Jennings v. Nash day four: Testimony from retired criminologist

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo – The fourth day of the civil case trial between Brad Jennings and Missouri State Highway Patrol Seargent Dan Nash is underway.

Jennings is suing Nash for allegedly suppressing evidence in the murder trial of Jennings’ wife.

The plaintiffs called two witnesses to the stand, the first being Brad and Lisa Jennings’ son’s teacher the year Lisa died. The second being the criminologist that conducted the GSR test on Brad Jennings’ robe.

The teacher, Bridget Maddox, testified that there were inconsistencies and false statements put in a report by Nash after he interviewed her at the school during the time of the original investigation. Maddox was called to the principles office to speak with Nash and another investigator to talk about Dallas Jennings, one of the sons.

At one point, she said she is not surprised that there had been other complaints about Nash omitting facts in reports, claiming it happened to her too.

She testified that there was a memorandum about that interview. She disputed on the stand some of the things that she said in the memorandum weren’t true. She disputed that Dallas’s behavior in class, according to the report, was sad. On the stand, she said she never said that.

She claims that Nash was wrong in saying that she had filed a complaint with Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice. She says that she called Nash in August of 2007 to ask him why he had claimed that a complaint was made that she never made.

The second person on the stand was Nick Gerhart, retired criminologist with the highway patrol crime lab in Jefferson City, who conducted the GSR tests of the gunshot residue on Brad Jennings’ robe that came back negative. A phone call was played in the courtroom where Gerhart told Jennings’ Private Investigator that Nash had three tries to get the test results: Once by mail, another by fax, and another by phone.

Before the call, between pi and Gerhart, was played to the court, state attorneys tried to object to the call two times. They claimed it was hearsay, but the judge overruled the objections.

After the phone call, Gerhart said he wasn’t sure if he had called Nash about the results. During the original murder trial, Nash testified that he never received the results.

Gerhart testified that typically gunshot residue test results are put in an outgoing mailbox picked up by clerk and then mailed to the appropriate parties; in this case, one of those results would’ve been sent to Troop D in Springfield.

The jury was shown a call log where Gerhart had called Nash to ask about the supplemental information about what exact test Nash wanted to be done on the robe. The call log about giving Nash the test results does not exist.

Gerhart asked by the state if he had any case records or files with him when he spoke with the private investigator. Gerhart responded with no because he was retired by that point.

There was a case dissemination log of when the results were faxed to Troop D, but he reiterated again that there was no dissemination log created for the phone call between Gerhart and Nash.

The jury asked Gerhart if there were digital copies created of the test results and who had access. Gerhart responded saying digital copies are created for archives reasons and sometimes the crime lab has access.

After lunch, plaintiffs read depositions and testimonies of Dan Nash and attorneys from before and during the habeas corpus hearing.

In the dispositions, Nash said he had never followed for the gunshot residue test results of the robe. Nash says he was never told about the results, he did say he could have but he does not remember.

The next person on the stand was Brads older sister Marsha. Marsha paid for the lawyer and private investigator fees, bond, Brad’s mortgages while he was in prison, and paid for prison services.

All of those fees add up to nearly $730,000.

The last person to be called was Dallas Jennings. He testified about the emotional damage he and his father Brad have suffered because of this whole process.

The court will reconvene Monday morning with the state calling their witnesses and the jury will likely go into deliberation Tuesday.

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