Published March 26. 2012 3:31PM Updated March 26. 2012 9:54PM
The defense rested its case Monday afternoon after calling one witness at the double murder trial of Dickie E. Anderson Jr.
Anderson, 41, opted not to testify on his own behalf. He is on trial in New London Superior Court for the murders of Renee Pellegrino in 1997 and Michelle Comeau in 1998.
The defense witness, mitochondrial DNA expert Kristen Madel from the state's crime laboratory, testified that a single hair found in the body bag with Comeau did not come from Anderson.
Mitochondrial DNA tests examine genetic material in the cell's energy-producing mitochondria and can be used to exclude segments of the population. In the Comeau case, the lab tested the hair against a DNA sample provided by Anderson and eliminated him as the contributor.
The prosecution and defense will sum up their cases in closing arguments today. Judge Arthur C. Hadden will then instruct the jury on the pertinent laws before the 12-member panel begins deliberating.
The state's final witness was Connecticut's chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver, who testified about similarities in both homicides. Both women were prostitutes who were strangled by a killer who appeared to have used his hands as well as a ligature, or rope. They were both left on remote stretches of roadway with no clothing and, the state contends, were both posed in a similar manner.
Also Monday, defense attorney John T. Walkley cross-examined state police Detective David Lamoureux, a lead detective in the case who had spent several days on the witness stand while the state played audio and video recordings of interrogations with Anderson. Walkley emphasized with his questions that Anderson continuously proclaimed his innocence throughout five or six interrogations that each lasted for hours.