Gateway murder trial

Posts Tagged ‘DNA

Cross examination of Julie Heinig cont’d

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Still going over DNA results on a graphic I can’t see.

You can see all the results on our special website:

State redirecting

Each lab sets its own threshhold standards.

Now the defense is objecting to introducing information about the standards the DDC lab had at the time. (It appears they had stricter standards when processing this evidence than they do now)

The judge sustained the objection. Question not asked.

It’s only a possibility there was a third man’s DNA in one location on the outside of the nightgown. (there are three loci where there are foreign alleles)

Defense redirect

Again, we’re going over the DNA on the outside of the nightgown.

She’s excused, no more questions.

Now the prosecution is approaching the bench…probably trying to decide whether we should adjourn for the weekend or continue now that it’s just before 5 pm.


Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Day 7

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Prosecution calls Julie Heinig

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She is from the private DNA lab,  DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), that processed much of the evidence. (previous witness was from there as well)

She did the YSTR analysis (17 markers on Y chromosome). Y profile passed down from father to son.

Statistics are figured out a little differently. They use a database to determine frequency.

DDC started doing YSTR testing in July 2005.

State’s exhibit 39 – Steven’s blood sample/standard

Buccal swab of Fred Cooper for DNA sample/standard

States exhibit 38 – Michelle’s nightgown. It was YSTR tested.

One spot, Steven could not be excluded
Another spot couldn’t be tested, insufficient amount of DNA

They swabbed the inside and outside of the nightgown for YSTR analysis.
Fingernails were also tested using YSTR analysis.

Power Point presentation going to be presented to help in the understanding of the evidence. She’s explaining the 16 markers or loci used in the YSTR testing. Each is called an allele.

One of the slides shows Steven’s YSTR DNA. Another shows the DNA profile of Fred Cooper. They have five of the same alleles.

Swab of the inside of the nightgown, on spot 28B, Steven Andrews could not be excluded and Fred Cooper could not be excluded.

Swab of the outside of the nightgown. Both Steven and Fred could not be excluded.

06A swab from the right hand fingernails of Michelle Andrews.  Both Steven and Fred cannot be excluded.

***There were no profiles inconsistent with Fred or steven.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 4:08 pm

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Wojslaw cont’d

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She is now looking at the camo jacket. she tested seven areas with the hema stick and they were negative for blood.

There were several areas of the jacket consistent with staining/cleaning.

Michelle’s fingernails were all packaged in one envelope.  Dr. Julie Heinig did the swabbing of the fingernails. (to test for blood and DNA)

The gloves – presumptive came back negative – but had Cooper’s DNA.

She used one swab for the inside of the nightgown and one swab for the outside of the nightgown (when swabbing for DNA testing)

State’s exhibit 59 – the pink rag – The rag is not a complete rectangle. There’s a seam right down the middle. This was positive for a male’s DNA but it wasn’t Fred or Steven.

Redirect by state

Lab does hundreds of samples a day. Majority are paternity, but there’s no difference – other than chain of custody. Science and techniques are all the same. The standards are a l ittle different. there are more rules than for forensic cases than paternity cases.

Bleach and UV light destroys DNA

Defense redirect

asked about whether LCSO sent aerosol cans for testing.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

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State calls Sarah Wojslaw

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She works for DNA diagnostics center. They processed many pieces of evidence in this case.

She tested many of the motorcycle parts, vaginal swabs from Michelle, camo jacket, pink rag, fingernail clippings, rings.

All of the items were positive for blood in the presumptive testing. Some were confirmatory tested, others weren’t

Steven’s back – positive for blood
Right elbow – positive
Fingernails – positive
Rings – positive
Wedding band – Michelle positive – negative confirmatory for blood
Rag – positive
Foot peg from motorcycle – positive (for blood) – negative confirmatory for blood

Negative for blood:
Left fot peg of motorcycle – negative
Black key fob – negative
Gear shift assembly and brake lever assembly – neg
Motorcycle gloves – neg
Camo jacket and liner – neg
Vaginal swab tested for semen – positive.

Wedding band – no DNA
Foot pegs – no DNA from either
Gear shift – no DNA
Brake lever – no DNA
Passenger seat – no DNA
Gas tank – no DNA
Driver’s seat – no DNA
Handlebars – no DNA

For full DNA results – go to

Key fob matched Cooper’s DNA. The motorcycle gloves matched Cooper’s DNA. (No DNA from Michelle)

DNA from Semen in vaginal swab matched Steven Andrews. Michelle’s DNA was also found.

Engagement ring – DNA matched Michelle Andrews

DNA from under Michelle’s fingernails were tested. They included Michelle Andrews’ DNA.

Masking – a sample that’s rich in one person’sDNA, it may mask out another person’s DNA. Another test can be run which can overcome masking. If the victim is a woman, you can do YSTR DNA testing, which only tests the MALE DNA. It focuses on the Y chromosome.

Michelle’s nails were tested for male DNA through YSTR.

The camo jacket and mesh liner – neither had any stains that appeared to be blood stains. there were also many discolored areas. She knew it had been cleaned but didn’t know with what. She didn’t feel it would be possible to get DNA from the jacket or the lining.

Exhibit 38 – the nightgown. She was looking for DNA, swabbed both the inside and the outside.

Defense is cross examining the witness

At the time the DDC lab mainly does paternity testing. A small minority of their cases are forensic.

Defense  exhibits 37 (right foot peg) and 39 (key fob) – no blood or DNA on the foot pegs.

DNA from the black key fob was Fred’s.

None of the motorcycle parts had DNA extracted.

The black mesh liner (exhibit 66) – she didn’t swab the lining of the jacket. She did the “hema stick” test for blood on the camoflouge jacket’s mesh lining. She tested 11 places with a hema stick for blood.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Day 7

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Robyn Ragsdale cont’d

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DNA evidence cont’d

She’s looking at the item of evidence – exhibit 73 – the nightgown from Michelle Andrews.

There is a bloody handprint near the left breast and left leg.

She tested first for body fluids – presence of blood and or semen. No semen found.

When looking for semen they’re looking for a clear or yellow stain. First they perform a presumptive test, then a confirmatory test. They can look at it through an alternate light source to see the semen as well.

The item did give the chemical indication of blood. Blood was also visible to the naked eye. She tested the area on the left breast and on an area of the back of the nightgown.

She also tested two areas on the inside of the nightgown. She removed those areas for analysis.

Exhibit 38a – the cuttings from the nightgown – received into evidence.

Ragsdale couldn’t determine what the stains were. One of the areas was a stain that seemed consistent with semen, but it wasn’t semen. She did DNA analysis on it.

The other area was visible with an alternate light source. It wasnt semen but she did do DNA analysis on it.

The first stain – she doesn’t know specifically what it was, but had mucuous like appearance. Not perspiration. Doubtful to be saliva. There was a mixture of three or more individuals…Michelle, Steven and Fred. No determinations for Kellie Ballew. This stain was on the inside of the nightgown.

The second stain (on the inside of the nightgown)-  a mixture of three or more individuals. Michelle and Steven. Kellie could not be excluded and no determinations for Fred Cooper.

State’s exhibit 29 – the pink rag.

There were chemical indications of blood on the rag. No DNA from Michelle, Steven Fred or Kellie.

Item 103 – Adidas shoes – gave chemical indications for the presence of blood.

Two areas on the left shoe gave chemical indications for the presence of blood. A DNA profile was not obtained.
The right shoe also had chemical indications of blood. It was inconclusive, but had a female DNA.
State’s exhibit 91 – black adidas shoes. (these are Fred’s)
Exhibit 66 – the black mesh liner – it was tested for blood, but didn’t give chemical indications of blood. 25 swabbings were taken.
Exhibit 67 – camoflouge jacket was also tested for the presence of blood. Over 100 swabbings from the inside and outside. All of those locations are marked on the jacket. None of the samples gave the chemical indication for the presence of blood.
Sample dilution – when a sample is diluted out into another compound. Water can dilute a sample to where blood can’t be detected.
They did not test every single item sent to them from the LSO. They start with the items of most evidentiary value.
Defense cross-examining witness
Ragsdale confirms saliva contains DNA.
The Uniden phone had at least two individuals, but the number of people involved was undetermined. No DNA profile could be obtained either.
In some instances, she tested for 9 loci and others she did all 13 loci (the areas of the DNA which are unique to each individual).
The defense is asking about Lukasz’s clothes.
First – his shirt. Michelle’s DNA, Fred excluded.
Blood stain on the carpet – HH – blood present.
You can see all the evidence here:
HH is a blood stain from the carpet of the master bedroom.
He’s now having Ragsdale go through every single spot on the carpet from the master bedroom and is asking the DNA results.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 11:49 am

Posted in Day 7

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Robyn Ragsdale of FDLE crime lab

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Ragsdale is one of the lab techs who processed evidence in the trial.

[Serology – testing bodily fluids]

Ragsdale says there are national quality assurance standards for forensic DNA labs. Techs have to take proficiency tests twice a year.

DNA – molecule in the body – encodes everything that makes us who were are. It is common among individuals, but there are differences in every single person (except for identical twins).

They look at 13 different areas of the DNA. It is found in red blood cells, skin cells…etc.

They do STR analysis. They look at 13 areas of DNA and develop a genetic profile, then compare to known samples. (amelogen determines or signifies sex).

(99-percent of our DNA is identical in all humans. DNA techs examine that 1-percent which is unique to each individual)

In a mixture of DNA, sometimes you can tell who are the major or minor contributors. Sometimes you can’t, especially if there are more than two donors.

YSTR testing – they use areas of DNA that are only found on the Y chromosome which is the male chromosome. FDLE does not do YSTR analysis.

They only examine one item of evidence at a time.

Ragsdale performed some of the DNA analysis in this case. 2006-030581, 2006 – 0302419

Exhibits 40 and 42 – (40 – Steven Andrews blood sample) (42 blood sample of Michelle Andrews) These are stain cards, one from each.

Exhibits 68 and 69 – (68 buccal swabs from Fred Cooper) (69 buccal swabs from Kellie Ballew)

Exhibits 39 and 41 (actual blood samples)

These exhibits are used to provide DNA profile standards of each individual in the case.

Exhibit 25 – The cell phone handset. (pictured right)

For full DNA results go to and click on Key evidence explained.

Four samples from areas on the phone: the keys, speaker, earpiece and swab for blood.

When doing STR analysis, the info must reach a certain threshhold, but no items on the phone reached that. This has to do with the quality standards.

Amelogenen – tells male or female

If sample inconclusive – a determination cannot be made. (Sample can’t meet their standards to ensure accuracy of the DNA)

Pants, tshirt, 2 socks – these are Lukasz’s clothes.

Socks – The socks contained DNA of Michelle.

Pants – Both of the knees were positive for blood. One of those matched Michelles DNA, the other one, Michelle couldn’t be excluded.

Shirt- no blood visually detected and therefore was not tested for the presence of blood.

Swabbing of HH – blood present and it was Michelle (major) and Steven’s blood. (sample from the carpet in the master bedroom)

Swabbing of SS – another sample from the carpet in the master bedroom. This was a mixture – Michelle was the major contributor, the other contributor couldn’t be determined.

Exhibit 27 – Jeans from under Michelle’s head. Levis – waist 34 length 32

She tested several areas, which gave the chemical indications of blood. The major profile on most samples matched Michelle Andrews.

The wear areas were also tested for DNA. This includes inside the waist, left pocket, in the groin area, right front pocket and inside the back left leg. All of these areas were a mixture. All included Michelle, three included Steven and Kellie Ballew was also included.

Going over the area and the findings.

Waistband – mixture 3 or more, Michelle, Steve and Kellie. Fred is excluded.

Left pocket – mixture of 2 or more, Michelle, Steven and Kellie. Fred is excluded.

Inside back left leg – mixture of 2 or more, Michelle and Kellie.  No determinations for Fred or Steven

Inside groin area – mixture of two or more. Michelle and Kellie. No determinations for Steven. Fred excluded.

Inside back waistband – mixture of 2 or more. Michelle and Kellie. Fred is excluded. No determination for Steven.

Inside front right pocket – mixture of 3 or more. Michelle, Steven and Kellie. Fred excluded.

Those jeans were not Freds.

Taking a short recess.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 10:36 am

Posted in Day 7

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