Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Corey Lyons Double Murder Trial and what is wrong with Forensic expert Mike Ullemeyer's testimony

Well it has been a very long week for me so I am just getting started on my next posting subject “The Corey Lyons murder trial”. In my earlier work I really only dealt with a single discovery or event such as; HOW COULD THERE BE A PROPERTY TRANSFER ON THE VERY DATE THE OWNERS WERE MURDERED AT 1:30AM?  I am of course talking about the property located at 621 AURORA AVE   SANTA BARBARA, CA 93109   From the Santa Barbara County Assessors web page I was able to find a Transfer did occur on 05/04/2009 Parcel Number: 035-121-006. I will admit to being confused here since some type of probate or a reading of a will might be required before a transfer could even occur. As fast as an illegal act can happen here in Santa Barbara are you telling me law enforcement had concluded there murder investigation and allowed the transfer that afternoon?

 An as I have mentioned before the feedback and data from my blog shows me that the interest is huge and still growing with the Lyons criminal case so lets get my review started. What makes this posting even more intriguing is that we have case that has already had the first attempt declared a mistrial. I mention this because based on the actions by both the prosecutor and defense one might be able to tell whose strategy was actually paying off during the first trial. The lack of media coverage in the second trial I feel is in part to save face for our District Attorneys office who I now predict just might lose this case. So all I am attempting to do here is to read what has been reported and share with you what though or reaction is created by my doing that.
While reading a few media stories from the first trial I was confused as to why some accounts had the first 911 call coming in at 1:20am and others at 1:30am until I found a Noozhawk story that cleared this up for me. You see there were three 911 calls that morning with the first coming at 1:20 and the last being at 1:32am what is so difficult about reporting that Santa Barbara Independent or Daily Sound?

Next I read that “Sgt. Marylinda Arroyo took the stand next and described her experience as the first officer to arrive at the scene of the shooting. En route to a rally point with other officers at Dolores Drive and Meigs Road, she passed Ricardo Avenue, which leads from Meigs Road to Aurora Avenue. A large white truck parked facing Meigs Road caught her attention as she passed the roadway. Its headlights were illuminated, but she couldn’t see anyone inside. After slowing, she continued to the meeting point before investigating the area where shots had been reported. When she walked down Ricardo Avenue half an hour later to move her squad car, the truck was gone.”
So I went to Google map and looked at the streets and how they laid out. It turns out Meigs and Aurora Ave. run parallel to each other. Now Aurora Ave is only one block long with Roberto Ave intersecting at the north end and Ricardo Ave at the south end.

So I guess my question here is why did the Santa Barbara police have only 1 rally point clearly leaving an unguarded exit available to the murderer via Roberto Ave & Meigs?
Next I turned to this media story and will bracket my concerns as they appear in the story.

Lyons Case Turns to Forensics

Crime Scene Investigator Talks Bullet Trajectory and Blood Spatter

Saturday, November 20, 2010
In total, testified Ullemeyer, it appeared five .38 rounds and four shotgun rounds were fired in the upstairs bedroom. He spoke to the jury about a composite image he had created of the crime scene — explaining he stitched together multiple photos taken from the same vantage point since he didn’t have a wide enough lens to capture to the entire room in one shot. (Ullemeyer later admitted not enough shots were taken to get a perfect sense of bullet direction, but said they were sufficient to convey the gist.) So right off the bat we have the key Forensic expert admitting to his unprofessional and incompetent work
 Ullemeyer also testified he believes the shots were fired exclusively from the near right corner of the room, near the doorway. Sanger would contest this theory later in the hearing during his cross-examination.( next our Forensic expert contradicts his later testimony when he says  “While Ullemeyer said he couldn’t say for sure at what angle bullets entered the victims' bodies — explaining it was impossible to know their exact positions when they were hit — he did allow for multiple interpretations of the scene”.) So than based on that statement are we to assume his statement could also mean that the location in the room the shots originated from could also have multiple interpretations?   

This next part is unacceptable by a Forensic expert and seems to go against Mr. Ullemeyer’s own standards.  "Physical evidence cannot be intimidated.  It does not forget.  It sets there and waits to be detected, preserved, evaluated and explained."
Herbert Leon MacDonnell "The Evidence Never Lies" This can be found on the home page of Ullemeyer Group, LLC Services Forensic Services & Training Resource @
Read his testimony below and ask yourself if Mr. Ullemeyer has forgotten to practice is own teachings?

“Ullemeyer then shifted to describing to the jury how and why he processed the home’s downstairs back door for fingerprints. All of the other doors and windows were locked from the inside, he explained, meaning the downstairs patio door was most likely the entrance used by the suspect or suspects. There was no indication fingerprints would have been found elsewhere, Ullemeyer said, so he didn’t process any areas other than the door, its handle, and the rod — then removed — used to keep it from sliding open all the way. To fingerprint the entire house would have been “time prohibitive,” Ullemeyer explained. Ullemeyer said he didn’t find any prints whatsoever on or near the door, nor did he discover any trace evidence — used to describe hard-to-see and/or unusual fibers or hairs — on the bodies or anywhere else in the residence.
Well people based on the prosecutors later testimony below there seems to have been plenty of evidence later found else where that should have been available at the scene of the crime as well. I keep wondering if a door handle or hand rail between floors might have had Gun residue? “Auchincloss said. and, like a trail of breadcrumbs, he said, investigators found gunshot residue linking the 50-year-old to the shootings.” Everywhere the defendant was that night, we find gunshot residue,” Auchincloss said, listing the steering wheel of his truck, the seatbelt, the light switch in the truck, motorcycle gloves and even on Corey Lyons’ hands.”
Officers arrived minutes later and spoke with a neighbor who had dialed 911. He had a terrible feeling about the dark, silent house next door.” Based on this comment what about checking a light switch for finger prints or were all the killings done in the dark?

All this and I have not even called into question why I cannot find testimony from the 3 responding criminalist from the California Department of Justice lab located in Goleta. Maybe my observations mean nothing but maybe there is more here that I can expose later after the second trial has concluded.    

Below is some reference material I used to create this posting. As always I ask if you enjoyed my posting please share it with as many as you can, my pages viewed per day has doubled again over the last 45 days.

Larry “Magic”Mendoza Training forensic investigatorsCrime scene cop Mike Ullemeyer teaches forensics

Dianne Burns, senior criminalist at the California Department of Justice in Santa Barbara, receives and examines the biological evidence from the cases. "Mike is fun, easy to get along with and very professional," she said.
Blood spatters, footprints and bullet casings are all telltale bits of evidence. They can link a suspect to a crime scene. By Dawn Hobbs
Criminalists from the state Department of Justice laboratory in Goleta frequently respond to murder scenes to analyze the telling blood spatters and other evidence the killer leaves behind. "Blood-stain patterns are part of a reconstruction of the crime," said Charlene Marie, a senior criminalist. "They can tell you what could have happened and what couldn't have happened." She works with nine others who re-create and solve crimes through blood-stain analysis; ballistics; the DNA typing of saliva, hair, blood and semen; and the analysis of fibers, footprints and tire prints.
Local law enforcement agencies usually analyze latent fingerprints, but the Department of Justice lab does just about everything else. "We're a full-service laboratory," said Mr. Tate. "We do all biological fluids, like blood, semen and saliva, and conventional blood grouping. We also do controlled substance analysis, trace analysis and analysis of impression evidence, like footwear, tire tracks." The lab, which opened in the early 1970s and services Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, each year investigates about 2,000 drug cases, 2,000 alcohol arrests and about 200 violent crimes, including homicide, rapes and assaults with a deadly weapon.
When the death is the result of a shooting, criminalist Dave Barber steps in to analyze ballistics. When analyzing blood-stain patterns, Ms. Marie takes a holistic approach. "We look at the pattern, we look at the shape," she said. "I look at the size of the droplets. The fine droplets are often from a high impact, such as with a shotgun blast. They're sub 1-millimeter drops. But you need to look at the whole pattern." Blood spatters will offer different patterns depending on whether the impact — the velocity by which the victim is killed — is high, medium or low."Low impact is just blood dripping," she explained. "There's no other action but gravity working. Medium impact comes from something like a bludgeoning. You get a variety of stains and sizes of stains. You get some very small and some very large and, of course, it depends on the blood pool you're whacking into. One thing that helps us with blood stains is that we know the sub-millimeter drops do not travel very far, so they often help us with location." Just as crucial as where the blood landed is where it didn't.

"Physical evidence cannot be intimidated.  It does not forget.  It sets there  and waits to be detected, preserved, evaluated and explained."

Herbert Leon MacDonnell "The Evidence Never Lies"

Forensic Definitions


  Physical evidence encompasses any   and all objects that can establish that   a crime has been committed or can   provide a link between a crime and its   victim or a crime and its perpetrator. Examples of Trace Evidence;

Examples of typical trace evidence in criminal cases include fingerprints, hairs, cosmetics, plant fibers, mineral fibers, synthetic fibers, glass, paint chips, soils, botanical materials, gunshot residue, explosives residue, and volatile hydrocarbons (arson evidence). For such evidence to be useful, it must be compared to similar items from suspects, but particular care is necessary to ensure a thorough analysis.

  • Physical Evidence Processing
    • Fingerprint development & comparison
    • Blood Pattern Analysis
    • Crime scene processing
    • DNA analysis
    • Trace evidence
    • Impression evidence
    • Document services

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