LIVE UPDATES | Day 6: Murder trial for Brad Compher, man accused of killing Nori Jones - East Idaho News
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LIVE UPDATES | Day 6: Murder trial for Brad Compher, man accused of killing Nori Jones

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Day six of the trial for Brad Compher is underway in Bannock County. Compher is charged with one count of murder with a deadly weapon enhancement for the 2004 stabbing death of 25-year-old Nori Jones. EastIdahoNews.com reporter Kalama Hines is in the courtroom and will update this story with the latest developments all afternoon.

UPDATES

4:12 p.m. Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper will be testifying Friday.

4:09 p.m. We will adjourn for the day. Back at 9 tomorrow. Spillett expected to testify tomorrow. Defense is announcing other witnesses — I will have to confirm that the State is done.

4:06 p.m. Andrew had a similar interaction with another juror. The juror asked Andrew what time court started and Andrew answered before he realized who it was. That was the end of the conversation. Trammell saw the interaction and confirms. That juror is released as well.

4:05 p.m. Radford greeted one of the jurors in the stairwell, juror acknowledged him. Then Radford realized who the juror was — “I said, ‘oh’ and that was it,” Radford says. Juror agrees that is what happened. That juror is dismissed to be back tomorrow.

4:04 p.m. Radford and Andrew had contact with separate jurors at separate times. Gabiola considering bringing them in one at a time to discuss.

4 p.m. Gabiola is dismissing the jury for the day. Sounds like there may be some discussion outside of their presence.

4 p.m. Trammell asks for an evidence exhibit to be admitted. Petition for name change. Compher, in 2008, changed his name from Ralph Roy Compher to Brad Scott Compher — as stated in the past.

3:59 p.m. Fry suggests likelihood ratio changes from year to year. Cutler says it is possible but he would not expect major variations.

3:57 p.m. Re-cross, Frys asks about changes made to processes after 2019 allegations — if those processes were in place in 2014. Cutler says yes, adds that the allegations did not go further back than 2016.

3:55 p.m. Cutler examines 23 DNA locations for matching. All available locations were matches to Compher.

3:53 p.m. About “re-working” tests, Radford asks if we-works are done until results are returned without any issues. Once the potential contamination is eliminated and results are deemed correct, it is retested to confirm same results.

3:52 p.m. Re-direct. Radford says, 2019 was five years after Cutler did these test. Cutler says there was an “extensive investigation” following the allegations. They went through all involved cases to check and test. Almost 60,000 samples went through the lab during the time of allegation — they identified three issues. Cutler adds, none of those instances occurred in this case or any case he worked.

3:50 p.m. Cutler says it is “reasonable to assume” the DNA came from sperm.

3:48 p.m. Cutler says his lab did not perform visual check for sperm in evidence samples. He agrees with Fry that he cannot say “for certain” that the DNA came form sperm.

3:47 p.m. Fry again asks if there’s a way to show when DNA was placed on a piece of evidence. Cutler says that is correct.

3:45 p.m. Fry says that using ratios based on race is incorrect, given there is not DNA marker that identifies race. Cutler explains that this is the accepted standard in DNA practice.

3:43 p.m. Ring, fingernail clippings and Compher’s known all needed to be “re-worked” because the lab identified potential contaminates.

3:42 p.m. Fry asks about “consolidation errors” listed in reports. Cutler says there was a reported inconsistency so he “re-worked” those tests.

3:40 p.m. Cutler says there are no signs of any contamination in this case.

3:38 p.m. Cutler says he is aware of a 2019 allegation that Sorensen Lab contaminated evidence.

3:37 p.m. Cutler says three male contributors on Nori’s comforter. Now Fry is asking about potential contamination issues. Cutler says that all labs do have “incidences” of contamination.

3:36 p.m. Likelihood ratio for Wilde matching to Nori’s necklace is much higher than Compher’s match to all evidence match findings.

3:35 p.m. There were also DNA from a minimum of three male contributors on Nori’s necklace, Cutler says.

3:33 p.m. Vaginal swab: minimum of two male contributors.

3:31 p.m. left-hand fingernail clippings: Cutler’s report says there is a “minimum” of four separate male contributors. Right-hand: minimum of two male contributors.

3:29 p.m. Cutler testified in prelim. Fry said he gave a different definition of “statistically significant” in past testimonies. Fry focused on the ring DNA match. Ring match was one-in-11 for Caucasians.

3:28 p.m. Radford, curiously, stops his questioning there. Fry on cross.

3:27 p.m. Cutler is given another evidence exhibit. A chain of custody doc for the DNA extracts from another lab.

3:25 p.m. Radford continues questioning of Cutler.

3 p.m. Radford asks for afternoon recess before he concludes questioning with Cutler. Back at 3:20

3 p.m. Cutler performed “confirmatory testing” using Compher known buccal swap DNA against the below-mentioned evidence. Compher’s DNA was on Nori’s right-hand fingernail clippings, her sex assault swabs and her ring, Cutler says.

2:54 p.m. Cutler says sperm cell DNA was found in the sex assault kit oral swab. That DNA was only good enough for exclusionary purposes. Compher could not be excluded as a potential donor.

2:52 p.m. Cutler says sperm cell DNA found in the sex assault kit anal swab was matched to Compher. Both Spillett and Wilde were excluded as possible donors.
Again, match is “significant”

2:49 p.m. Cutler says sperm cell DNA found in the sex assault kit vaginal swab was matched to Compher as a major donor.
Again, match is “significant”

2:45 p.m. Cutler says Compher’s DNA matched to DNA taken from the right-hand fingernail clippings.
this match is also “significant”

2:43 p.m. Cutler says Compher’s DNA matched to DNA found on Nori’s ring.
match is “significant”

2:41 p.m. Cutler now discussing Compher’s cigarette butt. They also received a DNA extraction done by another lab.

2:40 p.m. Cutler tested all reference and evidence samples. His findings were included in a report.

2:38 p.m. Cutler examines another chain of custody doc — Reo Wilde’s reference blood sample.

2:36 p.m. Cutler examines another chain of custody doc — for Robert Spillett’s reference DNA sample.

2:34 p.m. Another chain of custody doc is for a sexual assault evidence kit from Nori.

2:32 p.m. Packaging of the ring was intact, Cutler says. He is now being handed another exhibit — chain of custody doc for Nori’s fingernail clippings.

2:30 p.m. Item in question was Nori’s ring

2:28 p.m. After explaining his standard practices in examining DNA, Radford has an evidence exhibit brought to him — an evidence chain of custody doc.

COmpher day 6 Cutler
Derek Cutler testifies. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

2:20 p.m. Gabiola accepts qualifying Cutler as a DNA expert witness without objection from defense.

2:18 p.m. Cutler has processed around 3,000 DNA match cases. He has reviewed around 5,000.

2:17 p.m. State’s next witness is Derek Cutler. He is a forensic analyst for Sorensen Lab, in SLC. That is where evidence was taken for testing in 2011.

2:16 p.m. Hall clarifies. Her report shows there was a LESS THAN one-in-93 trillion chance the DNA matched to another donor. Radford has her confirm that 93 trillion is greater than the earth’s population — which is around 7 billion.

2:12 p.m. Fry now asking about excluding suspects using DNA.

2:10 p.m. Hall says, if there is not enough DNA present analysts may not be able to build a “full profile.”

2:09 p.m. Fry again asks if Hall remembers specifically doing the standard anti-contamination processes — bleach, paper, new gloves. Hall does not specifically recall, but says she always does so.

2:06 p.m. Fry on cross. Hall did not retest the touch DNA sample when she received it. She reviewed all attached documentation but was not present when the DNA was collected from the swab.

2:05 p.m. Hall says the DNA markers available in the touch DNA swab again matched the known samples from Compher. Butt and known also matched. Hall says the same statistical determination — the one in 93 trillion — was recorded.

2:03 p.m. The swab was part of a sexual assault kit. She also received blood and hair samples. Those samples were provided by Pocatello PD. This is classified as “confirmatory testing.”

2:02 p.m. Hall now testifies she examined known buccal swab samples from Compher.

2:01 p.m. She said that there was an unlikely possibility anyone from Idaho or any of the six surrounding states could match the 11 markers.

1:58 p.m. Hall obtained results from all 16 DNA markers on the cigarette butt. There were only 11 locations from the buccal swab of touch DNA.
using the 11 markers, Compher, Hall further explains, could not be eliminated as a possible donor. This is the one in 93,000,000,000,000 match. 9.3 x 10 to the 13th power, is how it is listed in her report.

1:57 p.m. Hall testifies that the DNA from Compher’s cigarette butt matches the touch DNA taken from Nori’s window — the window detectives referred to as the entry point.
“I was able to determine that the DNA profiles were the same.”

1:53 p.m. She is now reading from her exam notes. The same document she created for all evidence she examined. She used the cigarette butt collected by Vanderschaaf to compare DNA to the swab.

1:52 p.m. Hall examined swabs of touch DNA taken from Nori’s window.

1:51 p.m. Radford has Hall describe the measures taken to prevent contamination of DNA evidence.

Compher day 6 Hall
Cynthia Hall testifies. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

1:48 p.m. Questions directed to touch DNA.

1:46 p.m. Hall says there are possible errors in process of DNA extraction and exam — human errors are made.

1:45 p.m. Hall explains DNA “extraction.”
chemicals and heat are added to a sample to “break open” sample and allow DNA to “free flow.”

1:43 p.m. In 2014, the ISP lab examined 16 markers — one of which was the male-female marker.

1:43 p.m. Hall examines 21 “locations” in the DNA for those identifying markers.

1:41 p.m. Hall is the second expert to say more than 99% of DNA is the same from person to person. Remaining DNA is unique to each individual with an exception for identical twins.

1:39 p.m. Hall has been working in DNA analysis for around 30 years. She has testified as an expert witness around 70 times — mostly in Idaho. Gabiola accepts request to have the court qualify her as an expert witness.
Fry asks about her education — a master of science in biological science.

1:37 p.m. Hall explains the training required to work in forensic sciences — describes her post-grad education and accreditation.

1:35 p.m. Busch being excused. State’s next witness is Cynthia Hall, senior DNA analyst with a lab based in Florida. She was ISP forensic lab quality manager in 2014.

1:32 p.m. Andrew now asks about the photo Busch used to identify the house to Compher during the interview. Busch says it would have been a wide-angle exterior photo.

1:32 p.m. Andrew will cross-examine Det. Busch. He asks about the photo shown earlier of Nori’s right hand. Asks is Busch sees a ring on Nori’s hand.

1:31 p.m. We are on the record. Jury has returned. Andrew and Radford discussing something with Gabiola in sidebar.

12:16 p.m. Cross will be after lunch. Back at 1:30.

12:13 p.m. Trammell informs the court that the audio from the final 90-or so seconds has been redacted. The entire jury still has its eyes glues to the video, despite there being no sound.

12:11 p.m. Busch explains that Compher lying now (during the interview) will make it so he will never be able to trust Compher later — should there be an explanation for his fingerprint being at Nori’s home.
“We want to work with you; we want to help.”

compher day 6
Busch watches the video of him interviewing Compher in 2011 while Compher appears to be writing a note. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

12:06 p.m. Busch says he takes it personal when people lie to him — because he “goes out of his way” to be honest in interviews. Busch says, he thinks Compher is being as honest as he thinks he can be.

12:05 p.m. Once that DNA profile is matched, the detectives say the options will be gone for whomever it is that matches. Now is the time to work with someone, they add.

12:04 p.m. Detectives say they WILL get a DNA profile.

12:03 p.m. Detectives say they don’t do their job because they like to put people in cuffs. They say they like putting together puzzles.

12:01 p.m. Compher again reminded that he is there voluntarily and is free to leave whenever he wants. Detectives say, “you have kids” as they continue to work the humanity angle.

compher posture b
Compher is interviewed by police. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

12:01 p.m. Now they are discussing the jobs Compher was working at the time of the murder. Remember: this interview was done seven years after the murder.

Noon Now he says he doesn’t remember ever being there.

11:58 a.m. Detectives trying to work the humanity angle. “Put yourself in her family’s place” sort of thing. He has not denied being there in while — but they haven’t asked again.

11:55 a.m. Detectives say they want to give Compher to get what ever he knows off his chest. They say that they need his help to give Nori’s family closure. If he didn’t kill Nori, help the detectives to prove he didn’t so they can find who did.

11:50 a.m. Detectives explain, again, that his prints were found at the scene, then give him some reasons they think he may have been there, then leave the room again.

compher posture
Compher’s posture adjusts during interview after he is informed his fingerprints were found at the murder scene. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

11:44 a.m. The audio issues in the recording are very frustrating. Keeps cutting out.

11:42 a.m. Asked if there is any reason why his prints would be in the house, Compher adjusts himself for the first time in the video — he turns toward the officer, from his more relaxed, forward-facing position.

11:40 a.m. Busch says he’s embarrassed to ask but has to: “Do you have anything to do with this case?”
He tells Compher his fingerprints were found in Nori’s house.

11:39 a.m. Busch and another detective leave Compher alone in the interview room after asking some preliminary questions. They are likely watching from another room to see how he is reacting.

11:39 a.m. In the video, Compher is wearing a white shirt with a colorful design on the front, blue jeans, a braided necklace of some kind and a beanie.

11:38 a.m. Since it has come up a couple times in this video, Compher changed his name from Ralph to Brad in 2008.

11:37 a.m. Compher says he had been to Job Service — where Nori worked.

11:35 a.m. Compher tells Busch that he is 100% positive he has never been to Nori’s house — acknowledges that he was shown a picture of the house.

11:34 a.m. The video is being played. Busch informed him that he was free to leave at any time and, at least in the video, he was not read his Miranda Rights. Questioning was voluntary.

11:31 a.m. The technical issues have been resolved. Gabiola has returned and is going to bring the jury back now.

11:10 a.m. A visibly frustrated Gabiola calls for recess and walks out of the courtroom. Not sure when we will be back.

11:08 a.m. With the jury outside of the room, Gabiola once agains tells the attorneys to prepare themselves during recesses — and to have technical issues handled so the jurors’ time is not wasted.

11:06 a.m. State requests to allow for technical issues to be handled. Gabiola grants the request, but does not seem happy about it. He has spoken to attorneys from both sides about the delays.

11 a.m. Support staff has been brought in to assist with technical issues.

Compher day 6 busch
Former Pocatello PD detective Anthony Busch is called to the stand for the second time this week, Wednesday. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

10:54 a.m. I believe it is going to be a video, not audio. Trammell explains that some of the discussion was irrelevant to the case and has been removed from the video. Defense will allow the “redacted” video to be published. Now they are working out the technical issues of playing the video.

10:52 a.m. Sounds like the State will play audio from that interview in the courtroom. Busch says that there are some recording issues and that audio “cuts out” for three or so seconds “every so often.”

10:50 a.m. Busch interviewed Compher in June 2011. He ID’s Compher as the person he interviewed.

10:47 a.m. Busch says that during the course of investigating the murder, Robert Spillett voluntarily provided a DNA sample — a buccal swab taken from the inside of his mouth.

10:46 a.m. State is publishing photos of the scene and having Busch describe what is seen in the photo. First shows Nori’s right leg, second shows her right hand/arm.

10:44 a.m. State has re-called former Pocatello PD detective Anthony Busch. Busch previously testified Monday.

9:45 a.m. Trial will start late today. Back on the record at 10:30 a.m. The prosecution announced at the end of proceedings yesterday that it expects to rest its case today — meaning many things will likely be tied together.

RELATED | Top 5 takeaways through the first 5 days of Compher trial

RELATED | LIVE UPDATES | Day 5: Murder trial for Brad Compher, man accused of killing Nori Jones

Nori Jones, left, and the man accused of killing her, Brad Compher
Nori Jones (left) and Brad Compher

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