None of the shoes taken from defendants in the Navajo police slayings trial matched footprints found at the site where officers Andy Begay and Roy Lee Stanley were believed to have been shot, according to testimony by an FBI expert Wednesday.
Gary Kanaskie, of the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C., was put on the witness stand by the prosecution so he could identify a boot print from the site as similar to that of Begay's boots.He made the comparison, saying it was the same type and general size boot, but then during cross examination, he seemed to help the defense more than the prosecution.
Defense lawyer Ed Brass asked Kanaskie if he was requested to examine other footprints, and Kanaskie said he was given 30 to 35 cast impressions plus photographs of shoe prints. He compared these with nine pairs of shoes or boots and two unpaired shoes. An investigator for the defense told the Deseret News she believes these included shoes taken from defendants.
"In my opinion, these items of footwear did not make the crime scene (shoe) impressions," Kanaskie said.
Boots and a pair of glasses were shown to the widows of the two slain officers during Tuesday afternoon proceedings. Their emotional response brought the human tragedy home to jurors when the women identified glasses and boots that have been linked to the crime.
Mary Lou Stanley of Oljato, San Juan County, and Laura Begay, Halchita, San Juan County, the widows of tribal police officers Roy Lee Stanley and Andy Begay, were among the most moving witnesses yet in the trial. Facing the first-degree murder charges are Thomas Cly, Marques Atene, Vinton Bedonie and Ben Atene Jr.
"He was supposed to be off that day, but two officers were involved in an accident," so Begay was called in to work, said Laura Begay. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schwendiman handed her a pair of Begay's boots, which she identified.
She wept as she left the witness stand.
The boots were laid beside a cast of a boot print made by officers at the scene of a bonfire and illegal beer party near Goulding's Trading Post, where the prosecution says the officers were shot. The boot had the same heel type as that in the print, a Navajo tribal officer's footwear, and it seemed to be the same size.
Stanley was shown a pair of prescription glasses discovered by a TV reporter at the bonfire location.
"Did your husband wear glasses?" Schwendiman asked.
"Was he able to function without them?"
A moment later, she had him pick up a bent pair of glasses.
"Are these your husband's glasses?"
"Yes," she said, ducking her head and wiping her eyes. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene had a clerk hand her a box of facial tissues, and she dabbed at her eyes.
According to the opening statement of Assistant U.S. Attorney Stewart Walz, Stanley's glasses will be used to corroborate the testimony of a witness. The witness will say he remembers seeing them thrown violently during the fatal confrontation the night of Dec. 4.
John Clark of Chandler, Ariz., a Presbyterian minister and chaplain for the Navajo Police Department, described the discovery of the glasses. He and a TV reporter from Phoenix were visiting the scene of the bonfire on Dec. 13, when the reporter suddenly bent over and began filming something on the ground.
It was Stanley's glasses, "folded at the bridge of the nose . . . the lenses were parallel to one another." They were bent nearly double.
The glasses were in a sand pocket at the top of a hill, 60 feet from the bonfire, apparently missed by officers who combed the scene immediately after the killings.
"It appeared to me that the wind had moved the sand away from the glasses, and that would have taken some time," Clark said.
Deborah Peck, Flagstaff, Ariz., an optician and manager of a Royal Optical store, examined the glasses two weeks ago and confirmed they were "purchased and ordered through us."
The prescription, tint and frame type were identical to those ordered by Roy Lee Stanley, she said.
Rose Cly, a 65-year Navajo woman in a red velvet blouse, who spoke through an interpreter, testified that she heard shots the night of Dec. 4. She lives across a dirt road from the bonfire site, near Goulding's.
Schwendiman broke the ice by asking her if she had ever been on an elevator before Tuesday. "No, I've never been on one of those things," she replied.
Around 10 p.m., she and her family were in the house, and she went outside. She heard a sound like a rock falling.
"Well, I heard what appeared to be a shot. I heard it loud," she said.
She testified she heard three reports while she was outside, then one more when she returned to the house. She was afraid.
"I indicated to myself, who was the crazy person shooting around in the dark?" she said through the interpreter.