Blood Spatter Witnesses Testify in Trial for Murder of Homeless Woman


By Michele Chadwick

MODESTO, CA – The trial of Joseph Chapman reconvened Monday in Stanislaus County Superior Court—Chapman allegedly assaulted and killed Christina Hill, a 47-year-old unhoused woman whose body was found near a trash can in Modesto nearly three years ago on May 13, 2019.

Blood spatter witnesses had differing opinions Monday, with Dr. Brent Turvey returning to testify about the blood spatter analysis at the scene He said blood on the sweater found does not indicate that the assailant was wearing it at the time of the murder.

“Those are all stains, some are soaking and some are from smearing,” he said. “Blood splatter is from impact. That would be the little drops or dots. Those would be associated with violence. I see no evidence that it is associated with the attack other than the fact that it is in the environment soaking up blood or perhaps being used to clean off a hand. Certainly not being worn,” he said.

The expert witness also testified the body was moved after the initial assault.

Dr. Turvey explained, “I only know that she was moved at least one time. Moved from the spot in front of the [driver’s side] area to the spot in front of the hood underneath the vehicle. She could have been dragged more than that and it could easily be concealed by the massive amount of blood pooling that we have…I don’t think she moved herself there.”

Additionally, Turvey testified about the timeline of the assault and movement.

“If she’s having her head hit against the concrete, she would be delirious or unconscious, having lost that amount of blood. It would be very difficult for her to move around but we do have evidence that she is upright for at least one part, sitting against the wall after the attack because of the blood stain transfers from her hair onto the wall,” he said.

Turvey added her clothes were removed after the attack based on the blood spatter and that the assailant would be covered in blood.

Dr. Michael Ference, a forensic pathologist, disagreed with this, arguing that there should be “a lot more blood spattered, on the car, on the uninvolved pavement and more on the wall. In other words, there’s not enough of it.”

Ference also testified that Hills’ hands had markings from the pavement, “transfer off that driveway like area.” He continued, “It’s perfectly consistent with also the abrasion on her chin and consistent with the bruises on her knees. It probably reflects the position she was sodomized in.”

The last witnesses are expected to testify Tuesday.


About The Author

Michele is a senior at UC Santa Barbara from Los Angles County.

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