KELOWNA - Last week jury members in the trial of Keith Gregory Wiens heard key evidence suggesting the knife found in victim Lynn Kalmring's left hand was placed there after her death. RCMP Sgt. Diane Cockle said the presence of blood stains on the inside of the victim's left hand couldn't be there if she were holding a knife when fatally shot August 16, 2011.
But today, blood stain expert Joseph Slemko suggested otherwise.
Slemko was called to the stand by Wiens' defence counsel. Wiens is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Kalmring, his common-law partner.
Slemko described the “dynamic” nature of the crime scene police found in the master bedroom of the couple's Penticton home. While he says the blood evidence is insufficient for drawing any conclusions about the placement of the knife in the victim's hand, he did venture his own interpretation of the scene.
He believes there was a logical progression of blood stain events happening within milliseconds, all stemming from the gunshot.
First Kalmring would have been standing near the foot of the bed when the wound was inflicted, projecting the large pool of blood found on a lavender bathrobe. Collapsing backwards toward the door, blood would flowed from the victim's mouth down her chin, chest and possibly thighs. As her body fell into a seated position, blood would spurt from her breached arteries.
The motion of her body clenching inwards could have caused her left hand to hit the body, wiping it in blood. When she collapsed on her back, she was face-up, causing expirated blood from the mouth to spatter her face and clothing.
In Slemko's opinion, stains found on the victim's body likely came from the victim herself as she fell to the floor. Her nightgown could have wiped through blood or her thighs hitting each other could have made the swipe stains, he says.
The theory of a bloodletting prior to the gunshot, Slemko says, is a “huge leap” in analysis.
It's possible the stains found inside Kalmring's nightgown could have flowed downwards from the victim's head, he says. Photos of the victim's face show a fine spatter of expirated blood is evidence blood passed through her airways, he says and also noted it would also take microscopic examination of fabric fibers to determine how the stains were made.
As for the blood covering various surfaces of the victim's left hand, Slemko says he would expect such staining from the victim's body falling to the floor. In a matter of milliseconds her palm could have touched the source of blood
“There's nothing to suggest... the hand was manipulated,” he says. If it was, there would be more obvious stains on the back of her hand and on the floor.
“It's more probable the knife was in the hand,” when the bloodstains were made, he says.
Slemko also found the knife staining consistent with blood on the victim's hand.
“They all seem to line up,” he says.
Slemko will be cross-examined by crown counsel tomorrow.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.