The PCSP investigator who interviewed Michael Steege—the eyewitness who
previously testified that he saw Dustin McCowan walking southbound along
C.R. 650W at 2:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, 2011—did not show Steele a photo
lineup because, he says, McCowan’s picture had already been published in the
Under direct examination on Wednesday, Det. Sgt. Tim Manteuffel testified
very briefly about the ATF trace he did on the Smith & Wesson .38 Special
Airlite which McCowan’s father, Elliott McCowan, told investigators is
missing from beneath the sofa. Manteuffel stated that he was able to confirm
that Elliott McCowan had previously purchased the handgun from a Lake
Defense attorney John Vouga, however, wanted to discuss Manteuffel’s
interview with Steege. During that interview, as Vouga asked Manteuffel to
recall, Steege described the figure he saw early that morning as being 5’
6’’ to 5’ 8’’ in height. “And you said ‘Are you sure he wasn’t taller?’” To
which Steege replied “‘Well, maybe 5’ 9’’ in height.’ Do you recall that?”
Vouga asked Manteuffel.
Manteuffel said he did.
“Do you know that Dustin McCowan is 6’ 3’’ and weighs 175 pounds?” Vouga
“I do now,” Manteuffel replied.
Normally, in a photo lineup, you would show pictures of six people with
generally the same features, to make it more difficult for a witness to
identify the suspect in question? Vouga asked.
Manteuffel agreed that normally he would.
Under re-direct examination, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Cheryl Polarek
asked Manteuffel whether “it made sense to use Dustin McCowan’s photo” in a
lineup because it had already been published in the newspapers.
Manteuffel said that it wouldn’t have made any sense and “That’s why I
didn’t use it.”
Under re-cross examination, Manteuffel testified that, had he wanted to, he
could have had another mugshot of McCowan taken and used that in a photo
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For his part, Det. Lt. Eric Jones testified under direct examination that
Elliott McCowan told him, early on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 18, that he
was unable to find the .38 Special Airlite five-shot revolver which he kept
loaded under the sofa in the living.
When subsequently asked to provide any ammunition for that handgun which he
might have on hand, Elliott McCowan did so, Jones stated.
Under cross-examination, Vouga asked Jones whether Dustin McCowan wasn’t
already in custody and being questioned by PCSP investigators when Elliott
McCowan advised him of the missing .38.
Jones said that he was already in custody.
Elliott McCowan “could have said nothing about that gun?”
“Yes, that’s true,” Jones said.
Meanwhile, Brooke Hutchins—the twin sister of Brandon Hutchins, Dustin
McCowan’s best friend—and her mother, Kim Howe, testified about the visit
they had at 5 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, from McCowan and Allison Bolde.
Under direct examination, Hutchins described McCowan’s demeanor at the time
as “pretty relaxed” and said that “I thought he would have been more
stressed out.” Cross examined by defense attorney Nick Barnes, Hutchins
said, among other things, that at that time her brother Brandon did not
appear unduly worried either, when she spoke with him on the phone. She also
said that McCowan showed no signs of intoxication during the early-morning
Next, Howe testified under direct examination that McCowan appeared “his
normal self,” that is, “reserved, laid back,” although she also stated that,
at some point, McCowan went to the bathroom, where she thought she heard him
vomiting. Howe stated as well that, while making calls to friends asking
them whether they knew of Bach’s whereabouts, McCowan “sounded like a tape
recorder, like he was programmed” and that he kept “saying the same thing
over and over and over.”
Under cross-examination, Vouga asked Howe whether, when she later kissed
him, she smelled vomit on his breath. Howe said she did not.
And Vouga wondered why the police officer to whom she described McCowan’s
demeanor—about sounding like a tape recorder—apparently did not make note of
that in his report. “So the officer just left it out of the report? Vouga
“I don’t know,” Howe replied.