November 14, 2012 - 5:43 PM
DNA found on the knife used to kill 16-year-old Ashlee Hyatt does not belong to the girl on trial for second degree murder, a DNA expert testified in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday.
Dr. Dean Hildebrand, from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, testified for the defence that the knife used to stab Hyatt contained a trace component of DNA in addition to Hyatt's. He testified, though, that it was impossible to make a conclusion as to whose DNA it was.
"Many people could be included," he said.
Hildebrand was one of the last witnesses in the trial. Closing arguments are expected Thursday morning.
Earlier in Wednesday's evidence, defence counsel for the now-18-year-old accused called a number of character witnesses but not all the evidence they gave was glowing.
SUSPENDED FOR ALCOHOL
The accused was described as a friendly, conscientious, outgoing person who is good to children and works hard, but she was also punished by one witness for an alcohol-related offense.
"I looked at (the accused) as one of the leaders of the team," said Andrew Burgess, who was the defendant's soccer coach when she was 13 years old. "She was one who others looked up to."
The identity of the defendant in the B.C. Supreme Court case is protected by a publication ban because she was a minor at the time of the June 2, 2012 death of Hyatt at a drinking party in Peachland.
Defense counsel Donna Turko called several character witnesses into the Kelowna courtroom. Each painted a picture of a girl who was always friendly, who was a competitive but fair soccer player and one who had time for everyone.
Another soccer coach who coached the defendant on an elite team for 16-year-olds said she was "a good player, a good athlete, strong."
"She had good speed," said the coach, John Hemmerling. "She was well-liked by her teammates."
In February 2010, however, Hemmerling said he suspended both the accused and a teammate for an incident when the team played in a tournament in Las Vegas. Hemmerling said he was notified shortly after the tournament that the two were subjects of a photo posted on Facebook, holding alcoholic beverages.
Hemmerling said he suspended them for two or three weeks. He said the defendant accepted the punishment and afterward rejoined the team. The other player did not.
Toni Burgess described the defendant as one with a great sense of humour.
"She was the goofy one on the team," she said. "She always made everybody laugh. When the game started, she had on her game face. When the game was done, she was back to her old self."
"There was something special about her," said Tracy Griffin, a former neighbour. "She was nothing but fun, had nothing but a smile."
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012