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McCowan can’t look at images of Bach

DustMcCowan

Dustin McCowan

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Updated: March 13, 2013 6:20AM



VALPARAISO — Dustin McCowan looked down, pressed his fists against his eyes and put his thumbs in his ears as the prosecution projected photos of his ex-girlfriend’s body on the courtroom screen.

Red-faced, he appeared to cry during the descriptions given by the crime scene investigator.

Detective Lt. William Young of the Porter County Sheriff’s Department narrated as the photos began where searchers found the path to the body and moved to Amanda Bach herself, bloody, mostly naked and sprawled on her back.

Young said later that the body didn’t appear thrown over the fence between the railroad tracks and the trees where she was found Sept. 17, 2011, but it appeared staged.

McCowan, now 20, is on trial for the murder of Bach, who was shot in the throat when she was 19 years old.

He looked up during testimony about the bullet recovered from her throat, but resumed the sensory deprivation position during autopsy photos and for about 20 minutes afterwards kept a hand near his face.

Young said that he didn’t take samples of the fly eggs that littered Bach’s nostril and left side of her head because the eggs could only tell the time of death was within 24 hours.

The defense team of Nick Barnes and John Vouga had previously brought up this lack of evidence.

There have also been questions about the lack of DNA evidence from McCowan on Bach or any other evidence, although Young said he was a “potential major contributor” in some inconclusive DNA.

“It means it’s a good likelihood (he’s) a major contributor,” Young said.

The injuries on Bach’s head, where the fly eggs clustered like “Parmesan cheese,” showed she’d been dragged by her hair, Young said.

He said the bruises on the back of her knees didn’t extend to the front of them, and he said she wasn’t pregnant.

And the Indianapolis coroner couldn’t provide a time of death.

The defense continued its arguments that Young and the police didn’t take enough evidence, including DNA, fingerprints or fibers from anybody besides McCowan and Bach.

Police found female DNA on her left breast.

“There (were) no other people during the course of this investigation. They were interviewed; alibis checked,” Young said.

Young said that dog hair taken from the McCowan dog didn’t match dog hair found on Bach.

Barnes also focused on the destruction of vehicle floor mats found west of the area.

Young said the stains were from grease, not blood, but Barnes said they hadn’t been tested for Bach’s DNA or compared as possibly belonging to the vehicle of the man who found the body.

Porter Superior Judge William Alexa dismissed one of the jurors during a break in the trial.

The man had earlier admitted to the bailiff that he had talked about the case with his wife, despite Alexa’s instructions at the end of each day that jurors weren’t to talk about the case with anyone, including other jurors, unless all jurors were gathered. The man said he mentioned something to his wife about having seen an article on the case earlier, but cut her short when she began to reply.

He said the jurors did the same to him when mentioned it in front of them. The defense asked that the man be dismissed, although the prosecution was willing to let him stay if he thought he could remain unbiased.

There were four alternate jurors, two more than usual because of the expected length of the case.



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