A Calhoun County jury heard testimony Monday about DNA collected at numerous crime scenes in the 2011 slaying of a Wellborn teacher.
Tyrone Thompson, along with two other men, was charged in April 2011 with kidnapping and robbing 29-year-old Kevin Thompson before fatally stabbing him and leaving his body on an embankment off U.S. 278 in Cherokee County. Monday marked the start of the second week of Tyrone Thompson’s trial on a capital murder charge.
Shane Golden, who was at the time a forensic examiner with the now-closed state Department of Forensic Science laboratory in Jacksonville, said he was called on April 22, 2011, to the Jacksonville Police Department to examine the inside of Kevin Thompson’s silver Honda Civic, which had previously been found on Rocky Hollow Road in Anniston.
While examining Kevin Thompson’s car, Golden said, he found a fingerprint on the front window on the passenger side window. While it was not clear enough to extract, Golden said, investigators swabbed it for DNA testing.
In the trunk, Golden said, investigators found various food and clothes, as well as a brown shoe.
Golden said they also found a Bud Light beer bottle, a green glass with cigarette butts in it and miscellaneous clothing and paper in the car’s interior.
Later that evening, Golden said, he investigated a Ford Explorer associated with Nicholas Smith, one of Tyrone Thompson’s co-defendants. Smith’s car was recovered near the corner of 17th Street and Christine Avenue, close to where Kevin Thompson’s car was found.
Golden said he sprayed luminol into the car’s interior, where he detected traces of blood on the back of the rear driver’s side seat and on the door panel next to the driver’s seat.
Early the next morning, Golden said, he was called to the site on U.S. 278 where Cherokee County deputies had found Kevin Thompson’s body. Golden said he saw several reddish-brown stains on the ground in between the road and Thompson’s body.
Golden said police also found tire tracks, footprints, several bottles of Bud Light and a clear bottle of Bacardi rum on the scene.
Carl Mauterer, with the Alabama Department of Forensic Science, testified that he analyzed several pieces of evidence several months after it was taken from crime scenes in Kevin Thompson’s case. Mauterer said he mainly examined blood found on the items.
According to Mauterer, Kevin Thompson’s blood was found on a pair of black jeans, a steak knife and a black Nike shoe taken from a home on Net Street where Smith stayed.
Mauterer said traces of blood found in Nick Smith’s car came from a mixture of DNA sources, including Kevin Thompson.
While DNA samples taken from a fingerprint of Kevin Thompson’s car and tape taken from where his body was found offered little genetic information, Mauterer said, the DNA he found was consistent with Kevin Thompson’s genetic profile.
Forensic examiners who were with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2011 also spoke to the jury about their findings from examining tape found at the crime scene on U.S. 278.
The experts said they found no valuable hairs, fibers or fingerprints on the tape, but that the pieces were consistent with each other and came from a brand named “Comot,” which is manufactured in China.
Dr. Maureen Bradley with the FBI said brands like Comot are typically found in dollar stores and gas stations.
Eric Gilkerson, also with the FBI, said tire tracks found near the scene on U.S. 278 did not match the tires on Smith’s car.
Chris Wilkerson, who identified himself on the witness stand as a good friend of Kevin Thompson, said the two were talking on the phone on the evening of April, 20, 2011 when they heard a knock at Thompson’s door.
Wilkerson said Thompson remarked that he hadn’t expected so many people to come over before the call was dropped.
Wilkerson he called Thompson back. When Thompson answered, Wilkerson said, he promised to call Wilkerson again as soon as he got back home.
Wilkerson said he called Thompson again around midnight, and became concerned when Thompson didn’t answer. The next day, Wilkerson said, he called Thompson’s apartment and the phone was answered by Thompson’s aunt.
Tyrone Thompson is the last of three men to face trial for Kevin Thompson’s death. Tyrone Thompson, Smith and Jovon Gaston were each charged in 2011 with capital murder.
Smith and Gaston were previously convicted, and each sentenced to death. The state Court of Criminal Appeals ruled last year in separate hearings to overturn both sentences after Kevin Thompson’s family requested the death penalty at their initial sentencing hearings.