Darlie’s blood on the vacuum cleaner supports her story that she was leaning on it for support in the family room.
This claim, that the vacuum cleaner was in the family room that night, has been thoroughly discredited (please see Statement #8, under In Her Own Words). More to the point, Darlie didn’t even attempt to explain the damaging physical evidence found under and around the vacuum in the kitchen.
Glass and Footprints
The vacuum cleaner had been tipped over near the kitchen sink. Underneath were two of Darlie’s bloody footprints leading away from the sink, toward the family room. On top of those footprints were pieces of the broken wine glass. There was no blood on the glass, which means that the glass was broken after she left the bloody footprints. This contradicts Darlie’s story that she heard glass breaking and chased an intruder on the opposite side of the kitchen.
Cron: This photograph shows drops of blood and bloody footprints in the area under the vacuum.
Davis: Could you also observe any broken glass under this area, where the vacuum cleaner had been?
Davis: Did you find any broken glass resting on top of the two bloody footprints?
Cron: Yes. There was glass on it, but the glass wasn’t bloody.
(James Cron, Sec. 2217)
Darlie’s blood had dripped onto the vacuum cleaner while it was standing upright, as well as after it was tipped over. Her smeared blood was also on the handle. She became aware of this evidence through discovery, which explains why she testified that she’d been leaning over the vacuum for support and then “kind of took it with me” when she sat down. However, that blood wasn’t deposited in the family room; it happened in the kitchen after Darlie inflicted her own wounds at the sink.
Vacuum Rolled in Darlie’s Blood
There were multiple roll marks made by the vacuum cleaner’s wheels through Darlie’s blood on the kitchen floor. These roll marks were such that the vacuum had to be lifted up and then rolled again some distance away from the previous mark.
Bevel: 43-E shows that the blood had an item such as the wheel of the vacuum cleaner that was rolled through it, and as the wheel is going through it, it’s both pushing blood in front of it as well as to the sides of it, leaving little ridges from where the blood has been displaced from rolling through the wet blood.
Davis: On the other roll marks that you saw, were you able to make some determination of direction on those, also?
Bevel: On some of them, not all of them.
Davis: Okay. And what were your findings there?
Bevel: That the item creating the roll marks was going in opposing directions. In other words, if we have a motion that is in this direction that we were just looking at, that if you go over to another area, you have got direction actually in a different direction or almost at a 90 degree angle to the original. You then have another area and you would just about have to lift the vacuum and go over to another area and then proceed to roll again in a different direction from the original location or — and original direction.
Davis: Okay. So there were differing directions to these movements?
Bevel: As well as not being connected, so there has to be some movement up off the floor with the vacuum cleaner.
Davis: The roll marks, sir, were they consistent with State’s Exhibit No. 93 just simply being dumped over or knocked over in one motion?
Bevel: They would not, no, sir.
(Tom Bevel, Sec. 3308-3311)
In addition, Bevel testified that the roll marks were made shortly after Darlie’s blood dropped onto the kitchen floor.
Davis: Do you have an opinion about the amount of time that passed between the blood dropping on the floor and the vacuum cleaner running through the drops?
Bevel: It would be a relatively short period of time, somewhere in the range of several minutes, because there’s no peripheral staining or skeletalization of the individual blood seen prior to the movement of the item through blood.
(Tom Bevel, Sec. 3312-3313)
Although severely stretching credulity, not to mention contradicting Darlie’s story, could an intruder have used the vacuum cleaner to block Darlie’s path through the kitchen? According to Alan Brantley, the answer is no: “You can see that the cord is kind of piled up, or stacked underneath the base of this vacuum cleaner. If someone had grabbed this and thrown it in an attempt to create an obstacle for someone pursuing, you would have expected the cord to be in a different position.”
(Alan Brantley Sec. 3689)
On cross-exam, Mosty, a slender man who was about Darlie’s height, demonstrated how she might have lifted the vacuum off the floor by grabbing it below the handle. He insisted that lifting it that way would be much too difficult for a woman.
Mosty: I would have to pick that up like that, and then my arm is — I would have to lift my arm, to get it off the ground. I would have to get my arm up parallel to the floor, wouldn’t I?
Bevel: Parallel, no.
Mosty: It would be pretty hard to pick it up like that, wouldn’t it?
Bevel: Well, you just did it.
(Tom Bevel, Sec. 3407)
Note: Contrary to a supporter website which claims that Darlie was never asked if she was near the sink, Jim Patterson, and no doubt other police officers as well, did ask her that very question.
Huff: Did you ever ask her if she was on the west side of the island, of the island and the sink?
Patterson: Yes sir. When she got through drawing [this diagram], I asked her several times, “Did you or anyone ever go on the west side, between the island and the sink? Did anyone ever go over on that side, toward the utility room? Did anyone ever come back this way, between the island and the sink to get back into this room? And she told me no.
(Jimmy Patterson, Sec. 289-290)
Darlie, and no one else, ran the vacuum cleaner through her own blood and then overturned it on top of her footprints. Was it done to stage a struggle? Possibly, but she never mentioned a vacuum cleaner until she testified, and by then she’d developed selective amnesia. Or was she, in an extreme panic, attempting to distort the blood and footprints because it contradicted her story of being cut on the couch? After all, we know from the luminol test that she tried to wash blood from the sink, faucet, and handles for that very reason. This will probably remain a mystery, as only Darlie knows for sure.