the weapon. The guy just shrugs and points out that the weapon belongs to Axel, so his prints are on it anyway. Axel manages to run away before he's shot.
  • Bitter Lake: The assassin was counting on this happening and killed the second victim by leaving a dagger booby-trapped with a poisoned needle at the scene of the first murder.
  • Blood Simple Subverted. Ray gives the murder weapon a good manhandling as soon as he sees it, but the gun is never examined by the police, so this doesn't matter.
  • Breaking the Girls: Sara comes upon David's corpse, and then foolishly handles the knife used to murder him-just as the police arrive.
  • Candyman has Helen Lyle framed for the kidnapping of a baby and multiple murders, the first of which never would have happened if she hadn't picked up the meat cleaver used to slice off a dog's head. The second time is a subversion—the victim in question is killed with a hook, not a cleaver, but no one believes that a ghost is killing people in life.
  • Dead Again opens with Roman Strauss on death row for the murder of his wife, and for much of the movie it's unclear whether he did it. After it's established that he was innocent, a flashback shows what really happened, which includes him coming across the body and immediately picking up the murder weapon, ensuring that his were the only fingerprints on it.
  • Libby Parsons falls into this one in Double Jeopardy, although at the time she hadn't seen the body yet, just a lot of blood.
  • Dressed to Kill: The bloody straight razor used to slit Kate's throat and murder her falls through the elevator doors. Liz, who's standing outside the door, picks it up for no apparent reason, in time to be seen by the cleaning lady.
  • In the original ending of Fatal Attraction, Alex slashes her throat with a knife previously handled by ex-lover Dan in an attempt to simultaneously commit suicide and frame him for murder.
  • Lampshaded in Final Analysis when the psychiatrist tries to cover up for his girlfriend by "helpfully" handing the murder weapon to the detective, disingenuously adding: "Oh, I guess I shouldn't have touched it." The angry detective scowls, "You're a smart fucker, aren't you?"
  • Occurs briefly in the first Final Destination film where the protagonist witnesses his teacher with a knife in her chest and briefly tries to wrestle it out before leaving.
  • In GoldenEye, after being outed as a traitor to the Russian Defense Minister, The Dragon Ourumov takes out Bond's gun and shoots the Defense Minister dead along with the guard, leaving only Ourumov and Bond as witnesses to the scene. He then empties the gun and throws it to Bond, while reciting the story he's going to say. In this case, Bond intentionally catches the gun out of the air and pockets it, knowing full well that it wouldn't matter if he didn't touch it, as it's his gun and the Russians know that. Bond manages to get away before Ourumov can finish his gambit and shoot him for "killing the minister".
  • The Mel Brooks film, High Anxiety is Hitchcock spoof, with North By Northwest as one of its primary inspirations. Doctor Richard Thorndike is framed for murder when the killer wearing a Thorndike mask shoots a bystander and then puts the gun in the real Thorndike's hand as he's exiting an elevator. Thorndike's driver snaps a picture of the murder.
  • Dates at least as far back as Intolerance in 1916, in which The Boy makes sure to pick up the gun after someone else shoots the crime boss in his apartment.
  • Mission: Impossible (1996): When Ethan finds his teammate (and likely lover) Sarah after she's been stabbed to death by a mysterious assassin, he's so shocked that he grabs the bloody knife himself. When Czech police arrive on the scene, he instantly realizes how bad this looks and flees.
  • This occurs in Hitchcock's North By Northwest. Conveniently, a photographer is present to take an incriminating photo at the exact moment the victim falls on Roger. Not getting what's happening, he pulls the knife out of the victim's back. The look on Roger's face doesn't help, either. Then his guilty-looking mug is plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the country.
  • The Parallax View: Frady does this foolishly in the finale, picking up the dropped sniper rifle that was just used to murder another candidate. This sets him up as the fall guy. Of course, if he hadn't then the real killers probably would have just pressed it into his hands anyway after he'd been shot.
  • Relative Fear: When Peter finds Atwater stabbed to death with a screwdriver, he's seen trying to remove it, looking like he stabbed him. He is quickly arrested.
  • Not shown on-screen, but in Scarlet Street, Johnny admits to picking up the icepick used to murder Kitty, explaining that he hadn't seen she was dead. He is executed.
  • In Silent Fall, Tim wrenches the murder weapon from Sylvie's hand after she stabs their Abusive Parents to death. When the police arrive, Tim is wandering around the crime scene, waving a bloody knife and wailing incoherently.
  • In Tess of the Storm Country, after Ben Letts shoots a Mook, Pa Skinner picks up the shotgun. Skinner is convicted of murder.
  • In Tintin and the Golden Fleece, Midas Papos is shot (though he does survive), and the gun used to do the deed is then tossed through the window, into the room. Haddock doesn't hesitate to pick up the weapon, getting his fingerprints all over it, right as people come in to check out what happened. Unsurprisingly, this leads to Tintin and Haddock's arrest, though thankfully the Thom(p)sons are able to get them out of jail.
  • In early short film White Fawn's Devotion, after White Fawn stabs herself, her husband finds her, and picks up the knife. This leads to him being identified as the killer.
  • The Wrong Guy: Nelson, on discovering the body, not only touches the murder weapon but pulls it out of the body, gets himself covered in the victim's blood, tries unsuccessfully to stick the knife back in, puts his fingerprints all over the crime scene, runs through the office carrying the murder weapon covered in blood, tries to drop the knife in an elevator only to get it handed back to him, and eventually ends up trying to throw it into a river only for it to land on a police boat. The trope is subverted in the next scene when the police review the security camera footage of the actual murder and immediately discard Nelson as a suspect.

  • In Bad Kitty 2006, photographer Red Early is incriminated in the murder of Len Phillips when he is found with a bloody knife, refuses to answer questions, and later escapes after his arrest. He was actually cleaning the room to protect his wife Fiona, who he thought was responsible. However, as it turns out, both are innocent, each encouraged by the real murderer to believe that the other did it.
  • Lampshaded in Blood Rites. Harry winds up running away with the murder weapon and handing it off to somebody else.
    Harry: Hey, telling the truth keeps getting me put in jail. And the last time I tried to engineer a cover-up, I wound up cleverly running off with the murder weapon and covering it with my prints before handing it over to someone who thought I was a murderer at the time. So don't look at me.
  • Happens twice with the same victim in one of the Brother Cadfael novels: once when a young man sees his friend standing over the arrow-shot corpse with a bow in hand, and again when the young man's father catches him in the process of removing the arrows to conceal the evidence.
  • Confessions: Anyone would be curious upon seeing a thief sprint out of a store, but Alypius takes fascination too far when he walks into the robbed store, picks up the thief's hatchet, and relaxes right next to the lock that got broken into. He would have been executed if the judge wasn't a good friend.
  • Happens off-screen in Lucy Foley's thriller The Guest List. Also justified, as the character in question was both high and incredibly drunk at the time, and also not very smart even when sober. The best man both yanks the knife out of the murdered bridegroom's chest and hugs him, thus getting his prints all over the murder weapon and the murder victim's blood all over himself. As if that doesn't look bad enough for him, he has a strong motive which he not only discussed with multiple people but drunkenly alluded to in his best man speech. Unlike many examples of this trope, he doesn't get out of it (nor does he really deserve to, as he helped the groom kill a boy back in their school days—which, incidentally, is the real murderer's motive).
  • Subverted in Agatha Christie's The Hollow, as part of a communal effort by the family involved to confuse Hercule Poirot (a member of the family not only takes the gun from the too-obvious suspect but drops it into a swimming pool, right in front of Poirot) and protect the actual killer who is the obvious person all along, of course.
  • Jaine Austen Mysteries: In Murder Gets a Makeover, Jaine finds Bebe Braddock dead with a wire hanger wrapped around her neck. Thinking she might still be alive due to hearing a noise (which turns out to be a cricket), Jaine unwraps the hanger from around her neck, thus getting her fingerprints all over it.
  • Averted in Stephen King's Insomnia. After incapacitating Charlie Pickering, Ralph is about to instinctively pick up Charlie's knife, but stops himself, realizing that the weapon "would look better without his fingerprints on it."
  • The Heroine does this in Murder As The Organist Plays: Elicia the bride not only grabs the murder weapon, but she carries it down the stairs for all to see at the wedding, along side her bouquet.
  • Occurs in one of the Nancy Drew Files books, when Ned accidentally picks up the crowbar that was used to kill the victim. It doesn't help that he was seen arguing with the guy the day before, and having just tripped and fallen, he looks as if he's been in a struggle — disheveled clothes, bloody lip.
  • In the Ellery Queen short story "No Place to Live", one suspect is found standing over the body holding a pistol. It is later revealed that she picked the gun up because she recognised it as her husband's.
  • In book three of A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion is falsely accused of poisoning Joffrey at a wedding feast where hundreds of people witness that he happened to be the closest person in proximity to the victim at the time, and also happened to be the one pouring the wine in question. It is later used against him that he was seen directly afterwards picking up the goblet of poisoned wine and pouring the contents out onto the ground, as well.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On All My Children, Brian rushes to ex-girlfriend Hayley's apartment after she frantically calls him for help (her husband Will was attacking her). Upon getting there, he find Will bludgeoned to death. Assuming that Hayley's responsible, he quickly picks up the crowbar in order to get his fingerprints on it and protect her from suspicion.
  • Zack does this in Booth's coma dream in one episode of Bones. He and Vincent find a gun stashed in the latter's equipment and Zack quickly picks it up, with his finger on the trigger, even. This is at least a day after the body had been found and in a different area of the club, but it's still the murder weapon. He did this on purpose. He believed Booth was the killer and was trying to obscure the evidence.
  • Burn Notice
    • Subverted when the framee reaches down to pick up the murder weapon, only for Michael to yell at him not to do it. He takes Michael's advice.
    • Invoked in the pilot to frame a man. He places the man's fingerprints on the gun, but goes as far as to add prints to the clip and gun barrel since he knew that a good lawyer could get the prints just on the gun dismissed.
    • Later invoked when Michael comes across a fatally wounded Max, with a gun laying next to the body. Not only is the real killer still there, but he opens fire on Michael in order to get Michael to pick up the gun. Michael realizes he did this right after he returns fire.
  • Happens to Rick Castle in the Castle episode "A Deadly Affair". Having found the body of the victim in her apartment, Castle picks up the gun to defend himself when he hears people approaching and thinks it might be the killer returning. Unfortunately it turns out to be Detective Beckett and her team.
  • An episode of Crossing Jordan had a man do this with a suicide victim, taking the knife out of her chest and putting it back. Needless to say, this complicated what would otherwise have been a simple case.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Happens in "This Time and This Place". An Aboriginal teen finds a pistol discarded on the ground and picks it up. As he does so, the body of the murdered social worker is discovered and the lights are turned on, revealing him standing there with the gun in his hand.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Keys of Marinus", this happens to Ian. He discovers the key in a display case, with a dead man lying on the floor nearby. Soon Ian himself is knocked out by a man who steals the key. Before he leaves, the man frames Ian for the murder of the mutilated body by placing the bludgeon in his hand.
  • This is how the suspect claims his prints got on the murder weapon in the Ellery Queen episode "The Adventure of the Wary Witness".
  • Father Brown: In "The Numbers of the Beast", the husband of the Victim of the Week is found by Father Brown holding the umbrella she had been stabbed with. He claims he had pulled it out thinking he could save her.
  • In The Flash (2014), this is part of what gets Henry Allen convicted of his wife's murder: His bloody prints were all over the knife in her chest. The reason for this is simple, of course. He's a doctor, so he was trying to stabilize her. The other reason he was convicted was because the only witness to the crime was his son, who claimed lightning filled the house, and the "man in the lightning" is the one who stabbed Nora. Since this is fifteen years before metahumans show up, no one believes him.
  • General and I: Chu Bei Jie finds several corpses and a bloody sword. Naturally he picks up the sword. When the authorities arrive they assume he's the murderer.
  • In an episode of General Hospital, when a patron of his casino is stabbed in the back, Luke Spencer pulls the knife out of the guy's back, just as someone snaps a photo, making it appear that the picture was taken just prior to the stabbing.
    • This inadvertently happened to his wife Laura several years prior. After being insulted by local pariah Damien Smith, Laura grabbed a baseball bat and tried to swing it at him, only to be stopped by Luke. Later that day, someone picked up that very same bat and used it to bash Damien's head in. As the person was wearing gloves, the only fingerprints to be found on the bat were Laura's, resulting in her being charged with his murder.
  • Heroes. When Hiro goes to meet Isaac the painter in the first episode, Isaac is already dead, and... Hiro picks up the pistol lying on the ground near the dead body. It's a bit more understandable in that he was afraid out of his mind that the murderer was still in the room and wanted some semblance of a means to defend himself.
  • Happens to Inspector Morse when he's being framed by Hugo de Vries in "Masonic Mysteries". Morse even lampshades the trope by mentioning that the first person to find the body is usually guilty (which has turned out to be the case in some previous Morse mysteries) and curses his own incredible stupidity in picking up the knife like some brainless civvie.
  • A different take occurs in the 1990's Australian mini-series Janus. A detective shoots dead an alleged copkiller and, in a state of shock, picks up the crook's gun to see if it's a replica firearm. Another detective sees what he's doing, takes the gun off him and puts it down where it was lying on the ground so the forensics people can photograph it. Unfortunately a civilian witness who didn't see the gun being picked up testifies that she saw police planting a gun on the scene.
  • In the first season finale of Legends, Martin Odum wakes up on a rooftop after someone has shot the FBI director from the same roof and left the rifle behind. The first thing he does is pick up the rifle. Crystal and Tony find him, but doubt he was the shooter and give him a head start.
  • Midsomer Murders: In the backstory for "Death in a Chocolate Box", this led to Lord Holm's arrest for murder. Finding his wife dead, he picked the murder weapon and was immediately arrested by the police officer who committed the murder. He was confused enough that he allowed himself to be convinced that he had committed the crime and then blacked it out.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "The Fixer-Upper", Jessica's niece Victoria finds herself alone in a house with a dead body. Hearing someone coming, she picks up a fireplace poker to defend herself. Unfortunately, the poker turns out to be the murder weapon and she is holding it when the police arrive.
  • In the pilot of The Musketeers, D'Artagnan wakes up alone after a one-night-stand in an inn, with a bloody dagger pinned to his pillow. Dressing, he finds a commotion in the corridor as someone in a nearby room was murdered the night before. Since he was still holding the dagger, he is quickly blamed and he leaps out of a window to escape. (The murder victim was a foreign dignitary and the murderer was his escort, Milady de Winter, who had seduced D'Artagnan).
  • Happens at an alarming rate in Perry Mason, usually to establish the red-herring suspect that Perry is defending. Perry himself is able to defy the trope, picking up potential evidence without directly touching it (using a handkerchief to pick up suspicious objects or putting a pen or pencil into the barrel of a murder gun to pick it up).
  • In an episode of Psych Gus stumbles onto a murder scene and manages to get his fingerprints all over the evidence. Earlier in the day he had an argument with the victim so it makes him look very guilty. He calls Shawn for help and they try to fix the situation but through a series of pratfalls make things even worse and now it looks like they both killed the man. They are finally able to clean up the scene of the incriminating evidence but in the process pretty much destroy all the real evidence. They now have to find the real killer before the police find out what they did.
  • Silent Witness: Justified in "Bloodlines". Harry Cunningham wakes up in Budapest to notice his girlfriend has been stabbed to death in bed next to him. As he finds the murder weapon, a knife, the murderer comes walking in, causing Harry to take the knife to fend him off. The murderer simply disarms Harry and leaves him behind to be found by the Hungarian cops.
  • In Supernatural at least once Dean has picked up a bloody knife from a murder site. This may help explain why the FBI think they're serial killers. That, and they are very often actually killing people (vampires, shapeshifters, and demon-possessed "people", but still people to the law).
  • Invoked in The Practice. Joey Heric finds a dead body in his apartment and calls in his lawyers. Believing that his lover committed the murder, he pulls the knife out, with the notion that it would divert suspicion onto himself, but he could claim that he'd just be trying to save the victims life. Later subverted, when it turned out that he had committed the murder, and was spinning the entire story to fool his own lawyers.
  • Zorro (1990): In "Dead Men Tell no Tales", Victoria finds one of her guests murdered. She screams and picks up the bloody knife, and is holding it when Sgt. Mendoza arrives.

  • Inverted in The Murder Room, when the murderess, faking ignorance, grabs her discovered weapon (claiming she was going to bag it for the police officer), before it can be dusted for fingerprints, giving her an excuse for when her fingerprints are inevitably found.

    Video Games 
  • From the Ace Attorney series:
    • In case 1-4, when the lawyer Robert Hammond is shot to death on the lake, Edgeworth, in shock, picks up the gun without thinking, which leads to his arrest as the primary suspect in the murder. Subverted when it turns out that the victim, who he thought he was meeting, was actually the culprit in disguise. The culprit shot the water twice and swam away; the confused Edgeworth had no idea the gun had just been used in a murder.
    • Lana Skye pulled a knife out of a dead man's chest and was then seen putting a different knife in. It turned out that she was being blackmailed into helping the true culprit cover up the crime and was trying to frame Edgeworth for it when she was caught in the act.
    • In Investigations, Kay picks up a murder weapon in a dark room, although partially justified that she indicates she didn't know what it was, and couldn't see the body.
    • in The Great Ace Attorney:
      • In case 1-1, Ryunosuke is fingered as the murderer because he picked up the murder weapon, a handgun, at the scene of the crime. It later turns out he picked it up before the gunshot went off - the culprit shot the victim with a concealed second handgun.
      • In case 2-1 Rei Membami is found directly after pulling a bloody knife out of the murder victim. Justified as she correctly believed that the victim had been poisoned although she was wrong about how the poison had been administered. It was her drink, not the knife.
      • Barok van Zieks winds up making this mistake in case 2-5, though it's not until after he picks up the gun that he discovers Gregson's body, and he does actually pick up a very useful clue by examining the weapon: despite supposedly discharging seconds before, the gun's barrel was cold and there was no smell of gunpowder, hinting that it wasn't actually a gunshot he just heard.
  • In AI: The Somnium Files, Mizuki Okiura is found holding a bloody ice pick inside the column of a merry-go-round where a corpse is found missing an eye and tied to one of the horses. It doesn't look too good for her, but once she regains her speech, she explains that the ice pick was still trapped in the eye socket, and, given that the corpse in question was her mother, she couldn't bear to leave it in there and pulled it out, hiding when she saw someone suspicious nearby. Thankfully, it's quickly determined that Mizuki's mother was killed elsewhere and she's quickly eliminated as a suspect.
  • In Dark Tales: The Tell-Tale Heart, when giving a statement to the detectives, one character explains how he found what is almost certainly the murder weapon... and proceeded to use it to cut the ropes binding a ladder, destroying any useful evidence in the process.
  • An egregious example of the subtrope occurs in The Getaway. As Mark runs out into the street to find his wife shot, he drops his own gun only to paw the dropped murder weapon for a second.
  • Justified in A Tale of Two Kingdoms. Early in the game, the protagonist, unarmed, walks into a room right after a murder. The assassin attacks him, and he has to find something to defend himself with quickly. Guess what the only weapon within reach is.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 video "Meet the Spy", when the BLU Sniper's body is thrust on the table, the BLU Scout does the logical thing and pull out the butterfly knife in his back and start messing with it. Of course, the BLU Scout is actually the RED Spy in disguise, but the spirit of the trope is still there.

  • Played with horrifically in an especially dark Unicorn Jelly strip: a pair of malevolent sadists and child-rapist/killers, Texto and Zuzux, trick an unsuspecting Samaritan into not only holding but actually twisting a knife in their latest victim's throat to "keep the airway open", and simultaneously send a cop into the same alley with a warning about the "killer".

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Not murder, but the same concept: In the infamous "Everyone Knows It's Bendy", the titular imaginary friend loves invoking this in his earlier scenes, handing over items used to cause trouble in order to frame others. Later, Bloo actually takes the items himself out of frustration, with the expected outcome.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much", Ahsoka suspects that a criminal that was recently arrested for bombing the Jedi Temple wasn't working alone, so she goes to interrogate her in her prison cell. As the criminal is about to reveal the identity of the person that hired her, she is suddenly Force-choked and held in the air (by the mastermind, who was hiding in the vents). In a panic, Ahsoka makes a bunch of hand gestures while trying to tell the criminal that she's gonna be alright and to stay calm, which screws her over since the security camera doesn't have audio (it was broken by the mastermind) and the security guards (who have had little to no experience working with Jedi) are led to believe Ahsoka Force-choked her out of frustration or anger.
  • In the Superman Theatrical Cartoons episode "The Mummy Strikes", an Egyptologist is killed by a tomb's poisoned needle booby trap. His assistant picks up the syringe he had been holding and gets her finger prints on it, so she is naturally arrested for it. Fortunately, Clark Kent and a professor find the booby trap and manage to clear her name.
  • In The Venture Bros., this is part of Lance and Dale Hale's recollection of their father's murder. Lance can hardly restrain himself as he describes Dale instantly forgetting twenty years of detective training and picking up the shotgun with his bare hands. Lance claims he instinctively reached to stop him, which is why it bore both brothers' fingerprints. It's very heavily implied that this is a lie and that they killed him themselves, playing on this trope as part of their innocent act.