BANGOR, Maine — Evidence that included a broken plastic baseball bat, a steel broom found in pieces, a bent shower towel rack, and graphic pictures of the scene police found inside the apartment Roxanne Jeskey shared with her husband were displayed in the courtroom Wednesday during the third day of her jury-waived murder trial.
Jeskey, 50, of Bangor is charged with intentional or knowing murder and depraved indifference murder in the death of her husband Richard Jeskey. His naked and bloody body was found on June 13, 2011 in the bathroom of the couple’s Ohio Street apartment. Roxanne Jeskey has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
The former medical examiner who performed the autopsy testified earlier this week that Richard Jeskey was beaten and strangled and that his nose and three ribs were broken.
Retired Bangor police Detective Larry Ellis, the lead evidence response team member, took the stand Wednesday and was questioned by Assistant Attorney General Deb Cashman about photos he took at the Jeskey apartment, some depicting Richard Jeskey’s body in the bathtub.
Then Cashman meticulously went over a dozen items Ellis collected as evidence in the bathroom, laundry room, bedroom and hallway, which included clothing, pill bottles, pliers, a green utility knife and lighters, along with the bat, broom, towel rack and damaged bar, to ensure he was the one who collected them.
Clothing found soaking in the washing machine also was collected.
“I did a presumptive test in the water” that indicated there was blood in the wash water, Ellis told the court.
Alicia Wilcox, a forensic scientist who worked at the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory in Augusta at the time of Jeskey’s death, testified she conducted a test in the Jeskey bathroom using luminol — a test for blood — and “there was a strong positive reaction.”
Bangor police Lt. Paul Edwards, a bloodstain spatter analysis expert, testified that there was a lot of blood all around the Jeskeys’ bathroom.
“In this particular case, there were many [examples],” the lieutenant said.
Edwards said some blood found near the wet floor in and just outside the bathroom were diluted “based on the water or cleaning [done] in this bathroom.”
Blood was found on the carpet and tile outside the bathroom, the bathroom door, the wall separating the toilet and bathtub, inside the tub and on the walls and ceiling of the tub area and across the room, where a vanity and shelving area were located.
Edwards testified that most of the blood evidence he collected in the bathroom created a “cast-off” pattern, meaning the blood was on an item or hand and flew off when the item or hand was moved forward or backward.
Other blood evidence he documented included clothing and blood found on and around the kitchen sink, and on cleaning supplies collected as evidence and in the laundry room.
Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who is prosecuting the case with Cashman, questioned Edwards.
Roxanne Jeskey’s daughter Tabatha Simpson of Oakland and other loved ones sat in the gallery behind the defense table in the Penobscot Judicial Center courtroom where the defendant sat quietly, mostly with her head down, in a purple shirt and white jeans. She rocked back and forth on occasion as testimony unfolded.
Richard Jeskey’s children, their uncle David Jeskey and others sat in the front rows of the courtroom behind prosecutors and police investigators.
Michelle Fleury, a forensic chemist from the state crime lab, was the last person to testify on Wednesday. She received all the blood evidence from Bangor and documented it and also conducted her own tests to see if it was indeed blood. For each item, Cashman again made sure to meticulously check to ensure each item collected by Bangor investigators matched Fleury’s crime lab records.
The many bloody items she verified were then sent to the crime lab’s DNA specialist for an analysis, Fleury testified.
Fleury will be cross-examined by the defense team — attorneys David Bate and Joe Baldacci — when court resumes at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
BDN reporter Judy Harrison contributed to this story.