Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Forensic anthropologist testifies in Dillard trial

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By LILY REX

Dr. Krista Latham, a forensic anthropologist at University of Indianapolis, testified yesterday in the Upper Deck murder case.

Latham is the director of UI’s Human Identification Center, which is the only fully dedicated forensic anthropology lab in the state. She is also board-certified in forensic anthropology--a status she shares with only about 100 active practitioners worldwide.

Latham testified she was contacted by Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan to assist in the investigation of 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.

Latham testified she examined part of Gland’s cranium that included part of the occipital and parietal bones (the right rear of the head). Latham said there were two “sharp force” wounds to the area she examined.

The wounds indicate the weapon that caused them was used in a downward motion and could not have had a serrated blade, according to Latham.

Porter County Sheriff’s Police Captain Jeff Biggs earlier had testified that he furnished Latham with a copy of the same type of knife that was discovered missing from a kitchen knife block at the home Dillard shared with his then-girlfriend. Ryan brought out that replica, a “slicer” knife with an 8.5-inch non-serrated blade labeled exhibit 111, to show the jury.

Latham said, “Something like this could not be excluded from what caused those wounds.” Latham added, however, that she did not directly compare that knife to the marks on the bone and that she does not have the technology to do such “tool mark” analysis.

On cross examination, Dillard’s attorney Russell W. Brown asked Latham if it’s true some serrated knives don’t leave striations on bone. Latham said she couldn’t speak to that because knives are not her area of expertise, and she usually examines remains without first knowing what caused a wound.

Juror questioned

Yesterday afternoon, Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer was notified that a juror reported an instance of someone trying to contact her about the case. The Juror was separated from the others for questioning under oath.

The Juror reported a coworker texted her asking if she was “a juror in the murder case.” The Juror said she did not respond, but then got another text, from the same person, that said another one of her coworkers is connected to the Gland family. She testified she also did not respond to that.

Brown asked the Juror if the connection between her coworker and the Gland family will affect her deliberations. She said it won’t.

Clymer ruled the Juror can continue hearing evidence and thanked her for reporting the incident expediently.

No court Oct. 31

Clymer said it came to his attention that the thermostat in the jury room needs repairing, and said the repairs will be completed today, Oct. 31. He said the jury will have the day off and directed them to return to continue hearing evidence Friday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m.

Clymer said missing a day will not extend the trial, which is scheduled to conclude next week.

 

Posted 10/31/2019

 
 
 
 

 

 

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