Day four of Peacemaker murder trial focuses on forensic testimony

March 1, 2024
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–Forensic testimony about blood and DNA was the focus of Thursday’s testimony in the Jeremiah Peacemaker murder trial in Watertown.

Peacemaker is charged in the August 2020 decapitation killing of 28 year-old Kendra Owen.

The final witness called by the prosecution was Jessica Kirkpatrick, who works at the South Dakota Crime Lab in Pierre.

She was asked about test results on a right thumbprint found on a Crest toothpaste tube in Owen’s bathroom that matches Peacemaker’s thumbprint, and about blood and DNA found on a hooded sweatshirt in Peacemaker’s apartment.

After Kirkpatrick’s testimony, the state rested its case, at which time defense attorney Scott Bratland made a motion for aquittal, citing a lack of evidence.

That motion was denied by Judge Carmen Means.

Then the defense began calling its witnesses. The first to take the stand was forensic scientist Anjali Ranadive of Phoenix, who questioned what she believes was misleading wording used in

Kirkpatrick’s reports, which Ranadive said can lead, “jurors, judges and attorneys to misinterpret lab results.”

Also testifying for the defense was fingerprint expert Glenn Langenburg, who spent nearly two decades working at the Minnesota State Crime Lab in St. Paul.

Langenburg testified that the thumbprint on the toothpaste tube is that of Peacemakers, but when asked if it was a bloody thumbprint, Langenburg chose to use the term, “apparent blood.”