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Mon, Aug. 19

Testimony: Blood on suspect's shoe belonged to murder victim
Defense in Russell Shields' trial expected to begin today

John Langan

John Langan

KINGMAN - A criminalist with the Arizona Department of Public Safety crime lab in Flagstaff testified that DNA taken from spots of blood found on the shoes of accused killer Russell Eugene Shields belonged to Alberto Orozco, Shields' alleged victim.

Orozco was killed sometime around midnight on July 18, 2011.

In addition to learning a dead man's DNA was on Shields' shoes, jurors also heard for the first time that both Shields and his former co-defendant, John Langan, were with Orozco the night he was shot and killed.

Criminalist Kristen Dick cited astronomical odds when prosecutor Doug Camacho asked her how certain she was the DNA could only belong to Orozco, whose body was found slumped over in his own car at about 1 a.m. July 18, dead from a gunshot wound. Dick said the odds the blood belonged to anyone but Orozco were in the multiple trillions to one.

The blood evidence was gathered during an interview Kingman police detectives conducted with Shields shortly after the killing.

A detective testified earlier this week that he saw a reddish brown spot on one of Shields' white Nike tennis shoes when the defendant crossed his legs.

Shields, according to testimony, readily gave up the shoes when asked. A sample from several tiny spots of blood was sent to the crime lab and Dick said she was able to make a perfect match on each of the 14 locations she checked.

Under questioning from defense attorney Christian Ackerley, Detective Dennis Gilbert told jurors that Shields and Langan both said Orozco was standing up when he was shot.

Gilbert was asked if he checked the trajectory of the bullet that struck Orozco. Gilbert said he didn't because there are "too many variables" involved in the analysis that make it unreliable.

But Ackerley, who will apparently argue Langan was the shooter and not Shields, noted Shields is 5-foot-7 and Langan is an even 6-foot.

The implication was that a study of the trajectory the bullet traveled might have yielded evidence on who fired the fatal shot.

Gilbert said the two men pinned the murder on each other and their stories varied wildly despite the fact both were allegedly present.

Langan last year pleaded guilty to a much-reduced charge of hindering prosecution and was sentenced to eight years in prison. At his sentencing hearing, he told Judge Steven Conn he was in the bathroom when Shields shot Orozco.

Ackerley was also able to show a .380-caliber handgun found at Shields' Apache Street home was not the weapon used to kill Orozco. A .380 round was removed from his body at his autopsy. Parts of a weapon were recovered in a field behind Kmart, including live .380 rounds.


Because he told police his rights had been restored and it was legal for him to own firearms, jurors learned Shields has been convicted of multiple felonies in Florida, and that he had been incarcerated.

They did not learn about the felony drug convictions he has racked up since moving to Arizona.

Jurors were scheduled to hear recordings of the various interviews police conducted with a host of people following the murder on Thursday afternoon before Camacho rests his case.

Ackerley is expected to begin his defense today. While he deferred making an opening statement when the trial began Monday, the tone of his questioning of the state's witness implies he will seek to pin the murder on Langan, or perhaps a Mexican drug cartel with which Orozco might have been involved.


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