Jury sees video of crime scene

Jodi Compton

Prosecuting attorneys presented jury members Thursday with their first look at the scene of University student Kami Talley’s murder. Later, a Minneapolis police officer testified that a thumbprint on a central piece of evidence matched that of Louis Cardona “Butch” Buggs, the man accused of killing Talley.
Through the use of video, jurors saw a complete view of the women’s restroom of Electric Wire Products Corp., Talley’s place of employment, as it looked just two hours after her murder took place. Talley was shot eight times while at her Northeast Minneapolis workplace last Valentine’s Day.
The video showed bullet casings, pieces of paper from a gift bag, some loose change scattered over the floor, bullet holes in a toilet stall door, as well as a large amount of blood where Talley’s body had been.
Attorneys then questioned investigators who had collected evidence and searched for fingerprints from the scene after the shooting. Officer Rodney Timmerman, who works in the Identification Division of the Minneapolis Police, testified that he could find no fingerprints in the bathroom, even though it was a “high-traffic area.”
But Timmerman did say that he discovered the fingerprint of Buggs on a shopping bag found in the stairwell leading to the second level, where the bathroom is located.
The bright red bag bearing the words, “Filled With Love,” now smeared with black dust from the fingerprinting process, was displayed on a easel so jurors could see the bottom had been blown out of it by a gunshot.
Six of the seven prints found on the bag had “insufficient minutiae for identification” with either Talley or Buggs, he said, but a right thumbprint close to the top of the bag matched prints taken from Buggs.
“(They) were made by one and the same person. I am very certain in my own mind and had this verified by others,” he said.
Defense attorney John Lucas cast suspicion on the identification process, asking how many similarities between two fingerprints would constitute a match.
Timmerman said the most important point was not the number of similarities, but the fact that there were no inconsistencies between the prints.
“There were no anomalies,” Timmerman said. “Everything matched up perfectly.” He also said that another officer concurred with his opinion.
Lucas asked, “It’s just one opinion, and then another opinion, and then they’re verified?”
“As long as the opinions agree,” Timmerman responded.
Lucas also asked Timmerman whether he had any way to tell how old the bag was or how long ago a fingerprint was left on the bag. Timmerman said he couldn’t speculate about either of these points.
Attorneys also questioned officers who responded to the February shooting.
One officer testified that shortly after arriving on the scene, he was told to go to Buggs’ house to locate him. Officer Todd Loining said that when he arrived with two other officers, nobody was in the house.
Buggs was found three months later at a relative’s house in Alexandria, Va.
The trial is expected to last through next week.