Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Expert can't pinpoint location of attack

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

A senior forensic analyst and blood stain expert, who examined the taxi of murder victim David Krick and photographs of the sidewalk in front of 14 Durham St. where he was found stabbed 31 times, was unable to shed light on exactly what happened that Father's Day morning in and around Krick's cab.

David Sibley, a civilian attached to the OPP forensics unit in Orillia, was testifying Tuesday, at the trial of Richard Smith, 34, in Kingston's Superior Court.

Smith is charged with second-degree murder in the June 17, 2007, stabbing death of Krick, a 50-year-old Amey's Taxi driver. He pleaded not guilty to the crime four weeks ago when his trial began in front of a Superior Court jury.

Sibley testified that he found both "passive" blood stains and cast-off blood drops on the exterior of Krick's cab, but only "passive" blood stain patterns inside the cab, and most of those in the back seat area. He also explained to jurors that passive stains are created by blood droplets dripping from any "blood source," including the victim, his assailant or the weapon used in the murder.

Sibley said he wasn't able to determine where Krick and his assailant were located in the cab from the blood patterns he studied, nor could he estimate how long the attack lasted. He could only say that the Centre for Forensic Sciences had identified all of the blood samples collected from both the taxi and Durham Street as belonging to David Krick.

"I do an analysis, based on the blood that's there," he told jurors, under questioning by assistant Crown attorney Elisabeth Foxton.

"But just because blood isn't there," he added, "doesn't mean an event didn't happen."

Sibley described a series of passive blood drops captured in photographs of the sidewalk on Durham Street. The trail travelled in an easterly direction, he told jurors, veering toward the road at one point, and then back toward the inner edge of the sidewalk.

Jurors have already been told that Krick was found at one end of that trail, lying partly on the sidewalk and partly on the grass, his cellphone still in the hand of one outstretched arm.

It was there that one of his fellow drivers and a Kingston Police constable initiated CPR in an attempt to revive Krick before paramedics arrived.

Sibley wasn't asked to analyze the blood pattern evidence until 10 days after the murder, however, and the photographs from which he was given to work captured only the blood staining on the ground. He said he wasn't told exactly where Krick was found.

He described a large "drip pattern" at that end of the blood trail, however, where blood droplets fell on top of blood already on the ground, creating a distinctive spray pattern and indicating, he said, that the "blood source was there for a period of time".

Nearby, there was also a large contact stain on the sidewalk, created by a bloody surface pressing against the concrete and a pool of blood, which Sibley said was indicative of a blood source having been in that particular spot for a long period of time.

Sibley also examined blood on the exterior, rear passenger-side door of Krick's cab and testified the droplets had definitely fallen from above, flowed down the closed door and angled back in a way that suggested they'd been deposited before Krick's cab was stolen and driven west to a parking lot off Macpherson Avenue, on the other side of Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard.

He found a pattern of cast-off blood drops on that section of the cab's exterior as well, which Sibley said he thought had been created by "someone with blood on his hand making a swiping motion." He then demonstrated the action, which Justice Douglas Belch described for the record as being similar to the beginning of a backswing in golf.

Sibley was unable to determine whether the person with Krick's blood on his hand was Krick's assailant or Krick, however.

Likewise, when Smith's lawyer, Gregory Leslie, suggested to the blood pattern analyst that a large contact stain on the back of the driver's seat in the taxi appeared to be a bloody hand print with fingers, Sibley said "I would never call it that."

He offered no theories as to what had caused the stain and refused to speculate.

Leslie questioned the absence of cast-off blood patterns inside the cab, if a knife had in fact been wielded in that relatively confined space.

But Sibley said there were a number of variables that could account for that, including the location of the wounds.

"If you're stabbing into clothing," he told the defence lawyer, "you're wiping the blood off as (the knife) comes out of the clothing."

He agreed with Leslie, howeve r, that it wasn't a certainty clothing would wick all of the blood from a knife blade as it was withdrawn.

Leslie told Sibley it had been suggested that Krick was seated in the driver's seat of his cab when his assailant attacked from the back seat. He asked the forensic analyst if his findings inside the cab could provide any insight. But Sibley simply told him "I can't say that."

The blood droplets, he testified, gave no indication of exactly who was where in the cab at any given point in time.

He also disagreed with Leslie's suggestion that, in light of Krick's blood loss, his assailant would also have been covered in blood.

Sibley did agree it was unlikely an assailant would be able to clean any significant amount of blood from his hands without soap and water.

He also agreed that using just water, he would expect blood stains on clothes to remain visible.

But the blood pattern analyst also agreed with assistant Crown attorney Foxton that an assailant's success at cleaning and hiding blood stains would depend on how much blood he'd gotten on himself in the first place.

And there was no way to know that, according to Sibley.

The trial continues this morning at the Frontenac County Court House.

Copyright © 2010 The Whig Standard

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