Casper Police Detective: No Direct Evidence of Sexual Assault Found in Suspect’s House
The attorney for Samuel Barrett, who is accused of multiple sex crimes, on Thursday sparred with Casper police officers in how they handled the search of his property.
Barrett, 40, is charged with six counts of first-degree sexual assault (rape), two counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of blackmail in the trial scheduled for eight days in Natrona County District Court.
On the third day of the trial, the assistant district attorney Ava Bell put Casper Police Detective Shannon Daley on the stand.
Daley was among the officers who executed the search warrants of Barrett's house and vehicles after a woman reported that he sexually assaulted her on April 24, 2019.
The bi-level house was "very cluttered," and the photos she took showed that, Daley said, adding the floors were covered in dirt, and the bathrooms had dirt and grime. The walls in the garage, which had a narrow path through piles of bags and other items, were partially finished -- the drywall did not fully cover the studs.
Bell displayed several dozen photos from different angles showing the interior of the garage, the back wall of the garage, the area where the assault allegedly occurred, the laundry room, a partially finished bathroom, stairs, electronic devices and their containers, a camera, areas of the ceiling with holes, and small containers of BBs or pellets for air or CO2 rifles or pistols found in the ceiling.
The officers found no guns of any kind, Daley said.
She said she was concerned that officers could not fully search the house because of the amount of clutter.
Barrett's defense attorney Don Fuller cross-examined Daley, who wrote the return-of-inventory report of the search three weeks later.
Despite not being able to conduct an exhaustive search, Daley said she was satisfied that it met her goals.
In describing some search techniques, she said that officers would use flashlights and mirrors to look into the areas where the walls were unfinished. If a gun had been found at the bottom of the wall, officers would have torn out the drywall.
When asked if she used a metal detector to search for a gun, Daley responded that she has never used a metal detector, and didn't know if the police department had one.
Finally, she told Fuller that officers did not find any direct evidence of a sexual assault.
In earlier testimony assistant district attorney Ava Bell showed jurors some of the body cam footage when officer Cody Meyer responded to the the report from alleged victim, identified as A.H. who drove her car from Barrett's house to a nearby parking area.
A.H.'s comments recorded on the body cam were emotional and disjointed.
During the interview, A.H. told officers that Barrett had a gun but didn't know what kind because she said, "He said 'if you look at this gun I'm going to shoot you.'"
Four years earlier, she had a sexual relationship with him when she was a teenager. In 2009 Barrett was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.
But on the day of the alleged assault they saw each other at the west side Walmart, and her wanted to apologize for the previous relationship. Barrett asked her to drive to his house in Paradise Valley because he said he would help her pay for a car, Bell said during her opening statement Wednesday.
During his cross-examination of Meyer, Fuller asked if A.H. knew the location of the gun, and she responded that she thought she saw it on a ledge.
The last witness on Thursday morning was officer Matt Bowman, who was the evidence technician who participated in the search of the house including taking photos of the scene, and specific objects, such as the cans of pellets and BBs, paintball guns, and items with biological evidence and clothing from A.H. and Barrett. The latter photos were not shown to the jury.
Fuller displayed one of Bowman's photos that showed everything in the garage that had been moved to the driveway.
"I don't know why we didn't put stuff away," Bowman said.
He also repeated Daley's earlier comment that police did not use a metal detector when looking for the gun that allegedly mentioned by A.H.
On re-cross, Bowman responded affirmatively to Bell's question whether guns can be metal or plastic.
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