Day 5: Forensic expert finds traces of blood SUV Aug 21, 2009 19:37:52 GMT -5
Post by aleamon98 on Aug 21, 2009 19:37:52 GMT -5
LAFAYETTE — The first week the trial of former LaFayette Police Officer Sam Parker wrapped up with Georgia Bureau of Investigation forensics experts testifying trace amounts of Theresa Parker’s blood were detected on the rear bumper of her SUV, which prosecutors allege was used to transport her body.
Friday afternoon’s testimony was largely concerned with the two roughly playing card sized traces of blood found on the rear bumper area of Theresa Parker’s Toyota Four Runner, stored at the residence she shared with Sam Parker until just before her disappearance.
Sam Parker, a former police officer, is accused of killing his estranged wife, Theresa Parker, who was last seen on March 21, 2007.
District Attorney Leigh Patterson alleged earlier the SUV was used to take Teresa Parker’s body to another location.
Once law enforcement began to suspect foul play in Teresa Parker’s disappearance they called in GBI forensic specialists to conduct a thorough search of the premises.
Special Agent Audey Murphy testified he found two trace samples of blood on the rear bumper of the SUV using a spray agent that fluoresces when it makes contact with blood.
“It looked like there might have been blood at one time and was washed,” Murphy said. “That blood had been cleaned up — it was no longer visible.”
Of the two samples of blood retrieved and tested one was a sample of Theresa Parker’s blood and the other was a sample that contained DNA from both Teresa and Sam Parker, testified expert witness, and former GBI crime lab DNA analyst, Jessica Walker.
Later the FBI as well as the Dalton Police Department Crime Scene Unit went over the same areas including the house and the yard and found nothing of evidentiary value, Public Defender David Dunn said.
“We can safely assert there were three different intensive crime scene studies of the Parker residence,” Dunn said.
However, he asserted, with the extensive searches of the property only these small amounts of residual blood trace could be found as evidence of any wrong doing.
Judge Jon “Bo” Wood restricted evidence in the pretrial phase of the case that asserted that trained dogs signaled to certain spots on the SUV that showed the canines detected slight odors of human decomposition — the jury will not be presented with that evidence.
Much of Friday morning’s testimony centered around a plastic encased black talon bullet, the grim reaper and Sam Parker’s actions around the police station.
In the line of duty Sam Parker shot and killed a man, Sammy Bailey, and had the actual bullet used in the killing encased like a “trophy,” Lafayette Police Officer Stacy Meeks said. Parker was later exonerated for the killing.
Meeks testified that Sam Parker would talk about the incident and even would show off a picture of the scene to fellow officers.
“In addition to the round recovered from the victim he showed me a crime scene photo — a lot of blood around it stuff like that,” Meeks said.
On cross examination, Public Defender David Dunn asked Meeks if he had mistakenly referred to Bailey as a victim. Meeks agreed and said he meant to say “deceased.”
In the course of his testimony Meeks described an instance where Sam Parker described a police officer’s job as a sheepdog watching over sheep. Sam Parker told him that criminals are the wolves of the analogy — but that the sheepdog has more in common with the wolves than with the sheep.
Patterson asked Meeks to describe his expertise in self defense and mixed martial arts. He said he was an instructor and had one professional fight. She then asked him if he had seen Sam Parker use a particular type of rear choke hold on instances in the course of duty — which Meeks said he had.
Patterson then asked Meeks to demonstrate the hold on her, which is done by approaching someone from behind and using the forearm to block the blood from the carotid artery from getting to the brain.
“I can’t believe I just asked someone to choke me out in front of a jury,” Patterson said.
Patterson didn’t elaborate on the reason she asked Meeks to demonstrate this particular choke hold in court.
Another instance of behavior brought before the court was that Parker had a grim reaper patch on his police jacket and a similar sticker on his locker in the police department. Lt. Robbie Tate of the LaFayette Police Department testified he had told the previous police chief that the patch was inappropriate, but Sam Parker was never told to remove it.
Dunn characterized much of the testified upon antics, such as the grim reaper patch and bullet, as a dark humor that is common in law enforcement agencies and said it is just a way of coping with stress that can easily be misconstrued.
Officers took the stand and testified that Sam Parker was a comical guy around the department and was constantly in the midst of practical jokes. However, at one point the practical jokes grew darker, prosecutors said and drew comment from other officers.
Judge Wood restricted both parties in the Sam Parker murder case from a possible misuse of character evidence. He said both parties had gone “far afield” in their use of presenting specific instances of good and bad character evidence.
The jury was dismissed for a moment to hear testimony from Meeks about an instance where Parker removed two envelopes from the chief of police’s files which contained commendations but also disciplinary actions and internal investigations.
The Judge upheld an argument from the defendant and ruled that the testimony of the specific incident was not to be heard by the jury.
“You’re not allowed to go into specific instances of conduct whether it's showing good character or bad character,” Wood said. He continued to say that was his “old school” interpretation of the law, however if either side could show him different he would be glad to hear their arguments.
“Part of our theory in our case is that the defendant was a LaFayettte Police officer for 26 years and got away with all kind of things,” Patterson said.