An expert testified in a Metchosin murder trial Friday about the genetic material left on evidence at the victim’s home.
James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage are charged with the first-degree murder of Martin Payne after they escaped William Head prison. Armitage is no longer part of the trial as the judge said he will be dealt with in a separate way.
Christine Crossman, an RCMP forensic biologist and expert in DNA analysis, prepared four DNA reports based on evidence from the homicide investigation.
Besides Payne’s DNA, the known source, Crossman and analysts from an RCMP forensics lab found two individuals’ DNA was found at the scene.
Police gave the lab two other known samples but the law prohibits the lab from receiving the names of those sources. The lab linked the samples to DNA profiles from two men – “male one” and “male two” – on evidence associated with the investigation.
Blood on a white, waffle-knit shirt – one of the many bloody items stuffed in several garbage bags in the home – contained Payne’s DNA. Several similar waffle long-sleeves were found inside both inmates’ William Head dwellings.
Male one left DNA on the inner collar and armpit of the shirt, as well as the inner palm of a white faux leather glove and the interior cuff a white sock found at the rural home. The latter two items also had Payne’s blood on them. Male one’s DNA was also on chewing gum found at the scene and was on a cigarette butt in Payne’s truck.
The victim’s DNA was also found in blood on Asics and New Balance shoes, which respectively left confirmed and possible footprints in the ensuite bathroom where Payne was found.
Blood on black Carhartt jeans also belonged to Payne. A blood spatter analyst testified those jeans would have to be in close proximity to Payne when his blood was struck. DNA from two individuals, including Payne, was in the pockets and waistband of the jeans.
As the court has already heard, Payne’s blood was on a hatchet and a bowie knife that were found on a bathroom sink within the home. Blood on a hiking boot belonged to Payne while DNA found on the mouth of the boots came from at least three individuals.
Male two’s DNA was linked to the tongue of the New Balance left shoe, two sets of underwear and a second pair of boots. One of the underwear pairs, black Lululemon, and the shoes had Payne’s blood on them.
In his cross-examination, Busch’s defence lawyer Ryan Drury had Crossman clarify that while the white gloves and waffle-knit shirt had a mix of two DNA profiles on them, male two was not linked to either.
On the pieces that did have male two’s DNA, Drury also had Crossman confirm that RCMP analysts couldn’t say what kind of genetic material left the DNA deposits, how long any of the DNA had been there or how it was deposited there.
However, the analyst said multiple times in her testimony that their job is to identify the DNA profiles that are present, not speculate on how they got there or uncover how long they’ve been on a piece of evidence.
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