Crown to show DNA evidence in decapitation double murder trial

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FREDERICTON, New Brunswick (AP) – Government prosecutors began introducing DNA evidence as the trial of Gregory Despres for the murders of an elderly New Brunswick couple moved into its third week Monday.

Forensic expert Joy Kearsey of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police crime lab in Halifax guided the court through the intricacies of DNA analysis as she prepared to discuss the findings on items seized from Despres when he entered the United States on April 25, 2005.

The butchered bodies of Fred Fulton, 74, and his wife, Verna Decarie, 70, were discovered in their Minto, New Brunswick, home on April 26, 2005, the same day Despres was arrested in Massachusetts. Both were stabbed repeatedly and Fulton had been decapitated.

Items seized from Despres at the Canadian-U.S. border at Calais, Maine, and at his arrest included a homemade sword and a knife as well as stained clothing.

During earlier testimony, police said a chain saw and hatchet seized from Despres were not subjected to forensic examination.

Greg Harnish, who picked up Despres on April 25, 2005, while he was hitchhiking, told the court Despres seemed coherent and was able to carry on a conversation about working in the woods. Harnish said Despres was in his vehicle for about 20 minutes as they drove to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, where there is a border crossing to the state of Maine.

Harnish told the court Despres seemed normal, except that his eyes appeared to be protruding and his pupils may have been dilated. He also said Despres was wearing a motorcycle helmet when he got into the car, although he took it off when he sat down.

The non-jury trial is expected to last at least another week.

AP-ES-01-22-07 1518EST

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