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DNA evidence links Isom to shooting victims

KevIsom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media

Kevin Isom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 2, 2013 7:01AM



DNA evidence in the capital murder case of a Gary man charged with three counts of murder in the shooting deaths of his wife and stepchildren linked the defendant to each of the victims.

The blood of all three victims — Cassandra Isom, 40, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci’Andria Cole, 13 – was found on blue jeans, along with the blood of Kevin Charles Isom, 47.

Isom has pleaded not guilty in the Aug. 6, 2007, homicides and to three counts of attempted murder involving Gary police officers who were called to the family’s apartment at 5708 Hemlock Ave., in the Miller section. Officers testified they were shot at before the apartment grew quiet and attempts failed to make contact with anyone inside.

When members of the Gary police SWAT team forced entry hours later, they found the victims in pools of blood with multiple gunshot wounds. Earlier testimony showed Isom resisted arrest and was subdued in the bedroom. Officers said Isom was reaching under the bed, where a loaded handgun was found. Police also recovered a shotgun and another loaded handgun.

The DNA testimony was presented over the objection of defense attorney Casey McCloskey, who challenged its admissibility and the manner in which deputy prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz planned to introduce it via a Power Point presentation.

With the jury excused, McCloskey objected to 81 exhibits, saying that drawings from another state police forensic scientist who tested for the presence of blood lacked exhibit numbers and that arrows pointing to blood stains where DNA tests were performed represented an alteration from the DNA analyst’s report. For more than 30 minutes, McCloskey objected to each of the exhibits individually, repeating the same phrases until Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. asked whether McCloskey could group the objections.

The judge ruled that the DNA evidence should be presented to the jury through the Power Point because of the complicated nature of the testimony and its sheer volume.

Indiana State Police forensic biologist Linda Wiegman referred to myriad numbers — for the exhibit itself, the state police item number used to track the evidence and to scores of “subitems” that were created for DNA testing. Wiegman flipped through a large binder that contained her case file and notes as she described DNA matches on several of the stains. The statistical verifications were as high as one in 830 quintillion.

Wiegman identified Isom’s blood on a white T-shirt recovered at the scene and on the jeans. After his arrest, Isom had a small cut near his eye.

The trial, in its fourth week, is expected to continue on Wednesday.

Isom’s lead counsel, Herbert Shaps, told jurors that someone else killed Isom’s family and that his client has no memory of the incident.



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