Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Forensic scientist: Dillard's DNA found on Nicole Gland's shirt and jeans

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By LILY REX

A forensic scientist for the Indiana State Police Lowell laboratory testified Friday that skin cells from Christopher Dillard were found on the clothes Nicole Gland was wearing when she was murdered.

ISP Forensic Scientist Daun Powers reported she performed DNA testing and analysis on evidence collected in relation to the murder of Nicole Gland, a bartender at the former Upper Deck Lounge, 139 S. Calumet Road, Chesterton, who was killed behind the bar in the early hours of April 19, 2017. Dillard, who was a bouncer at the bar, has pled not guilty and is on trial for the murder.

Powers began her testimony by saying that phrases such as ďDNA matchĒ heard on TV are not the proper language for DNA analysis and that she would be speaking about probability and the mathematical relationships that can explain the data collected from evidence.

Powers said she swabbed and tested areas of the clothes Gland was wearing when she was killed and found a strong indication of the presence of skin calls from Dillard on Glandís right sleeve. Powers said it was 21 million times more likely that the cells belonged to Dillard than to someone else.

Powers also found a strong indication of the presence of skin cells from Dillard on the left upper thigh area of Glandís jeans. That sample was 640 billion times more likely to belong to Dillard than to anyone else. DNA from the right thigh of Glandís jeans, however, more likely came from an unknown person not related to Gland. Powers said this result shows ďlimited supportĒ the DNA didnít belong to Dillard because the scenario is only 12 times more likely.

Samples from the chest area of Glandís shirt were either from Gland or an unknown person. Dillard was excluded from contributing to that sample, Powers said. A hair found in the upper trim of the rear passenger side window of Glandís SUV was found to be from an unknown male, but that unknown male is not the same person who left skin cells on Gland, according to Powers.

Powers delineated the results she got from each item she tested. A hair found on Gland and a hair found on her steering wheel did not have sufficient root material for testing. Swabs of the interior of her rear passenger side door and fabric on the ceiling also didnít have sufficient DNA for analysis. Smudges on the inside of the rear passenger window and a cigarette butt found on the ground were from different unknown females. The female DNA inside the vehicle was not a familial match for Gland, Powers said.

Powers excluded Dillard from contributing to a sample taken from the rear interior passenger door handle of Glandís SUV. A razorblade from the scene had no blood on it. A white paper bag in the backseat of the SUV had only Glandís blood on it. Evidence collected for a sexual assault analysis kit during the forensic autopsy retuned no foreign DNA, Powers said.

On cross examination, Dillardís defense attorney Russel W. Brown asked Powers to clarify if Dillardís DNA was found anywhere in Glandís SUV. Powers said it wasnít. He then asked if people are known to shed 50 million skin cells per day. Powers said thatís true.

Brown also picked up a water pitcher from the table he sits at with Dillard. He asked Powers if its possible that his wifeís DNA is on that pitcher, transferred from him, even though she has never been in the courtroom. Powers said that was possible.

In a question submitted to Judge Jeffrey Clymer, a juror asked Powers if Dillardís DNA could be found on Gland the next morning if he had touched her earlier in the day. Powers said she couldnít say for sure that it wouldnít.

Other Testimony

Porter County Jail Officer Captain James Ryan Taylor testified Porter County Sheriffís Police Captain Jeff Biggs asked him to review footage from the jail to try to determine if Dillard was left- or-right-handed. Taylor said he observed Dillard using both his left and right hands to eat and gesture in conversations with other inmates.

ISP Detective Brian Kubiak said he was tasked with collecting security footage from the night of the murder that was captured outside a law office on S. Calumet Road. He reviewed that footage and the owner of that office agreed to copy and send the footage along, Kubiak said.

Kubiak said he also attempted to retrieve footage from two homeowners in the Pleasant Valley mobile home park and storage area, which is where Glandís phone last pinged and where a Police K9 picked up Dillardís scent and led Police to the storage units.

Kubiak said he viewed footage from one homeowner whose camera had water on the lens, which blurred the image. All Kubiak was able to see was taillights from a few vehicles. He said make and model were not visible. However, Kubiak found the videoís timestamp to be off by about two hours. The homeowner agreed to later provide footage from the right timeframe, Kubiak said, though he was not the officer who later went back for it. A second homeowner with a security camera also agreed to provide footage, but Kubiak testified he didnít know if anyone ever went back for it.

Jacob Schoon, a Griffith Police Department Detective involved in the Major Crimes Task Force, said he assisted in searching for evidence by escorting a K9 officer and his bloodhound. Schoon said no evidence was recovered along a trail the dog tracked south on Calumet Road.

Schoon said the dog alerted to a specific unit at the Pleasant Valley Storage area, but the unit was abandoned and a search of it yielded nothing of value. The Task Force also obtained permission to search every storage unit there that was more than 60 days in arrears and checked the roof of the storage building and found nothing of value, Schoon said.

Schoon also testified he was tasked with collecting footage from a homeowner in the Pleasant Valley mobile home park. Upon reviewing that footage, Schoon said he saw a small, dark-colored pickup truck drive down the Parkís main road at approximately 4:37 a.m. Schoon said his opinion is that truck was not Dillardís because of the size of the truckís wheel wells.

 

 

 

Posted 11/4/2019

 
 
 
 

 

 

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