No blood, prints on weapon: official
JOHNSTOWN – New York State Police Forensic Identification Unit Investigator Kelly Strack gathered evidence related to the death of Gwenda Lisman and testified on Friday that no blood or fingerprints were found on the suspected murder weapon or the spent casings found at the scene.
Police arrested James Dibble July 2 in the death of Lisman, 58, who was found July 1 at 11:19 a.m. by a neighbor at Lisman’s home at 227 Mud Road, authorities said.
Dibble, 30, was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder along with other charges related to the theft of items belonging to his mother and her ex-boyfriend.
Testifying Friday during Dibble’s trial in Fulton County Court, Strack said based on the evidence she gathered at the scene, Lisman was most likely standing near the mid-section of the bed when she was shot for the first time. She also said because of the different traces and pools of blood her body was moved at some point before the second shot.
On Thursday, Rensselaer County Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Sikirica testified Lisman died from two fatal gunshot wounds to the back of the head. He explained autopsy photos, telling the jury the first shot that hit Lisman was from close range because it left “powder tattooing,” which is caused by the barrel being close to the head when fired. He said the second shot was from farther away.
Strack said the suspected murder weapon, a .22-caliber single shot-rifle, was located in the spare bedroom, which other witnesses testified Dibble was using. She said it was located near a computer in the room along with a baggie containing eight Remington bullets and also two spent casings of the same brand were found next to the bag and in the chamber of the weapon.
However, Defense Attorney Robert Abdella asked Strack if any blood or fingerprints were found on the gun or muzzle, and she said there were neither. She also testified no prints were found on the fired casings either.
Earlier in the day, Abdella also questioned a DNA report dated Sept. 9, 2013, which revealed an unidentified drop of blood was found in one of the closed dresser drawers next to the body. Both Strack and Fulton County Sheriff’s Investigator Bryan Novak said the blood didn’t appear to be related to the incident.
They both said the color of the blood was different than the blood found around Lisman’s body. Strack said it was much darker and almost looked like a “wood stain.” Sira asked her whether blood will darken over time, and Strack said it does.
She said the blood stain “appeared to be older.”
She also stated the shower had moisture on the walls, indicating it was used recently, but a serology test showed no blood was found in the shower or sink of the bathroom.
Previously, trooper Ronald Dacre testified he apprehended Dibble at the Mayfield Marina near his mother’s green Mercedes on the evening of July 1 with a camouflage backpack, but he never searched the contents of that bag.
Novak testified he searched both the bag and Dibble on July 1. He said the bag had fishing supplies, six syringes along with a receipt from Walmart dated June 30, gold jewelry, a metal spoon and other various items.
Abdella asked if the contents in Dibble’s bag matched a person looking to escaped the area such as large amounts of money or clothing and he said it contained neither.
Novak also conducted the search of Dibble at the station and said there was no injuries indicating a struggle or blood found on any of his clothing.
On Thursday, Dibble’s ex-girlfriend Jennifer Valachovic testified she received a phone call from Dibble while he was in jail. Valachovic said when she asked Dibble what was wrong with him, he stated his mother’s death was “an accident when he was cleaning the gun.”
However, Abdella asked Novak on Friday if the department ever records conversations between inmates and the people they call while in custody. Abdella said they do, but when he checked for the conversation between the Dibble and Valachovic there was no recording.
Donna Nellis previously testified she saw dirty dishes on the sink and stove and a dirty ashtray on the kitchen table when she discovered Lisman’s body. She said Lisman never left dirty dishes around and never allowed smoking in her house.
On Friday, Abdella asked Strack if marijuana was found growing on the premises and she stated there was. He then questioned if any marijuana paraphernalia was found in Lisman’s personal belongings and Strack said she did find items including burnt marijuana.
Strack said when she searched the Mercedes she found a bag of marijuana along with a pipe, a spoon with residue, a Taco Bell receipt dated July 1, a prescription belonging to the victim and wax paper consistent with the packaging of heroin.
Fulton County Judge Polly Hoye notified the jury she expects testimony will conclude Monday afternoon and she expects summations, final instructions and deliberation to begin Tuesday.
The trial is scheduled to continue Monday at 9:15 a.m.