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January 11, 2013

Physical evidence revealed to jurors during Bagshaw trial

JEFFERSONVILLE —  During the fourth day of the Edward Dale Bagshaw murder trial on Friday, jurors were shown much of the evidence collected during the investigation into the stabbing death of Kelly Bagshaw.

The evidence included blood-soaked clothing worn by Kelly Bagshaw — Dale Bagshaw’s estranged wife — on the day she was killed in 2011; items taken from the vehicle where the fatal stabbing occurred; evidence taken from Dale Bagshaw’s home where he went immediately after the murder occurred; and clothing worn by Bagshaw on the day of the murder that was collected as he was booked into the Clark County Jail following his confessing to his wife’s murder.

•••

A large amount of the evidentiary items was brought into the courtroom concealed in sealed brown paper bags and packed into several cardboard boxes. Called to testify by Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull, Jeffersonville Police Evidence Manager Capt. Bruce Wilkerson assisted in showing the evidence to jurors.

Wearing white rubber gloves, Wilkerson used scissors to cut open the paper bags and retrieved the items at the request of the attorneys. He also answered questions from Mull — as well as Bagshaw's attorney, Perry McCall — concerning the collection and storage of the items in evidence.

Some of the most gruesome items — including the sweatshirt and other clothing worn by Kelly Bagshaw on the day of her murder — were not taken out of the bags in which they were sealed, as they are covered in a large amount of dried blood. Instead, photographs of the bloody clothing were provided to the jury, with the explanation from Wilkerson that dried blood can flake from the clothing when unfolded, become airborne and pose a health hazard if inhaled.

In the courtroom, McCall took issue with the fact that none of the evidence had been submitted to the state police lab for examination, to add an extra layer of confirmation of whose blood was found on the various items.

“If in doubt, or if there is a question, why not test it [the evidence] and be safe?” McCall asked. “We know the labs are overworked, or at least, they say the labs are overworked, but, you know, we have a lot at stake here.”

But Mull said sending the evidence for additional examination was not necessary.

“There was no reason,” Mull said. “We send that stuff off to figure out who did it, you know, DNA matching up, figuring out who is responsible. In this case we knew from the very beginning.”

•••

While jurors were shown only photographs of Kelly Bagshaw’s clothing, the clothes worn by Dale Bagshaw on the day of the murder were held up and displayed in the courtroom.

From the court’s gallery, no blood was visible on the accused’s clothing, which included a shirt, pants, belt and shoes. But Wilkerson pointed out spots on the clothes that is suspected to be blood splatter.

McCall said a close look at Dale Bagshaw’s clothing can help the court understand what the couple’s children —  a 2-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl — may have witnessed during their mother’s murder.

Previous testimony from this week’s proceedings revealed that the toddler appeared to be unaware of the fatal encounter, but that the older girl may have seen her parents’ struggle through the window of the Lafayette Square apartment where Dale Bagshaw was living. The stabbing took place in the parking lot of the apartment complex.

“I had seen photographs of Mr. Bagshaw’s clothing, and the state could have put those photographs there, but they did not, so, I thought it was important to open it [the clothing] up and look that he was not covered in blood,” McCall said.

“If your father comes in and he is covered in blood, you know something is wrong,” McCall said. “[The defense] wanted to make sure that the jury is not inflamed thinking that his clothes were covered in blood, and, therefore, the child would have seen that.”

But what exactly the young girl witnessed remains unclear.

Mull, who has made the point numerous times of the children bearing witness to their father’s attack on their mother — said the testimony given by a detective who spoke with the child has provided some insight.

“When [the detective] talked to the little girl, she said she saw her mom’s car. She saw her dad get into the car. She saw the car shaking as if there was a struggle or a fight, and then she saw her mom tumble out the [car] door bleeding,” Mull said.

•••

Other items of evidence taken from Dale Bagshaw’s home were also displayed to jurors on Friday. The items included a dish cloth, a paper towel roll and a bath towel, all of which had small markings of what appeared to be blood.

Mull said he wanted to go through the lengthy process of displaying the long procession of physical evidence to the jury even though Dale Bagshaw has confessed to fatally stabbing his estranged wife.

“Anytime we collect evidence on a case, and it is in the evidence room and it is assigned to that case, I want to bring it up and show it to the jury,” he said, adding that although some of the items may be irrelevant, it shows that the police were thorough in their investigation, and it shows that prosecutors are not trying to hide anything from the jury.

•••

Mull said he will bring the prosecution to a close early next week after the two primary detectives and two court-appointed mental health professionals take the witness stand.

“The bulk of the case will come on Monday when we talk about the investigation and what actually happened,” he said.

McCall said he intends on calling only two witnesses to the testify when the defense has the opportunity to present its case next week.

He will present a mental health professional from Indiana University medical school and Donnie Bagshaw, the defendant’s brother.

•••

McCall said he does not plan on having Bagshaw take the witness stand to defend himself.

“There is no reason,” he said. “You will find out later on why there is no reason for him to testify because he has no memory of the event.”

McCall said Bagshaw has provided to police his account of what transpired before and after the murder, but he has no recollection what took place inside the vehicle where Kelly Bagshaw was stabbed nearly 60 times with a pocket knife.

McCall said he intends to show the couple had a tumultuous relationship by including a history of the couple’s cell phone voice and text messages.

He will do so to support his argument that Bagshaw’s fatal actions meet the criteria of acting out of sudden heat, which could lead to a lesser charge of voluntarily manslaughter for his client.

“In the phones, you are able to program how you refer to people,” McCall explained. “We believe the evidence will show in [Bagshaw’s] phone he had referred to Kelly as Mrs. Kelly Bagshaw, his wife. In her cell phone he is referred to as a [expletive].”

The trial will continue Monday in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 with judge Vicki Carmichael presiding.

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