LEWISTON – Before the jury was brought in for the fourth day of the Demetri Ewing trial, the defense led by Lawrence Moran formally objected to autopsy photos of Samuel Johns being admitted as evidence.
“Autopsy photos are graphic and do not provide anymore necessary detail,” Defense Attorney Greg Rauch said. “We are not contesting that the person died of gunshot wounds… It will not assist the trial it will only seek to gross everyone out.”
The state argued there were 167 autopsy photos, and they were seeking to admit 15 to assist the doctor in explaining Johns death. Ultimately, Judge Jay Gaskill ruled on the admittance of seven photos.
Following this, the state called Dr. Jennifer Nara to the stand, the individual who performed Johns autopsy on January 11, 2021. She walked the jury through the photos admitted explaining how she get to the conclusion Johns cause of death was from two gunshot wounds. She testified that the gunshot wounds were at a downward angle, however, that does not help her determine the height of the shooter as Dr. Nara does not know the position Johns is during the incident.
The next expert witness was Britney Willie, an Idaho State Police Forensic Scientist for Firearm and Toolmark Analysis. She walked the jury through her examination to determine all three bullets found at the crime scene were from the same 9mm.
Lewiston Police Detective Joseph Stormes was the next state witness to provide another point of view on the investigation itself. He explained he started the night assisting with interviews at the station. Then, back to the crime scene to take photos and investigate the residence and surrounding area. Detective Stormes was the individual who took the video of the residence before evidence was removed that was mentioned yesterday.
During his testimony, Detective Stormes explained photos of the area surrounding the house. Evidence that was new to the jury was photos of bike tracks on the ground leaving the area. Detective Stormes testified that the tread on the bikes matched, in his opinion, the two sets of tracks at the scene. One bike had an aggressive, off-roading tire tread, and one had more of a road, smooth tire. Detective Stormes explained he also observed that each bike had a mounted flashlight on the handlebar.
Detective Stormes also explained to the jury there was a long piece of hair stuck to a pair of zip ties fashioned into handcuffs on the scene. Lastly, there was a video interview played of Johns mother who is now deceased. She explained through soft sobs, two individuals walked into the house, and a younger male, who didn’t sound female, told her to put her face on her bed. Then she heard two gunshots.
After this, City of Lewiston Systems Administrator Daniel Santigaeo was living a few doors down from the Johns house at the time of the shooting. He was able to provide law enforcement with a plethora of surveillance videos from his home on the night and applied a voice enhancement to the video.
The defense objected to the admittance of the video to the jury on account of Santiegaeo not having qualifications in digital audio. Rauch questioned Santiegaeo about certifications attempting to prove that he did not have the specific training or qualifications to alter the recording given to law enforcement. However, untimely Judge Gaskill allowed for the video to be submitted.
In this video, members of the jury can hear two gunshots and what sounds like an adolescent boy shortly after, however, the only word that can be made out for certain is the word “dad”. Following this, you can hear an adult male say “f***”.
The next witness from the state to take the stand was LPD Systems Court Manager Brian Birdsell, the individual who performed a forensic examination on the Ewings cellphones. He explained there was a photo on both the Ewing’s phones taken January 3 that had geolocation traced back to the Hacienda Lodge showing bear maze, shotgun shells, and more.
Despite objection questions from the defense again, Birdsell also explained videos from 11 different locations that tracked two individuals on bicycles, who are presumed to be the Ewing’s, from the Hacienda Lodge, to the crime scene, then back again with a different route. The court is able to see maps of the way cameras were facing and where they were located on a map.
Court will reconvene Monday, April 18 at 9 a.m. Daily Fly will continue to update daily.