EUGENE, Ore. — A request for a mistrial from the defense in the Johan Gillette double murder trial was shot down Thursday, after a debate about a forensics report that wasn’t released to either party.
This controversy started Wednesday when Deputy District Attorney Stephen Morgan discovered he didn’t have a copy of a report from Oregon State Police Forensic Scientist Traci Rose.
The report looked at a bleach stain found on the shorts that Johan Gillette was wearing.
The prosecution has argued from the beginning that Johan used bleach to cover up the murders of his father James Gillette and his dad’s partner former UO School of Music Dean Anne McLucas.
But the defense argues there was no bleach found on James and Johan was acting in self-defense.
The jury was out of the courtroom, when Rose testified that the OSP forensics lab ran tests to compare the contents of a spray bottle found at the crime scene, a spray pattern on Johan’s shirt and a possible bleach stain on Johan’s shorts.
Rose testified there was no chemical testing done to determine if what was found on Johan’s shirt and shorts was actually bleach, but somehow that report went missing.
“What we are talking about is that the only violation that really occurred here is that the defense council, and frankly the state, didn’t know about this one observation by Ms. Rose that the shorts in her terms, ‘wide, spread areas of off-white discoloration,’” Morgan said.
“The statutory obligation is the government’s it’s not ours and the government’s seeking the shift of burden blame as far as that goes to us, it doesn’t make sense,” said Mark Sabitt, Defense Attorney.
“The defense is in, I see, a difficult position, but so is the state. The defense is in a position of ‘I know I would’ve done something different.’ Well the statements, ‘What we might’ve done, a lot more could’ve been done, would’ve been done’ is not enough to inform me to throw out the result of a spray bleach test that was done in front of defense expert and defense lawyer,” said Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley, Lane County Circuit Court.
The judge did not grant a mistrial. But she did warn the state nothing like this should happen again and if it does, there will be consequences.
In a separate ruling, the judge allowed Morgan to present a recorded interview of Johan’s girlfriend, Asia Seaton, to compare with her recent testimony during the trial.