Gateway murder trial

Posts Tagged ‘Robyn Ragsdale

Ragsdale – one more question

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Was Michelle’s DNA found on anything from the defendant? No.


Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Day 7

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Ragsdale cont’d

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Defense is continuing the questioning of Ragsdale.

There was nothing that did NOT match any of the four standard DNA profiles on the nightgown (ie. no other person’s DNA present).

Cooper’s DNA was not found on anything other than the nightgown (of items processed by the FDLE).

Cooper’s DNA was also found under scrapings from underneath Michelle’s fingernails.

State redirecting

States exhibit 38 – nightgown. Showing again where Fred’s DNA was found. (Bottom left hand side of the nightgown).

The sample has to be of a certain quality to be used for DNA.  Evidence that is good enough to meet reporting standards, those are the items that receive statistical analysis.

All of the alleles (skin cells on Michelle’s nightgown) was consistent with Michelle, Steven and Fred.

Defense – no redirect.

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 1:43 pm

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Ragsdale cont’d

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Still going through the blood stains on the carpet. for pics and DNA results.

The defense is pretty well running through every single piece of evidence and their results.

We’re in recess now

Written by Melissa Hudson

October 10, 2008 at 12:17 pm

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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

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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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