Despite lack of DNA, judge refuses to dismiss VanCallis murder trial

James VanCallis did not take the stand Wednesday as closing arguments will begin Friday.

The defense takes a turn today in the murder trial of James VanCallis, the man accused of brutally killing a teenage girl.

His attorneys continued to point to a lack of DNA evidence in the case of the murder of April Millsap. VanCallis, 34, is on trial for murdering, kidnapping and attempting to rape Millsap, 14.

VanCallis' attorney Azhar Sheikh asks the final witness for the prosecution Wednesday how it's possible no DNA has been found.

Sheik: "Prints?"

Sgt. Rebecca MacArthur: "No prints."

Sheikh: "Hair?"

MacArthur: "No."

Sheikh: "Fibers?"

MacArthur: "No."

The defense also  bringing up this composite sketch of the man a witness saw talking to April on July 24, of 2014 - the same day her body was found stomped to death in a ditch along the Macomb Orchard Trail.

"That composite sketch is not James VanCallis," Sheikh said.

"Well, you're asking my opinion?" MacArthur said. "I think the eyes are dead on."

"There is no facial hair in that composite," the attorney said.

"Right," MacArthur said.

But the prosecution showed VanCallis in photos wearing Nike Jordan shoes the same style and size with an 80-percent match to the marks found on April's body.

"Those shoes appear to you to be the same shoes identified by Crystal in this case," asked Sheikh.

"Yes," MacArthur said.

"Have those shoes ever been found?" asked the attorney.

"No, we searched high and low for those shoes," MacArthur said.

Prosecutors also referenced two previous witnesses who identified VanCallis with 100 percent certainly, recalling his motorcycle and his helmet.

The prosecution reminded jurors that VanCallis' DNA wasn't found on his helmet, either. But the prosecution accused him of wiping it clean.

Fueled by the lack of DNA evidence findings, the defense asked the judge to dismiss all charges which was promptly denied.

"All of the evidence is pretty much circumstantial," said Judge Mary Chrzanowski. "But there is a significant amount of circumstantial evidence that will allow this jury to deduce that this defendant was in fact present."

James Vancallis decided not to testify so the defense rests with no witnesses.

Closing arguments will be presented Friday morning, then, the jury will begin deliberations.
 


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