More DNA testimony in Norwood trial Friday

Testimony continues in Mark Norwood trial

Jurors heard more DNA testing experts testify Friday in the murder trial for Mark Norwood, the man accused of killing Debra Baker in her bed in 1988.

Several current and former employees from Mitotyping Technologies testified Friday regarding the analysis of DNA from the crime scene as well as a sample from Mark Norwood. 

Shelley Johnson, who works at Mitotyping Technologies, testified that from mitochondrial DNA testing, they could not exclude Mark Norwood or his maternal relatives from matching the hairs found at the crime scene. She also said they can exclude 98.9% of the North American population from matching two of the hairs found at the crime scene in Baker's home. But the defense pointed out that 1.1% of the population is a lot of people that it could match up with. 

Friday's testimony began with the continuation of a recorded interview between cold case investigators and Mark Norwood back in 2011. 

At the time Norwood willingly gave a sample of his DNA, a saliva and hair sample, to police. 

Lee Hernandez, who was a civilian employee for Austin Police at the time, testified that she collected the DNA samples from Norwood and sent them off to be tested and analyzed. The defense pointed out allegations against her at the Austin Police Department about mislabeling evidence. 

Gloria Dimick testified via Skype Friday. She got in a car wreck and was hospitalized. Her doctor wouldn't let her travel. She also works at Mitotyping Technologies. She testified that the second DNA extraction from the first hair from Baker's bed comforter went "perfect". 

Several employees from Mitotyping Technologies testified that the third hair in this case, the one found on the pink sheets in Baker's bed, wasn't in the envelope when it showed up at their lab, so they couldn't test it. 

During Johnson's testimony, she also explained more on how DNA testing works. She explained that nuclear DNA is inherited from both mother and father, while mitochondrial DNA is only inherited form the mother's side. She said the mitochondrial DNA in each person is not unique, sisters could have the same mitochondrial DNA. 

Prosecutor Katie Sweeten told KVUE it's important to show the jury who all has had contact with the DNA evidence. 

"We've flown in people from all over the country to show the jury every single piece of hands that have touched that particular piece of evidence so we've created a little trail of break crumbs that they can walk from 1988 until now," said Sweeten. 

She also described the importance of this DNA evidence in the case. 

"It's important because technology and science really had the opportunity to catch up with this crime, so we've been able to use technology and science to really go back and look at an old case through a different lens," said Sweeten. 

Prosecutors also showed a video of Austin Cold Case investigators interviewing Mark Norwood at the police station in 2011. During that interview they told him that his DNA matched the sample they found at the crime scene. But Norwood denied ever being inside the home, and said he didn't know Debra Baker. 

His defense attorney, Brad Urrutia said the fact that the hairs found at the crime scene were determined as pubic hairs may help their case. 

"If you look at the crime itself, there's no indication that there was a sexual crime of any kind so the fact that it would be a public isn't even consistent with their theory of the crime which is that he was going in to burglarize this place," said Urrutia. 

On Thursday, jurors heard testimony from DNA analysts and from Norwood’s ex-wife. Norwood’s family refuted the testimony as they left the courtroom, calling it a day of lies.

Jurors on Wednesday heard from several people who used to live in the Brentwood neighborhood where Norwood and Baker lived at the time. Each of those who testified had their home broken into.

This story will be updated through the day. Please check back for updates.

Follow reporter Christy Millweard for updates from the courtroom all day:

Shelley Johnson, who works at Mitotyping Technologies, testified that from mitochondrial DNA testing, they could not exclude Mark Norwood or his maternal relatives from matching the hairs found at the crime scene. She also said they can exclude 98.9% of the North American population from matching two of the hairs found at the crime scene in Baker's home. But the defense pointed out that 1.1% of the population is alot of people that it could match up with. 

(© 2016 KVUE)


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