The Ashley Hunter Trial: DNA Analyst Links Victim’s Neighbor to Evidence

The analyst said trace DNA of one of Traut's neighbors was found on Ashley Hunter's socks

FARGO, ND — DNA takes center stage at the double murder trial of Ashley Hunter at the Cass County Courthouse.

Some DNA samples hint at a former neighbor of one of the victims.

After the victims’ bodies were found, blood samples from their clothes and nearby items were taken in for DNA tests.

Kyle Splichil, a DNA analyst for the state of North Dakota, told the jury many of the samples taken did match up with Clarence Flowers and Samuel Traut.

But the analyst said trace DNA of one of Traut’s neighbors was found on Ashley Hunter’s socks.

“Christopher Doss could not be excluded as a contributor to this profile,” Splichil said.

The defense asked Splichil, “Do you have any idea of why Christopher Doss’s DNA, although in small amount, might have been found on those socks?”

Splichel told them he did not know how.

Doss testified last week and said he has never killed anyone in his life.

His ex-girlfriend, Lori Manderson, testified on Tuesday.

She said Doss did not like Traut and owned two hammers.

“If somebody handles the sock, there can be a transfer of DNA from their body to that sock,” Splichil explained. “If their biological fluid finds its way onto the sock, that would be a transfer.”

The defense argued there was a possibility of accidentally altering the DNA throughout the process of analyzing it.

Another focus was on a red tennis shoe which was found near the home of Clarence Flowers.

Analysts said Hunter’s DNA matched the blood stains on the shoe.

The analysts are not supposed to figure out how the DNA got on these items, but simply who’s DNA is on what.

When the defense asked Splichil if he cared about how this criminal case turns out, he responded, “No, I’m just doing my job.”

The trial was expected to end this Friday, but the prosecution has not yet rested its case.

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