Criminalist pieces together murder through blood trial

VISTA — Prosecutors began introducing evidence Oct. 23 in their case against accused murderer Deryln Ray Threats, which lays out the brutal attack on a mother in her west Vista home that left the residence looking like something out of a Hollywood horror film.
Chuck Merritt, a criminalist with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department crime lab, testified about the gory murder of Carolyn Rebecca Neville in her residence on then Diablo Place in Vista — the city has since changed the street name to Via Angelica at the request of Neville’s husband and neighbors — on the morning of Sept. 1, 2005.
Authorities found Neville’s body in the living room near the front door at the end of a trail of blood, according to court documents. Neville was stabbed more than 70 times with multiple weapons, which included two knifes and hedge clippers, court records state.
Through crime scene photos, Merritt went into detail about that trail of blood for the jury. Blood stains, drips and splatter were found on the stairwell that led to the Nevilles’ bedroom, Merritt said. Also on the stairs were a pair of bloody hedge clippers, he testified.
Additionally, Merritt noted a blood splatter stain near the front door where he believed an impact occurred.
Prosecutors allege the murder was a result of a burglary interrupted.
Field Evidence Technician Harres Karim, of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, testified a suitcase filled with DVDs, video games and a video game console were found in the living room of the Nevilles’ home.
Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza told jurors in his opening statement Oct. 19 Neville returned home that morning after taking her 6-year-old son to school. Because she had previously misplaced her keys, Espinoza said she had left the front door unlocked.
Around 9 a.m., neighbors reported hearing screams and called the authorities.
After arriving on the scene, police stopped Threats a few houses away. A stun gun and wooden hammer handle were found on Threats, according to witness testimony. Additionally, one deputy testified that as he talked to Threats a pair of bloody socks fell to the street.
If convicted of murder with the special circumstance allegations, Threats, 28, faces the death penalty or a no-parole life prison sentence. He is also charged with residential robbery and residential burglary.
Still, attorneys James Weintre and Wil Rumble, who are representing Threats, maintain that evidence will show that someone else committed the murder.
Weintre told jurors in his opening statement that a taller man, carrying a motorcycle helmet was initially described as fleeing the scene by authorities.
The case is being heard by Judge K. Michael Kirkman in a Vista courtroom. Testimony is expected to run into November.

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