Police’s preservation of scene questioned during shooting trial

A veteran police officer said during trial on Wednesday that it’s possible some of the evidence may have been lost during police officers initial response to the scene of a shooting.

Kenneth Nalan is being charged with assault in connection with the incident that injured John Duran. The incident happened at Nalan’s home on Glacierwood Drive on December 20th.

Sargeant Paul Hatch, a twenty-year veteran who was assigned last year to head up the Juneau Police Department’s investigations unit, admitted that clearing a residence or making sure that it is secure usually entails checking all the rooms. It’s not just one room. Patrolmen who were first on the scene at Nalan’s house following the shooting apparently only checked the master bedroom where the single shot was fired.

Under prolonged questioning by Nalan’s defense attorney Eric Hedland on Wednesday morning, Hatch also said that it’s possible that a rookie patrolman’s actions to take a revolver from the bedroom, unload it, and stick it in his waistband could’ve destroyed any evidence on the gun. That could’ve included fingerprints or blowback debris when the weapon was fired. Hedland also questioned why residue or any injuries on Nalan’s hands were not sampled or properly documented.

Duran was severely injured when the bullet passed through his face and lodged in a bedroom wall. He’s expected to testify for the prosecution. Still unclear is who actually had control of the revolver and who fired it.

Nalan’s trial is expected to last through Friday in Juneau Superior Court. A six-man, eight-woman jury is hearing the case.

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