Black Trial Delayed; Stretcher Brought Into Courtroom

Defendant appeared to be in pain Wednesday morning

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    Terrance Black, in June, 2012.

    Testimony resumed after a three-hour delay Wednesday morning in the murder trial of a North Texas man accused of killing his former girlfriend.

    Terrance Black, who is charged with capital murder in the death of Susan Loper, a Frisco fitness instructor.

    When day three of testimony resumed at 11:30 a.m., Plano criminalist Dale Patton took the stand.

    Patton had collected blood samples from the driveway and exterior of the Gleneagles Country Club, where Loper was abducted, along with a hair tie found lying near the club's Pilates studio.

    Patton testified that he retrieved several latent fingerprints and a partial palm print on the glass interior door to the Pilates studio, although he recognized the country club facility is a "high-traffic area." He also said it would be impossible to determine when the fingerprints were made.

    Patton also responded to the area in Frisco off of the Dallas Parkway where Loper's body was found. Because it had rained heavily before the body was found, the weather may have washed away some physical evidence from the scene, including the exterior of Loper's Toyota Rav4, which was parked outside, he told the jury.

    Testimony continued with Plano criminalist supervisor Johnny McClure, who also talked about the fingerprints and palm prints found at Gleneagles Country Club.

    McClure told the jury the prints on the door did not match Loper or Black.

    He then took jurors through a photo-evidence slide show of Loper's sport utility vehicle, which was found in an apartment complex parking lot near Park Boulevard and Preston Road in Plano. The evidence showed blood on many areas of the vehicle, including the driver's side door, front driver's seat, center console and much of the backseat.

    "I would characterize it as a significant amount of blood for an individual that had suffered some kind of wound that would require emergency-room care," he said.

    McClure testified that the stains were not from "pooled blood," such as the bloodstain found on the driveway of Gleneagles Country Club, but transferred "either directly, swiped from another surface that had blood on it at the time of transfer."

    Other items in vehicle appeared to belong to Loper, such as grocery sacks and a Bible. In line with other testimony from Tuesday, McClure told the court that the bloodstains in the SUV "could be consistent with a struggle."

    However, the defense asked if the bloodstains could also be consistent with Loper being placed, incapacitated, in the front seat of the vehicle, then transferred to the back seat.

    McClure also spoke of "usable latent fingerprints" found inside Loper's vehicle.

    McClure told the jury that one impression over the driver's door was identified as Loper's. However, two other impressions -- on the right rear door and another set of partial palm prints -- were not identified.

    "The other prints are identifiable, but as for the prints submitted, they were not identified," he said.

    McClure added that the prints were run, without identification, through IAFIS, a national automated fingerprint identification system.

    Aside from looking in the database, Black's prints were the only ones -- other than those of Loper -- to be submitted for analysis, McClure testified.

    Other fingerprint data collected in Loper's Pilates studio at the country club were collected. Of those, one was identified as belonging to Loper and another set, found on a ripped screen divider, were identified to Jason Hayes, Loper's boyfriend at the time of the her death.

    McClure said Hayes, Loper's boyfriend at the time of her death, gave a voluntary sample of his fingerprints for analysis.

    When asked by the defense, McClure said that none of the unidentified latent prints matched Hayes' sample.

    The defense has argued the investigation focused solely on Black as a suspect, instead of also looking into other people.

    Earlier this week, the defense named Hayes as someone who should have been investigated more thoroughly in Loper's death.

    McClure also said Black's prints were not found in the Pilates studio.

    Earlier in the day, the defense had asked if any other glove impressions, such as the one documented on Loper's SUV, were found at the Gleneagles facility.

    The criminalists testified they had no evidence of glove prints at the kidnapping scene.

    Several DNA swabs were also taken from Loper's SUV.

    Before the trial started Wednesday morning, Black appeared to limp, be in pain and had his head in his hands in the courtroom.

    Just before 9 a.m., jurors and witnesses were ordered out of the room.

    Witnesses saw a stretcher with a patient being wheeled away from the courtroom behind a partition wall before 10 a.m. A security detail accompanied the stretcher, but the patient was not visible and the court would not confirm if Black was being treated.

    The prosecution was then allowed back in the courtroom.

    Judge John Roach Jr. told jurors after a three-hour delay that the court had an "issue handled outside of your presence."

    NBC 5's Frank Heinz contributed to this report.