Tuesday, day two of the State of New Mexico v. Aaron Daugherty concentrated on forensics and forensic pathology. Daugherty, 25, is accused of killing Valerie A. York, 25, and Mark A. Koenig, 23, on June 13, 2009. Police were called to the trailer park, 1207 W. Hobbs, space 13, around 2:45 a.m., where they located the bodies of the victims.
Both had been shot in the head. The district attorneyâ€™s office brought in Dr. Ian Paul, the forensic pathologist from the Office of the Medical Investigator who conducted the autopsies on York and Koenig, to testify for the state.
Paul described the two wounds to York, both of which would have been fatal. The second would most likely have resulted in almost immediate death. Paul said Koenig also suffered from two bullet wounds.
The wounds on both victims exhibited evidence of â€œstippling,â€ which shows powder burns and debris.
Stippling occurs when victims are shot within a range of two to three feet. In each instance, it was reported that the second wound on each victim revealed the most severe stippling and probably took place at a closer range. Defense attorney James S. Lowry asked if the number designations, first and second, indicated the sequence of the shots fired.
Paul said no, it was impossible to determine which shot came first. Assistant District Attorney Michael Sanchez called Steve Guerra from the Department of Public Safety Firearm and Tool Mark Unit to the stand. Guerra explained the means used to compare spent bullets to weapon, using caliber, rifling, or lands and grooves, found in a bullet after firing. Guerra stated that the bullets test fired from the Ruger Super Blackhawk found in Daughertyâ€™s car at the time he was apprehended â€œwas consistent with the partial fragmentâ€ found during the autopsy. Upon cross-examination, Lowry asked if Daughertyâ€™s weapon could be fired automatically, and Guerra replied, no.
â€œIt is single action and must be manually cocked with the hammer pulled back.â€ Carrie Zais, of the Department of Public Safety DNA and Serology [auth] Unit, testified to the DNA evidence that compared blood found at the scene to the blood on the clothing Daugherty was wearing at the time he was apprehended. According to Zais, the blood was a positive match for Koenig, with the odds of a match with any other individual in the Caucasian population, of â€œ20 quintillion to one, or a 20 with 18 zeros put in it.â€
Daughertyâ€™s blood on the right shoe revealed â€œa partial profile consistent with Yorkâ€ with the odds of a match of â€œ1 to 4.6 trillion.â€ Zais indicated that the blood located inside the cell phone found inside Daughertyâ€™s car belonged to York, with the likelihood of being matched to the rest the Caucasian population estimated at 1 to 5.57 septillion.
The blood found on the outside of the cell phone belonged to Koenig, with a match probability of 1 to 1.533 quintillion.
Zais noted that the entire global population was 6 billion. After lunch, Detective Ron Smith of RPDâ€™s Technical Services Unit of Crime Investigation Division, went over photos of the crime scene.
He testified to the various bullet holes located both inside and outside the building. He described the amount of blood found inside the front door and in the kitchen that â€œsprayed all the way to the ceiling.â€ During cross-examination, Wilcox stepped up for the defense. He questioned the possibility of crime scene contamination. Smith replied, â€œAn officerâ€™s first duty is to clear the building to ensure the safety of anyone who may remain inside. It would have been almost impossible to step inside the door without stepping in blood.â€
Wilcox also asked when Sanchez had been present at the crime scene and asked if Sanchez had been logged in and logged out on the contamination log. Both Smith and CID supervisor Sgt. Erik Hiatt, who testified next, said that it was standard for the District Attorneyâ€™s office to send over someone to examine a crime scene as complex as the one associated with the murders of York and Koenig. Wilcox questioned the mechanical malfunction that resulted in audio, but no videotape, of the initial interview with Daugherty.
He was informed by Hiatt that the law only required an audio recording, which they had obtained, and the faulty equipment had been replaced since June 2009.