Witness testimony concludes as defense rests

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - After calling its last witness, the defense made a motion to drop the case, saying that the State hasn't involved Ethan Mack in murder.

Defense attorney David Aylor said that forgery was done by Kamp and the obstruction should be dropped because they never showed he lied. The motion denied was denied by the judge.

Dr. Robert Bennett was the last witness called to testify for the defense, eight days after witness testimony began in the Kate Waring murder trial.

Prosecutors say Mack tortured Waring with a taser at his James Island apartment, hit her with a wine bottle and put the unconscious woman in the bathtub to drown. Heather Kamp is also charged with murder and testified that she also killed Waring.

Bennett was hired for his time spent on the case. He has a DNA and trace evidence background. He has worked as an independent toxicologist, which led to DNA testing, mostly for paternity and then into forensics.

The prosecution says he has largely been a pharmacist and has no professional experience as a crime scene technician.

"Bennett is not certified or sanctioned," said Durant with the prosecution.

Bennett explained his expertise in the field as reading textbooks and said he doesn't need a professor to give the information to him.

He said he is not being paid for his testimony.

"I'm being paid for my time," Bennett said.

Wilson motioned that he is not qualified and is not an expert in either field because of lack of training.

"He's basically some guy that reads a book and says he's an expert," Durant said.

Aylor says he won't be testifying to the evidence presented by SLED.

The judge said he doesn't meet the threshold of qualification, but Aylor continued to plead his case.

The judge said Bennett can be accepted as a toxicologist but not a trace evidence expert because it is an entirely different field.

"I find nothing he studied, published or attended on trace evidence," the judge said. "He can testify about DNA."

Bennett discussed the differences in porous and nonporous surfaces and how that relates to finding evidence. He testified that it should be relatively easy to find DNA on anything with which we interact. He said all bodily fluids have DNA.

He said even a small pinhead sized drop of blood could isolate DNA and create a profile.

"Can you look at blood and see how cleaning products are used?" defense attorney David Aylor asked?

"Yes. You have to understand what a cleaning agent is," Bennett said. "A cleaning agent is useful with dirt but not so much with bodily fluids."

Bennett said if you need a stronger agent, you go to bleach and it can have an effect on blood and cause interference.

Bennett said that research shows when blood studies are done on blood affected by bleach, if you wait for it to try the properties of the blood still remain.

He said it isn't 100 percent because it depends on the extent of the cleaning and there are too many variables.

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