VALPARAISO | Porter County Sheriff's Department Patrolman Darrell Hobgood held up a bright orange long-sleeved T-shirt for the jury to see Friday afternoon.
The shirt, which the defense revealed contained the blood of 19-year-old homicide victim Amanda Bach, of Portage, was found near the Union Township home of Dustin McCowan, who is accused of murdering the young woman, Hobgood said.
The shirt was found by police Sept. 19, 2011, three days after Bach is believed to have been shot to death, Hobgood said.
Defense attorney John Vouga pointed out the shirt was not found during searches of the wider area Sept. 16 and 17, 2011.
Vouga also said the shirt contained no DNA of McCowan, though Hobgood said he had no knowledge of the handling of the shirt after he picked it off the ground and sealed it in an evidence bag. Vouga said the shirt had been removed at least twice from the secured bag for testing.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost said at the start of the trial Tuesday that McCowan, 20, is a fan of orange shirts, which is one of the school colors of the nearby Wheeler High School.
Also testifying Friday was Porter County Sheriff's Department Patrolman Roger Bowles, who described finding a puncture on the side wall of a tire from Bach's car, which was found Sept. 16, 2011, abandoned outside Dean's General Store on Ind. 130 in Wheeler.
The puncture was made in an opposite direction of the tire's rotation, unlike if something had been run over, he said.
The tire also had a screw embedded into its tread, Bowles said. There was no evidence it had been screwed in by someone.
The defense also took the opportunity Friday to question Bowles about other aspects of the investigation with which he took part. Bowles said two drops of blood were found on the stairs leading to the front door of the McCowan home at the time and that it appears from injuries that Bach was dragged by her hair.
In response to juror questions, Bowles said a typical vehicle could not have driven down the railroad tracks to the spot where Bach's body was found. He also said a murder scene can be cleaned up enough to make it extremely difficult to later investigate and that there is 2 to 2 1/2 miles between where Bach's body and car were found.
The trial is expected to resume at 1 p.m. Monday.