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Crime & Courts

Murder scene photos on display in Day 5 of trial

Forensic scientist testifies about carpet cleaner blood stains

The fifth day of testimony in the trial regarding Deborah Dewey's death included hundreds of pieces of new evidence entered by the prosecution, as well as detailed descriptions of the crime scene.

Clifford A. Andersen Jr., 68, on trial in Putnam County Court, is charged with first-degree murder and the concealment of the 2016 homicidal death of Dewey, his sister-in-law.

On Tuesday, Assistant Illinois Attorney General Bill Elward began the day by apologizing to Judge Stephen Kouri regarding the discovery of an evidence number error on Monday, as well as his repeated attempts to enter barred testimony on Day 4 of the trial.

"There's no need to apologize," Kouri said. "I'm very impressed with both sides, and the law works best when both sides are representing their positions as best they can."

Tuesday's testimony included Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigator Darrell Stafford describing the crime scene at 104 Fifth St., Standard, where Dewey's body was found, as well as the techniques and procedures used while evidence was gathered. He also described what was being seen in dozens of photos shown by Elward.

The evidence detailed how the 13-inch-deep grave was covered by branches, straw and manure; the way the body was concealed and recovered; and the debris and decompositional material found below it.

Prosecutors displayed images taken inside the Standard house that showed blood splatters on the wall and on a door that had been resting against the wall, as well as a large blood-stained area of carpeting nearby. Stafford said this area also contained fragments of a blue tarp similar to what the body was wrapped in, plus insect larvae and gray hairs.

Other evidence seen in the photos were marks on the entry door's threshold, which indicated something had been dragged across it.

After a cross-examination that questioned how many officers it took to remove the body from the grave, Elward requested Stafford to "remind the jurors of what was found wrapped around the victims feet."

"A rope," Stafford said.

"Which was used to drag the victim outside and into the grave," Elward said.

"That's the believed scenario, yes," Stafford said.

A rope of the same type was one of the items recovered when investigators searched Andersen's home.

Kevin Zeeb, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, testified the carpet cleaner seized from Andersen's home tested positive for blood on the cord, the inside and outside of both wheels. Blood and fibers were also located in the brush area of the cleaner.

Many items, including both of Andersen's vehicles, tested negative for the presence of blood.

While blood wasn't found on Andersen's cellphone, straw and debris were found inside its case.

The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday morning in Hennepin.

Andersen is being held on $1.5 million bond. If convicted, he faces 20 to 60 years or more in prison, with no possibility of parole.

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