Blood found on Gulbertson’s jacket, pants

Published 12:56 pm Thursday, April 22, 2010

A forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension testified Thursday that small sections of blood were found on Chad Jamie Gulbertson’s leather jacket, blue jeans and a single shoe obtained by officers shortly after he came to the Law Enforcement Center the day of Jody Lee Morrow’s death.

Rachel Klick, a BCA scientist who works in the division’s biology department, said she examined a series of items seized from Morrow’s trailer, Gulbertson’s body and other locations after Morrow’s body was found.

She said it was her job to examine the evidence for the presence of bodily fluids. She conducted a phenolphthalein test on the pieces of evidence, where if blood is present the chemicals will turn that blood pink. The test cannot distinguish between animal blood and human blood.

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Whose blood was on the items has not yet been identified.

Klick said initially Gulbertson’s black leather jacket, which was obtained from the automobile of Gulbertson’s father, Dennis Gulbertson, had no visible apparent blood stains. However, after she conducted a general swab testing over the jacket, blood was indicated on the front left lapel of the jacket. It was in a concentrated area.

Gulbertson, 38, reportedly called his father at about 6 a.m. the day of Morrow’s death — June 21, 2009 — and asked him to pick him up from a house on Euclid Avenue in Albert Lea. The father and son went in a red Buick Skylark to the father’s home in Alden.

Later, after Dennis Gulbertson laid down for a couple hours, he woke up to find his son crying.
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Shortly after, they drove to the Law Enforcement Center in Albert Lea, where they told an officer the son might have killed Morrow.

Gulbertson’s clothes were seized within a short time.

Of those clothes seized off of Gulbertson’s body at that time, Klick said blood was indicated on a small section on each jean pant leg in concentrated areas and on the outer portion of the right shoe.

No blood was indicated on Gulbertson’s shirt, hat or left shoe. His underwear was not examined.

Klick testified the phenolphthalein test can detect blood down to dilutions of one in 1,000.

She said blood was also indicated on the top of a phone plug from Morrow’s trailer that goes into the receptacle and on a chef’s knife of sorts.

Blood was likewise indicated on the ball-peen hammer found next to Morrow’s body, but was not identified on any of the other pocket knives seized.

She said the test is not capable of dating when the blood was put onto the item and that a knife that had been used to cut into a steak has the potential to test positive for blood in the test.

The scientist did not testify about the specific DNA evidence found in each blood sample. That was performed by others in the lab.

Klick’s testimony came during the fourth day of testimony in the homicide trial against Gulbertson.

Gulbertson faces five murder charges in Morrow’s death.