Manitoba

Christine Wood's DNA found in Brett Overby's basement, court hears

Christine Wood’s blood was found on a weight bench, closet door, and stairs in the basement of a Burrows Avenue home owned by Brett Overby, a Winnipeg jury heard on Thursday.

Overby is on trial for 2nd-degree murder in the 21-year-old’s death

Police released this photo of Christine Wood in August 2016 after she went missing. (Winnipeg Police Service )

Christine Wood's blood was found on a weight bench, closet door and stairs in the basement of a Burrows Avenue home owned by Brett Overby, a Winnipeg jury heard on Thursday.

Forensic investigators collected a number of swabs from the house in March of 2017, which were sent for testing along with a DNA sample from Wood's parents.

Court heard the tests came back as a positive match to the 21-year-old who went missing in August 2016.

Overby was charged with second-degree murder 10 months later. He has pleaded not guilty.

"It was my opinion at the time that something occurred that made blood fly through the air," testified Patrol Sgt. Brian Neumann on Thursday.

Neumann told the jury of nine men and three women that he and two other members of the forensic identification unit began searching Overby's home on March 22, 2017.

He testified he found 54 small visible stains, which he said appeared to be blood drops, on one of the two closet doors.

Forensic officers found 54 drops of blood on this closet door in Overby's basement. (Court exhibit)

Court previously heard there was a large hole between the doors, which was not there in March 2016, when Overby's ex-girlfriend moved out.

Much of Neumann's testimony focused on the use of Bluestar Forensic, a chemical solution sprayed on surfaces to detect blood not visible to the naked eye.

He told court he blacked out the basement windows and then used a camera, which exposed traces of blood and cleaning products in blue.

"It was my opinion at the time that some sort of cleaning had been done on the door," said Neumann about three large bright blue smears on the doors and wall in between.

Patrol Sgt. Brian Neumann told the court blood shows up as blue and cleaning products show up brighter, nearly white. (Court exhibit)
Patrol Sgt. Brian Neumann testified that swab samples taken from the weight bench came back positive as Christine Wood's blood. (Court exhibit)

In opening statements, Crown prosecutor Chantal Boutin said evidence would be presented that Overby attempted to cover up the crime.

She also argued Wood did not make it out of the Burrows home alive.

The jury also heard Wood's DNA was found on the basement stairs and samples taken from a light switch in the back porch and Overby's truck tested positive for his blood.

Overby's computer seized

The jury was shown a photo of Wood and Overby, sitting on a couch in the Burrows Avenue home.

Overby was identified by his ex-girlfriend, Shirley Houle, who also said the couch once belonged to her grandmother.

Wood was identified as the woman in the photo by her mother.

Watch Overby deny knowing Christine Wood:

Police question Brett Overby about the death of Christine Wood. 0:17

Det. Jason Joseph of the technical unit said the photo was found on Overby's computer. 

He was tasked to gather data on the computer between the dates of Aug. 13, 2016 and March 22, 2017.

He then handed the evidence over to homicide detectives, who found the photo of Wood and Overby.

"In my opinion, it was deleted off [Overby's] phone first," testified Joseph when asked where the photo originated.

He said it showed up on the computer on Sept. 27, 2016. He said because it was a copy, he could not determine what day the picture was taken.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Chris Martin is presiding over the jury trial, which is scheduled to last until May 17.

Dect. Jason Joseph testified this photo was found on Overby's computer. His ex-girlfriend confirmed it is him. The woman was identified as Wood by her mother (Court exhibit)