A spindle from the railing near the master bedroom where the attacks occurred was shown to have been removed during the crime scene video, but was never submitted to the lab as evidence, Bath showed the jury. The white spindle showed what appeared to be a partial bloodied fingerprint.

The defense continued to present its case Monday morning as the Susan Van Note double-homicide trial gets underway in week two. The prosecution rested its case Friday afternoon after playing an approximately 2 hour and 15 minute audio interview with Van Note’s second conversation with police the Tuesday following the attacks on Oct. 2, 2010. 

The defense called two Missouri State Highway Patrol criminalists who specialize in fingerprint and other forensic DNA including hair, fibers and gunshot residue as well as a Lake area financial advisor, a Camden County Sheriff’s Office sergeant and a realtor from the Lee’s Summit area near Kansas City. 

The first witness to take the stand Monday morning, and ninth total for the defense, was Wells Fargo financial advisor Jeff Alderman whom William Van Note opened an account with in 2009. The account featured a transfer-of-death provision that said 50 percent of the account would go to Susan Van Note and the other half would go to Brad, Susan’s son, according to the documents presented to the jury. 

Alderman testified that the TOD clause was never changed and the account showed a balance of approximately $422,000 in January 2010 and an approximate value of over $1,000,000 at the end of September 2010. The TOD was transferred to the two beneficiaries at the time of Van Note’s death which meant Susan collected roughly $500,000 and Brad the other half, Alderman testified. 

Sgt. Bart Sims, currently a deputy with the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office and then sergeant with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the Van Note residence in Sunrise Beach the night of the attacks.

Video dash cam footage was played for the video that showed Sim’s deputy vehicle headed toward the scene around 11:20 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2010. Sims is accompanied by at least two other deputy patrol vehicles while en route and the deputies shut off their lights when approaching the neighborhood, Sims said to not let the suspect know they were coming. 

During cross examination, Assistant Attorney General Kevin Zoellner made it a point that the video dash cam software used by the CCSO at the time had a tendency to screw up the times displayed on the video and only an IT worker with the department could analyze the tapes and the other deputies’ tapes to match up the times. 

Kimberly Hardin, a criminalist with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab, processed the fingerprints that were uncovered from the crime scene. Hardin explained that her primary focus is to examine “rich details” of fingerprints that “leave a pattern behind” from some sort of material on the skin which include oil, blood or sweat among some. Hardin breaks down her findings into “value” or “no value” in the categories of identification, exclusion and inconclusive. 

Hardin examined the evidence on Nov. 30, 2010, amongst evidence included by investigators featuring six shell casings, one live round, one spent round, a curly cord from a stationary telephone and two hinge-lifted fingerprints from an unknown origin. She testified that no latent prints were developed or rich detail identified from the ballistic material, which isn’t surprising, she said, considering the heat and/or metal surface could affect the ability to leave a print. 

The telephone cord evidence showed no latent prints of value, though some rich detail was present but not enough to provide a complete print. The two hinge-lifted fingerprints showed a latent palm print, but not could not be used for exclusionary purposes. Hardin ran her findings through the Missouri and federal databases but did not develop any matches with the evidence she received. 

A spindle from the railing near the master bedroom where the attacks occurred was shown to have been removed during the crime scene video, but was never submitted to the lab as evidence, Bath showed the jury. The white spindle showed what appeared to be a partial bloodied fingerprint. 

The next witness, also of the MSHP Crime Lab, was fellow criminalist Jenny Smith who is now retired but worked on the hair and fiber evidence submitted by investigators. 

Smith said her primary task is to look for things that are “foreign” to the victims. Most of Smith’s examination focused on evidence uncovered from Dickson as evidence uncovered from William Van Note was never submitted for matching purposes. Smith studied hair from Dickson’s right breast, thigh as well as a bathrobe and bed comforter, testing the evidence against known samples of Dickson’s hair and animal hair in the house. 

Smith testified that hair uncovered on the mattress belonged to Dickson, but there was another “caucasian, male” presence uncovered on the bath robe and comforter exhibited by clear-like fibers. It was undetermined if those fibers were consistent with William Van Note as that evidence was not submitted by investigators. There was also no gunshot residue discovered on the bloody yellow robe. 

The last witness of the day before Judge Hayden ordered a recess was Kansas City area realtor Janet Organ. In April 2006, Susan Van Note reached out to Organ to start viewing some properties in Lee’s Summit. William Van Note accompanied Susan on these appointments and acted as an advisor, Organ testified. 

The house the Van Notes settled on, where Susan, her son Brad and mom Barbara would be living was originally going to be purchased by William, but later changed the title to Susan. William supplied a $10,000 check as a down payment for the house listed at $248,000. The title was changed after Susan’s divorce had gone final. 

The trial is expected to last into this week.