Footprints, Hat at Murder Scene May Point to Griffin

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Footprints found in blood in Jennifer Hailey's home were extremely similar to those that would be left by shoes Stanley Griffin was wearing when he was arrested for Hailey's murder, a crime scene investigator testified to Tuesday.

In addition, a white ball cap recovered in Hailey's home on September 20, 2010 appeared similar to the one Griffin was seen wearing in surveillance video at a Navasota convenience store as he returned to College Station the night of September 19. Griffin's friend testified Monday that he dropped Griffin off near Hailey's home at Griffin's request.

Earlier Tuesday, a forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Hailey told a jury Tuesday that the 29-year-old mother died of strangulation.

Dr. Satish Chundru from the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office took jurors through pictures of Hailey's body. She was allegedly killed by Griffin, who is on trial for capital murder.

Chundru said injuries on Hailey's neck and face, including bruises and burst blood vessels, were consistent with blood (and therefore, oxygen) being deprived to her head and brain.

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The pathologist also looked at pictures of Hailey's son, who authorities believe was attacked by Griffin after he watched his mother's strangulation in their home. While he didn't examine the then-nine-year-old in person, Chundru said some of his injuries also appeared to be from strangulation.

The child also suffered significant wounds to his throat, believed to be from a garden trowel. That item was shown to the jury for the first time, and Chundru confirmed it could have easily caused the injuries seen in the photographs.

Monday, the boy testified he saw Griffin on top of his mother around 10:30 p.m. on September 19, 2010. He said Griffin ordered him to return to his room. When the boy emerged 15 minutes later, he said Griffin choked him, then struck him in the face. He said he blacked out, awoke later and found his mother dead.

Jennifer Hailey’s brother, Jason, also testified Tuesday, recalling his arrival at his sister’s home the next morning after his nephew’s call for help to his grandmother. Jason tried to do CPR on Jennifer, but to no avail.

When discussing his conversation with his nephew soon after his arrival, Jason said the boy told him the attacker had physically put him in his bedroom.

Later, a College Station police detective told the jury about his investigation that day, including how police eventually found Griffin at a family home with fresh scratch marks on his arm, which would be consistent with a struggle.

Detective Travis Lacox also discussed a conversation he had with the boy, who was in the hospital. Lacox said the child told him Griffin had attacked him in the living room of the home. Blood was found in a hallway of the home leading from the living room to the bedrooms.

The state is seeking a capital murder conviction for Griffin. They say DNA evidence -- expected to be presented Wednesday as the state's presentation wraps up -- will prove he committed the murder of Jennifer Hailey. To elevate the crime to capital murder, they allege Griffin, by the letter of the law, kidnapped the boy.

The defense has tried to emphasize inconsistencies in the boy's statements in the days and weeks following the murder, including where he said he was in the home at the time of the incidents and how they took place. They have also questioned the state's kidnapping assertion.

If convicted of capital murder, the state will seek the death penalty. If the jury does not believe a kidnapping took place, they can convict Griffin on a lesser murder charge, which takes the death penalty option off the table. A not guilty decision frees Griffin. He has been jailed since the day of the murder when he was arrested for it.

Previous witnesses have shown Griffin was in the area of the Pedernales Drive home of Hailey at the time of the incident.

A friend of Jennifer Hailey testified that Griffin had been dating a former colleague at a doctor's office in College Station, and that Griffin had been around the office a number of times, including when Hailey's son was there.

A police report from just after the incident describes Griffin as having asked Hailey if he could live with her, but that she refused. Beyond that possibility, motive for the murder has not been discussed in court.

Forensic pathologist Satish Chundru shows jurors a diagram of the head and throat explaining how Jennifer Hailey died.