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Hair found in blood was suspect's, murder trial hears

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Jurors hearing a chilling Winnipeg double-homicide case have been introduced to the intricacies and limitations of DNA evidence, and told how hairs found at the scene where two street gang associates were killed link to a man accused of brutally slaying them.

A known DNA sample from Kenneth Roulette matched DNA from hair found by police in a spot of blood inside 729 Maryland St. and to a strand of hair found inside a shroud used to wrap the lifeless body of Dennis Baptiste, an RCMP forensic expert testified Tuesday.

Roulette, 28, is charged with first-degree murder for the deaths of Baptiste and Jessie Henderson, both 23, on Jan. 31, 2009 in a rooming house on Maryland Street.

He has pleaded not guilty and is presumed innocent. His trial is now into its second week.

RCMP forensic scientist and DNA analyst Dr. Gregory Litzenberger told the six-man, six-woman jury his tests of exhibits sent to him by Winnipeg police showed the two hair samples were a match to Roulette's nuclear DNA profile.

But while the hair matched back to Roulette, it wasn't possible for Litzenberger to say how they got where they were found or when.

"Hair is a very transient exhibit relative to other types of the analysis we do," he said. "We're simply saying, 'hair was found on this exhibit,'" said Litzenberger.

Baptiste's common-law wife previously testified she was a "clean freak" and had "vacuumed, mopped and dusted" the apartment the day before the deaths in anticipation of the arrival of a new television set worth $4,449.

Litzenberger further testified a bloodied coat recovered from a Dumpster not far from the crime scene was a "very busy" exhibit with a "complex mixture" of DNA profiles consistent with many people having worn it.

"There's been a lot of people who have been in contact with that coat… in my estimation there is no link between this man (Roulette) and that coat," Litzenberger told defence lawyer Greg Brodsky.

There was no DNA evidence linking Roulette to a bloodied knife recovered at the scene, court heard.

The Crown alleges Roulette stabbed and beat the two Mad Cowz street gang associates after returning with them to the Maryland Street home following a party at a McDermot Avenue hotel suite. He then fled the scene after removing a large TV set and setting a paper fire on the stove, prosecutors allege.

Court has heard testimony from former gang member and drug dealer Philip Asham — once a friend of Roulette's — who said between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. the day of the homicides, Roulette called him to say he "murked" (murdered) "two guys" and wanted help and advice on how to clean up the scene. Asham agreed to give a statement to police in an effort to get out of jail, jurors heard.

The trial continues.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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