posttrib
SPRIGHTLY 
Weather Updates

Jurors look at crime scene photos at Isom trial

KevIsom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media

Kevin Isom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 43145559
tmspicid: 9600865
fileheaderid: 4417905

Updated: February 19, 2013 2:05PM



Lake Superior Court jurors hearing evidence in the death penalty murder trial of a Gary man saw gruesome crime scene photographs of the three victims found inside the family’s apartment.

The courtroom was silent on Wednesday as a series of photographs of the victims — Cassandra Isom, 40, and her two children, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci’Andria Cole, 13 — were displayed for a few seconds on the flat-screen television.

Defense attorneys Herbert Shaps and Casey McCloskey, who are representing Kevin Charles Isom, objected to their admission, but Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr., eventually ruled they would be shown.

With the jury excused, deputy prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz argued that the photographs, while disturbing and horrific, would be used to counter the defense theory that another individual was the shooter. In addition, she said the photos would provide evidence that would mesh with anticipated testimony on DNA, firearms, forensic examination and blood patterns found at the scene.

Before the photos were displayed, the judge told spectators that the photos were not pleasant to view and that anyone who didn’t want to see them should leave. Stefaniak also told jurors that the photos were being admitted to show the nature of the wounds or injuries, the conditions at the scene and as a way to assist in understanding the evidence. He cautioned jurors that they should not let the photographs stir emotions for or against either side and that any reaction from the audience also should not affect them.

The photos were taken as part of the crime scene investigation conducted by Lake County Detectives James Tomko and Sam Perez.

During cross-examination by McCloskey, Tomko acknowledged that someone other than him moved a large gin bottle from the bedroom floor to the bed. Dresser drawers also were closed in some photographs, but Tomko said he didn’t close them. Tomko said some evidence such as gun magazines and ammunition was found on Aug. 7, 2007, under items in the bedroom and other rooms in the apartment at 5708 Hemlock Ave., in the Miller section of Gary.

After an initial walk-through of the scene, Tomko said he and his partner photographed and took notes on locations of particular pieces of evidence, then placed placards marking the evidence before taking a second set of photographs. Representatives of the Lake County coroner’s office also were at the scene when Tomko and Perez were there.

Tomko, who spent 12 hours on the witness stand on Tuesday and Wednesday, will return on Thursday for additional questioning by Jatkiewicz.

At about 10:22 p.m. on Aug. 6, 2007, Gary police officers responded to the Lake Shore Dunes complex after residents reported hearing gunfire. The first arriving officers also heard gunshots, but the scene fell silent and attempts to make contact with anyone in the apartment failed. After several hours, SWAT officers stormed the first-floor apartment and arrested Isom, who was reaching in an area where a loaded gun was found.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.