Archive for Friday, September 5, 2008

KBI scientist says victims’ DNA was found on defendant’s truck in U.S. 59 fatalities

September 5, 2008

The DNA of two men killed in a construction zone on U.S. Highway 59 was found on the defendant's truck, according to a Kansas Bureau of Investigation forensic scientist who took the stand Friday morning during the fourth day of Ramona Morgan's trial.

Morgan is charged with two counts of reckless second-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery stemming from a Sept. 11, 2007, incident in a work zone south of Lawrence that killed two construction workers and injured a third.

Karen Oyerly of the KBI testified that the DNA of Tyrone Korte, 30, was found on the hood of Morgan's truck. Korte was an inspector with the Kansas Department of Transportation. The DNA of Dustrol employee Rolland Griffith, 24, was found on the truck's windshield, Oyerly said.

Both men were killed when they were hit by a truck speeding through a closed lane of the work zone near Pleasant Grove.

On cross-examination from Defense Attorney Billy Rork, Oyerly also testified that tests performed on Morgan shortly after she was taken into custody showed she had no alcohol in her system.

Also on Friday, jurors and relatives of the victims watched a video of a Douglas County Sheriff's detective driving through the "safe lane" with workers and equipment in the same location as the day of the fatalities.

About a dozen workers can be seen working the southbound lane of the highway, where no traffic was supposed to be traveling.

Morgan's trial started Tuesday in Douglas County District Court. It's expected to last into next week.

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