Sargeant Mike Hebert on Whether or Not Evidence Was Mishandled in the Markus Kaarma Case
Testimony resumed in the trial of Markus Kaarma with the defense team's cross-examination of Sargeant Mike Hebert, who was the fourth officer on the scene. Hebert was responsible for evidence collection and management.
The defense team pursued the narrative that the crime scene and evidence collection was mismanaged. Defense verified that Hebert was the fourth officer on the scene and was in charge for roughly two hours. Being the fourth officer on the scene, Hebert cannot verify who moved Diren Dede's white iPhone or wallet from their original locations. We know from Janelle Pflager's 911 call that she was the one who removed the wallet, and Hebert believes that it was where she left it, but without having been there he cannot say for sure. Defense was particularly interested in how many people had handled Dede's iPhone, which they assert can hold information crucial to determining Dede's actions and/or intent that night.
Defense also verified that no photos were taken of Dede before he was moved and no chalk outline was taken for subsequent investigators to establish the crime scene. Hebert indicated that the primary concern of the first two officers on the scene was to attend to Diren Dede's medical needs as he was still alive at that time. Defense posits that positioning of the body can be vitally important in a self defense case.
Hebert was further pressed regarding an officer's right to use force when necessary and whether or not a citizen has the same right. Hebert agreed, but when asked to elaborate by State attorney Andrew Paul he added that there would have to be a viable threat before deadly force was employed.
Testimony began on an odd note, with Judge McLean stating that an issue had come up over the weekend which would necessitate that he question each juror and alternate juror individually. After each juror and alternate was questioned, McLean proceeded with testimony without explanation or any changes to the jury.