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May 7, 2013

Forensic investigators testify in Denno trial


The prosecution presented a series of about six over-sized charts showing how items tested were linked to Rennie’s blood.

On two locations of Denno’s boots, Murphy said, the swabs were a direct match from Rennie’s DNA profile.

But Denno’s defense attorney, Joe Brennan, challenged Murphy, suggesting the scientist had not swabbed the samples himself.

Murphy had written a 21-page report on his genetic findings, but the actual blood residue was swabbed from the items by a serologist in the lab.

“There isn’t anything in the report,” Brennan said, “to show where precisely these samples were taken from.”


The defense took particular issue with the description of the location “inside,” which could mean the interior of the boot and or the arch instep “inside” the foot.

“It doesn’t mean inside the boot,” Langey clarified with Murphy in a followup question.

Taking Denno’s left Michelin boot, Murphy pointed to areas circled near the heel and the instep, explaining that those marks indicate where the lab found and swabbed for blood evidence.


Before testimony closed on Monday, Sprague called Paige Baker to testify about hearing fighting that night last August.

The young mother of three has a second-floor apartment across the Ausable River, with a balcony that overlooks the iron bridge crossing.

Baker said she was outside on the balcony smoking a cigarette in the early morning on Aug. 26 when she overheard men’s voices yelling and swearing loudly.

“One of them said, ‘I’m going to f’ing get you,” she told the court and then described how the voices got louder and seemed to come closer to the river.

“Then I heard someone say: ‘Help me, someone, please help me, anyone,’” Baker said.

She said the yelling had continued for 15 or 20 minutes.

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