continued probing Wednesday for details of alleged missteps in the
Chesterton Police Department’s investigation of the murder of Nicole Gland.
in the trial of Christopher Dillard, who stands accused of murdering Gland
in the early morning hours of April 19, 2017, were Tuesday.
The Defense spared
no time Wednesday, the first day evidence was presented, in laying the
foundation for its narrative that Dillard is a victim of the CPD’s
attorney Russell Brown Jr. homed in on a crime scene photo that depicts what
could be a drop of blood on the ground near Gland’s vehicle, repeatedly
questioning CPD Detective Nick Brown and Chesterton Police Chief Dave
Cincoski on cross examination about why the reddish/brown substance was not
collected as evidence, while other items were collected and sent to
the Indiana State Police lab for testing.
Prosecution’s exhibit 34, shows a drop of a red substance on a small patch
of ground between the front driver’s side tire of Gland’s silver SUV and the
side of the dumpster her vehicle was found mashed against.
Brown told Deputy
Prosecutor Mary Ryan no samples of the substance were collected and tested,
to his knowledge. When Ryan asked why, Brown offered that CPD observed
changes in temperature and cloud cover that seemed to signal rain as their
investigation continued through late morning April 19. “We were working
against the clock trying to secure what we had before any inclement weather
came down,” he said.
examination, Russell Brown asked Nick Brown what he thought the substance
was, based on his years in law enforcement. Presiding Judge Jeffrey Clymer
upheld an objection from the Prosecution that the question called for
speculation. Russell Brown also asked on cross if this was the first murder
case of Detective Brown’s career; Brown said it was.
another objection for speculation when Brown tried questioning the Detective
on whether or not people who commit stabbings typically injure themselves in
Brown moved on,
asking why Nick Brown was comfortable saying the red substance in Gland’s
vehicle was blood, but hesitated to say the substance photographed on the
ground was. He responded, “Because it was outside the vehicle.” Nick Brown
said he based his observations of the car’s interior on the fact that
Gland’s body was inside, and she had sustained massive injuries.
The Defense then
turned to Nick Brown’s comment about the weather. “You were so concerned
about the weather that you worried about two quarters, but you didn’t worry
about the red substance outside Nicole Gland’s door?”
The Defense was
referring to Prosecution exhibits 62 and 63, two quarters collected from the
ground near Gland’s vehicle shortly after her body was discovered. Nick
Brown testified the quarters, along with at least two cigarette butts
recovered from the immediate scene, were sent to the Indiana State Police
lab for testing. Also found at the scene was a razor blade/utility knife
with brown markings, a small knotted piece of plastic/baggie, and a
green-handled serrated knife, Brown said.
Nick Brown further
testified that he didn’t know if the red substance near Gland’s front tire
was discovered at the scene or later upon review of photographs.
The crime scene log
shows Brown left the scene at 12:14 p.m. to follow the tow truck carrying
Gland’s SUV. Rain started just after the vehicle was secured in the CPD’s
garage, according to Brown.
asked, “Were you in a hurry?” Nick Brown replied, “Not a panic, but we were
concerned about the weather changing.”
Brown earlier gave
a detailed description of the crime scene and his activities and movements
on the scene, at the behest of the Prosecution. He based his descriptions on
approximately 60 crime scene photos. Gland’s vehicle was found in park, not
running. Gland’s keys, as well as her purse and cell phone were missing,
That morning, the
Prosecution’s first witness had been Gland’s father, Matthew Gland. He
testified that Gland was scheduled to work at the Upper Deck Lounge the
night of the crime. Gland said the three items that were missing at the time
of the murder have never been returned to him, and, to his knowledge, never
Prosecutor Armando Salinas asked Matthew Gland if Nicole kept anything
unique on her key ring. He said she had some “glitzy” things, something that
said “Love,” and elephants on her key chain. Elephants, he added, are his
wife’s favorite animal, “My wife imparted her love of that animal to our
examination, Brown asked Matthew Gland who Nicole’s boyfriend was at the
time of the murder; he responded it was Santos Ortiz. Brown then asked if
Gland had, in the days following the murder, asked Ortiz if he had anything
to do with what happened to Nicole. Gland said he did, because it was his
first instinct to do so.
Brown asked Gland
to describe his daughter’s relationship with Ortiz. Gland stated Ortiz and
Nicole had an “on again, off again” relationship for approximately two
years, and said it was never violent.
testified he “probably did” ask Chief Cincoski again if Ortiz was involved
when Cincoski updated him that a suspect was in custody.
testimony, Clymer released Gland from his witness subpoena, freeing him to
watch the proceedings from the audience.
Cincoski, who took
the stand after Nick Brown, also gave a detailed description of his
activities and movements at the scene at the Prosecution’s behest. He
testified that he placed evidence placards and took measurements to later
produce a scale diagram of the scene. He also called in then Deputy
Prosecutors Cheryl Polarek and Matt Frost to advise them of the incident.
Cincoski testified he collected the two coins, the razor blade, and the
When asked about
the red substance in exhibit 34 on cross examination, Cincoski said he
didn’t collect a sample or direct anyone else to collect a sample of the
substance. Brown asked what appeared to be in the photo, and Cincoski said
the substance “appears it could resemble a blood dot.” Brown asked if
Cincoski placed an evidence placard near the substance; Cincoski said he
didn’t. Prompted by Brown, Cincoski said he has investigated stabbing