Debbie was asked to comment on evidence in the West Virginia trial of Andrew McCauley Jr., who is accused of killing the 15 year old daughter of his girlfriend. The defense argued that cadaver dogs alerting to human remains in the bed of the defendant’s pickup truck could have been over something as small as a tissue. CourtTV host Julie Grant asked Debbie to weigh-in on this defense, and whether it was too much of a stretch, or if she agreed:
Well, i think the dog sniff evidence is ripe for cross examination because there’s a lot of issues related to how the canine was trained, how the testing was done, what type of atmosphere it was in, what it was trained on, in terms of, they call it a cadaver dog, but what does that mean? What does that mean it was trained to alert to? And, is there a video of the alert? There’s a lot of issues related to that and it will go to the weight of the evidence, not the admissibility, but sometimes there is a lot to make fodder there. If he has talked to an expert, and the expert says that it’s as little as a tissue that the dog could alert to, then that’s a problem for the prosecution. I think the defense lawyer did a really good job of pointing out some major holes that are going to be in this case: the lack of the manor of death, the lack or the cause of death, the lack of the place of death, of the time of death, those are things that are going to be very interesting hurdles for the prosecution to get over in this case.
Learn more about the case by watching this clip from CourtTV. Debbie’s comments are during the segment that starts at 43:30 in the video.