TBI agent testifies about DNA
TBI agent testifies about DNA
A Montgomery County jury heard DNA evidence this morning in the child abuse, torture case of a Clarksville family.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent Charles Hardy, testified this morning that he performed forensic tests on several items taken from the home.
The items were submitted into evidence Wednesday evening by Officer Brad Crowe, who testified as the allegations unfolded on March 18, 2008, the crime scene investigation team were instructed to look for certain items in the house.
That same day the then 13-year-old alleged victim ran from the Perrys' R.S. Bradley home to a neighbor’s house after she alleged Windie Perry struck her in the head with a rolling pin.
That rolling pin, along with two spatulas, a set of jumper cables and a rope were all gathered from the home after the 13-year-old alleged she was hit in the mouth with a spatula, had jumper cables attatched to her hands and other body parts and was tied down with a rope.
Other abuse allegations unfolded as time went on.
Following questions by John Finklea, assistant district attorney, Hardy testified the tested the items for blood and DNA and concluded the following:
• White nylon rope: no blood was found on the rope. There was a limited amount of DNA but not much to match to the DNA profile of the two alleged victims.
• Jumper cables: no blood was found on a set of jumper cables. Both the red and black colored jumper cables were tested. There was a presence of human DNA found on the teeth of the jumper cables that were consistent with both the then 13-year-old alleged victim and the 11-year-old alleged victim.
• Rolling pin: Hardy said there was no visible blood stain on the rolling pin. The body and handles of the rolling pin were tested and there was a presence of human DNA matching the DNA profile of the then 13-year-old alleged victim.
• Spatula #1. No blood was found on the spatula. A limited amount of DNA was found on the handle of the spatula. DNA was present on the head of the spatula matching three people. A mixture of DNA from the two alleged victims could not be excluded. Other samples were needed to match the DNA of the third person.
• Spatula #2: There was no blood present on the spatula. No DNA profile could be found.
Hardy explained how DNA could be removed from a surface by handling it or it being on a smooth surface. He said if the rope were twisted on the skin it would leave DNA cells but if it was placed on the skin it would leave a limited amount.
J. Runyon, Windie Perry’s attorney asked Hardy if the DNA testing showed anything other than that the object came in contact with a person.
“It can’t tell you how it got there, just that it was present on the areas I tested,” Hardy said.
Runyon further inquired if a third DNA sample was provided to determine who the DNA on the first spatula belonged to. Hardy said no more DNA samples were provided.
Hardy also testified that he had not tested the handles of the jumper cables were both alleged victim’s DNA was found on the teeth part of the cables.
Hardy said in hindsight he believed testing the jumper cable handles would have been beneficial.
Runyon asked if the handles of the rolling pin were swabbed and Hardy answered only the DNA of the alleged 13-year-old victim was found.
Charles Bloodworth, assistant public defender and attorney to Earnest Perry asked Hardy if he ever received DNA samples from Earnest, Windie or Elizabeth Perry.
Hardy said he did not.
Greg Smith, attorney for Elizabeth Perry asked what the DNA indicated.
“Does it indicate from what part of the body those skin cells were obtained or how many times it was touched,” Smith asked.
Hardy said DNA testing did not provide that information and agreed that only a small amount of DNA was needed to match to a sample.
Detective takes the stand
Detective Larry Boren, the lead investigator in the Perry case took the stand this morning and testified about initial interviews he had with the Perrys and their adopted children after the allegations arose on March 18, 2008.
“When I first arrived (to the Cunningham lane home) it was kind of chaotic..”Boren said. “I got a short briefing on what was going on. They had a child with an injury to the head…what I first noticed was blood on her face and the top of her head. She was sitting at a table eating; she appeared dirty.”
Boren said he briefly spoke with the 13-year-old girl and asked her how she was injured.
“She was telling (an officer ) over a period of time she was hit with rolling pin, spatula and she was tied up at night,” Boren said. He called for the crime scene team because it was more than one person could handle.
Boren said he observed all the Perry children.
“They were neat and clean,” Boren said but the 11-year-old alleged victim was dirty.
Boren said he went to the Perry home and it was filthy and had a foul smell.
“There was only one clean room in the whole house…the dining room. There were boxes of clothes and things piled up knee high all through the house and in parts of the basement,” Boren said.
When he went in the basement, Boren said he saw a classroom-like room where the children were homeschooled and petitions in the basement separated bedrooms.
In one room, Boren saw two cots “butted together” and a long chain hanging from the ceiling in the room with the cots.
During a search of the home, Boren said the crime scene team looked for two spatula,a rolling pin, jumper cable, a white rope, rubber hose and a dog chain.
“It was difficult to search because there was so much stuff in the home,” Boren said.
Earnest Perry accompanied Boren through the house as they searched and was cooperative.
“On March 31, I learned several other items in the home were used on the girls,” Boren said. “… A staple gun, bats, knives, pliers…probably 46 different items totaled.”
Boren said on March 18 he didn’t have that information. On April 7, Boren returned to the home and things had changed.
“It was clean,” he said. “I went into the kitchen area it was spotless. There was no smell.”
Boren interviewed Earnest, Windie and Elizabeth Perry that day.
He asked Earnest Perry about marks on the two girls.
“He denied any knowledge of ever seeing them and didn’t know how they got on them,” Boren said.
After showing Earnest Perry several pictures of both of the girl’s bruises taken by police on March 18, nd Earnest Perry told Boren he didn’t know how the bruises got there.
“He said he had never (seen) the injuries,” Boren said.
The same photos were shown to Windie and Elizabeth Perry and they both said they had never seen the injuries and Elizabeth Perry said she didn’t know how the injuries got there.
Windie Perry said the girl’s did it to themselves.
Runyon asked Boren about searching the home for a mop or broom handle.
Boren said he did not know about a mop or broom handle in the home on March 18, 2008. He learned there were allegations of abuse involving a broom and mop handle in late March.
“When you learned there were allegations of rape did you go back to the Perrys and say let me search again?” Runyon asked.
“I did not,” Boren said.
“Why” Runyon asked.
“I was told the house had been cleaned,” Boren said.
“Did you physically go?” Runyon asked.
“I did not,” Boren said.
Windie said the younger, 11-year-old girl, would put rubber bands tightly around their arms.
“Windie said (they) tried to imitate someone she knew before by putting rubber bands around their wrists,” Boren said.
The Perrys were compliant when being interviewed by Boren, he said.
Boren said no handcuffs were ever found in the home.
“Your entire case file does not support the fact that there were any handcuffs in that house,” Runyon said.
“No it does not,” Boren said.
Runyon asked if one of the adopted brothers told Boren the two girls were “emo,” hurt each other and denied the Perrys did anything to them. Boren said the adopted brother did say that in an interview and asked about going home.
Two now 17-year-old adopted brothers testified Tuesday and Wednesday that the alleged abuse did occur and they witnessed it.
No inventory of the girl’s clothing was taken and there “probably” were dresses and shoes in the home that fit the two girls, Boren testified.
Windie Perry explained the girls' regular routine to Boren.
“She told you they always all had breakfast, brushed their teeth put their clothes on, had daily devotion, ate lunch, had snacks that they always had food and could go get an apple or anything they wanted. Sometimes on Friday they would go out and eat supper,” Runyon asked and Boren agreed she said those things.
When shown a picture of the 13-year-old girl’s head, Windie said the girl had burnt herself and the girl’s often did each other’s hair.
Windie told the detective she didn’t know how the 13-year-old girl had broken her thumb and was using her hand around Windie Perry.
“She told you on March 18, 2008, that she’d been to the doctor and been to Wal-mart…she told you Earnest was outside cutting wood with a saw. The kids were outback playing…was there any efforts to corroborate whether the children were outside playing?”
Boren said there wasn't.
Windie Perry told police Earnest had brought the grill up and she was cooking.
“She was cooking and the 11-year-old came in the door and told her the 13-year-old girl had run down the street,” Runyon asked Boren, who agreed that’s what he was told.
Windie said they all went to see where the 13-year-old had went. She also said the girl’s had clothes to wear.
“She denied putting her children in the dog kennel, denied sexually assaulting the children, told you the children had problems from when they were in Chattanooga, told you she loved those children and all she ever tried to do was help those girls,” Runyon said and Boren agreed Windie told him those things in an interview.
Boren said Windie Perry was adamant they had not hurt the children and seemed sincere at the time.
“The girls came from a bad situation, and did bad things and they didn’t even look the same as they did,” Runyon read from a report. She also told Boren she had got their hair to grow and got them nice clothes.
Runyon said Windie Perry showed the detective a photograph of the two girls taken at Wal-mart but Boren did not recall the photo.
Assistant Public Defender Charles Bloodworth, Earnest Perry’s attorney, asked if Earnest Perry had signed the consent to search the home at 9:30 p.m., two hours after the 13-year-old ran away.
“You knew and he knew there had been allegations she had been abused at that house yet he still consented to let you search,” Bloodworth asked.
Boren said there were three dogs present at the home in the backyard.
He did not see evidence of flood damage in the basement and did not recall seeing mildew or mold.
Smith, on cross examination asked Boren about the testimony of the adopted other who said the girl’s were “emo”
“He explained that was cutting yourself, pulling your own hair out, stuff like that,” Smith asked, and Boren agreed.
Smith said the adopted brother told him in an initial interview that the girls used the bathroom on themselves as a form of rebel.
“There was indication there was some manipulation and rebelling going on by the two girls,” Smith said.
On March 18, Boren said he didn’t know about a dog kennel being possible vidence in the case.
“There were dog kennels in the basement but they weren’t measured or taken as evidence,” Boren said.
Smith said the dog kennel the police photographed was only a small carrier dog kennel and not a metal wire dog kennel.
Court will resume at 1:30 p.m.