Myth #7

If the butcher knife had made the impression in the family room, there would have been carpet fibers on it.

Charles Linch did not find any carpet fibers on the knife, that much is true. To state unequivocally, however, that there would have been fibers on the knife is to ignore other variables that may have come into play that night. Two of those variables are detailed below.
Mosty: If that knife was laid down on that carpet, you’d expect to find carpet fibers on that knife, wouldn’t you?
Linch: If a bloody knife came in contact with that carpet, I would expect to find a couple of carpet fibers, yes.
Mosty: Ok, but in your judgment, if that knife went down on the floor, it surprises you that you would not have carpet fibers on that knife?
Linch: If that knife went to that floor and went someplace else, and had an opportunity to partially dry so that any fibrous material might fall off, then you would have to consider that. In other words, I’d expect to see carpet fibers on that knife if it came directly to me from the floor.
Mosty: But you have told me that you would expect to see carpet fibers on that knife, haven’t you?
Linch: If it comes directly to me, yes. From the floor.
(Charles Linch, Sec. 2972-2975)

On redirect, Greg Davis offered another possible explanation for the absence of carpet fibers on the knife. It had to do with the four puncture holes, made with a bloody knife, in the upper right front of Darlie’s t-shirt. Those puncture holes had no corresponding injuries on Darlie’s skin.
Davis: Is it possible that you could lay this knife wet with blood, leave this pattern and not have any carpet fibers transfer to the blade?
Linch: That is possible.
Davis: Let me give you a different scenario. Assume this bloody knife was laid on this carpet. That blood transferred from this knife to this carpet to produce this stain, and carpet fibers were left on the blade, ok? Then assume that the knife blade came in contact with something else. For instance, a t-shirt. Would it be possible, in that contact, for those carpet fibers to be transferred from the knife to the other material, so that when you see the knife in your lab, you don’t see carpet fibers?
Linch: Yes, sir.
Davis: For instance, if it was used to attack another person after it was laid on the carpet?
Linch: Yes, sir.
Davis: Or it was used to produce defects in a t-shirt?
Linch: Yes, sir.
Davis: By the way, did you examine the defendant’s t-shirt for evidence of carpet fibers?
Linch: Yes, I did. There were 3 carpet fibers on the defendant’s t-shirt and 2 on Damon’s t-shirt that were microscopically the same as the carpeting in the family room.


Davis: Those defects in the right shoulder area of the defendant’s t-shirt, do you have an opinion whether or not they’re more consistent to have been self-inflicted rather than an intruder produce these defects?
Linch: It would be my opinion that they were self-inflicted. To cause those defects, at that depth of penetration, you need to have tension on the shirt and it needs to be a short, measured jab. If you go at the material slowly, contact the material and continue to push, when the blade does eventually go through, you get a large tear, much larger than what you have there. Those are more consistent with pokes through an extended t-shirt. And in 16 years I have not seen a killer perform in that fashion.
(Charles Linch, Sec. 3041-3045)

Note: Darlie met with Charles Linch on June 11, five days after the murders.
Davis: Did you discuss her injuries with her?
Linch: Yes. She showed me her neck scar, a scar on the left front upper chest, and a scar on the right arm.
Davis: Did the defendant indicate that she’d received any injuries to the right shoulder area or right collar bone area during this attack?
Linch: No.
(Charles Linch, Sec. 2883)

It is reasonable to conclude that the butcher knife made the impression on the family room carpet. Nothing else in the house fit that blood imprint. What we don’t know – what we cannot know for certain – is where that knife went after it was picked up from the floor. There are a few possible scenarios, though: First, as bloody as the tip obviously was, what few fibers that might have adhered could have easily slid down with the blood as it dripped back onto the carpet. Second, depending on how much time passed after the knife was picked up, and before it was placed on the kitchen counter, the blood could have simply dried enough to allow the fibers to fall off. Third, the carpet fibers found on Darlie and Damon’s t-shirts may have been transferred from the knife as she self-inflicted the puncture holes in her t-shirt and/or stabbed Damon a second time.