UPDATE: DNA Very Likely Cargill's, Expert Testifies
Huma Nasir, a forensic DNA analyst from Orchid Cellmark in Dallas, said that the chances that someone besides Kimberly Cargill had contributed DNA material to an empty Dairy Fresh brand creamer container found at the crime scene where Cherry Walker's body was discovered were 1 in 226,000.
Nasir said she was able to obtain a partial DNA sample from the container and made the comparison using a DNA sample from the inside of Cargill's cheek. The analysis was done by performing a more sensitive test that came into being in 2007, Nasir said.
She added that fire could destroy DNA evidence in reference to the partially-burned body of Ms. Walker. Orchid Cellmark is a private lab.
Judge Jack Skeen Jr. ruled this morning that Smith County deputies had probable cause to search the contents of Kimberly Cargill's vehicle and her home on June 23, 2010.
He made the ruling because of a motion filed by the defense. It was made outside the presence of the jury.
Smith County Deputy Theresa Smith testified on Thursday evening after the jury left that she had been instructed by detectives to observe Cargill as she left her home in her vehicle on the night authorities were searching her home.
Deputy Smith said she was told to stop Ms. Cargill if she committed any traffic violations and to seize the defendant's cell phone.
Smith saw Cargill run a stop sign, the deputy stopped her and seized her phone as she was instructed, Smith testified. In court, several detectives said they did not search Ms. Cargill's home or car without a warrant.
Detective Noel Martin testified this morning that authorities recovered a roll of silver duct tape, along with more empty dairy creamers of the same type found near Cherry Walker's body, from Cargill's vehicle as it was searched.
By DAYNA WORCHEL
A house full of trash greeted Smith County officials June 23, 2010, as they searched the home of a Whitehouse woman accused of killing her babysitter.
Noel Martin, senior criminologist supervisor with the Smith County Sheriff's Office, said some rooms inside of Kimberly Diane Cargill's home contained the same type of empty coffee creamer containers that were found beside the body of Cherry Walker, when it was discovered on Smith County Road 2191 on June 19, 2010.
Ms. Walker had been scheduled to testify against Ms. Cargill in a child custody hearing on June 23, 2010, when the victim went missing on June 18, 2010.
The defendant faces the death penalty if she is convicted in the Smith County 241st District Court.
"In my opinion, the items that were there (near Ms. Walker's body) had been removed from the vehicle that transported the body," Martin said to the jury.
Prosecutors displayed photos of the inside of Ms. Cargill's home from when Martin and other Smith County deputies searched it. The pictures showed empty fast-food containers, including the dairy creamer containers, along with old food items such as French fries and tater tots strewn about the floor of the master bedroom.
Inside the laundry room, which contained dirty clothes on the floor, the washer contained one wet item, either a sheet or a tablecloth, Martin testified. Testing showed no signs of Ms. Walker's DNA material, but Martin said he found it odd that there would be one single washed item in the washer when dirty clothes lay on the floor.
Other photos showed a cluttered garage, which still had room for someone to drive a car inside, Smith County Assistant District Attorney Matt Bingham said to the jury while Martin was on the stand.
A pair of slip-on sneakers containing the same type of sand found at the crime scene was also inside Ms. Cargill's home, Martin said.
Defense attorney Brett Harrison asked whether Martin had tested the piece of cloth found in the washer for accelerant. He said he did not.
Harrison also asked whether Ms. Walker's fingernails had been scraped underneath and tested for any other evidence. Martin said although he bagged Ms. Walker's hands for the tests to be performed, he did not know whether the testing had been done.
Earlier in the day, Patricia McAnallay, who was the nursing supervisor at East Texas Medical Center in Athens where Ms. Cargill was working on the day Ms. Walker went missing, told the jury about the typical schedule for a licensed vocational nurse. The 12-hour day involved giving patients their medicine and charting it for the hospital records, along with tending to other patient and family needs.
Ms. McAnallay said nurses stay very busy with very little down time. She said they are not supposed to take or make personal phone calls and texts during the time they are caring for patients.
She testified, in response to questioning from prosecutor April Sikes, that she was "very surprised" to learn about the 70 phone calls and texts that Ms. Cargill had made and received on June 18, 2010.
Ms. McAnallay said she called Ms. Cargill in on that day to tell her that a patient had complained about not being given pain medication after asking repeatedly.
"I always take good care of my patients," Ms. Cargill said in response, Ms. McAnallay testified.
Testimony continues today.