Blood expert takes stand in Rideout murder trial

July 11, 2017 07:32 PM

It was a gruesome murder and it's a tantalizing murder trial but testimony in the Craig Rideout murder case on Tuesday almost put some jurors to sleep.

In the case, an estranged wife, her boyfriend and two of the victim's sons are accused of strangling a 50-year-old father of seven. There was a contentious divorce and bitter custody battle going on but unless the prosecutor can prove "whodunnit", there's a chance the four suspects could be acquitted of murder.


For about five hours on Tuesday, Elaine Hamilton was on the stand. She's a blood expert who works at the Monroe County Crime Lab.

She tested items deputies collected at the murder scene like bloody gloves found in a garbage bag in the basement of Craig Rideout's Penfield townhouse.

The expert testified the stains were blood and sent swabs for DNA testing but the defense says the prosecutor hasn't shown whose blood or whose DNA.

"They're not really hearing anything that's connecting any item to any individual right now," says defense attorney Matthew Parrinello. "All we have is some bloody clothing that is not connected to anyone, so it's just part of the process."

The chain of custody is important for proving guilt or innocence. Jurors heard how the Monroe County Crime Lab is a secure facility where only supervised experts and officials are allowed entry -- to keep evidence pure.

Still, the defense is pointing out that even before bloody clothing was analyzed. It had been mixed in garbage bags with other items and most certainly cross contaminated.

If the defense can show cross contamination or a broken chain of evidence, the jury might feel compelled to acquit the suspects of murder. Remember police say the body was dumped in Yates County, 50 miles from the murder scene, and because of that all four suspects are charged with tampering with evidence. But if they are found guilty of just that crime, the most they could get is one and one-third to four years in prison.


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