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Forensic evidence takes center stage in Jupiter triple murder trial

Posted: 4:19 PM, Jun 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-14 18:55:34-04
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — On day four of testimony in the Christopher Vasata murder trial, prosecutors called on a forensic scientist who conducted DNA tests on evidence collected from the Super Bowl Sunday shooting in 2017.

Several pieces of clothing, some guns, and gun magazines were taken into evidence.

A pair of black gloves found hidden in a storm drain off I-95 near an abandoned getaway car were tested, along with a black glove found inside a stolen Honda which actually belonged to one of the shooting victims.

The gloves had DNA evidence from Marcus Steward and Christopher Vasata, both who are the suspected shooters in the triple murders.

During testimony Friday, Vasata’s defense attorney questioned how Vasata’s DNA showed up partly on the steering wheel of victim Sean Henry’s car, when Vasata was seen getting out of the backseat of the car and is on video in the backseat.

"I don’t know how DNA would get on any of the profiles, I can’t testify to that. I can just testify to the results," said Alyse Yacovone-Margetts, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office forensic scientist.

The defense team argued the gloves Steward’s DNA was detected on were also stained with blood traced to Vasata’s DNA.

"One of the scenarios that’s possible is that Mr. Vasata’s DNA is transferred to an item that he never touches due to Mr. Steward touching it," said Vasata’s attorney Elizabeth Ramsey.

"Yes, that could be a mechanism as to how the DNA got there," said Yacovone-Margetts.

Prosecutors also used the DNA evidence to point out that a third person Vasata’s attorneys claim was also involved in the shooting, Luke Kutsukos, was not detected on the DNA evidence.

Swabs from a rifle found in the storm drain, hoodies, black gloves, and swabs from inside the Honda did not detect Kutsukos’ profile.

"Did you detect his DNA on anything?" asked prosecutor Jill Richstone.

"I did not," said Yacovone-Margetts, who added she compared profiles of all of the victims, the suspected shooters, the host of the party, Charles Vorpagel, and Kutsukos to the DNA evidence.

Ramsey pointed out that the results also showed more than one person contributing to DNA evidence, and in some cases there was not enough of the minor profiles to compare to potential contributors. That means that there could be other DNA on those items that wasn’t sufficient enough to detect or compare.

Vasata is charged with three counts of first-degree murder with a gun, attempted first-degree murder with a gun, grand theft auto, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Witness testimony is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. Monday.