Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Murder Trial, Delayed for Tests, Restarts

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Murder Trial, Delayed for Tests, Restarts

Article excerpt

After an unusual two-month hiatus prompted by the discovery of potentially crucial DNA evidence, the trial of a New Milford man charged with raping and murdering his estranged wife resumed Wednesday with the testimony of a forensic scientist who said a state police laboratory missed finding a condom inside a latex glove sent to the lab for analysis.

Allison Lane, an expert in biological stain analysis, told jurors at the trial of Pedro Gutierrez that the sealed package containing the glove with the condom was not opened at the lab in 2011 in the interest of time and resources.

Another latex glove had already been examined, she said, and had yielded a positive blood sample. Time and resource considerations also figured into the decision to test for blood on only one of several plastic zip ties used to bind the victim, she said.

Authorities were unaware of the condom until shortly before Thanksgiving, when it was discovered inside the glove by a detective and sent back to the state police lab. Superior Court Judge Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi then ordered a recess in the trial to give the defense time to review the new evidence and to have an independent lab perform a DNA analysis of the semen in the condom.

Gutierrez, 27, a restaurant busboy, is accused of killing his wife, Shaday Betancourth, because she was leaving him after several years of marriage. Her brother, Andres, found her naked and covered in blood with her throat cut in his one-room Teaneck apartment on Oct. 4, 2011. With help from a neighbor, he rushed her to the hospital, where she died a short time later.

Unwilling to accept the breakup of his marriage, prosecutors allege, Gutierrez bound his wife's wrists and ankles with plastic zip ties, raped her and then stabbed her six times in the neck with a knife.

Holding up the knife for jurors Wednesday, Lane said it tested positive for blood on the tip and handle. …

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