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Prosecution rests case

Published January 25. 2012 05:02PM

An expert in blood patterns was the final prosecution witness called in the trial of a Lansford man charged with murdering his estranged wife. The Carbon County trial resumed today at 9 a.m. when the defense began calling its witnesses.

Ernest Troy Freeby, 36, has been charged with criminal homicide and tampering with evidence. He is accused of killing Edwina Atieno Onyango, 34, on Dec. 9, 2007, in the basement of his home at 207 W. Bertsch St., and then disposing of the body. Her body has never been found.

Yesterday, District Attorney Gary F. Dobias called Paul Kish, an independent forensic consultant, an expert in crime scene reconstruction and bloodstain pattern analysis. Kish, of Corning, N.Y., has testified in 40 states and several foreign countries. He said he has been called as a witness for both the prosecution and defense. Kish also co-authored the book, Advanced Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Theory and Practice, which is reportedly widely used in the field.

He said he was first contacted by state police concerning the Freeby case in June 2008. He said he examined photographs taken of the Freeby basement, studied all laboratory reports concerning the bloodstains found at the scene, DNA reports and all other materials generated through the investigation by police.

He said he evaluated the blood patterns found at the scene. Prior testimony in the trial indicated state police forensic experts found blood on the steps leading from the first floor to the basement, on the basement floor leading to the coal bin, and in the coal bin. The largest concentration of blood was found on the floor in the coal bin. Blood was also found on a wall in the bin. Also found with the bloodstain on the cinderblock wall of the coal bin was a hair.

DNA analysis determined the blood found at the scene matched DNA comparison of Onyango. The DNA profile for her was developed by securing DNA samples from three of her brothers.

Kish, who began his testimony about 9:20 a.m. and concluded about 3:20 p.m. after cross-examination by defense attorney George Dydynsky, said the bloodstains found on the steps and floor leading to the coal bin was what is called "transfer stains" meaning they fell from the victim. He said the larger stains found in the coal bin indicated the victim suffered a significant injury. He also said the bloodstains and hair found on the wall indicated the head of the victim came in contact with the wall, which left the hair sample.

He told the panel his expert opinion was that Onyango was in the area where the blood was found and the pattern concluded she suffered a significant injury that would have required immediate medical attention.

Under questioning from Dydynsky, Kish said he has testified in cases where there was no body found.

Dobias called almost 40 witnesses in the case and presented almost 60 exhibits.

The defense is expected to call its own experts, including former Pittsburgh coroner and nationally-known forensic expert, Dr. Cyril Wecht. Wecht's testimony is not expected until early next week.

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