Jurors in the trial of Joseph E. Dixon on Friday heard an exhaustive explanation of the policies and procedures involving DNA evidence in criminal cases, along with testimony that Dixon's DNA was found mixed with the alleged victim's at the scene.
Dixon is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Dolores Warner, his former girlfriend, on Nov. 22, 2011.
As presented by New York State Police Inv. Michael Lostracco in testimony Thursday, large areas of Warner's residence on College Avenue in Gibson were covered in blood when state police arrived there Nov. 24.
Police checked the home after a call from Warner's sister, who was concerned that she hadn't seen or heard from Dolores.
Police apprehended Dixon in Lawrenceville, Pa., on Nov. 25, 2011. One witness testified Dixon had expressed a desire to go to Tennessee just after the alleged incident.
Lostracco testified Thursday on the exacting process of documenting and collecting evidence from the crime scene, although Dixon's defense attorney Terrence Baxter suggested the evidence may have been contaminated.
On Friday, two prosecution witnesses discussed what happened to the evidence collected from the home, how it was processed and what they concluded from it.
Richard Brunt, from the New York State Police crime lab in Albany, again stressed the level of control and care taken in evidence handling at the lab, from labeling and sealing evidence bags to cleaning work surfaces between examining various pieces of evidence.
Brunt is a serologist and DNA analyst who checked the many swabs and items of evidence collected from the home to ensure they had blood on them before they were sent for DNA analysis.
Also on the stand Friday was Kristine Robinson, also a serologist and DNA analyst, who ran the genetic testing of the evidence.
Robinson explained the 15-point matching system used to identify a unique DNA profile, and how they determine if genetic material came from multiple sources or is too incomplete to identify at all.
She said that blood tested from a hooded jacket at the scene, as well as from the couch where Warner's body was found, the main bedroom, living room, kitchen and broken lamps from the hallway all matched Warner's DNA.
But another location on the jacket yielded blood Robinson said matched Dixon's DNA, and a spot on a pair of socks found near Warner's body and stained with blood included DNA that was a mixture of Dixon's and Warner's.
A previous witness testified that Dixon had admitted to beating Warner, and that Dixon said he had put socks on his hands to protect them during the alleged attack.
Baxter questioned whether Robinson could really be sure which two individuals contributed DNA to a mixed sample, but she said the results from the test were 111.8 sextillion times more likely to be from Dixon and Warner than from any other two people. That's 111,800,000,000,000,000,000,000.
Page 2 of 2 - The defense also noted that the testing couldn't identify whether DNA came from blood or other kinds of cells, or how long the DNA had been on the item before it was analyzed. Robinson acknowledged that.
She also acknowledged that she couldn't be sure that the evidence she analyzed hadn't been contaminated in some way before she received it.
Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker rested his case at the conclusion of Robinson's testimony.
Baxter then entered a motion suggesting that Baker had failed to make his case because he hadn't established intent to commit the crime, an element of a murder charge as opposed to manslaughter.
Dixon was initially charged with manslaughter before a grand jury elevated the charge in 2012.
Judge Peter Bradstreet denied that motion, and dismissed the jury for the weekend.
They'll return Monday at 9:30 a.m., when, Baxter indicated, he will be calling an expert witness.
Dixon faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the second-degree murder charge.