Carpet cleaner seized from residence stained with blood in multiple areas
HENNEPIN — The fifth day of testimony in the trial regarding Deborah Dewey’s death included hundreds of pieces of new evidence entered by the prosecution, as well as detailed descriptions of the crime scene.
Clifford A. Andersen Jr., 68, of Standard, on trial in Putnam County Court for the killing, is charged with first-degree murder and the concealment of the homicidal death of Dewey, his sister-in-law. He’s accused of killing Dewey, 62, of Ladd and is being held on $1.5 million bond. He faces 20 to 60 years or more in prison, with no possibility of parole.
Dewey was reported missing Aug. 23, 2016; her body was found that Sept. 12 by Illinois State Police investigators in the yard of a home in Standard of which Andersen was the caretaker and only blocks from his residence.
The trial’s prior day included the discovery of an error regarding two separate documents with the same evidence number, as well as repeated attempts by the prosecution to enter barred testimony.
On Tuesday, Assistant Illinois Attorney General Bill Elward began the day by apologizing to Judge Stephen Kouri and admitting he could be contentious.
“There’s no need to apologize,” Kouri said.
“I’m very impressed with both sides, and the law works best when both sides are representing their positions as best they can,” he said, before clarifying how the attorneys resolved the numbering error.
ISP Crime Scene Investigator Darrell Stafford described the crime scene at 104 Fifth St. in Standard, as well as the techniques and procedures used while evidence was gathered. He also described what was being seen in the dozens of photos shown by Elward.
The evidence detailed how the 13-inch deep grave was covered by branches, straw and manure; the way the body was concealed and recovered; and the debris and decompostional material found below it.
Inside the residence, images were shown that detailed blood splatters on the wall and on a door that had been resting against the wall, as well as a large blood-stained area of carpeting nearby. This area also contained fragments of a blue tarp similar to what the body was wrapped in, insect larvae and gray hairs.
Other significant evidence seen in the photos were marks on the entry door’s threshold, which indicated something had been dragged across it.
After a cross-examination that questioned how many officers it took to remove the body from the grave, Elward requested Stafford, while raising his voice and looking directly at Andersen, to “remind the jurors of what was found wrapped around the victim’s feet.”
“A rope,” Stafford answered.
“Which was used to drag the victim outside and into the grave,” Elward said, while again looking at Andersen.
“That’s the believed scenario, yes,” Stafford said.
A rope of the same type was one of the many items recovered when investigators searched Andersen’s residence.
Kevin Zeeb, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, testified the carpet cleaner seized from Andersen’s home tested positive for blood on the cord, and the inside and outside of both wheels. Blood and fibers were also located in the brush area of the cleaner.
Many items, including both of Andersen’s vehicles, tested negative for the presence of blood.
While blood wasn’t located on Andersen’s cellphone, straw and debris were found inside its case.
The trial was scheduled to resume Wednesday morning in Hennepin.