The jury in the
Upper Deck murder case Tuesday heard the conclusions that a blood stain
pattern analysis expert drew upon viewing photos of the crime scene.
Dean Marks, an
Indiana State Police expert on crime scene investigation specializing in
blood stain pattern analysis, testified Tuesday that the person who killed
Nicole Gland most likely attacked her from the front passenger seat of her
Gland was killed in
the early hours of April 19, 2017 behind the former Upper Deck Lounge, 139
S. Calumet Road, Chesterton, after she closed the bar. Gland’s body was
found slumped over in her SUV directly behind the offices of the
Chesterton Tribune at approximately 9 a.m. that day.
Gland had been a
bartender at Upper Deck. Christopher Dillard, who was a bouncer at the bar,
has been charged with her murder and has pled not guilty.
pathologist testified last week that Gland had been stabbed 21 times in the
head, neck, and torso, and had defensive wounds to her hands, as well as one
severe, post-mortem blunt force trauma injury to her head.
Marks, a 38-year
ISP employee, has conducted approximately 250 investigations involving blood
stain pattern analysis, as well as taught the subject at the Indiana Law
Enforcement Academy and to members of the FBI.
Blood stain pattern
analysis can provide a wealth of information that helps investigators
reconstruct events because it’s a testable way of indicating sequences of
events, movement of victims or assailants, or even types of weapons, and
results from such tests are repeatable, according to Marks.
Marks said he was
brought in on the Upper Deck case on Aug. 23, 2019, on which date he
reviewed over 100 photos from the crime scene and the forensic autopsy
performed on Gland.
Marks walked the
jury through a set of photographs from the scene and explained what he
gleaned from each one. Stains from inside Gland’s SUV and on her clothes
indicate a combination of stains from passive dripping, transfer contact,
and blood in flight, he said.
three main causes of blood stains: passive dripping, contact transfer, and
blood in flight. Passive stains are caused by blood being pulled to earth by
only the force of gravity, and contact transfers happen when a bloody object
comes in contact with another.
Marks said there
are three ways blood can become airborne: it can be cast off an object, sent
airborne by impact, or expirated (released by an action such as coughing).
Marks said stains
on Gland’s clothes and the windshield are from blood in flight. Small stains
on the back of her shirt indicate blunt force, while the chaotic pattern and
variance in size of stains on the windshield suggest expirated blood, he
said. Marks also noted “two small areas of contact transfer” on the interior
of the rear passenger door, which indicate a lateral motion.
An overall lack of
blood in the vehicle caught Marks’ attention, he said. Marks said he
observed less blood than he would expect on Gland’s shirt, the dashboard,
middle console, and driver’s seat. There was also no blood on the ceiling or
in the back of the vehicle.
Marks said it’s
most logical the assailant was in the front passenger seat of Gland’s
vehicle because that seat had no stains. “It was totally void,” Marks said.
“That’s an indicator there was an intermediate target that received that
examination, Dillard’s defense attorney Russell W. Brown asked if Marks is
able to quantify how much blood might have ended up on the assailant. Marks
said he cannot.
In a question
submitted to Judge Jeffrey Clymer, a juror asked Marks if it was possible
that a drop of blood could leave the front compartment of the vehicle and
end up on the ground between the front tire of the vehicle and the dumpster
it was found resting against. Marks said that wasn’t possible because the
blood droplet would have had to fly around a corner to end up there.
Since Brown has
previously questioned why Chesterton Police did not collect a red substance
that was photographed in that area of the scene, Brown asked Marks if he had
seen the photo of the substance in question and how he would have handled
it. Marks said he cannot tell from a photo if a substance is blood, but he
would have field tested it, had he been on scene.