DNA Experts Take the Stand on Day 3 of the trial of Benjamin Taylor

West Virginia

March 15 marks the third day of the trial of Benjamin Taylor, a Cottageville man accused of the rape and subseqent murder of 10-month old Emmaleigh Barringer at a home in Fairplain in 2016.

On day three, the focus was DNA evidence. 

The prosecution called two witnesses to the stand.  The details that came to light as a result, not surprisingly, were very disturbing.

First to the stand was David Miller, a scientist at the West Virginia State Police Forensic Lab.

A total of 40 items were sent to the Forensic Lab to be analyzed, according to Miller.  That number is much higher than other cases, he said.  For a typical homicide case, eight items are typically analyed, Miller added.

Test results, samples, swabs and findings were presented to the jury.  The testimony today included a number of very technical terms.  

Some results were definitive. 

The results that would, perhaps, be the most damning for the defendent were inconcusive.

“If I had run this test alone and only this test, if I had no re-done the sample, I still could not make any conclusions on this sample,” forensic scientist, Angela Gill said Friday, refering to the vaginal vault sample taken from Emmaleigh.

The basement floor, which is where investigators say the crime occured, tested positive for Emmaleigh’s blood.

Emmaleigh’s diaper tested positive for trace amounts of semen and and her own blood. Defense attorney, Tim Rosinsky, noted in cross examination that the semen found there could have been the result of Taylor masturbating and then changing her diaper some time later.  

Penile swabs taken from Taylor found semen and tested inconclusive for other DNA.

On Taylor’s jeans, both semen and Emmaleigh’s blood were detected.  Rosinsky said the tests performed by Miller and Gills are unable to pinpoint when the semen got onto the jeans. Gills agreed.

On the sink in the basement, Emmaleigh’s blood was present according to tests, other DNA tested inconclusive.

Emmaleigh’s DNA was also present on Taylor’s chest and abdomen.

Two rape kits were performed on Emmaleigh, Gill said.  One was performed at a Charleston hospital when she arrived.  The other was performed by the medical examiner in the case after she had died.

Gill tested the kit that was performed at the hospital.  “These results are inconclusive,” she said.

She said male DNA was inside of Emmaleigh, but the levels were so low that there was no way to determine if it belonged to Taylor.

She added that the amount of blood Emmaleigh lost could have tainted any male DNA present.  She said it “could have washed it away”. 

The defense questioned why Gil tested the kit twice.

“If every location in there matched Mr. Taylor but it still indicated a mixture,  I had to run the test again to determine if I could seperate out those results,” she said.  “I cannot go piecemeal and try to match what I wanted to to Mr. Taylor’s profile.”

Sources close to the case tell me the trial could wrap up as early as Monday or Tuesday.  T

hings will pick back up Monday at 9 a.m.

In October of 2016, Emmaleigh’s mother, Amanda Adkins, said she found Emmaleigh covered in blood and unresponsive in her basement.  Taylor, she said, was crouched over her.

Taylor was her boyfriend at the time, deputies said. 

Emmaleigh died in the hospital two days later as a result of her injuries. 

Taylor is charged with murder, sexual assault, and child abuse as a result. 

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