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Colver trial: Attorneys debate DNA evidence

DEFENSE ATTORNEY Dain Weiner, left, enters court with attorney Robert Blasier and defendant Steven Colver, behind. Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY Dain Weiner, left, enters court with attorney Robert Blasier and defendant Steven Colver, behind. Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY Dain Weiner, left, enters court with attorney Robert Blasier and defendant Steven Colver, behind. Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene.

Attorneys in the Steven “Boston” Colver murder trial spent much of Wednesday and Thursday arguing over DNA evidence that could be used by jurors to link the defendant to the murder of El Dorado Hills woman Joanne Witt.

Deanna Kacer, a senior criminologist with the state’s Department of Justice, testified Wednesday that male DNA was found in the right and left hand fingernail scrapings of Witt, 47.

Kacer could not say whether the DNA came from Colver himself, but the defendant is accused of stabbing Witt more than 20 times on June 12, 2009.

Last week, Joanne Witt’s daughter, Tylar, told jurors that she could hear Colver and her mother struggle as her former boyfriend attacked her mom.

Tylar Witt has already pleaded guilty to her mother’s murder and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, which could earn her a lighter sentence.

Robert D. Blasier, the famed attorney who helped successfully defend O.J. Simpson in the former athlete’s 1995 murder trial, attacked Kacer’s findings Thursday morning during a spirited cross-examination.

Blasier pointed out the shortcomings of DNA evidence, saying that it was impossible to determine when DNA deposits were created on an object.

Blasier spent several hours questioning Kacer, arguing over how much DNA constitutes a reliable sample and wondering whether the male DNA could have come from multiple sources.

During her testimony though, Kacer was adamant that the male DNA found on Joanne Witt’s fingernail scrapings came through direct contact and not an innocent transfer, as Blasier suggested.

Also presented Wednesday was DNA evidence from a bloody hand towel found in Tylar Witt’s room after the body of her mother was discovered.

Kacer told jurors that the towel tested positive for blood and that DNA on the towel came not from Joanne Witt, but from her daughter.

Colver is accused of killing Joanne Witt in June 2009. Prosecutors allege Colver and Tylar Witt plotted the murder after learning that Joanne Witt had filed a statutory rape complaint against Colver after finding her daughter naked in his bedroom.

Defense attorney Dain Weiner told jurors during opening statements that his client arrived at the Witt house after Tylar murdered her mother.

Colver was expected to begin his testimony Thursday following the afternoon recess.

jratajczak@mtdemocrat.net

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Posted by on Jun 10 2011.
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