EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 30, 2013

FBI expert testifies in minivan murder trial


Smith is a supervisor in the Quantico-based forensic audio, video and image analysis unit. His work requires him to analyze images to determine everything from how tall a bank robber might be or “how long was the sawed off shot gun?” he said, speaking of hypothetical cases.

He said also examines video to determine if its an actual image of whether it’s “computer generated or digitally manipulated,” he said.

At Curran’s direction, jurors were shown a series of slides indicating how Smith used the overlay software and was able to contrast back and forth between the images taken from the residential surveillance camera and those recreated by detectives.

Under brief questioning by Castro’s defense attorney Debra Dewitt, Smith admitted he couldn’t positively identify or eliminate the photos as being the same. However, under redirect from Curran, Smith said he couldn’t exclude them either.

Smith, who has a master’s degree in forensics from George Washington University, said he has testified approximately 50 times at trials in state, federal and military courts throughout the United States.

When Gonzalez died, his girlfriend Taisha Lara told the Eagle-Tribune she had two young boys with Gonzalez and had recently found out she was pregnant again. She also said Gonzalez was a dealer who sold drugs, including crack cocaine.

Several police officers, including Trooper Joshua Ulrich and Lawrence Detective Capt. Denis Pierce, have already testified in the trial.

Also facing first degree murder charges for Gonzalez’s death are: Francis Wyatt, 30, of 12 Woodland Ct., Lawrence; Cauris Gonzalez, 23, of 9 Tower St., Methuen; Yoshio Stackerman, 27, and Javier, 27, of 121 Saratoga St., Lawrence.

Maribel Villafane, 26, of 114 Ames St., Lawrence was also charged with being an accessory after the fact.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

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