Monday, June 16, 2008

Entwistle Murder Trial – Day 7

We start the day with the usual morning sidebar. Deanna Dygan is back on the stand on direct with Fabbri.

We are now going to talk about pillowcase #4. It was on top of Lilly. She did blood and GRS testing.

She tested for burnt powder particles. No GSR was found.

The blood tests were done on 3 spots on the case. All 3 were positive for human blood.

She also tested for amylase that is part of saliva. It tested positive. She also found lead particles on the pillow.

The stains on the pillow correspond to the red-brown stains on Lilly’s mouth area.

Dygan gives the item numbers assigned to the items she tested. The items were preserved for DNA analysis.

Dygan is looking at photos and identifies them as photo’s she took of pillowcase #4.

Dygan also tested the swabs taken from walls in the bedroom. They tested positive for human blood. She preserved the for further DNA testing. She identifies photo of the envelopes that contain the swabs. A fourth envelope contains the human hair found on the bed frame.

Dygan opens an evidence bag and confirms it contains the underpants Rachel was wearing. They contained yellow and brown stains in the crotch area and fecal matter. She also tested for sperm that was positive.

Fabbri gives another evidence bag to Dygan. She identifies the green and white shirt that Rachel was wearing. It is blood-soaked from the neck down through the shoulder and chest area. There were 3 holes in the chest area of the shirt. GSR was preformed on the holes. Hole number 1 and 2 had lead particles.

The red-brown areas tested positive for human blood. She found sperm cells on the shirt as well.

We are now looking at the back of Rachel’s shirt. The shoulders and left arm are stained. The test was positive for blood. She did not find sperm cells on the back of the shirt.

Dygan identifies a photo of the shirt and it is marked as an exhibit.

She received a kit from the ME’s office. She documented what was inside. The swabs are from of number of orifices, hair and blood standards for Rachel.

She found blood and sperm cells on the vaginal swab. The peri-anal swab had blood and sperm cells.

Now we are shown Lilly’s sleeper. It is quite blood stained on the neck and chest area. There is a hole in the left chest. Blood and lead are both present.

The back of the garment is blood stained. The test shows positive for human blood. There is a hole in the back of the sleeper that tested positive for lead.

This is so very sad and difficult to watch.

The hole was concluded to be a contact shot. That means the gun was pressed directly against Lilly’s chest.

Another evidence bag is opened. It contains the white onsie Lilly wore. Blood was found on the chest and stomach area. There was a hole on the left chest area and on the back. Tests show vaporous lead. The hole in the back did not test positive. The entire backside of the onsie is heavily blood stained.

Dygan also tested the black shirt from the BMW. She didn’t see any stains. She collected trace evidence and tested for blood.

She also tested a dirty diaper found in the back of the BMW and found blood.

A blue sweater was tested for blood and it was negative. The sleeves were tested for GSR.

GSR doesn’t travel far because they are like a dust. It can adhere to whatever the land on. They usually last on clothes longer than skin.

If a positive is received what does that indicate? That the person fired a firearm or was in the vicinity of the firearm. Or they could have handled a firearm.

Dygan identifies the ammo can she was sent in January. She documented the item and then sent on to crime scene services for fingerprinting. She identifies the items in the box. Dygan took swabs for handler DNA. She points out the areas she swabbed. She also swabbed ammo boxes that were inside the can. A glass jar, firearm magazine and a bag with a washer inside.

Now Dygan is asked to identify the gun case that and she documented it by photographed the sent for fingerprinting. When she received back, she collected the handler DNA from the box and contents. Same process as before with the ammo can.

Dygan identifies photos of the ammo can and the gun box and they are marked.

Another evidence box. It contains a tan gun case, a trigger lock and a colt revolver. She identifies the photo of the same. It too is marked.

She saw a white stain on the muzzle and a brown gel-like material inside of the barrel of the gun. It was negative for blood. She identifies the photo of the gun. The swabs were preserved for further testing. She collected swabs from the hammer and grip handle for handler DNA.

She shows the jury where on the trigger lock she tested. Same with case. Same with the colt revolver.

Fabbri gives her another bag and she identifies a trigger lock and gunlock keys that she swabbed for handler DNA.

Another bag is opened that contains envelopes. The envelope holds additional gun lock keys. These too were swabbed.

Dygan received a knife block with 10 knives and kitchen shears in February. 3 additional steak knives from 6 Cubs Path. They tested negative for blood and she tested for GSR.

She identifies a photo of them and it is marked as an exhibit.

She also obtained a DNA swab from Entwistle.

She also examined a fitted sheet that had yellow and brown stains and a large contact area stain. She found positive human blood. There was no damage to the sheet.

She identifies photos of the fitted sheet.

Fabbri has no further questions…

Cross - Weinstein

Weinstein begins questioning by pointing out Dygan in not State Police and comes in without bias. He’s done this with all the scientific witnesses. He stresses that the investigators were open-minded and have no idea as to who may have committed the crime.

Weinstein summarizes her connection with the case from the meeting at the police station. She took field notes for herself and John Soares. He says she wrote down Neil Entwistle on her form prior to going to the home. She knew nothing about him except that they had some background information.

Weinstein stressed she wrote the suspect was Neil Entwistle and that colored her thinking throughout the investigation. She says she wasn’t biased.

She doesn’t recall any odor until she got to the master bedroom.

She looked around first and decided what she needed to do to conduct a thorough crime-scene investigation. She discussed it with John Soares. She did not necessarily discuss it with State Police.

She doesn’t recall anything specific that the troopers told her to look for. She would possibly have done so if they had asked and she felt it made sense to her.

The troopers photographed the room before she began her work. She didn’t look for fingerprint evidence; the Crime Scene Services did that before she started.

She saw a bed covered with a white comforter. She didn’t know if anyone had touched it or anything before she arrived. She was aware that the police had gone in earlier and hadn’t found anything. She was aware the Gately sisters had been in the house.

The police found the bodies on a second walk-through.

There is no way to know if the bed was in the same condition as when Rachel and Lillian were shot.

She was present when the comforter was first removed: She and Soares documented what it looked like before it was removed. On the underside there was red-brown staining that was tested. This was transfer staining. There was transfer staining on much of the surfaces of the bed... the pillowcases, fitted sheets, garment.

Weinstein: “It was a bloody mess.” Yes. (Remember what Neil said to his father-in-law on the phone!)

She did presumptive testing. Testing for human blood was done in the lab.

She was very careful to follow protocol, step-by-step analysis.

Her work was focused, thorough, complete.

Her results need to be credible and reliable.

Cloth on floor - negative for blood

Bathroom - towel tested negative for blood, it was put aside as not needing further analysis.

Discussion of need for rigorous and scientific methods.

Green shirt - tested for blood at scene, gunshot residue at lab.
When she looked at shirt in bedroom she didn’t notice anything that made her think it needed gunshot residue.

The shirt was left on the body. Same with Lillian’s clothes.

Lillian’s Garments - she noticed a hole and determined it was from a contact wound.

She noticed indentation in shirt, vaporous particulate, and other

She saw the position of the two bodies before the blood was seen. She knows from the positioning of the bodies when the covers were removed. She can’t tell how they got there and in what position they were when they were shot.

She states the medical examiners know about trajectory... No trajectory determined at the site.

At the time they uncovered the body, she didn’t know it was a gunshot wound to the child. She didn’t know whether or not the child had been shot. She now knows because of gunshot residue and testing that was done.

As to Rachel, she didn’t notice Rachel was shot in the forehead.

Weinstein refers to “careful and meticulous” work and they didn’t find gunshot wounds.

They spent about four hours studying the bed. Then they studied the stains on the wall for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. They could be seen clearly when they moved from the bed to a wider examination of the room. It looked like blood so they tested for it.

We are back to the fact that they did not test for occult blood.

When the moved the bed covers, Rachel’s left arm was extended, index finger pointed. Her right arm was wrapped around the child. Dygan points out they had to remove the pillow first.

Soares physically collected gunshot residue stubs from Rachel’s hands.

They didn’t collect gunshot residue from Lillian’s body or from any of the clothing at the scene.

The bodies were removed about 5 hours after they arrived at the scene. She was there when this occurred.

Weinstein refers to bagging hands. She says that’s ME procedures which she isn’t aware of.

After the bodies were removed, they did other testing for blood.

We are back to the shirt... looking for vaporous residues? No; gunshot residue.

She documented the green shirt and all the other garments. She observed it under a stereo-zoom microscope. She saw something that made her to decide to test for lead. She did the paper test first for burnt gunpowder.

Dygan goes through each and every step of every procedure she did on the green shirt. All three holes tested negative with the paper test. She wanted to test for any of the four residues. Next test... metallic residues test for lead, copper, nickel.
Hole #1 Pos. for lead
#2 Pos. for lead
#3 Neg. for all three

She cannot say what kind of gun or who was holding the gun based on the testing of the clothes.

She did the same test for the pajamas and the onesie. It’s the contact shot from the front. Neither of Rachel’s wounds was a contact shot.

First pillow case, the one on top of the child. (Pillowcase #4) It had transfer bloodstain. She examined it for gunshot residue. Greiss test negative, lead test was positive. It was transferred to the pillowcase from the face.

She spent about 2 hours examining each of the pillowcases.

Pillowcase #1: She went through the same analysis on this.
There were lead particles, from a gun? Can’t say.
She mentioned the 18 inches the other day. Did she test the gun? No.
She got the results for the 22 at a later time. She offered testimony on Friday, she had test firing information for the 22. She received it from Trooper Steve Walsh in July, 2006.

On the piece of cloth used in the test firing was the appropriate information to give her the patterns for the test firings at each distance. None of the test firings were from 18 inches. The distances were contact, close contact (1/2 inch), and 6 inches.

This is very, very, very, very, very tedious…

AHA! She generally knows that vaporous residue travels no more than 18 inches. Weinstein points out triumphantly she could have asked for more testing, that all she had was generality where she should want to be rigorous and precise! He made a point! Didn’t seem to bother the witness.

There is a great deal more questioning by Mr. Weinstein about vaporous residue and the distance the vaporous residue could travel. The witness attempts to answer, but since the answer isn’t "yes" or "no," Weinstein interrupts and asks another, more detailed question. The result is that the information comes out rather muddied up.

Test on the sweater from the BMW. Was the request written? No, phone call from the lead investigator, Trooper Manning. He made no request for a specific test. It was up to her to decide what to test for. She gave the sweater the most thorough investigation she could.

Did she think Mr. Entwistle wiped blood off with the sweater? No, she was just testing for blood. Weinstein states, "That’s because you had an open mind....."

She received an ammunition box from the Carver residence. She did not do a screening test for blood. She was to examine them and decide the tests she would do. Weinstein asks if she knew she was going to look at it and take samples for the DNA analyst. She "utilized that careful process" on each item that came from the Carver house. Weinstein mentions all the items that were to be examined.

I think the only thing Weinstein is getting across here is that there is the slightest scintilla of a hint that maybe there was something that wasn't tested for everything under the sun.

The swabs that she took were sent to the DNA lab.

Weinstein again reiterates the terms scientific, meticulous, yadda, yadda, yadda.

You needed to do all the steps that could be done, you didn't eliminate steps that could rule Neil Entwistle out as a subject. You didn't care who committed the crime?

Again the mention of careful and meticulous and avoidance of contamination of biological evidence.

Your efforts are to eliminate all the sources of possible biological contamination? Avoid it, yes.

You're not perfect? You try to minimize contamination?

By the time it gets to you, the biological evidence has been collected? Yes.

There's nothing that you, the careful scientist can do to avoid the contamination of crime scene evidence? Correct.

This continues on with all the ways evidence can be contaminated.
Item 17-4, the 22 caliber revolver. It wasn't at 6 Cubs Path when you were there January 23rd. There's no way to say how many surfaces it touched, how many people handled it, how many sources touched that 22 before it made it's way to your laboratory.

Weinstein is getting snarky again. Kudos to the witness who is a real trooper, if not a State Trooper!
Re-direct: Fabbri

At the time she got Neil’s name, she knew he had left the country Saturday morning with a one-way ticket and that his BMW was at Logan Airport.

Dygan says they:

wear protective gloves, do not speak over evidence or wear a mask. They clean the tables and tools with a bleach solution at the lab. They use disposable materials and changes gloves regularly.

She observed no visible stains on outside of the comforter, but observed stains on the inside part that had been near the headboard.

They only observed blood on the bed and wall. None in closet, bathroom, rugs, or anywhere else in the house.

The width of the droplets on the wall were about 4-5 millimeters. She first observed them about halfway through the crime scene after they closed the closet door and observed them behind the closet door.

She observed the sleeper visually. It appeared to be a gunshot hole due to gunshot residue and stellate pattern. Same with the onesie. On the body, it did not appear to be a gunshot wound.

She did not observe a gunshot wound to Rachel’s head. She observed a black mark about 1/4-1/2 inch in diameter. It did not appear there was any penetration in the body.

She testified as to how far gunshot residue vapors would travel. There was no hole in the pillow. In order to do test firing, they need a hole to compare to make measurements. If there is a hole, beyond a contact shot, there would be a range.

Why did you test pajamas in 2006 for range? It was a contact impact.

The sweater from BMW -she doesn’t know how long it was in the BMW or to whom it belonged.

Re-Cross Weinstein

Did she look at photographs before testifying about 18-inch distance? The photographs of the dead bodies as they were found? Yes.

You don’t know what position they were in when they were shot? Correct.

Weinstein mentions safeguard for contamination. He points out these steps so that SHE, the SCIENTIST doesn’t contaminate evidence. She has no way of preventing contamination BEFORE she shows up.

Next witness – John Drugan, another chemist.

Fabbri ask him where he works. State Police lab in the explosives area. He has training in prima gunshot residue.

We go into details of what GSR is and collecting GSR. Think expert testimony in the Spector trial.

He confirms that GSR can travel several feet in front of the weapon or behind the weapon.

He explains how the scanning of GSR extraction stubs is done and the reports that are generated by the scanner.

A positive result allows the to say a person, fired a weapon, handled the weapon or was close to the weapon; it does not tell them which of the three.

A negative does NOT prove a person didn’t fire a weapon.

In January he tested a kit with Rachel’s name on it. He got a positive result. On 4 swabs -Rachel’s chest, left back and both palms. The stubs were scanned twice.

The particle was determined to be lead.

Then he tested a kit labeled BMW, Neil Entwistle. It was negative. Also he tested the kit labeled BMW keys. It also was negative.

The next kit was from the sweater sleeves. They were negative.

The next kit…

Sidebar –

The next series of stubs came from knife handles from knife block, 2 knives from the dishwasher and one from knife on counter from 6 Clubs Path. All were negative.

No further questions.

Cross - Weinstein

Weinstein begins by saying the gunshot residue tests with SEM was primarily for gunshot primer residue? Yes.

There is also residue that comes out in a smoky cloud that travels a distance from the gun? Yes.

There are ways to determine the distance the cloud travels? No, there are tests to determine the distance particles travel.

It’s not measuring the cloud itself, but the particulate that lands somewhere? Yes.

Did he do any test firing with the 22 caliber revolver? No.

If there had been testing done, it would have been able to calculate the distance the residue travels? Yes.

Weinstein mentions who-all could have tested the gun.

In a test fire, the distance would have been exact? You could be missing something, there are thousands and thousands of particles.

They disperse down, like snowflakes? Forward, side, and back.

It could be examined under test firing conditions and you could measure the distance the farthest particle went? Here there is confusion about what has been tested....

You COULD have test fired the weapon? Yes.

You weren’t handling the gun? No.

You were handling the stubs from the gunshot residue kits? Yes.

The particles come from the firearm? Yes.

The firearm could be tested? Yes.

It could have shown the dispersement of the particles? He doesn’t know.

What you know is, you tested for and had negative results for the knives and scissor and the sweater and BMW keys and BMW steering wheel? Yes.

Positive result from Rachel Entwistle’s hands? Yes.

She could have handled the gun, shot the gun, or was in the area where this particulate cloud traveled? Yes.

Did you receive any gunshot primer residue collection kit from Rachel Entwistle’s wrist? No.

Arm? No.
Sleeve? No.
Fitted sheet? No.
From any other items from master bedroom from 6 Cubs Path? No.


Is the result generated specific or approximate? Approximate.

Is it given a distance or range? Approximate.

Based on his training, what is the range or ranges for primer residue? About 8 ft.

When a test is done, can the result be any more specific? No.


Shows him 22 revolver. Asks distance for gunshot prima residue for the gun. Doesn’t know.

Does he know it was never tested? No, it wasn’t.

Next witness called by Fabbri – Sgt. Stephen Walsh, he is a MA trooper in the firearms identification unit.

He goes through the training for the unit.

He explains how each firearm has unique internal marks and they are imparted to the projectile when fired.

We are going through all the structures of gun; barrel, hammer, etc.

A .22 caliber is a class of the ammunition for a specific class of gun. A .357 is much larger.

The lead found in bullets is very soft. You can mark it with a fingernail.

Blow back happens if the person is shot up close, within several inches, blow back or spatter will hit the shooter.

Now we have a diagram of a gun up and Walsh points out the various parts of the gun he went through just before.

When a projectile is recovered at a shooting scene and gets to his unit they conduct a test fire projectile. It is then checked under a microscope comparing the two projectiles.

Walsh went to the ME’s office to obtain a bullet. He was at Rachel’s autopsy and was given a spent .22 projectile that was removed from her breast.

He brought the spent .22 to the lab.

On January 25th he received lead fragments from the autopsy that he brought back to the crime lab.

He then received 5 weapons and ammo. He opens an evidence box and identifies the .22 colt. He also identifies the ammo that he received.

He opens another envelope and identifies a spent .22 projectile. He examined it and determined it has left twist. Lans and groves could not be identified due to the damage to the projectile.

Another envelope has 2 fragments he could identify other than they were from a spent .22.

Walsh opens the box with the .22 gun. He identifies it. He tested it and observed the lans and groves as well as a left twist.

He tested fired the gun and carved his initials into the bullets to compare against the spent .22. He used lab ammo.

He tested ammo from the ammo can also.

The projectile in his test and the weapon, have the same left twist!

He made notes and documented his tests.

July 2006 did you perform test firings for Deanna Dygan? Yes.

He shot into a chamber, but in front of that was a piece of cardboard covered in cloth.

He also fired the .357, 9mm and two rifles. The recovered cartridge could not have come from any of the handguns.

The .22 rifle and the browning both had a right rifling.
No further questions.

Cross - Weinstein

He did the test firing for Dygan? Yes.

Did any other chemist or anyone else ask you to do test firing? No.

Court is adjourned till 9:15 tomorrow.
Co-reported by ritanita.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this.

However I think this is incorrect:
"She also tested a dirty diaper found in the back of the BMW and found blood."

I think the diaper was described as 'from the infant', not from the BMW.

Unknown said...

You are doing such a GREAT job. I love your comments, too! Maybe because I feel the same way you

Thank you for all you're doing!

Anonymous said...

Hello, so glad you were linked. I read your reports daily from the Spector trial. It's great to be reading your reports again!