CADIZ – The once co-defendant of Matthew Dowdel, Eve Kelley, testified at his murder trial Wednesday afternoon. Kelley was the first witness to be called after the lunch break and Harrison County Assistant Prosecutor, Jeffrey Bruzzese carefully laid out the timeline and events of March 27, 2014.
Kelley and Dowdel had been a couple approximately one month before the murder of Joseph Strother in Sally Buffalo Park, according to Kelley.
According to Kelley, it was Dowdel’s idea to rob Strother, Dowdel’s idea for Kelley to strike Strother three times in the back of the head with a rolling pin while the victim was driving inside the park. And it was Dowdel’s idea to flee in the victim’s car, which is the one they arrived in.
Kelley, who is serving 15 and one-half years for pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, obstructing justice and theft of a vehicle for the same crime, stated that she saw Dowdel pull Strother’s lifeless body into the water before returning to the car and washing himself off by a water faucet near one of the shelters.
Kelley said she did not follow the two down towards the lake and described Dowdel as “crazy” and acting “nervous” after returning from the lower part of the park that is partly hidden by an embankment.
Kelley stated that when Dowdel and she got into Strother’s car Dowdel said he thought he (Strother) was dead, according to her testimony.
When Defense Attorney, Aaron Miller cross examined Kelley, he wasted no time in tearing into her accusing her of only looking out for herself and reminding her that she was charged with obstructing justice and having a hand in stealing Strother’s car as well.
The one significant item Miller was able to raise was that he noted Dowdel, after the two had fled to Cleveland after the crime, got into a fight and was bleeding. The jury may or may not find that significant when weighing the testimony of two forensic scientists from Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), who testified earlier in the day.
One statistic that seemed to hurt the defense’s case was when BCI Forensic DNA Analyst, Samuel Troyer testified that a DNA test result demonstrated that the odds of blood evidence left behind at the crime scene belonging to another person other than Dowdel was in the sextillion range.
A muffled reaction to the astounding figure could be heard reacting to that evidence. All Miller could do was ascertain that the several experts on blood and DNA analysis were not to point out “who” but only “what.”
Wednesday afternoon’s testimony continued with the prosecution still presenting their case.