BARSTOW • Two crime science experts gave extensive testimony Tuesday in the case of a Barstow man charged with murder in the 2002 death of his Raytheon co-worker.
Lawrence Rivera, 39, is charged iwith the murder of Kristina Garcia, whose unburied body was found in open desert off Yermo Cutoff Road May 22, 2002 —six days after her disappearance. Rivera fled overseas to England, Germany, the Netherlands, and eventually Australia before he could be arrested and was eventually extradited in 2008 after years of appeals.
Deborah Harris, a San Bernardino County Sheriff's training specialist, testified at length about 13 small suspected blood stains found in Lawrence Rivera's Mitsubishi sedan. The stains were found on the passenger door, front passenger seat, and rear passenger door. Areas on the front driver seat that appeared to be spot-cleaned also initially tested positive for blood.
The stains were found after Sheriff's Deputy Patrick Briggs stopped Rivera for tinted windows and searched his car with the help of two additional deputies. Before the stop, Briggs was briefed about Garcia's disappearance and Rivera's suspected involvement, according to his testimony Tuesday.
Department of Justice Criminalist Daniel Gregonis performed DNA analysis work on suspected blood samples from Rivera's car and determined confirmed blood stains matched Kristina Garcia's DNA, with a one in six billion chance of finding the DNA sequence in another Caucasian woman at random. Garcia's husband and daughter were ruled out as being contributors to the DNA material found in the blood samples, according to Gregonis' testimony.
Material scraped from underneath Garcia's fingernails contained a mix of DNA matching Rivera and Garcia's profile, according to Gregonis.
Before jurors entered the courtroom Tuesday Rivera's attorney, Jim Terrell, was informed that DNA analysis he requested from socks and a cigarette box found near Garcia's body will not be performed. A Victorville homicide judge denied the motion, reporting that the need for DNA analysis of the items was insufficient and untimely.
Counsel was also briefed about a substitute clerk who was in the Barstow courthouse on Jan. 7 and remembered helping Garcia file a restraining order against Rivera in 2002. The clerk was promptly added to the witness list and is set to testify tomorrow.
Before jurors entered the courtroom Terrell also requested witnesses set to testify Wednesday not be allowed to testify about Rivera's suspected theft of $2,000 from the shopette where he worked. He was denied his request.
Daugherty said he plans to done with witness testimony on Wednesday. If convicted, Rivera could face 25 years to life in prison.
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