Bevel’s demonstration regarding blood on the utility room floor is not based on science and, therefore, should not have been allowed.
Darlie said the intruder threw the butcher knife down in the entrance to the utility room. She picked it up, then walked back through the kitchen, placing the knife on the kitchen counter (the bar). That knife blade was covered in blood on both sides when photographed by investigators.
In the utility room were numerous round drops of low-velocity blood, belonging to Darlie, which indicated little or no movement when the blood was shed. What struck Bevel and other investigators as extremely odd, though, was that none of that blood was cast-off or spatter, as would be expected if a knife had been dropped or thrown on the floor. He considered the possibility that the knife tip may have stuck in the floor, but after getting down on his hands and knees, could find no evidence of tip impact on the linoleum. After a visual inspection and a review of case documents, Tom Bevel’s opinion was that the round blood drops on the floor were completely inconsistent with Darlie’s story.
Bevel took whole human blood and, using the same butcher knife, insured that the blade was covered as it was in the crime scene photos, and as it was when Linch received it. He then simply either dropped or tossed the knife from approximately waist level while running/walking.
Davis: When you dropped it, did the knife bounce off the linoleum and then land in a second location?
Bevel: Yes. Each and every time it bounced. And each and every time, the results were basically the same. There are two different types of pattern. One of them is linear, both from where the knife originally hit as well as where it ultimately comes to rest. There are linear lines consistent with the edge of the knife; and then going out from the linear lines there is blood spatter.
(Tom Bevel, Sec. 3287, 3295)
The defense suggested that the blood drops were compromised by the time Bevel saw them in November, but that is not supported by testimony. Cron and Linch saw the floor early on the morning of June 6th.
Davis: The type of blood that you saw, was it consistent or inconsistent with a knife having been thrown or dropped on that floor?
Cron: Inconsistent. The drops were slow moving, or low velocity drops. There was no cast-off of blood. A slow moving individual left those drops.
(James Cron, Sec. 2282)
Davis: Is there any blood evidence consistent with a blood-soaked knife having been dropped?
Linch: No sir, there isn’t. You’d expect to see some kind of spatter where the knife had hit.
(Charles Linch, Sec. 341 & 344)
Incidentally, Darlie’s blood drops in front of the sink and wine rack were also low-velocity drops, almost perfectly round, and consistent with a slow-moving individual. Yet in her statement to police she wrote, “I got halfway through the kitchen and turned back around to run and turn on the light, I ran back towards the utility room…I ran back through the kitchen and realized the entire living area had blood all over everything.” By the time Darlie testified, she was aware of the story the blood told, and all those “runs” had changed to “walks”.
Bevel explained to the jury that his demonstration was not a scientific test or experiment. He did not form his opinion based on his demonstration; it was actually the other way around. He had already formed an opinion after viewing photos of the utility room floor and an inspection of the floor itself. The demonstration photos, like the one above, were nothing more than a visual aid to supplement his opinion.
(Tom Bevel, Sec. 3373)
I hesitate to use this overworked phrase but, honestly, it isn’t rocket science. You can try it yourself, minus the blood, of course. A knife similar to the murder weapon will bounce every time it’s dropped on tile, linoleum, or carpet. It will even bounce when dropped a foot or two from the floor. If your knife blade was covered in blood, it would produce spatter on impact. No question about it. This evidence completely contradicts Darlie’s claim that an intruder dropped or threw the knife.
I believe she made up that story to explain any fingerprint evidence which may have been on the handle. Darlie’s blood on the floor, as well as on the washer in the utility room, proves that she went in there for some purpose, perhaps to unlatch the door leading into the garage to suggest an intruder. It should be noted that Darlie insisted she did not go into the utility room that night.