Skip to comments.New evidence implicates Westerfield: (Dusek Fires Final Shot?) Trial Thread, July 10, 2002
Posted on 07/09/2002 8:35:39 PM PDT by FresnoDA
July 9, 2002
A police specialist says she linked 46 fibers from four locations in David Westerfield's motor home, in every way she could measure, to 19 blue fibers found in the sheet that was used to wrap the body of Danielle van Dam, recovered in East County.
The witness, Tanya DuLaney, criminalist with the San Diego Police Department, was called Tuesday as the defense presented its case because she offered new prosecution evidence.
DuLaney testified she recovered 46 fibers from four locations in the motor home that Westerfield took on a weekend trip the same weekend that the 7-year-old victim disappeared.
"I was specifically looking for types of fibers we had seen in the case; primarily I was looking for orange acrylic fibers and blue nylon fibers," DuLaney said. "And I found a number of blue nylon fibers on tape lifts from the various areas of the upholstery fabric in the motor home."
They match 19 blue fibers found in the sheet that was used to wrap the victim's body recovered in East County.
"In all the ways I measured and compared the fibers, the fibers from the motor home were the same as the fibers found on the sheet," DuLaney said.
DuLaney testified on June 24 that hairs found in the shower drain in Westerfield's motor home could be Danielle's. Other hairs were found in a lint ball in his trash, among his laundry, on pillow cases and in the motor home sink.
Under cross-examination, DuLaney said she did not use all the tests at her disposal on all the fibers. She said time constraints reduced the number of fibers she was able to examine using an infrared spectrometer.
She said her laboratory does not use a melting-point test on the fibers because it would destroy the evidence and thus not allow a retest at a later date.
Dulaney testified she examined and inspected all the 46 of the fibers, but only 14 of them under infrared light.
Feldman repeatedly sought to ask DuLaney about her "testing" of the fibers, only to be interrupted by prosecution objections to his "vague" questions.
DuLaney said the fibers ultimately may have shared a common source, but conceded there was a possibility they did not.
Jennifer Shen, another SDPD criminalist, went on to describe how she found orange acrylic fibers on a towel in Westerfield's SUV and the interior of the SUV that were similar to a fiber found on the victim's necklace.
Shen said she found 12 fibers in the SUV's interior: one on the front passenger seat; four on the rear passenger arm rest and seven on the back seat area.
She said two of the fibers were excluded as having a common source, but that a representative sample of the 12 was similar to fibers found in Westerfield's home and on the victim's body.
Officer Mark Tallman, a San Diego police officer, was sent to the Silver Strand around 9:25 a.m. on Feb. 5 to see if anyone there had seen David Westerfield or Danielle van Dam.
Westerfield is a 50-year-old twice-divorced design engineer who is accused of abducting the 7-year-old girl from her house, killing her and dumping her nude body off Dehesa Road east of El Cajon. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Westerfield, who they believe is sexually attracted to young girls
Tallman was one of a number of witnesses called by the defense in an effort to contradict testimony of prosecution witnesses call in the case.
The officer's testimony could call into question the testimony of Donald Raymond, a volunteer at Silver Strand State Beach. Raymond testified June 13 that he saw Westerfield pull out his wallet on Feb. 2 during a dispute over whether he paid too much money to camp there. (Westerfield had told police he left the beach that afternoon after realizing he'd left his wallet back in Poway.)
The officer, the first to contact Raymond, testified that the man was initially unsure it was Westerfield.
Cross-examined by prosecutor Jeff Dusek, the officer (whose face was not shown on television for security reasons) said Raymond did provide information that led officers to witnesses who testified about seeing Westerfield's motor home parked at the Strand with the curtains drawn.
The officer also testified that he was told of only one camper overpaying that weekend for staying at the park.
Tallman was the first witness called to testify at the resumption of the trial, now in its 19th day.
The trial had been scheduled to resume with cross-examination today of a security guard who said she saw David Westerfield drive into Coronado Cays a day after Danielle disappeared.
On Monday, Heather Mack said Westerfield drove his motor home into the exclusive neighborhood in the afternoon or evening hours of Feb. 3.
Mack's testimony was delayed because she was late arriving
Westerfield smiled and waved at her as he drove past her security kiosk, but she never saw him again, Mack testified.
Such a recollection would provide Westerfield with corroboration of his statement to police that he spent the evening there, after being unable to arrive at Silver Strand State Park before its gates closed for the evening.
Mack, under cross-examination yesterday by Dusek, testified that she originally told a police officer that she ``vaguely remembered'' seeing Westerfield's RV.
Dusek began his session today by resuming his attack on Mack's credibilty, She testified that security guards need only pass a written test to qualify for employment. Mack passed such a test four years ago.
She was unable to provide Dusek with a precise time that Westerfield drove through. She also testified that, though it was the job of security guards to patrol the Cays and call authorities if motor homes parked illegally, she rarely contacted them.
"It depends if my supervisor tells me," she said.
Her account also conflicted with Westerfield's own statement to investigators. Mack testified yesterday she saw Westerfield drive up to the Cays entrance from the south, as if he were coming from Imperial Beach. Westerfield told police he entered the development while heading east from the Strand.
Mack's tardiness was not the only cause of a delay in trial proceedings on Tuesday.
The testimony of a San Diego police detective who took the witness stand was halted after a dispute arose over taped witness interviews.
Detective Frank Gerbac had just taken the stand when defense attorney Robert Boyce asked about an interview of Denise Kemal a friend of Brenda van Dam conducted the evening after Danielle van Dam was discovered missing.
Dusek objected, leading to a lengthy sidebar huddle between the attorneys and Superior Court Judge William Mudd.
After the jury was excused, Mudd said prosecution and defense copies of transcripts of four taped police interviews may or may not have inconsistencies. Attorneys were ordered to resolve them and call Gerbac to the stand later.
Another police officer, Michael Fisher Sr., testified briefly about a lengthy interview he did with Kemal, one of the visitors to the van Dam residence during the early morning hours before the victim was reported missing Feb. 2.
Defense attorneys appeared to call him primarily to show that Kemal wasn't initially truthful to investigators, telling them at first that she was certain that Damon van Dam did not come downstairs during her visit.
During her testimony, Kemal recalled Mr. van Dam did come downstairs.
On cross-examination by Dusek, the officer said Kemal appeared "unsure" about whether or not that occurred.
Another police employee was recalled by the defense. Jeffrey Graham Jr., the latent print examiner who confirmed for authorities that a palm print found inside Westerfield's motor home was the victim's, testified about a prints found in and arond the van Dam residence.
He told defense attorneys that he could find no prints matching the defendant's, including one found on drywall Danielle van Dam's bedroom door.
A woman who lived briefly with David Westerfield testified she saw the defendant's motor home left unlocked and parked by a neighborhood park, down the street from his home.
Christina Gonzales is the daughter of the defendant's ex-girlfriend who moved in around the fall of 2000, in an effort to escape an abusive relationship.
The work, the precise nature of which the witness was unable to recall, was performed on the motor home about two years ago, Gonzales testified. During the work, she and her mother would walk back and forth from Westerfield's residence, she testified under questioning by defense attorney Robert Boyce.
At least one child was playing in the park with a parent, she recalled.
Though the inference was that neighborhood children had access to the unlocked vehicle, Gonzales told Dusek under cross-examination that she never saw strange children inside the motor home.
She also did not dispute, under Dusek's questioning, that Westerfield's pattern for using the motor home consisted of leaving it parked in front of his home for a period of time before and after trips, in order to load and clean the vehicle.
"I don't know how long the whole process took," she said. "I would just take my belongings out, help clean up the refrigerator, that kind of thing."
Westerfield was not seen loading or unloading the vehicle outside his residence the night before Danielle van Dam disappeared.
She also testified, under more questioning by Dusek, that he normally took his trailer carrying assorted "sand toys," when embarking on desert trips. Westerfield did not take the vehicles during his rambling trip to Glamis on the weekend the victim disappeared.
She also testified that the only dog seen in his residence was a "little curly haired black dog," and that the defendant's son, Neal, was only a part-time residence of the household.
Judge Mudd told jurors that they may begin an expected week-long trial break as early as the conclusion of testimony on Wednesday.
Mudd that all available witnesses could be called by then.
"I'm completely confident that you'll be able to go to work on Thursday," he said.
The trial will not be held during the week of July 15 because of a previously planned vacation by the judge.
Mudd also urged the members of the panel to avoid any media coverage of the trial."
"Continue to avoid at all costs, synopsis shows, call-in programs, reading the articles," he said. "It's the only way we're going to be able to get a verdict from 12 individuals that hear and see the evidence in this coutroom."
Among defense witnesses yet to testify is insect expert David Faulkner.
Faulkner is expected to testify about how long the 7-year-old's body may have been left alongside Dehesa Road before a volunteer searcher found the remains among some trash Feb. 27. Defense attorney Steven Feldman has said Westerfield would have had no opportunity to dispose of the body because he was under constant police surveillance from Feb. 4 until his arrest Feb. 22.
|Defendant David Westerfield(L) consults defense attorney Steven Feldman during Westerfield's murder trial in San Diego July 9, 2002. Dozens of fibers taken from Westerfield's motorhome match those found on a sheet used to wrap the body of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam according to testimony by a San Diego police forensic scientist. Westerfield faces the death penalty if convicted of kidnapping van Dam from her Sabre Springs, California home and then murdering her last February. (Dan Trevan/Reuters)|
|Denise Kemal testifies during the murder trial of David Westerfield in a San Diego courthouse, June 10, 2002. Kemel, 28, testified that Brenda van Dam had introduced her to Westerfield, accused of the kidnapping and murder of seven-year old Danielle van Dam from her Sabre Springs home last February, at the start of a girls night out at a bar. REUTERS//Dan Trevan/POOL|
"The evidence is overwhelming, that Danielle van Dam was kidnapped from her home, that she was killed during that kidnapping at any point from the time she was taken until she was killed, she was being kidnapped, and she turned up dead down at Dehesa," prosecutor Jeff Dusek said before Superior Court Judge William Mudd ruled.
The judge said such a motion "brings to the court the question of whether or not, in the best light possible given to the prosecution's evidence, is there sufficient evidence to go to the jury from the question of the guilt or innocence of Mr. Westerfield on charges he is facing?"
"The answer to that question is yes. The motion is denied."
Last week, Judge Mudd warned the jury that the prosecution was going to present more witnesses. Tuesday it called as its last witness a police trace evidence criminalist. Tanya DuLaney testified that blue fibers found in Westerfield's motorhome matched fibers found around the body of murder victim Danielle van Dam and on clothes in his washing machine.
The testimony came during a temporary resumption of the prosecution's case against Westerfield, who is accused of kidnapping and killing the 7-year-old girl five months ago. The defendant faces the death penalty if convicted.
DuLaney testified she found a total of 46 blue fibers while examining the 1997 Southwind motorhome Feb. 6, four days after the second-grader was discovered missing from her Sabre Springs home.
Eleven blue nylon fibers were found on the headboard of the bed at the back of the vehicle, DuLaney said, with 31 discovered on bench seats, one on a front passenger seat and the rest on a couch.
DuLaney said she tested the fibers for the last time two days ago.
She said she compared them to "known" samples "taken from the sheet wrapped around Danielle prior to her body being wrapped in a body bag" and from Westerfield's washing machine.
"Did you note any similarities?" Deputy District Attorney George "Woody" Clarke asked.
"Yes, I did," DuLaney said.
The fibers were the same in every way she could test for, she testified.
Clarke displayed for jurors a series of photographs of the fibers side-by- side, showing how they matched by color, diameter and spots in the fabric.
Police criminalist Jennifer Shen testified that orange fibers found on a towel taken from a bag in Westerfield's Toyota 4Runner were similar to orange fibers found in a necklace on the girl's body when it was discovered Feb. 27 off a road in Dehesa.
"They looked similar to me to the fibers that I had found -- the fiber on the necklace -- from the victim's neck," Shen said. "They looked similar to the orange fibers that I had seen in the defendant's laundry, from in the washing machine, on top of the dryer, in the dryer. They also looked similar to orange fibers that I had found on the pillow case from the bedding taken from the defendant's bedroom."
The prosecution rested as soon as Shen's testimony ended.
In earlier testimony, two witnesses said that David Westerfield frequently left his motor home unlocked and parked near his home where children had an opportunity to climb inside. Westerfield's attorneys presented the testimony as they try to explain how hair, bloodstains and fingerprints from Danielle van Dam got into the vehicle.
One of the witnesses, Christina Gonzales, was the daughter of one of Westerfield's former girlfriends. Westerfield is accused of kidnapping and murdering his 7-year-old neighbor, but before an objection from prosecutors cut off her story, Gonzales painted a more sympathetic portrait of the 50-year-old defendant.
She told jurors that two years ago, Westerfield and her mother were living together in his Sabre Springs home.
"I was in an abusive relationship, and my mom and David were aware of that, and they were trying to get me to leave it," she said.
At their invitation, Gonzales and her baby moved into Westerfield's house. She testified that while she was living there, Westerfield frequently parked his motor home at a park up the street before and after trips to the desert. She said that the recreational vehicle was often left unlocked.
"While the motor home was parked at the park, did you see any children at the park?" Westerfield's lawyer, Robert Boyce, asked.
"I remember seeing one child with his mom," she said. "I don't remember if it was a little girl or boy."
But prosecutor Jeff Dusek pointed out that Gonzales never actually saw any children playing in the motor home. He also got her to admit that Westerfield usually planned his desert trips in advance and took his all-terrain sand vehicles with him on those trips.
"That was the reason for going to the desert, to play with those things?" Dusek asked.
"We did that while we were there," she said.
Westerfield told police that he left his sand vehicles at home when he went to the desert on the weekend Danielle disappeared.
Stephanie Escudero, an acquaintance of Westerfield, also testified about the motor home. She that Westerfield showed it to her once while she was attending a barbecue at his house.
"When you exited the motor home, do you recall if the Mr. Westerfiled locked it?" defense attorney Steven Feldman asked.
"No. We just left and closed the door," she said.
Several other witnesses testified Tuesday, including Jeffery Graham Jr., a police fingerprint analyst. Graham talked about a handprint found on a wall near the door of Danielle's room. Graham said that he compared the print with Westerfield's prints and was able to exclude Westerfield as the person who left the print. Graham said that police have not identified who left the print.
FIBER WOMAN ! ! !
Spunky; Rheo; Valpal1; spectre; Jaded; All snip~~
explosive as a confession
Other motions remained sealed on the judge's orders. The sealed motions discuss other potential evidence in the case, including evidence that Westerfield's lawyers label in court documents as "nearly as explosive as a confession." The lawyers didn't specify the nature of this evidence.
Westerfield's lawyers want to keep these sealed motions secret from the public through Westerfield's trial and until all his post-trial appeals are exhausted if he's convicted, according to documents made public today.
----------------------------- Ok, I misunderstood the first time..but I thought he was insinuating that it pointed to a third party..MAYBE IT'S HIS SON?? It's still seems like it's pointing to someone else..he just didn't want to be forced to use it right?
565 posted on 7/7/02 7:55 PM Central by ~Kim4VRWC's~
Does this mean Danielle rolled around in the SUV as well? Where's the hair. This is very odd. WHY DIDN'T THEY TEST ALL OF THE FIBER?
AHH! AHH! NO! NO!!
PLEASE!! Call them on my cell phone!
I will pay the bill ! I will send SUV's to pick them up personally! I will carry them piggy back..
anything but that!
I can now see all the names people call me without paging over!
Back on the previous thread, someone stated exactly what it was. I will see if I can find it.
|"Cops think Damon guilty"
Posted by jameson on Jul-08-02 at 04:58 PM (EST)
I have been in contact with a person in San Diego says a cop working on the Westerfield case from the beginning told her they believe Damon was molesting his daughter and may be involved in her death.
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