DAY 5 OF DOUBLE HOMICIDE JURY TRIAL OF BENJAMIN RONALD MARKI.
Appearing in Courtroom 205 this morning, Monday April 16,2016 before Superior Court Justice Terrence Platana for his jury trial is 42 year old BENJAMIN RONALD MARKI. He’s led into the prisoner’s box by TBPS Special Constables Brooke and Ryan are tasked with guarding Benjamin Marki in the prisoner’s box today. Brooke takes left side in morning and Ryan takes right side.
Marki is about 5’7” tall and average build. He’s wearing a light gray sweater with black horizontal stripe at mid chest level around circumference of torso. His pants appear greyish beige and they are Carhartt brand.
MARKI HAS A NEW HAIRCUT
Clean shaven with short hair. Has a bald spot of approximately 4” diameter on top back area of head. His new hairstyle is a cross betweeen Lloyd Christmas of Dumb & Dumber movie and Karl Childers from Slingblade movie.
Marki is accused of murdering 60 year old Wilfred Pott and 50 year old Anne Chuchmuch on December 27,2015.
MARKI is represented by local lawyers George Joseph and Christin Marrello. Crown Attorney Andrew Sadler and Katrina van Kessel are presenting the case for the Crown. Victim Services representative Shannon is in the body of the court guiding family members through this difficult process.
There are several members of the public in the body of the court and even some local paid media establishments decided to make a rare appearance to report. Dougall Media shows up late again and missed first 12 minutes of court.
Mr Scott Whitaker and his Grade 11 law students from Hammarskjold High School are here today. Scott is doing a lot of wonderful things with his law education program. He’s getting his programs to receive accreditation with Confederation College. This isn’t a teacher who’s content with the status quo.Mr. Whitaker is always seeking new ways to improve the education experience of his students.I know some students read this page and I’ll say this…. You’re incredibly fortunate to have a teacher like Mr. Whitaker. The education world needs more teachers like Scott Whitaker. Carpe Diem…..Seize The Day. You all came out on a great day of testimony. And you all had the opportunity to be able to interact with a respected Superior Court Justice. Always great to see the youth and a pleasure as always Mr. Whitaker.
There are 12 jury members, 9 women and 3 men.
First witness today is James Currie from the Center of Forensic Science (CFS). He’s the Assistant Section Head in the Biology Section. He’s been there since 2010 as a forensic scientist in genetics. Prior to that he worked in the crime lab in Seattle, Washington from 2002. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of British Columbia. The court recognizes him as an expert in Bodily Fluid Identification, DNA Analysis & Transfer of DNA.
He begin his testimony with some basic DNA education for the jury. He explains some of the terms he will use.
‘LOCI’ – it’s like the address of the DNA. LOCI is a term used for the DNA markers that are tested and reported on the DNA Testing results. On each report there are generally sixteen markers displayed, fifteen of which are used to help determine the DNA Test results.
The names of these loci are listed on the report.
‘PCR’- Polymerase Chain Reaction technique used in molecular biology to amplify a single copy or a few copies of a segment of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence.
‘STR’ – A Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis is one of the most useful methods in molecular biology which is used to compare specific LOCI on DNA from two or more samples. A Short Tandem Repeat is a microsatellite, consisting of a unit of two to thirteen nucleotides repeated hundreds of times in a row on the DNA strand. STR analysis measures the exact number of repeating units.
DNA is found in every human cell except for two. Those are mature red blood cells and cornified cells in the skin, hair, and nails contain no nucleus.
Currie testifies that DNA will determine gender and every person is unique with the exception of identical twins. He tells the court about the Castlemeyer test which is used to determine if a substance is blood or not.
ITEMS IDENTIFIED WITH BLOOD.
-hair from black lab dog Zeus
-hair from terrier dog Gizmo
-left and right shoe of Benjamin Marki
-socks of Benjamin Marki
-hand swabs and silver dragon ring from right hand of Benjamin Marki
HEAT AND FIRE WILL NOT ALTER DNA, IT WILL ONLY DESTROY IT.
THE POWER OF DNA ANALYSIS IS IN COMPARISON.
There were 3 distinct DNA profiles- Benjamin Marki, Wilfred Pott and Anne Chuchmuch.
In the case of Anne Chuchmuch, DNA was taken from her son James, to verify her identity.
The paper towel Benjamin Marki used to clean his hands in neighbour Robert Guitard’s garage. There were 4 samples taken. First and second sample were male DNA. Third sample not enough DNA.
FOURTH SAMPLE HAD THREE CONTRIBUTORS OF DNA. ALL THE DISTINCT PROFILES OF MARKI, POTT AND CHUCHMUCH.
Pott’s DNA on the paper towel and the knife, had a 1 in 3 quadrillion probability of it not belonging to Pott. There was a strand of hair on the knife that was not suitable for testing.
Chuchmuch’s DNA on the paper towel had a 1 in 390 000 probability of it not belonging to Chuchmuch. Currie testifies that this is due to the lower quality DNA because of less LOCI.
The left shoe of Benjamin Marki , three samples taken. First sample was single source female DNA. Second and third sample was not enough DNA present.
The right shoe of Benjamin Marki , three samples taken. First sample and second and was not enough DNA present. Third sample was mix of male but significant amount of female DNA.
The Helix brand denim jeans sent for DNA testing revealed DNA in the waistband that had a 1 in 57 quadrillion probability of it not belonging to Marki. The blood DNA analyzed on the front right leg of the jeans had a 1 in 31 billion probability of it not belonging to Anne Chuchmuch.
The hair from black lab dog Zeus had DNA on it that had a 1 in 4 quadrillion probability of it not belonging to Anne Chuchmuch.
The hair from terrier dog Gizmo had DNA on it that had a 1 in 1.6 quadrillion probability of it not belonging to Anne Chuchmuch.
The blood DNA on Marki’s socks had his own DNA. It’s a 1 in 57 quadrillion probability of it not belonging to Marki.
Currie testifies his science does not tell him how or when the blood was deposited.
CROSS EXAMINATION OF SCIENTIST JAMES CURRIE BY DEFENCE LAWYER GEORGE JOSEPH.
Currie admits he does not work for the Crown. His job is simply to test. The Castlemeyer test cannot differentiate human from animal blood. Joseph is not challenging the results from Knife B but asks if Currie knows where swab was done on knife. The scientist just receives the swab. He does not know what part of the knife it came from.
Testing was done on fingernails of Wilfred Pott. That contained the DNA of Pott and Chuchmuch.
Joseph inquires on secondary transfer and asks if Anne bled onto the dog, if that blood could transfer to Marki’s hands. Currie agrees that’s possible.
NEXT WITNESS IS TBPS DETECTIVE KEVIN BRADLEY
Bradley has been with TBPS for 10 years. This is his 4th year in Criminal Investigations. He’s the File Coordinator for this incident. He testifies that he put together the initial bail brief for Crown Attorney McKenzie on January 19, 2016 with a thumb drive of disclosure delivered in March 2016 and final disclosure came in September 2016 after all post mortem reports, lab reports etc came in.
He further testifies about the LCBO receipt dated December 27,2015 at 1:47 pm at 1010 Dawson Road. Bradley attended the LCBO to obtain their security video. Video is played in court and shows Benjamin Marki entering store going straight to vodka section to grab a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka. He’s wearing what appears to be blue jeans, black bomber style jacket with fur like hood trim and Cleveland Indians baseball cap with Chief Wahoo logo on it. Marki is wearing a backpack. Appears to be the same backpack found later that night after the fire. Marki purchases vodka by debit at Till#4 from female clerk then places vodka in backpack and leaves store.
CROSS EXAMINATION OF DETECTIVE BRADLEY BY GEORGE JOSEPH.
Joseph asks if he was involved with interview of Brian Walker. Bradley testifies that Walker came to TBPS station on January 9,2016 around 5pm to give interview. Marki was not arrested at the time but was under surveillance. No member of TBPS would have told Marki that Walker gave a statement. The Crown received the Walker interview in March 2016
Bradley is asked about scene security. Specifically, the garage of Robert Guitard. Bradley responds that there is no crime scene log but officers were there the whole time. Bradley cannot say what type of jeans Ben Marki was wearing in the video. Court hears that despite being under covert surveillance around the clock that Benjamin Marki frequently called police to inquire about the investigation.
BRADLEY’S TESTIMONY IS DONE.
GEORGE JOSEPH AND CROWN ATTORNEY SADLER COME TO AN AGREED STATEMENT OF FACT. THERE WAS AN ARSON. AND THERE WAS AN INDIGNITY COMMITTED TO A HUMAN BODY.
JOSEPH DOES NOT AGREE THAT BENJAMIN MARKI DID IT.
ALSO AGREED FACT IS THE 911 CALLS ON THE EVENING OF DECEMBER 27,2015
First call was at 10:23pm from the Guitard home regarding fire. He was called back at 10:27pm about directions.
Second call at 10:59pm from neighbour at 381 Brant St was abandoned.
NEXT AND LAST CROWN WITNESS IS TBPS LEAD INVESTIGATOR DAVID TINNES.
Crown Attorney Katrina van Kessel is doing the questioning. Tinnes has been with TBPS since November 14,1995. Just over 22 years now. On December 27,2015, he was off duty. Detective Whipple initially attended the scene but Tinnes was called at 11:20pm at home and came in to work. He refers to himself as the Team Leader or Case Manager and insists he’s not a puppet master. His role is to get the required resources. He prefers to let his team vote on issues. Sometimes he’s the tiebreaker and sometimes the team outvotes him. But it’s all done in the best interest of the team. He states that after forensic identification is done, the team will do a final walk through of the crime scene together.
CROSS EXAMINATION BY DEFENCE LAWYER CHRISTIN MARRELLO ON TINNES.
“Did you look at any other suspects besides Benjamin Marki? “ she asks
Tinnes responds “All the evidence led to Marki”
But he does speak of a crime stoppers tip suggesting Marki’s sister was responsible. He investigated and found out that Marki’s sister was incarcerated at the Vanier Correctional Center for Women in Milton, Ontario at the time for separate crimes.
Marki was released by police at 3:20am on December 28,2015 and a decision was made in the interest of public safety to have covert surveillance done on him.
Tinnes testifies that once they released the scene, Marki was anxious to get his methadone and other prescription pills out of the house.
THE CROWN IS DONE PRESENTING IT’S CASE. DEFENCE HAS CHOSEN NOT TO CALL ANY WITNESSES.
WEDNESDAY WILL BE FINAL SUBMISSIONS TO THE JURY.
HIS HONOUR JUSTICE TERRENCE PLATANA WILL CHARGE THE JURY ON THURSDAY APRIL 19,2018. THEY WILL THEN DELIBERATE.