Scientist gives facts about blood at scene

Published 11:15 am Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension analyzed blood stains from 14 areas throughout Jody Lee Morrow’s trailer, including from her bedroom in the back of the residence, the living room where her body was found and on the door knobs of the inner and outer door at the front of the trailer.

BCA forensic scientist Mark Patterson, the team leader at the crime scene, said most of the blood in the front room where Morrow was found dead on the floor in front of her wheelchair was still wet when his crime scene team arrived in Albert Lea June 21, 2009, while the blood in the back bedroom was dried. 

He said there was no way to determine when the blood was left in each place — the blood in the back could have come from a completely different day. 

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The most blood was in the living room, and in some areas there, it included pieces of hair and tissue, he testified.

Though he could not determine a point of origin for the blood splatter in the living room, he said he could determine a height of origin of somewhere between 3-feet, 7-inches-tall to 3-feet, 9-inches-tall. This means it is possible — though he is not certain — that Morrow could have been sitting in her wheelchair at the time of her attack, he said. 

From the way the blood was splattered on the back side of the inner door, this means the door was shut during the attack, he noted. 

There was also evidence of cast-off blood splatter on walls that could have come when a weapon, covered with blood, was swung back into the air.

Patterson’s testimony came Wednesday afternoon in the homicide case against Chad Jamie Gulbertson at the Rice County Courthouse. Gulbertson faces three first-degree murder charges and two second-degree murder charges in Morrow’s death.

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Morrow suffered 18 blows, 3 stabs

He is accused of stabbing her three times and then bludgeoning her with a hammer at least 18 times. 

Authorities found her June 21, 2009.

Patterson said when he first entered Morrow’s trailer with his team from the BCA that day, he observed a “foul” odor of cat urine. The trailer was “cluttered” and “very dirty.” 

“It was in complete disarray,” he said. 

It was warm inside the trailer and all the windows were covered. There was a television on in the master bedroom and a fan blowing in the living room. 

His team shot video footage of the entire trailer — inside and out — and took photos as well. They measured every aspect of the home and then made a diagram of it.

After they were done, his team seized the hammer lying next to Morrow on the floor. It was covered in blood and hair. 

Then they seized blood samples from 14 blood stains in the trailer. 

“There was actually quite a bit of blood,” Patterson said. It was on Morrow, the walls, the floor, her wheelchair and many other things around her. 

He said the way the blood ran down Morrow’s legs indicated she was not on the floor when she was attacked. 

The way the blood was found in the middle of the seat on her wheelchair also indicates she could have likely been sitting there during the attack.

He testified that without a shield, Morrow’s attacker would have gotten some blood on him or her. 

He did not talk about any DNA results of the blood testing. 

Patterson also testified there was a keyboard on the floor, a phone on the floor and knives on the floor at the time the BCA got there. 

He said his team did not initially seize knives at the scene because there was not early evidence that Morrow had been stabbed. 

Later, after an autopsy revealed she had received sharp-force wounds, several knives found at the residence were sent up for testing. 

Look to for more trial coverage.