WASHINGTON - A big argument sparked in court Wednesday morning over hair testing results that the jury may never hear in the Mansion Murders trial.
Prosecutor Christopher Bruckmann called ATF trace evidence expert Amy Michaud to the witness stand and she testified that she'd received items from the fire and murder scene on Woodland Drive.
As Michaud was discussing the scientific difference between hairs found on arms, legs and heads, public defender Judy Pipe objected.
During a long and vigorous bench conference, it was clear the prosecution was going to have Michaud testify there was in the evidence, "a human head hair that originated from an African American."
Pipe argued that the defense was not made aware of this specific testimony and therefore was not able to rebut.
Prosecutor Laura Bach fired back, "It's there! They have it. They should have read the reports!"
Noting that the hair could be a key piece of evidence, Judge Juliet McKenna said she wanted to proceed with caution.
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"This is common sense, straightforward testimony," McKenna said. "Because hair analysis has recently come under scrutiny and resulted in convictions being overturned," McKenna stopped the hair testimony to allow the defense time to decide if it wants to file a challenge.
Det. Mike Pavero also took the stand again on Wednesday and he testified that when K9s at a scene detect possible ignitable liquids, those items are flagged and placed in sealed metal cans so the liquid won't evaporate.
While on the stand, Pavero opened up a can that contained the blue jeans worn by Vera Figueroa. The denim was pulled halfway out of the can for Pavero to verify. He told the jury that it still smelled strongly of gasoline, three years later.
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