LEWISTON – The sixth day of the Demetri Ewing trial was only a half-day in the courtroom due to witness availability, however, the trial is beginning to wrap up.
The state’s first witness of the day was FBI Supervisory Forensic Examiner John Stewart, who is specialized in mitochondrial DNA. He was able to walk the jury through the process of comparing the DNA profile in the hair found at the scene, to the samples from Clyde, Demetri, and Samuel Johns.
“What we found was that the DNA sequence from the hair and from Clyde Ewing’s [sample] had the same profile.” Dr. Stewart said. “Therefore, Clyde Ewing cannot be excluded from the source of the hair.”
After questions from defense attorney Greg Rauch, Dr. Stewart further explained that Mitochondrial DNA identically comes from the mother. So, any siblings of Clyde would have the same profile that was identified on the hair. Rauch questioned if he received a sample from Virginia Higheagle, as she is Clyde’s sister with the same mother. Dr. Stewart stated he did not. He also explained that theoretically, the two profiles would be identical, however, without seeing the pedigree and examining a sample, he is unsure.
Tara Martinez, who has worked with ISP forensic services for about six years with Latent Print Comparison was the last witness of the day. She explained she was able to find one latent print from the Walmart bag found at the crime scene. After a multi-step analysis, Martinez testified she was able to determine the left index finger of Demetri Ewing was a match to the Latent print on the bag.
In cross-examination. Lawrence Moran asked Martinez a plethora of questions regarding her qualifications, revealing to the jury she is not an AIA Certified Latent Print Examiner, however, she takes the test tomorrow. Moran also questioned why Martinez’s notes indicated Demetri was excluded stating the palm print card and the fingerprint card had no points of correspondence to the latent print. Martinez explained at first, that was her conclusion, however, after reexamination and flipping the print around, it became clear there was a match.
Moran also questioned Martinez regarding similar prints between family members. Martinez explained family members could have portions of the same fingerprint, however, no two fingerprints are ever the same.
“As the print gets smaller the chances of someone else having the same features could be larger,” Martinez said. “No two people can have the same fingerprints… There are distortions in latent prints. No print that you leave accidentally will be exactly as your fingers are.”
The trial will reconvene tomorrow at 9 a.m. and Daily Fly will continue its daily updates.