The trial for a former Marine from Lompoc accused of murdering his brother continued Friday, with testimony focusing on blood stain patterns that revealed the victim sustained multiple blows during the alleged attack.
Arturo Herrera, 31, is accused of killing his brother July 4, 2016, at their Hillside Ranch home while their mother was away at work. No one else was home at the time of the alleged incident.
California Department of Justice Criminalist David Barber testified that he saw Enrique on his bed in the southwest corner of his room, facing the west wall, away from the bedroom door. Around him were large, blood-stained patterns found on the wall, carpet, around his head, arms, legs and on the bedroom curtain.
Using a laser pointer on a grisly photograph projected in the courtroom depicting Enrique's bloody head and forearms, Barber pointed out that most of the coagulated blood originated from a significant head wound.
"The shape of the blood stains represents multiple events," Barber explained. "From the totality of it, the overall pattern shows that [blood] represents multiple blows."
The blood stain pattern around Enrique's head showed that while Enrique was attacked, he "didn't move much, if at all," and that the attacker would have been at Enrique's head.
However, Barber acknowledged that there was no way to tell who the attacker was, or if there were multiple attackers, under Bennett's cross-examination. He also admitted there were no signs of a cleanup, and that he never collected or processed evidence, including Enrique's bedding and pillow.
Before Barber testified, Santa Barbara County sheriff's Deputy Tracee Walker told the jury that she went to the Hillside Ranch area twice with a scent-tracking dog named Mojo to look for evidence, once on July 4 and again July 21.
The dog, who's trained to go wherever she can sense anything and alert deputies, was sniffing around the 4300 block of West Ocean on July 4 but found nothing, Walker said. On July 21, the dog pinpointed a concentrated area near a chain- link fence that separated the Hillside Ranch property from land owned by Vandenberg Air Force Base, but nothing was found.
Under Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens' questioning, Walker testified that scent can travel in the air and underground.
"That's a fairly lengthy amount of time looking for smells," said Deputy Public Defender Sydney Bennett during her cross-examination, referring to the 17-day time span deputies waited to search the area. Walker also admitted under Bennett's questioning that she didn't know the average time for scent to travel or how long a scent will last in open space.
Testimony in the trial resumes Monday morning.