ISP: Shell casings in Tim Bliefnick’s basement match shell casings found by Becky Bliefnick’s body

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QUINCY — An Illinois State Police (ISP) ballistics expert with 26 years of experience testified that eight shell casings found by the slain body of Becky Bliefnick were fired by the same gun as 27 shell casings found in her estranged husband’s basement.

Tim Bliefnick’s first-degree murder trial resumed Tuesday morning. He is accused of shooting Becky 14 times in her home on Feb. 23.

In Tuesday morning’s testimony, ISP ballistics expert Vickie Reels testified the bullets removed from Becky’s body came from the spent shell casings that were found beside her body.

Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones asked if Reels had compared those shell casings to 54 shell casings found in Tim’s basement. Reels testified that 27 of the 54 shells tested were fired by the same gun that fired the bullets that killed Becky.

Defense Attorney Casey Schnack asked about the different guns tested and Reels said she did not test the gun that fired the shots.

Reels testifies bullets removed from Becky’s body matched the shell casings left behind. Said a CZ 75 or a Ruger fired them. The CZ 75 was Becky’s gun that she wanted back from Tim and it hasn’t been found.

Schnack then asked Reels about comparing the shells.

Schnack: “You did not compare all 8 casings and compare them to each of the 27 cases?”

Reels: “There was no need to” as all she needed to find was one match among the shells found beside Becky’s body and the shells found at Tim’s basement.

Schnack asks about the different guns tested and Reels said she did not test the gun that fired the shots. Jones discusses a peer review process and Reels said the process confirmed her findings.

Tim has rarely turned to look at the large projector screen behind him when evidence is presented, instead opting to look at the smaller laptop on the table in front him showing the same pictures. He did turn to look today at the matching ballistics report, but had no reaction when Reels said the shell casings from his basement matched the ones found in Becky’s home.

Three other ISP witnesses also testified Tuesday morning.

Jones asked Kelly Maciejewski of ISP Forensices about DNA on the blue bike handlebars. Said she removed DNA from the handlebars and processed it into pure DNA, comparing DNA from Tim Bliefnick, Becky Bliefnick, the Bliefnick children and Ted Johnson, who had been dating Becky.

DNA was compared to the blue bike, a patio chair and a door handle, and plastic near Becky’s body. Said there was limited support that it was Tim’s DNA on the plastic near her body.

Maciejewski testifies that skin under Becky’s fingernails had DNA. No items support Ted Johnson’s DNA contribution. Items support Tim Bliefnick’s DNA contribution. However, the DNA under her nails could also be any of the Bliefnick children.

Schnack’s cross asked about the bike handlebars. The witness said there was not enough DNA to determine any DNA match. Schnack pressed the witness that the DNA standards of Tim and all of the boys all match and cannot be distinguished. Also, Maciejewski said no DNA was found on the shell casing in Becky’s home that was tested, aside from Becky’s.

The next ISP witness, Jim Riggins, specializes in trace analysis. Jones showed shards of an Aldi bag on a projector and the evidence concluded there were similarities in the shards to an Aldi bag. Inconclusive, but consistent as the actual bag the pieces are from aren’t there. Schnack then got the witness to say there was no scientific certainty to the matches, just similarities.

Another ISP forensics expert, Kathryn Doolin, specializes in foot/shoe prints and tire marks. Doolin testified she did not have a complete print from Becky’s house, just a partial and a pair of shoes to compare it to. And she couldn’t say if those shoes made the print.

Doolin also talked about the tool marks left on the window at Becky’s house. She said she attempted to replicate marks made at the crime scene and was given a multi tool and a crowbar found in Tim’s home to test.

While photos were shown of the crowbar and a tool mark on the window at Becky’s house, Doolin said there were similarities and consistencies in her testing, but nothing conclusive. She said while a complete ID could not be made, but the crow bar can’t be eliminated.

Schnack did get Doolin to admit Tim’s shoes were excluded from the impression at the crime scene. And that there was no scientific certainty that it was Tim’s crowbar used on Becky’s window.

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