Forensic evidence at forefront of Falconer trial in death of Amber Kirwan

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PICTOU - Forensic evidence was brought back into the forefront of the first-degree murder trial of Christopher Alexander Falconer on Tuesday.

Artist's depiction shows the accused, Christopher Falconer, at his first-degree murder trial in Pictou, with his father and grandfather in the foreground, Scott Falconer Sr. and Scott Falconer Jr. Artist's sketch by Joan Krawczyk

Falconer is accused with killing 19-year-old Amber Kirwan who went missing Oct. 9, 2011 from a downtown New Glasgow street and her remains were recovered in Heathbell on Nov. 5, 2011.

Dr. Steven Pitts, a textile and fiber expert with the RCMP's forensic team, testified early in the morning that the piece of black cloth found in the camper trailer in Hardwood Hill  matched  a sweater that Kirwan was wearing the night she disappeared and was later found around her wrists in a muddy grave off a logging road in Heathbell.

He said in his opinion there was not doubt that the fabric was the same.

He also looked at the taping of fibers from a black tank top found in the accused's car and a blue polyester blanket found in the camper.  He said the fibers on the tank top, captured from taping, matched those on the blue blanket.

However, he also admitted under cross-examination that blue polyester is mass produced and can be found in many different items including clothing.  Defence lawyer Mike Taylor asks the Pitts if it was possible that fibers could be transferred from a sweatshirt or jacket with blue polyester to the tank top and he agreed.

Pitts did say during his testimony that that studies have been done and it is rare to find random polyester fibers that match but not impossible.  He also said he couldn't tell how long the fibers were on the shirt.

Cellphone technology and placement of towers were being discussed before the morning recess and will continue after lunch. 

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Heathbell, New Glasgow

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