WARSAW — Testimony Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of Brandon Thomas Woody and Kyle David DeHart for the deaths of Tara Thornburg and Josh Knisley, focused around investigators in the case and the search for evidence.
The cross examination by attorneys for the defendants questioned Syracuse Police Officer Joe Denton on why some of the photographs were taken, if fingerprints and/or DNA were found, what items were removed from the scene and why other items were not taken into evidence. Denton explained some of the photographs were general photos to show the overall crime scene. Additionally he testified no fingerprints or DNA were found collected evidence to be submitted for testing and in some cases no clear prints found. He also testified the numerous items on a table, next to where Thornburg was shot, were not taken into evidence. His reasoning was at that time those items were not known to be related to the murders.
He also testified when he returned to the scene on Feb. 27 to attempt to retrieve a bullet from a wall stud, the items had been removed.
During rebuttal questioning Denton testified the Indiana State Police Crime Lab limits the items to 10 for testing.
Indiana State Police Trooper Tim Carpenter, who assisted Denton in the initial investigation, presented photographs he had taken and diagrams. In one photograph he testified to a black glove and roll of gray duct tape being shown in the bedroom where the shooting allegedly took place. He also testified to a diagram he had created showing the projected path of travel Thornburg had taken prior to police arriving at the scene.
Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Detective JD Ayres testified to taking Thomas Hursey to the area where he reported evidence was tossed on March 4, 2015. The search was in a two-mile radius of the DeHart residence at 11136 N. 450E, Syracuse. Hursey was able to show police where the gun was tossed, due to a yard ornament. That location was on CR 1050N. Testimony also provided details as to how police came to learn of where the trash had been taken and the unsuccessful two day search of that location.
During cross examination Larry Hansen, counsel for Woody, asked Ayres if Hursey had mentioned having his slate wiped clean for helping. Ayres stated Hursey did make that statement but he, Ayres, could not testify if it was on that date or not.
Testimony was also heard from County Sheriff Sgt. Floyd Knafel who found the shoes allegedly tossed from the vehicle the morning of the murder by DeHart. One shoe was found on CR 300E, south of Bowser Road. The other shoe was found approximately 600 feet south of that location. The shoes were found March 9.
The final witness for the day was County Sheriff’s Detective Josh Spangle, crime scene investigator for the sheriff’s department. Spangle’s testimony focused on the comparison of the found shoes with the shoe impression photographed between the garage and a vehicle at 205 S. Main St., Syracuse, and the discovery of evidence at the DeHart home.
Spangle testified the comparison was sent to the crime lab. The results indicated the shoe was of similar size, shape and tread design as that found at the scene, but there was a lack of individual characteristics. Additionally his testimony explained the discovery the remnants of clothing found in a burn pile outside the DeHart home were connected to Woody. Some of these items were shown to the jurors.
The hearing concluded at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday and is scheduled to begin with the cross examination of Spangle at 8:15 a.m. today, Wednesday, Oct. 5.