Duvet Cover (Comforter) from the bed in the Master Bedroom
Collected on: December 27, 2002
Collected by: Detective Rudy Skultety, Crime Scene Manager
Item No.: 57
Reason: Suspected Laci was murdered while laying on the bed
Received by: California Department of Justice crime laboratory, Ripon, CA
Received on: December 30, 2002
Case No: CV-02-010941
Request No: 01
Tested by: Pin Kyo
Bates No. for Report:
Results: Negative, nothing of evidentiary value
The police suspected that an indentation on the bed in the Master bedroom, along with some small stains that appeared to be blood, indicated that Laci was murdered while laying on the bed. Grogan specifically outlined that theory as part of the "soft kill" that he used to justify the second search warrant in February. The relatively small amount of blood found at the scene suggested to Grogan that Scott had used some kind of drug or other means to subdue or incapacitate Laci, making her unable to fight back.
Here is the picture taken the night of December 24, 2002, by ID Tech Doug Lovell (People's 37I). It is the only picture taken of the bed that night. Alongside it is the picture Kyo took of the duvet cover (People's 243A) as it hung in her examining room. Kyo explained to Dave Harris that she hung the cover from its bottom, so I've turned her picture upside down to better see it in comparison to how it lay on the bed. Only one of the four stains seems to be in the area of the indentation. The upper right stain and two upper left stains seem to be out of the range. Note: the stains do not show in the picture Kyo took. She had to put Post-its next to the stains in order to identify their placement on the cover because the stains themselves were so small.
The test results
Kyo's presumptive tests for blood were positive, so she did cuttings to send them to Bill Hudlow for DNA testing. The genetic profile from the bloodstains swab from the pickup truck and from the bloodstain on the comforter were the same as Scott's. Hudlow also stated that the size of the stain on the comforter amounted to only a fraction of a drop of blood.
Detective Grogan knew that Scott only had a scuffed knuckle on the night of the 24th because Detective Brocchini had observed both of Scott's hands when he did the gun powder residue test. Also, on January 3 Grogan obtained blood samples, fingerprints, palm prints, saliva samples and photos of Scott front and back. In the photos Scott was down to his underwear, and Grogan confirmed that he did not have any injuries.
Detective Ray Coyle was responsible for the Master Bedroom during the search on December 26-27, and he is the one that noticed the stains that looked like blood, which he pointed out to Rudy Skultety, the Crime Scene Manager. Defense 4Q-1 and 4Q-2 are pictures taken during this search.
On February 23, 2003, Grogan received the DNA results on the duvet cover stains and thus knew that the cover had no trace evidence relating to Laci's murder. The small amount of blood accounting for the comforter stain and the blood stain on the driver's door of the pickup did not likely come from the same scuffed knuckle: if Scott had suffered the scuffed knuckle during the act of murdering Laci on the night of the 23rd, it would not likely still be bleeding on the morning of the 24th when he got into his pickup to go to the warehouse.
Furthermore, the search warrant executed just days earlier failed to produce any evidence of a soft kill -- and the major purpose of the warrant was to find such evidence. Several items of bedding were collected during this search warrant, including a pillow without a pillowcase (See Kyo's Request No. 8).
Mark Geragos put this question to Detective Grogan during his cross examination:
As you sit here today, do you have any evidence whatsoever from the Department of Justice, that they have produced, that shows smothering, strangulation, or asphyxiation? Is there any of the Department of Justice reports that are consistent or that come back and say this is consistent with smothering, strangulation, or asphyxiation?
To which Grogan replied: "There is no report that says that, no."
Nor did the 2nd search warrant produce any evidence of drugs being used to subdue or incapacitate Laci, making her unable to fight back. Grogan admitted that both the mortar and pestle collected as evidence tested negative for controlled substances.
The obvious conclusion is, Laci was not murdered while laying on that duvet cover.