Edward Dashnaw

Edward A. Dashnaw entered the courtroom, unassuming in black slacks and white shirt and tie.

He sat and took a sip of water.

The Plattsburgh man, hands in his pockets, stood next to his attorney, Greg LaDuke, as the jury entered.

And so testimony began on Wednesday in Dashnaw's second trial for the 2005 murders of David and Lorraine Donivan.

The couple operated the House of Pine and Oak adjacent to their Schuyler Falls home, where the prosecution says they were killed sometime between Dec. 20 and 29, 2005.

New York State Police Narcotics Investigator Liane Colby took the stand first on Wednesday. A 17-year veteran, she was assigned to the Forensic Identification Unit at the time.

She was dispatched to House of Pine and the Donivans' home on the morning of Jan. 6, 2006.

As the prosecution questioned her, Colby detailed pictures of the kitchen and a three-ring binder in the room that included handwritten notes.

Colby also confirmed photos of the interior side of a door to the business warehouse that contained an alleged blood stain below the handle.

A picture of the exterior side of the door revealed a handwritten note in the center window with the words: "Delivering Furniture" scribbled on it.


Dashnaw occasionally donned a pair of black-rimmed glasses as he reviewed notes and at times leaned over to speak to his attorney.

Colby identified photos she took Jan. 12, 2006, of Dashnaw, his right-cheek area and a left index finger with what appeared to be a pair of cuts on it.

LaDuke objected to the relevancy of the photos, but Clinton County Court Judge Patrick McGill overruled him and accepted them into evidence.

Testimony switched to Jan. 11, 2006, when law enforcement executed a warrant on 174 Quarry Road in Plattsburgh, a two-story house where Dashnaw lived with his two children and his mother.

The prosecution focused on a long list of evidence that Colby confirmed through photos and then the actual items. The first set of photos and items were from the downstairs room with two beds in the Quarry Road home. The items included a Tinker Bell comforter, CD and VCR stand, children's DVDs, "Harry Potter" game disks and DVDs of television shows.


Dashnaw allegedly stole the Donivans' truck and credit cards, making purchases after their deaths, including Christmas gifts for his children.

The second set of photos and items were from the upstairs room in the Quarry Road home. They included photos of the room itself, as Colby explained its layout to the jury.

The investigator identified a black plastic checkbook that contained Mr. and Mrs. Donivan's names and bank account number and a green checkbook cover with receipts and a ledger with Mr. Donivan's account number.

The last photographs and items presented to Colby included the upstairs railing and a garbage can that contained the black plastic checkbook cover wrapped in duct tape.

Following each set of items, the jury was shown the photographs as Colby explained their contents.

LaDuke objected to each item entered into evidence, and McGill overruled him each time.


After more than two hours of testimony, Colby stepped down and Investigator Scott Weightman took the stand.

Weightman, a 14-year veteran and investigator for the past eight years, was assigned in December 2005 to the forensic identification unit.

He testified to obtaining four test tubes of blood from Mr. Donivan's autopsy; swabs he obtained from Colby, taken from the warehouse door; a sexual-offense evidence kit he collected from Mr. Donivan's autopsy; and a buccal specimen used to create a DNA profile, also obtained from the autopsy.

Besides corroborating some of Colby's testimony, Weightman testified to two notes found on the sliding door of the residence. He said they were unable to obtain fingerprints from those notes.

Court adjourned at 3:53 p.m. and is set to resume at 9:30 a.m. today.


In March 2006, Dashnaw was indicted on 11 charges in connection with the murders and was convicted in April 2007 of each charge except second-degree murder. The latter charge had been included for the jury's consideration as a lesser inclusive charge of first-degree murder, which means he could not have been convicted of both.

After his 2007 conviction, Dashnaw was sentenced to concurrent terms of life without parole for the first-degree murders.

But in June this year, a decision by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court granted Dashnaw a new trial after finding that certain statements he made to police should not have been used in his original trial because a lawyer was not present when he made them.

Dashnaw, now, 42, had been serving time at a downstate prison. He is now held without bail at Clinton County Jail.

Trending Video

Recommended for you