Defense Rips The Bark Off Kirschner’s Experts
What evidence don’t these guys want spiked? Wow.
Just into the DC Superior Court Clerk’s office (don’t all the posts these days seem to start that way?) is the latest defense motion: Defendants’ Joint Motion In Limine to Exclude Argument and Testimony that the Crime Scene was Cleaned and to Limit Argument and Testimony Regarding Lack of Blood Evidence. They’re swinging for the fences.
The strongly worded 17 page document argues that:
The Government’s own testing shows that the crime scene was not cleaned, nor blood detected.
The Government’s three blood evidence experts are unqualified, lacking the skills to testify on what is or isn’t a consistent amount of blood expected this crime scene.
The Government experts’ would be prejudicial; as former law enforcement officers, their testimony would “carry exceptional weight and an aura of reliability which could lead the jury to conclusions based more on speculation that scientific evidence.”
Another lesser magnitude expert witness, this one for the defense, is also expected to testify at trial, Mr. Ashley’s Reagent himself.
Key points and the full motion follow.
The motion’ first section picks apart the processing of the crime scene. They maintain that 175 MPD swabs from floors, walls, sinks, sink traps, showers, stairs, doors, baseboards, drains and lint traps, FBI lab testing showed no “…trace blood evidence.”
As far as the chemical testing of blood traces, we’re reminded of the misapplication of Ashley’s Reagent. Expected to take the stand will be Mr. Donald Ostermeyer, “the manufacturer of Ashley’s Reagent.” He’ll testify to the rather limited value his product provides even under the best of conditions.
Apparently “Ashley’s Reagent is not designed to detect the possible presence of blood,” because it reacts with proteins found in common substances like hardwood floor finishes, paint polymers and fabric dyes. Ostermeyer will testify that the MPD tests, “…erroneously interpreted these reactions as indicative of the presence of trace blood evidence,” i.e., false positives.
And why exactly does the MPD use that stuff instead of Luminol?
Next the defense challenges the admissibility of testimony from Kirchner’s blood experts Spaulding and former MPD crime techs David Sergeant and Maureen Walsh. They fail the “three-fold-test” of Dyas v. United States, 376.
I guess they’re saying Kirschner’s guys are unqualified three times over:
“(They lack) sufficient skill, knowledge or experience to testify regarding the degree of external bleeding that would be expected to occur as the result of the particular stab wounds suffered by Mr. Wone.
(None have) medical background and training in human anatomy…
None is a medical doctor or forensic pathologist…”
As to the government’s claim that little blood was found at the scene, the defense witnesses, three forensic pathologists and a ER doc:
“…all concur that the quantity of blood at the scene… is consistent with the degree of bleeding that would be expected from the particular stab wounds suffered by Mr. Wone.”
As footnoted at the end of the motion, these guys are likely to lean on Spitz and Fisher’s Medicolegal Investigation of Death:
“A stab wound of the chest where a major vessel or the heart is penetrated… will cause massive internal bleeding… Abdominal stab wounds, even fatal ones, rarely have significant external bleeding.”
So there you have it. No blood. Simple.
-posted by Craig