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Jury Sees Video Surveillance and Hears Expert Testimony

LEWISTON – Day three of the jury trial for Clyde Ewing was filled with expert witnesses and video surveillance allegedly linking Ewing to the murder of Samuel Johns on January 8, 2021.  

The first witness of the day was Britany Wylie, an Idaho State Police Forensic Scientist for Firearm and Toolmark Analysis walked the jury through her examination to determine all three bullets found at the crime scene were from the same 9mm. In cross-examination, Wylie said it is potential that another weapon with a similar caliber could have fired the bullets, and she doesn’t know if that was these bullets were involved with the shooting of Samuel Johns.

Idaho State Police DNA Analyst Eric Seat’s testified next to walk the jury through his processes of collecting and testing DNA in this case. He received a swab from the tape on the zip tie handcuffs found at the scene with a DNA mixture from three individuals. After comparing to the reference DNA provided by the Ewings, Seat was able to determine there was a likelihood ratio of 23,500 to match Demetri compared to a member of the general population. Based on the likelihood ratio of 52.8, it was inconclusive if Clyde was a contributor.

In cross-examination, Seat explained that it is not uncommon for the likelihood ratio to be in the nonillions, however, 100 is the cutoff to determine inclusion.

Lewiston Police Detective Joseph Stormes was the next state witness to provide another point of view on the investigation into the homicide. Detective Stormes explained he started the night assisting with interviews at the station. Then, went back to the crime scene to take photos that were shown to the jury and investigate the residence and surrounding area.

Photos of bike tracks on the ground leaving the area were shown as Detective Stormes testified that the tread on the bikes obtained from the Hacienda Lodge 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.

Lastly, there was a video interview played between Detective Stormes and Johns’s mother, who is now deceased. She explained through soft sobs, that 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

Defense Attorney Rick Cuddihy further questioned what Aaron Middleton’s whereabouts for the night were. Detective Stormes also explained he believed Middleton was on some sort of substance. Cuddihy also questioned why the bike tracks were not further examined. Detective Stormes testified he simply noticed they were similar with his naked eye, and there was no further testing. He also explained that it is not uncommon for bikes to have headlamps.

The next witness from the state to take the stand was LPD technician Brian Birdsell, who performed a forensic examination on the cellphones involved in the case. He explained the processes for getting into each phone using specialized software. Among the evidence received once unlocked, there was a photo taken from Clyde’s phone taken January 3 that had geolocation traced back to the Hacienda Lodge showing a bear maze, shotgun shells, and more.

Birdsell also explained videos from 11 different locations that tracked two individuals on bicycles, who are presumed to be the Ewings, 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.

In one video, members of the jury can hear two gunshots, and what sounds like an adolescent boy shortly after saying words that are hard to make out, following an adult male voice saying “F***”

In cross-examination, Birdsell explained that he is not able to identify the faces, exact clothing color, or exact height of the individuals on the bike.

The last witness of the day was Clarkson Police Department Sargent Brian Odenborg. He explained to the court, that as he was driving for another task during his shift during the night of the shooting, he drove past two individuals, dressed in all black, straddling large mountain bikes, with headlamps, and wearing masks at the intersection of 5th St. and Bridge St.

“It was odd seeing that in the middle of the night, two individuals dressed similarly standing there on the corner,” Sargent Odenborg said at the previous Ewing trial. “[After] I continued south to the police department. I believed in my mind it was Demetri and his father, based on the numerous contacts with them we had the entire year leading up to January.”

Court will reconvene Thursday, May 19 at 9 a.m. and Daily Fly will continue their daily updates