Prosecution presents scientific evidence in Hurd trial - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Prosecution presents scientific evidence in Hurd trial

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Justin Hurd, the man accused of triple murder is still on trial.  Wednesday, DNA experts said evidence connects Justin Hurd to both crime scenes.

Two DNA experts analyzed and tested evidence gathered from the two crime scenes where Kevin Young, Kinshasa Wagstaff and Jasmine Hines bodies were found.

Hines body was found in Huntersville next to a white car.  The first DNA expert, Sheree Enfinger, said she compared a swab taken from the steering wheel of the white car with a swab taken from Justin Hurd's cheek.

"The major DNA profile that was obtained from the steering wheel matched the DNA profile obtained from the buccal swabs from Justin Hurd," said Engfinger.

Young and Wagstaff's burnt bodies were found in a home.  Inside the garage of the home there was a SUV with trash bags on the back seat.  Inside one of the bags were water bottles.

Hurd had a photo of those water bottles in front of him as he listened as the second DNA expert, Aby Moeykens said she tested the top of the bottle where a person would drink.

"I obtained a DNA profile that matched the DNA profile obtained from the buccal standard from Justin Hurd," said Moeykens.

Moeykens said more than one water bottle had Hurd's DNA.  And she said results were inconclusive to tell if Hurd's DNA was on the knife handle with Kevin Young's blood on it.

Defense lawyers cross examined both experts trying to cause doubt in the jurors' minds about the results of the analysis.  With the water bottles, lawyers asked if there was a way to tell if the DNA was placed on the bottles at another time.

"I do not know," said Moeykens.

Defense lawyers asked if the experts worked for law enforcement and asked about discrepancies in word usage on the reports compared to testimony. Another big question if it's possible for someone's DNA to be transferred to an item without him touching it. The experts said yes, but they also took that moment to explain why DNA was not found on some other evidence like the taser or lighters.

"Let's say if I was wearing gloves that had the DNA, the DNA wouldn't transfer from me to you at that point maybe a small amount, but it's going to be a small amount. So, it's not going to be anything you would be able to pick up on anything else," said Enfinger.

Justin Hurd smiled after the line of questioning and shook his lawyer's hand.

Prosecutors said they have presented all their witnesses in the Justin Hurd case and rested.

Defense lawyers argued before Judge Robert Ervin to dismiss Hurd on all charges of murder, kidnapping and arson because the prosecution did not present substantial evidence. The judge denied that motion. And he later spoke directly to Hurd.

"Is it your desire to testify in your own defense?," asked Ervin. Hurd responded, "No."

If the defense does not present any evidence they can speak at the beginning and the end of closing arguments.

When the defense tried to get the case dismissed without the jury in the room, a lawyer asked is DNA on a steering wheel enough to convict someone of homicide? The judge is going to leave the decision up to the jury. He'll instruct them Thursday.

It's unclear who will get the first crack at closing arguments.  The judge will announce that Thursday as well.

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