‘Hold on’ to center of defense in Louisiana crossbow murder trial

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Testimony of the pathologist who performed the autopsy of the man who died of an arrow shot in the chest with a crossbow launched on the third day of the murder trial of 26-year-old Daniel Haire Wednesday.

Haire is charged with second-degree murder in the late February 2020 crossbow death of a 33-year-old man Rodney Nordby, whose body was found on the afternoon of February 29, 2020, by two teenagers in a park on Wallace Lake Road, south of Shreveport.

Dr. James Traylor testified for the state, describing the findings of the autopsy he performed. As he spoke, pictures of Nordby’s body flashed on a screen in front of the jury as he explained how an arrow had pierced the left side of Nordby’s chest, going through his chest and exiting the left side of his back .

Dr. James Traylor

Things got a bit tricky during Traylor’s cross-examination, however, when prosecutor Kobie Smith objected to the defense attorney questioning Traylor about the toxicology report included in the autopsy report.

Stephen Glassell asked Traylor about this report, which concluded there was methamphetamine in the victim’s body. Smith objected to Glassell’s line of questioning, and after a parallel discussion with the attorneys and Judge Chris Victory, the jury was ushered out of the courtroom so the argument could proceed out of their way. voice range.

Smith was worried because Nordby was a murder victim and so whatever he had in his system was irrelevant. But Glassell, who admits his client killed Nordby, claims self-defense and Louisiana’s “Hold On” law, and wanted to pursue the meth issue because of the drug’s propensity to induce violent behavior.

Glassell asked if he could take his line of questioning without the presence of the jury before Victory ruled on the objection and Victory agreed. Glassell then asked Traylor if the toxicology report showed the amount of methamphetamine in Norby’s body.

“A lot,” Traylor replied.

Traylor told Glassell that there was a description of the drug and its effects in the report and that it contributed to violent behavior.

At this point, Smith said that Traylor couldn’t testify to what the toxicology report said anyway, because he wasn’t qualified as a toxicology expert, and also mentioned that the toxicology report had was written by an out-of-state lab.

Victory supported Smith’s objection, telling Glassell that the jury had previously heard there was methamphetamine found in the victim’s system and that it is well known in the legal and secular communities that methamphetamine can lead to violence. With that, the jury was brought back for the rest of the testimony.

Traylor was followed by a litany of Caddo Parish deputies who investigated the murder, starting with Deputy Justin Sundquist, the first patrol officer who responded to reports of a possible body found in Wallace Lake.

Sundquist, whose body camera was activated and synced to his car camera, guided jurors through the early stages of the inquest when more officers arrived and a perimeter was set up around the mysterious “package” wrapped in a duvet.

His testimony was followed by that of retired CPSO Lt. Michael McDaniel, who oversaw the investigation. He described where Nordby’s body was found, as well as the layer of black sheets under the comforter he was wrapped in.

McDaniel also referenced the layers of clothing Nordby wore, saying he was “dressed for the cold” and wore two pairs of pants.

After Nordby’s identity was established, McDaniel said someone linked to Nordby gave the deputies Daniel Haire’s name, which led him and two other CPSO officers to the house Haire shared. with his parents, his sister and his child.

There, with the family’s permission, they found two twin mattresses on the floor of Haire’s bedroom and an arrow on one of the beds. In a linen closet, they found pillow shams that matched the comforter Nordby’s body was wrapped in.

They had also been given the name of Dillon Brown, who lived a block away with his grandparents, as a possible suspect.

McDaniel then described going to Brown’s grandparents and the investigation that led to the arrest of Haire and Brownwho were apprehended at a roadside check in Broadmoor.

His testimony was followed by that of CPSO Sgt. Matthew Cowden, one of the arresting officers, who also narrated the body camera video as the jury watched on the large screen in front of them.

There were also testimonies regarding the bin in which Nordby’s body was first deposited, and how it was searched for bloodstains, as well as rubbish in the dumpster, where they found a rag with bloodstains they believe was used to clean up stains left in the Haire’s kitchen after Nordby walked in after being shot.

Before the end of the day, jurors were able to see the quilt in which Nordby was wrapped, the three shirts and the jacket he was wearing when the arrow pierced them all and in his body, the mop and cloth deputies bloodstained believe that Haire used to clean the floor of his parents’ house, and even various pillows they found on the sofa which had been pierced with arrows.

The final witness for the day was a DNA expert from the Northwest Louisiana Crime Laboratory, who testified about DNA samples that were tested.

The state will resume its case at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Elna M. Lemons