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State Rests in Clyde Ewing Trial and Defense Calls Only Detective Erickson to the Stand Before Resting Thursday

LEWISTON – The jury in the Clyde Ewing trial saw the end of testimonies today as the state and defense rested their case. Ewing is being charged for Murder 1 after he and his 16-year-old son allegedly shot and killed Samuel Johns on January 8, 2021. The next state witness was William Schneck, an expert in trace materials analysis and owner of the forensic consulting business, Microvision Northwest. Despite objection from the defense, he walked the jury through his analysis of various pieces of evidence. Schneck was able to come to the conclusion that all the zip ties found at the scene, the Hacienda Lodge, and the new package from Walmart detectives traced back to the Ewing’s from video evidence were composed of the same chemistry, color, and shape. He, in turn, formed the opinion they were all from the same source. In terms of electrical tape, Schneck was able to determine, with the same analysis, that all the pieces found at the Hacienda Lodge, as well as, at the scene, (aside from the one piece found on the levee bypass) came from the same source. As for duct tape, Schneck was also able to determine the tape found at the crime scene was consistent with the roll of duct tape found at the Hacienda Lodge. However, there is a possibility they are from different rolls considering none of the ends matched up In cross-examination, Schneck said 80% – 90% of zip ties come from China and it is likely that one factory can supply zip ties to stores all across Washington. He explained he was also not able to say if all the zip ties he examined were from the same package.

Tara Martinez, who has worked with ISP forensic services for about six years as Latent Print Comparison Analysis 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, Rick Chiddihy uncovered Martinez was not a certified Latent Print Comparison Analysis. Martinez also explained that the print was flipped and originally was not seen to be a match. The state witness, Allison Laneve from RJ Lee Group appeared via Zoom to explain the process of finding and testing particles characteristic of gunshot residue on the nine items received from LPD. Laneve explained that all four articles of clothing she received belonging to Demetri Ewing had particles characteristic of gunshot residue, and each article had multiple two-particle molecules, consistent with gunshot residue. Meanwhile, four out of five articles of clothing belonging to Clyde Ewing contained particles consistent with gunshot residue, one with particles characteristic of gunshot residue, and one with nothing. “[This] means the individual wearing these clothes [either] discharged a firearm was in proximity or was nearby when a gun was discharged, [or] was in direct contact with someone who fired a weapon,” Laneve said.

During cross-examination, Laneve explained that there are agencies now, including the FBI, who do not analyze their own gun-shot residue. She also testified there are three possibilities for residents to get on clothing. Laneve testified she cannot tell the jury which one of those possibilities occurred to get on the evidence, she can just tell you it is there. Laneve also explained that there is other possibilities two component particles could end up on clothing like a car accident, fireworks, and more. Defense Attorney Rick Cuddihy also asked if Laneve could say for certain if the clothing was connected to the incident on January 8 as there was four days in between collection.

Laneve also explained that the three could have been cross contamination between the articles of clothing since they were all bagged together. The state’s last witness 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.” The defense’s only witness for the case was Detective Brian Erickson. He explained that the piece of hair Stewart was able to link to Ewing has been analyzed by three scientists and only one of which could link it to Ewing. Chiddihy questioned Detective Erickson about the interview he had with Virginia Higheagle. In response, he explained that Higheagle had not explained her phone was broken and that he downloaded the information on her phone. After going through the text and call logs, information from her phone was not presented to the jury because it was not deemed relevant to the case. Closing statements will be at 9 a.m. tomorrow, March 20 and Daily Fly will continue it’s daily updates.