By Krystal Spring/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
MISSOULA - Forensic analysis of the trigger of a gun prosecutors allege was used to kill a Blaine County sheriff's deputy provided only a partial DNA profile - not enough to make a direct link to Laurence Dean Jackson Jr., a forensic scientist told jurors Thursday.
Stacey Brown, a DNA expert with the Montana State Crime Lab, said that although DNA testing on a blood sample collected from the trigger area of the Glock .40-caliber handgun produced only a partial profile, Jackson could be a source.
"All I can say is that I can't eliminate Laurence Jackson as a contributor to the genetic material I found on the trigger," Brown told jurors.
Brown said she found numerous indications of red-brown blood staining on deputy Joshua Rutherford's service handgun. She said she took sample swabs of blood from the area above and to the right side of the gun's trigger.
Jackson is charged with one count of deliberate homicide and one count of attempted deliberate homicide for the May 29, 2003, shooting death of Rutherford and wounding of deputy Loren Janis.
The shooting occurred near a power substation on U.S. Highway 2, outside of Harlem. Prosecutors say Jackson led Rutherford on a foot chase before wrestling the deputy's gun away from him, shooting him in the chest, then turning the gun on Janis, who returned fire. Jackson's trial began two weeks ago in Missoula.
Brown said there was no apparent blood on the front or face of the trigger that she could test, but she was able to gather a sample from the right side and the area above the trigger.She said her analysis showed a mix of blood, from more than one person.
Throughout the trial, several witnesses have said Jackson's hands were covered with blood after the shooting.
During cross-examination, Jackson's defense attorneys asked her if the results of her analysis indicated that Jackson actually shot Rutherford's gun.
"So you can't say that Laurence Jackson pulled that trigger?" defense attorney Ed Sheehy asked Brown.
"I don't know that," Brown replied.
Brown also analyzed blood from the top, or slide, of Rutherford's gun. She said the sample provided a full DNA profile consistent with Rutherford's DNA, and eliminated Jackson and Janis as contributors to that genetic material.
Brown analyzed a number of other pieces of evidence from the crime scene. She said the sampling of genetic material she collected from Rutherford's flashlight showed a mix of blood, indicating Jackson as a contributor.
Brown said she tested three stains of blood on the jeans Jackson was wearing the night of the shooting. She said two of the three stains were consistent with a DNA profile for William Gone, whom Jackson allegedly fought with before the shooting. Cassandra Jackson, Laurence Jackson's cousin, testified earlier that Jackson bit Gone on the face while in her car.
Brown also tested apparent bloodstains on several areas of Jackson's shirt. She said Gone couldn't be eliminated as a contributor to two samples of a blood mixture she examined; the mixture indicated that more than one person contributed to the genetic material.
Brown told jurors she analyzed a section of the interior bottom right side of Jackson's shirt, which tested positive for saliva. She said she didn't know whose saliva it was.
Jackson suffered an injury to his right abdominal area near the hip the night of the shooting. On Wednesday, David Johnson, a dentist and forensic odontologist, testified that he examined photographs of the injury and found them to be consistent with a bite mark.
The wound is expected to play a big part in the defense's case. His attorneys have indicated they believe Jackson's abdominal injury was caused by a bullet fired from Janis' gun that grazed Jackson's side before hitting Rutherford in the left chest, killing him.
Brown said she performed a representative sampling of blood evidence she received from areas on Jackson's body, including his chest, stomach, face and right arm. She said the samples she tested all showed a mixture of genetic material that indicated Jackson as a major contributor, but couldn't eliminate Rutherford as a minor contributor.
Sheehy asked her what database she used for her DNA testing and statistical information. She said she compared her analyses to caucasians - despite the fact that Rutherford, Janis, Jackson and Gone are all American Indians - because the FBI doesn't have a Native American database she can reference. Brown said using the caucasian database can lead to discrepancies.
"Typically we say it could have a potential of a tenfold discrepancy," she told jurors.
The prosecution is expected to wrap up testimony sometime today.