Keith Lintz yet to be linked to murder scene despite testimony from several forensic scientists


On the sixth day of the Keith Lintz trial, the morning began with a slow technical start. Forensic experts were called to the stand again to talk about what they found when they examined the crime scene in Feb. 5, 2010.

Forensic scientist and lab technician, Kirk DeeLeuw from Michigan State Police testified about the several DNA samples he collected, including blood and hair found in the snow outside of the house. He also told the jury about the blood droplets and skin cells that were examined and found in the carpet at the Tarwacki house.

The judge will make a decision by Thursday morning after the defense made a motion for a mistrial. The defense claims a report containing DNA evidence was withheld and not submitted until last Monday. The prosecution says the report does not have to be added to the trial's list of evidence if necessary.

In court, testimony revealed Lintz’s DNA was taken when he came back from a trip to Tennessee in October for a lab comparison. He was staying in Tennessee for a while and working. He decided to leave the state when a warrant for his arrest was issued and he decided to come back to Michigan. Police then collected his sample once he was back in the area.

However despite testimony from several experts and analysis of footprints, blood drops, fingerprints, and hair, Lintz’s DNA was not connected to the crime scene. Experts could only make matches with Carolyn and John Tarwacki or their nephew, Keelan.

“So essentially the DNA sample you received matched Keelan McKnight’s?” asked the prosecution.

“The sample, a portion of it was, so additional types that I could not make a conclusion of other than to say a certain individual was excluded from that,” answered forensic scientist and DNA expert, Kate Herrema.

Michigan State Police forensic scientist Ann Hunt testified, “Keith Lintz was excluded as being a donor to the DNA obtained from each of those items I listed.” Those items include the back door handles, the fence link the defendant may have jumped will leaving the scene, and the bloody knife found in the freezer by Carolyn Tarwacki’s mother.

The lead detective of the case, Detective Fabian Suarez, was recalled. He was questioned by the defense if he was certain the knife that was found in the freezer was indeed one of the murder weapons responsible for the Tarwackis death.

“You are thoroughly confident nobody else could have placed that knife in there?” asked Lintz’s defense attorney, Greg Feldman.

Suarez responded, “ I would hope not no sir.”

Feldman asked again, “So it’s your belief that whoever committed these crimes, whoever killed the Tarwackis put the knife that freezer on February 5th?”

Suarez answered, “That would be my opinion yes sir.”

Feldman also asked Suarez if he wished he had found the knife earlier when searching the original crime scene in February, rather than later that spring when it was discovered accidentally.

“It was definitely embarrassing to say the least to have a victim find that, I was not concerned we were going to lose DNA. I know the first thing the lab would have done is put it in a freezer so I wasn’t concerned that we would have lost it. I was pretty aggravated and pretty embarrassed,” responded Suarez.

Feldman continued to ask Suarez a number of questions. The judge objected, knowing the defense was attempting to get Suarez to impeach himself.

So far 33 people have testified. Six of those witnesses have testified about conversations they had with Lintz about his connection to the Tarwacki murders.


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