DNA, fingerprints take center stage at Lufkin man's murder trial

DNA, fingerprints take center stage at Lufkin man's murder trial
Richard Taylor (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Richard Taylor (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Shirket Taylor (Source: Evie White)
Shirket Taylor (Source: Evie White)
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - During the second day of the jury trial for the Lufkin man accused of stabbing his wife to death, Richard Taylor's defense attorney questioned police witnesses about DNA evidence related to the case.

Taylor is accused of murdering his wife Shirley Taylor back on October 31, 2013. According to the Lufkin Police Department, Taylor stabbed his wife at her apartment at the Ministry in Action Living Center. Taylor was arrested later that same day by Corrigan Police.

At the time of the incident, Lufkin Detective J.B. Smith said Smith said Richard Taylor was visiting his wife, Shirley Taylor at the living center. Another family member was at the home, and he or she heard a commotion in the other room. Smith said the family member told police that Shirley Taylor screamed that her husband was trying to kill her.

During the second day of testimony in the trial, defense attorney Al Charanza argued the DNA evidence was sent way later than it should have been.

DNA was received at the lab five to six months later. Charanza believed the DNA was not sent because police assumed this was an open and shut case.

"I did not think that," Lufkin detective Jamie Jenkins said. "I thought I sent it. It slipped my mind."

Jenkins said Taylor did not appear to be under the influence. Jenkins also said a sexual assault kit taken from the scene did not contain any evidence of Taylor.

Jenkins told Carswell that the SANE kit was useless to him. Jenkins said he also submitted a knife for DNA testing but testing is tricky.

"It is very difficult because you are going to have multiple prints. If you have six people that come over you are going to get several usable prints. I assumed that we would find his prints and her prints."

Jenkins said he did not look for fingerprints.

Jenkins said he had information that Taylor did not live in the home with Shirley but that he was over there frequently.

Jenkins said he assumes that blood was not on his clothes because he could have had on multiple layers of clothes or was naked when the crime occurred. In Monday's testimony it was revealed Shirley had no clothing on when officers were called to the house.

Charanza then pointed out that there was no blood traces in the vehicle when police went through it. Jenkins agreed. Jenkins told Charanza that there was blood smeared by the bedroom but did not see any in the area between the bedroom and the bathroom.

Jenkins told Carswell that the police did not search Taylor's home because they were able to ping his cell phone to a location in Corrigan, so they knew he would not be at the home.

Christi Pate, a former crime scene investigator with the Lufkin Police Department then answered questions about her involvement with evidence on the case.

"The first thing I saw was blood on the floor," Pate said. "There was blood on the door knobs. There was clothing all over the floor."

Pate said she collected a swab from the bathroom, the knife that is believed to have been used as well, a buckle swab from Taylor, and a cell phone found in Taylor's phone.

Pate also brought other items of evidence other officers collected including two pairs of shoes and a white shirt and a wallet containing several miscellaneous items.

Due to other hearings, three of the state's remaining witnesses were unable to make the trial today so the case was called and will resume at 9 a.m.

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