You mentioned that this effort to tell a story in images and without words was something of an experiment. Stylistically, I for one like where it is going so far.
Let me guess. Following the biker into the first house was legitimate hot pursuit because they saw the biker enter the house. But these two houses, equally likely, with no clear sign as to where the biker went, aren’t legitimate hot pursuit because they have no indication as to which house, and thus no probable cause to suspect this one or that one.
So the evidence of a crime found in the first house is OK, but any evidence found in the two over the hill is excludable.
Without knowing anything specific about the law here, this sounds like a reasonable analysis to me.
Not knowing a lot of law, but knowing a lot of snow, I would say, the traces will give away where the Person went and is enough reason to search the house were the traces end.
I think that might assume that the snow is fresh, and that the perp’s shoeprints are clearly identifiable as a basis for reasonable suspicion.
Really fresh tracks should contain unfrozen water/mud, so they can be easily identified even in well-trampled snow. There would have to be a lot of traffic between the houses for that not to be the case, and then there’s a fairly simple solution – simply wait outside where they can watch all three houses until enough backup arrives to check them all. As we established a couple stories ago, they can knock and ask without a warrant.
Also, I’m not sure what the laws surrounding the use of lethal force are in the area in which this story is taking place, but where I live the police would have been justified in gunning the guy down as soon as he took a shot at them. That they didn’t shows a remarkable exercise of restraint.
You remember that they were in a car, right?
The last panel seems to show that the path down to the two houses is fairly well-tramped-upon, as well as the area between the two houses. I think it’s fair to say that, for the purposes of this pedagogical exercise that there are too many tracks to be sure.
While this is true… what about snow-tracks at the two houses? From the bottom picture, you see there are places where you can determine if they’ve been traveled over: the far, light brown/orange house has stepping stones in front that are uncovered from the snow; similarly, the nearby, grey house holds a patio. If the perp ran into one of these houses, fresh snow might appear on one of those places, signaling a hint to the officer. (This does presume that neither home-owner or their company has been out recently, I guess.)
However, that question remains whether it’s enough to ‘reasonable suspicion’.