Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesday, January 30: Trial day 2, morning

As the trial continued this morning the prosecution continued calling its witnesses. The following list gives the names of the witnesses, and information to which they testified during the indicated portions of questioning, whether direct examination (by the prosecution) or cross examination (by the defense).

*Patrick Morris, patrol officer with Murray Police Department

Direct - On duty at the time of the discovery of Shaheen’s body, Morris was dispatched to the scene. He described what he saw there, and then proceeded to identify several photographs of the scene which had been entered into evidence as exhibit 101, 102 and 103. That morning he had been instructed to inspect the scene and drive around to try to find a vehicle that matched the pieces left near Shaheen’s body. Morris said he traveled around several areas before turning on Wilshire Drive off of Bailey Road, and seeing a white Lincoln backed into a driveway with damage that matched with the pieces left at the scene. He took photos of the vehicle, and was the first officer present at Yonts’s apartment.

Cross - Morris testified that his normal shift is the 5 a.m. - 1 p.m. shift he was working the morning of Nov. 11, 2005. He testified that he had retrieved video footage from the Speedway gas station at the Five Points intersection but that he had not viewed it. He said he arrived at the scene at Coldwater Road at 6:39 a.m. and was at Yonts’s apartment at approximately 8:15 a.m. after beginning his search for the vehicle at 7:55 a.m. Morris said he had patrolled Yonts’s neighborhood before, and confirmed with the use of a map that someone inside the neighborhood would not be able to enter or exit via any other route, thus forcing them to pass by Yonts’s apartment. He said he secured the area upon his arrival at Yonts’s apartment, and stayed at the apartment with Paul Mills, graduate student from Lexington, Ky., and Whitney Overstreet, junior from Paducah, Ky., until 10:55 a.m. He testified that he was confident no one had entered the apartment except law enforcement officers from the time he secured the scene to the time he left. The defense also questioned Morris considerably about a piece of plastic that was broken off of Yonts’s vehicle and left at the Coldwater Road scene. The piece had been in the road, and the defense counsel questioned how, in a high-traffic area as Morris had testified that the street was, such a piece of plastic could go undamaged during the state’s proposed time lapse of almost four hours from the 2 a.m. accident estimate.

*Todd Clear, detective with Murray Police Department

Direct - Clear was dispatched to the Coldwater Road scene as well as Yonts’s apartment on Wilshire Drive. He testified about some physical markings on the pavement at the Coldwater Rd. scene that he said were skid or scuff marks from Shaheen’s shoes from the moment of impact.

Cross - The defense continued to question about Yonts and his roommate’s confusion about what was going on when police entered their home Nov. 11, 2005, and the lack of answers they received from police.

*David Townsend, officer, Murray Police Department

Direct - Townsend testified that on Nov. 11, 2005, he had been responsible for securing Yonts's vehicle and keeping it in his surveillance. He testified as to the integrity of the vehicle while in his care, and said no one touched the interior of the vehicle during that time.

Cross - The defense did not cross examine.

*Jay Herndon, officer, Murray Police Department

Direct - Herndon testified that on Nov. 11, 2005, he transported Yonts from his apartment to the police station, from the station to the Murray-Calloway County Hospital to have blood drawn, and then back to the police station. Herndon then traveled to the post office to deliver the blood samples to be sent to a lab.

Cross - Herndon testified that he was initially called to Yonts's apartment to transport Yonts, and was then given a search warrant for his blood, which he carried out by taking Yonts to MCCH. Defense questioned whether Yonts had signed a consent form to give the blood. Herndon testified that Yonts had asked him what was going on, but that he did not tell him because he, himself, did not fully know.

Redirect - The state questioned Herndon to confirm that he could not testify with certainty whether Yonts actually did not know what was going on or if he was acting as though he did not know. The state also confirmed with Herndon that the blood drawn from Yonts was pursuant with the search warrant.

Recross - Defense questioned Herndon about the signing of the consent form, and Herndon testified that Yonts signed the form willingly.

Redirect - The state asked Herndon whether it was generally a good idea for the form to be signed, and Herndon answered yes.

Recross - The defense asked Herndon if Yonts had asked to call his father at any point in time, and Herndon said no. Herndon said he was familiar with the DUI applied consent form which allows any suspect of DUI to contact a lawyer.

*Gina Owens, registered nurse, Murray-Calloway County Hospital ER

Direct - On Nov. 11, Owens, in her capacity as an RN at Murray-Calloway County Hospital emergency room, drew blood from Yonts. Owens testified that the previously mentioned consent forms to draw blood are signed as a release of liability to the hospital, and not in pursuance with the search warrant for Yonts’s blood. Owens said she has worked with many DUI suspects in her capacity as an ER nurse. She said protocol with a suspected DUI is to ask the suspect if he will have his blood drawn first. Yonts agreed and gave verbal and written consent. The kit was opened in her presence, she prepped the area where the blood was to be drawn, drew the blood and it did not leave her site until it was safely contained and she had signed off on the sample.

Cross - Owens estimated she’s worked with at least 20 different DUI suspects throughout her five years as an RN. She said if a suspect refused to consent to the procedure, she would consult with her charge nurse, but that this has never occurred. Owens reiterated that Yonts had signed the forms without pressure from any officer. Defense counsel Richard Null said Yonts gave his consent “freely, voluntarily and not as a result of any pressure (Owens) or the officers put on him.” 10:47 a.m. was stipulated for the record as the time of the blood being drawn.

*David Barton, forensic chemist at state police crime lab in Madisonville

Direct - Barton testified as to his contact with the blood samples taken from Yonts. He testified that he’d received the samples, assigned the kit a lab number, opened it and resealed it to be sent to the central laboratory for testing. He testified that he did not perform a blood alcohol test on the sample at that time. He testified that the kit was in the same condition as he received it when it was sent to the central laboratory via certified mail.

Cross - The defense had no questions for the witness.

*Chris Garland, detective with Murray Police Department

Direct - Garland was called to the scene on Nov. 11, 2005, and then to Yonts’s home on Wilshire Drive. He testified that when he arrived at the home he knocked on the door and was answered by Yonts’s roommate, Paul Mills, graduate student from Lexington, Ky. Garland asked Mills who the car in front of the home belonged to. Mills answered that it belonged to his roommate, Yonts. The officer asked Mills if he could come inside, and at that time observed blood inside the home. When he entered the home he observed more blood inside the residence. Yonts came out of his room and confirmed that the vehicle in the driveway did belong to him. Garland told Yonts that he would be taking him into custody as part of an investigation, and explained that the scene would be secured and a search warrant obtained. Mills and Whitney Overstreet, junior from Paducah, Ky., was also present in the apartment. Jurors then viewed a video tape shot by Garland of Yonts’s vehicle and apartment the day of the accident. Spatters of blood were seen in the foyer of Yonts's apartment, as well as smeared on the door knob to his bedroom and the door frame of the main entrance. Glass shards could also be seen in the entrance and closer to Yonts's bedroom. There was a fine glass dusting on the passenger seat of Yonts's vehicle as well as the jeans he was wearing the previous evening.

Cross - The defense questioned Garland and he testified that the blood stains on the dustpan that had been presented to jurors during direct examination had not been confirmed as matching with Yonts's blood sample. Garland also said that hair analysis was not done on the items, and no search was done at the Lambda Chi house. Garland said he was aware of the testimony that Yonts had cut his hand at the party the night before, but that he believed the injury was sustained when the glass from the passenger side window broke. The witness will remain under subpoena for further questioning if necessary.


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