Gateway murder trial

Posts Tagged ‘Harry Balke

Cross examination of Balke

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First question is about the crime scene tape. Balke says the property, the yard was included in the crime scene tape.

Basically saying that he processed the two cars, didn’t take many of the photos, Gabi Suboch did that, but did process the vehicles.

He’s being asked about the Toyota 4-runner and whether or not he processed that. He did.

Now back to the bodies.

Balke is pointing out where Steven’s body was found.

He saw two drops of blood on Steven’s back that were from directly above.

One of the bedposts had blood on it. It appeared to be smeared on the surface.

Now pointing out blood on the wall near the bureau, about a foot high.

The light pink rag outside is now the topic. It was found on a bush about three houses down but he’s not totally certain where it was found because he didn’t collect it.

Prosecution objected to continued questioning about the rag because Balke didn’t actually collect it or have first hand knowledge of it. The judge agreed.

Now onto the possiblity there was an injury to the upper part of Steven’s back. There was a possible footprint on his back. He doesn’t believe there were any injuries associated, though.

There was also a blood drop on the back of Steven’s right elbow.

Redirect from prosecution.

Exhibit 84 – close up of Steven’s hands after he had been rolled over by the ME’s office.

Prosecution just asked to verify the picture was accurate.

Defense redirecting now…

Balke was asked about the handprint on the nightgown – was it processed for handprint – no, there was no ridge detail. Balke thought the handprint was a fabric imprint. The spot was processed for DNA.


Written by Melissa Hudson

October 3, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Day 3

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Harry Balke cont’d

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He’s now giving the jury an explanation of the floor plan of the Andrews home.

Exhibit 16 – photo of the table in the dining room…(it’s where there were open presents and the presents Kellie gave Steven at the Christmas party if I remember correctly.)

He then moved on to the second floor. Balke says the master bedroom looked as though there was an altercation.

Exhibit 20 – floor plan of the second floor of the Andrews home.

He’s asked if he ever recovered a gun from the home…the answer – no.

Did he recover a projectile – yes. (It was under Steven’s pillow – no picture of that in the evidence page – too much blood).

He also checked the trash cans, but doesn’t recall checking drains.

He believes he was at the scene until about twelve hours later.

He went back the next day. He was there for a little while, then went to the ME to see the part of the autopsies, then he returned to the Gateway home.

Then he and the other techs used Luminol to look for blood. Used to detect small amounts of blood. Did this through most of the ground floor of the house.

He found two possible reactions with a marker to test later with another chemical..but they were not positive for blood.

Luminol was also applied to rooms on the second floor.  They processed the steps and the landing carpet with luminol, but no blood going into the other bedrooms. No indication of blood on the stairway.

They did luminol in the master bedroom – in the doorway, around where the furniture had been. They didn’t find blood on the carpet that wasn’t visible to the naked eye.

In the master bathroom he had a strong reaction about three feet into the tile, the chemical reacted with something. Almost looked like a smear.

They took samples from those tiles.

What was done to the sliding glass doors? One of the LCSO investigators lifted the door off the track to show how easy it was to move the door off its track and (one would assume – then enter the residence – but that wasn’t said).

There were four of the sliding glass doors, and any two could open at any time.

He was not involved with the taking of fingerprints, which were taken at the scene. (No fingerprint identification was released with discovery documents – so I don’t have any info on what may or may not have been found).

Balke was done with the scene, but returned in January to process the vehicles for bodily fluids. None were found. They also took fingerprints from the exterior and interior of the vehicles. (He returned to the Gateway home because Cooper allegedly told police he and Michelle had sex in her car)

He then revealed he and Suboch tried to see if two people could fit into the back seats of either car – (her Grand Am or Steven’s Mercury Marauder) but the car seats prevented two people from fitting back there comfortably.

Exhibit 83 – photo of one of the vehicles in the garage – specifically the rear seat.

Now the defense is cross-examining Balke.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 3, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Day 3

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State calls Harry Balke III

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Harry Balke III was the lead crime scene investigator at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

He arrived just after 8 a.m. December 27, 2005. He also called Gabi Suboch, a crime scene technician, to respond to the scene.

First they documented the exterior of the scene.

State’s exhibit 17 is a photo of the door to the pool cage, taken from outside.

Balke is showing the screen door in the foreground and another in the background (two screen doors to the pool cage). The one in the background was unlocked.

Exhibit 18 -photo of sliding glass doors, taken from the exterior of the home.

After processing the exterior of the home, they began processing the interior of the home.

He didn’t notice anything out of place or signs there was a struggle (except for Lukasz’ bowling pins were knocked down).

Many items of value were on the first floor and they had been untouched.

State’s exhibit 19 is a floor plan of the Andrews house. It was generated by one of the crime scene technicians.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 3, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Day 3

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