Jury hears forensics in Itasca County beheading trial

GRAND RAPIDS -- Blood found in the home of a Grand Rapids man on trial for murder matched that of his alleged victim, according to testimony Wednesday.

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Joseph Christen Thoresen

GRAND RAPIDS - Blood found in the home of a Grand Rapids man on trial for murder matched that of his alleged victim, according to testimony Wednesday.

Investigators found dozens of bloodstains and bloody objects - including a machete and a knife - during a June 2016 search of Joseph Christen Thoresen and Kayleene Danielle Greniger's apartment.

A forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension testified that DNA from the machete blade and a bloodstain on the couple's closet door came from David Haiman, whose decapitated body was found in a remote area north of Ball Club in rural Itasca County last summer.

Thoresen, 36, is charged with first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree murder while committing kidnapping, intentional second-degree murder and unintentional second-degree murder while committing second-degree assault. Greniger - who has given a variety of accounts describing the killing - pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder while committing second-degree assault.

On the opening day of Thoresen's trial, Greniger told jurors that Thoresen and Haiman had forced her to participate in sexual acts.


Greniger said Thoresen then tied up Haiman in the bedroom and assaulted him; the couple is then accused of driving to a rural area with Haiman, beating him with a baseball bat, stabbing him and cutting off his head.

BCA forensic scientist Tonya Lindbery testified for more than two hours Wednesday, answering questions about each of approximately 60 items taken from the apartment. Bloody clothes, duct tape and even a bloody pad of Post-it notes were found in the apartment's bathroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen, and bloodstains were found under the carpet, despite its rubber backing.

Along with the machete Greniger said she used to remove Haiman's head, investigators found a knife with Greniger's blood on the blade. The sheath of the knife had DNA from a mix of three or more people.

BCA forensic scientist Teresa McGuire said Thoresen could not be ruled out as the source of the DNA, though 98.9 percent of the world's population could be. Thoresen's DNA was not found on the machete, however - nor on a bloody filet knife found in the trunk of the car Thoresen is accused of using to take Haiman to the site of his murder.

Searchers also located an array of sex toys, including rope, a dildo, a ball gag and other restraints with bloodstains. Those stains were not tested for DNA.

Judge Lois Lang also ruled Wednesday that jurors could hear evidence of incriminating statements allegedly made by Thoresen to a fellow inmate.

The prosecution may rest its case as early as Thursday morning; Thoresen's defense expects to rest Friday, with the jury to get the case later that day.

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