Forensic expert testifies in fourth day of murder trial

By KATIE HURST/ Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — Jurors in the capital murder trial of Ryan Russell heard evidence Nov. 17 from forensic scientists who examined guns and bullet casings found at the crime scene.

Russell, 37, is being charged with the murder of 11-year-old Katherine Helen Gillespie on June 16, 2008. Previous testimonies have revealed Gillespie’s body was found stuffed head first into a trashcan found in the backseat of an SUV in Russell’s garage. Authorities have said they believe the shooting occurred in the laundry room in the basement of the house near the home’s entrance to the garage.

Russell

Ed Moran, chief of the firearm and tool marks identification unit of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, testified Nov. 17 that after examination, the two bullet cartridge cases found at the scene of the crime were found to have been fired from the model 23 .40-caliber Glock pistol found underneath the couch in the garage several months after the crime.

Moran said the bullet jacket recovered from the body could not be marked back to any of the guns he examined. He said there was not enough microscopic markings on the jacket for him to make a conclusion.

Moran said the bloody hat found on the floor of the garage had a star-shaped tear in the back of the fabric consistent to contact gunshots.

The trial has recessed for lunch and will resume at 1:30 p.m.