Judge explains abrupt ending in Officer Hetland’s trial on Wednesday

NOW: Judge explains abrupt ending in Officer Hetland’s trial on Wednesday

RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) – On Thursday, Sept. 24th, the trial in the shooting death of Officer John Hetland resumed with the court hearing from a DNA expert from the state’s crime lab.

We also learned why court ended abruptly on Wednesday.

The judge said a juror was notified they had been in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

The court, along with the health department, decided to end court for the day to allow that person to quarantine, get tested, and receive expedited results.

Thursday morning that juror was notified they were negative, but they were still dismissed from the case.

The defense then asked for a mistrial on the basis of this COVID-related curveball, but the judge denied that request.

Shortly after, a series of evidence photos, envelopes, and videos were presented to Lisa Treffinger, a DNA expert who discussed the challenges in collecting DNA from the scene and how surveillance video helped them retrace steps to collect DNA from the bar on June 2019-when Officer Hetland tried stopping a robbery.

From doorknobs to actual DNA on officer Hetland, Treffinger explained Dalquavis Ward’s name was consistent with various samples.

It was described during the first couple of days that DNA from Ward was already in the system from previous cases. Those samples were then used to match ones found at the scene.

Before the third day wrapped up, the state called a second witness to the stand.

This was an officer who served as the lead detective in the case and was contacted after DNA matched that of Ward’s at the scene. Like Treffinger, this officer also answered questions pertaining to the scene, the response time, and the collection of DNA samples. 

The court will reconvene Friday morning at 8:30.

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