A group of expert witnesses has testified in the ongoing murder trial of Derrick Barnett, who is accused of killing an Arizona couple in May 2017.
On May 2, 2017, the husband of a friend of Nora Dimuria went to her home to do a welfare check when she had failed to show up for work. When the man arrived at her home, a contractor was pulling up to the home at the same time. The two approached the home and found a broken window and open back door.
Upon entering the home, the men found a dead dog in the kitchen and Nora’s body in the bathroom next to the kitchen. The two left the house and called 911.
The responding deputies found Michael Dimuria’s body under two throw rugs outside the guest house. They found bullet casings near both bodies and bullet holes in several walls and in a window.
Neighbors who were interviewed reported that they hurt gunshots in the night, but had not been concerned because target shooters are common in the area.
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about Derrick Barnett’s possible involvement with the killing.
Barnett was indicted on August 3, 2017 on two counts of first degree murder, one count of first degree burglary, one count of theft, three counts of misconduct involving weapons, one count of cruelty to animals, one count of theft as a means of transportation, and one count of felony criminal damage. He pled not guilty to all charges.
At trial, numerous expert witnesses provided key testimony.
Brandon Nabozny, a specialist in forensic photography, crime scene, latent prints, and forensic chemistry, was called to provide detailed analysis of the evidence that was collected at the Dimuria home following the murders. Nabozny testified about the tools that were found in the home, including hammers, a chisel, and bolt cutters. He also identified fragments found as broken glass and fragments from firearms. Nabozny identified a glass candy jar and wrappers that were used to detect DNA presence.
Dr. Larry Czarnecki, Coconino County Medical Examiner, testified about the causes of death for Michael and Nora and their dog T.C. Czarnecki has been a medical examiner for 13 years. He testified that he typically performs exams away from the scene of the crime, but had to come to the Dimuria home because the suspect was still at large. Czarnecki testified that the dog had been shot at the top of the head and a bullet was lodged in the front of the neck. He said that it was likely a .22-.25 caliber bullet. Czarnecki said that Michael had suffered three gunshot wounds to the head, which were the ultimate cause of death. Czarnecki testified that Nora also died from gunshot wounds.
Kristen Dick, a forensic scientist with the AZDPS Northern Regional Crime Lab testified that she assisted with the crime scene. Dick testified that Barnett’s DNA matched all 23 locations taken from the Jeep Liberty steering wheel and gear shift. Barnett’s DNA was also found on a water bottle found in the jeep and a plastic spoon found on his campsite.
Starr Douglas, a latent print expert with the Arizona DPS testified that she examined over 16 items and made positive identifications on four of them. One item, a 9mm handgun, had Barnett’s fingerprints on it.