CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, November 1, 2007

FBI Gunshot Residue Testing Questioned in Case

From FBI testing of gunshot residue in the slaying of a pregnant Katy woman violated agency guidelines and yielded contradictory results, and therefore should not be allowed into evidence in her husband's murder trial, his attorney said.

"In other words, the state would offer such evidence only to mislead the jury," defense attorney Dick DeGuerin stated in a written motion to state District Judge Doug Shaver, who is presiding over the trial.

David Temple's murder trial began two weeks ago. The question of whether the gunshot residue will be allowed into evidence will be decided at a hearing Monday.

Neither the defense nor Harris County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Siegler, who is prosecuting the case, would comment on the motion.

Belinda Temple was shot to death in the couple's home on Jan. 11, 1999. According to his statement, David Temple told investigators that someone had broken into their home and killed her.

Detectives from the Harris County Sheriff's Office concluded that the break-in had been staged, and that Temple had been having an affair with a woman he later married.

During the murder investigation, officials collected several items belonging to David Temple — a shirt, a warm-up jacket and a pair of tennis shoes — for gunshot residue analysis at the FBI's national crime laboratory in Quantico, Va.

According to DeGuerin's motion, the shirt and jacket were not received by the FBI lab until May 2000, 16 months after the killing. It was almost three more years — April 2003 — before the agency received the shoes. During the time in between, the evidence had been stored by the sheriff's office "under unknown conditions," according to the motion. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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