Defense Challenges Blood Evidence in Markus Kaarma Home
The Markus Kaarma trial continued at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning after both the defense and prosecution had a chance to cool their tongues after a drama filled evening in the Missoula County Courthouse. (video is a portion of Kaufman's questioning)
Missoula Detective Guy Baker resumed the stand and Lisa Kauffman from the defense began her line of questioning.
Yesterday, Kauffman was reprimanded by Judge Ed McLean due to her line of "statements" rather than "questions" as she began her cross-examination.
Kauffman began by stating Baker has been on the side of the prosecution all along and has even been sitting with the state since the trial began.
"As a lead detective, your job is to serve and protect, correct?" Kauffman said. "That is correct," Baker responded.
Kauffman asked questions pertaining to Baker's role as a detective involved in an investigation, "garage hopping," and blood--particularly deceased 17-year-old German exchange student Diren Dede's who was found dead in Kaarma's garage on April 27.
Kauffman points to a picture of the white Buick in Kaarma's garage and the alleged blood spatter on the bumper. Baker previously testified that this, in fact, was Dede's blood.
"Do you actually know that this is human blood?" Kauffman asked.
"It wasn't tested if that's what you're getting to," Baker responded.
"But you would be guessing if you would know whose blood it is wouldn't you?" Kauffman said.
"I think it would be a formulated opinion," Baker said. "The blood on the bumper was consistent with the blood we found on the floor. I wouldn't say it's a guess. It's a deductive decision based on the evidence."
Kauffman pointed out to Baker the importance of "signs" that may indicate whether or not Dede's body was in a certain place, if the blood in the garage was actually Dede's, and the distance and placement of shots fired.
"I relied on science to determine where Dede's body was before and after he was shot and I used common sense with experience from crime scenes dealing with blood in the past [to come to those conclusions]," Baker said.
Baker testified he has been the lead investigator in about 750 investigations.
"I try to keep up on current things," Baker said. "I could learn something from a 10 month officer and if I learn something from them, I can adjust."
Kauffman reiterated points and facts made in previous testimonies and went over numerous clarifications with Baker about the night of the shooting including when he arrived at the scene, what he already knew before his arrival, the light source found in the garage and what happened when Baker returned back to the police station to proceed with interviews.
"We left the crime scene at around 4:53 a.m. to head back to the station," Baker said. "[Robby] Pazmino was in one room, Kaarma was in the other. Pazmino was interviewed first."
The defense pointed out that Pazmino had an iPhone that was recovered nearby the Kaarma residence--somewhere around the direction Pazmino was headed when he was allegedly running back towards Dede's host family's house.
"Wouldn't you agree," Kaufmann began, "that people who run from a crime scene have consciousness of guilt?"
"If someone is involved in a criminal act and they run," Baker said, "Then yes, I would say that is a reason for guilt."
Kaufmann pointed out that Baker never asked to look through Pazmino's phone that was recovered at the scene, nor ask him why he decided to change his clothes.
Lastly, Kaufmann noted that Baker released Pazmino before even talking with Kaarma.
"Would you agree that close to five hours had passed before you even went to talk to Markus?" Kaufmann said.
"That is correct," Baker replied.
At 9:43 a.m., one last piece of notable evidence was brought forth by the defense and that was Dede's death certificate.
The defense explained to the jury that a death certificate is created after a medical examiner has determined the "manner" and "cause" of death.
"Cause is the action that caused the death," Baker explained. "Manner is determination by category, or classification of death."
Kaufmann and the defense said there are only three categories in which death may be classified: homicide, suicide, or accidental. According to the death certificate and state medical examiner Dr. Gary Dale who testified earlier in the trial, Dede's death was said to be a homicide."
The prosecution later determined after the defense ended their line of questioning that there was another category in which a manner of death may be classified. Baker said that additional category is "natural causes."
Court was adjourned for the first recess of the day shortly after at 10:08 a.m.