DNA provides link but no hard evidence in Kathy Blair murder trial
Shawn Gant-Benalcazar entered court Wednesday and gave a quick wave to some friends he recognized in the back of the room. As testimony resumed in his capital murder trail, crime scene analyst Shelia Hargis focused on technology that recognized the location of his cellphone.
She mapped where he was a few hours before Kathy Blair was killed in December of 2014.
"There are two calls that happen in the Galveston area, on at 11:50 am, and one at 4:25 pm and then you have another one, very hard to see but this little blue angle thing here is another call, right now near Austin, at 11:29pm on the 5th," said Hargis.
The cellphone data puts him in the general area of Blair's house and that vagueness is a critical point according to defense attorney Darla Davis. "What it means is that there is no proof he was at the house and the state has to prove that he was," said Davis.
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Investigators say Kathy Blair was beaten and stabbed to death after confronting intruders.
The jury heard from specialists who processed blood and DNA evidence collected from the crime scene. There is no DNA indicating a sexual assault happened and no hair follicles were traced back to Gant-Benalcazar but a small blood spot was found on his jacket and was tested.
Prosecutors admitted its not conclusive evidence. But in questioning Amanda Webb with the Dallas crime lab, prosecutors noted the results did not exclude Kathy Blair. "We'd just say that she is included as a possible contributor ... Correct, she is not excluded," said Webb.
A stronger DNA link to Blair came from blood found on the front passenger seat of a car that prosecutors have linked to the crime. It helps prosecutors establish a scenario where the murderer had Blair's blood on his leg --- left her home, and then left a smudge on the car seat.
Shawn Gant Benalcazar has allegedly admitted to riding in the car.
Thursday the jury is expected to watch a video where he not only talks about that, but also confesses to killing Kathy Blair. "Well, I think he was overwhelmed," said Davis.
The defense will challenge the confession. Not by focusing on the words spoken by Gant Benalcazar, but how the interrogation was done. "What it was, is that they did not read him his rights, even after it becomes, you'll see tomorrow, after it becomes apparent that he is a suspect, at least in the burglary, they don't ready him his rights, they don't read him his rights until they are done asking every question they want to and we just think that is not fair. We think that the law is they have to read him his rights and so that's our big problem," said Davis.
Before the showdown over the confession tape happens, its expected that most of the testimony Thursday morning will be dominated by police investigators.
Those who got the confession and by those who worked the crime scene.