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Day 2: Triple Homicide Trial of Curtis Clinton

Sandusky Register Staff • Oct 31, 2013 at 8:49 AM

UPDATE 5:18 p.m. — During the second half of testimony Wednesday, two BCI forensic scientists and a retired Fostoria police officer took the witness stand.

• Julie Cox, a scientist in the Bowling Green crime lab's biology unit explained to jurors how she prepared several samples collected from the John Street home to send to another lab for testing.

She also said she found evidence of a single sperm cell when analyzing a small piece of Celina's underwear.

• Hallie Garofalo, a scientist in the London crime lab, explained to jurors her findings of DNA profiles from swabs collected from Jackson's right wrist, Celina's left wrist and both ankles and the ligatures found around her neck and Wayne's.

When analyzing DNA, scientists calculate how many people could be excluded from being a match, rather than determining whether someone is an exact match or not, Garofalo told jurors.

In the samples collected from the case, Clinton was a possible match in all of them.

•The final witness of the day, retired Fostoria police Officer Michael Clark, briefly told jurors about a case he investigated in 1997 — the death of Misty Keckler, 18, who was found naked, facedown in a bath tub.

Prosecutors showed jurors photos of Keckler's body, bringing tears for her family members who have been attending the trial alongside Jackson's family members.

Kecker also was strangled to death, and Clinton eventually pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in that case.

He served 13 months in prison. Seven months after he was released, Jackson and her children were killed.

UPDATE 11:41 a.m. — Two Sandusky police detectives took the stand Wednesday morning in the trial of accused triple murderer Curtis Clinton.

• Detective Ken Nixon told jurors the Monday before Heather Jackson and her children's bodies were found the following Saturday, he received a call about a separate alleged rape.

A 17-year-old Clyde girl had gone to the Bellevue Hospital for treatment on Labor Day, and to have a rape kit done. Hospital personnel called Nixon because the girl said the attack happened at a Camp Street apartment in Sandusky.

On Tuesday, Nixon picked up the rape kit from Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, where the girl had been sent from Bellevue. He also scheduled an interview for Thursday with the girl and a Sandusky County Children Services social worker.

Click HERE for continued coverage of the Triple Homicide

When he interviewed the girl, she told him she'd been raped by Clinton on Sept. 2, when she was visiting his 19-year-old girlfriend at his apartment. She also told Nixon she'd been choked during the attack.

Nixon explained the next steps to the victim, and told her he would call her after the weekend to see how she felt about pursuing charges.

She told Nixon she feared for her life.

Two days later, on Saturday, Sept. 8, Nixon was called to the John Street home where Jackson and her children were found.

He assisted crime scene technicians in securing the house and observed while they collected evidence throughout the house.

Then Sunday, after detectives received Jackson's cell phone records, he was assigned the task of tracking down the identity of the last person who had spoken with her on her phone, a number he's since committed to memory: 419-202-0131.

Heather received two calls from that number early the morning of Sept. 8, at 2:59 a.m. and 3:12 a.m.

When Nixon received the records from the cell phone company, he recognized the name: Curtis L. Clinton, the same man accused of raping the 17-year-old Clyde girl the week before.

He and other officers spent the rest of the day searching for Clinton in Sandusky, with no luck.

Monday, Nixon called the Sandusky County Children Services social worker to talk about the rape case — and she told Nixon information that led him to Clinton's location at the Bellevue Hospital, where he'd been admitted the day before after a suicide attempt.

He and Sgt. Dana Newell and two Erie County deputies went to Bellevue to pick Clinton up.

There they found him, still in his hospital gown, still in a hospital bed, his cell phone in his hand and his 19-year-old girlfriend at his side.

He voluntarily went with the detectives to the Sandusky Police Department.

• Detective Gary Wichman also took the stand Wednesday morning. He told jurors about interviews he conducted with the several people who visited her the night before, each suspect pointing fingers at someone else.

Wichman assigned Nixon the task of tracking down the identity of the person who owned the only phone number in Jackson's cell phone records that detectives couldn't identify.

After Nixon received back the information, naming Curtis Clinton as a suspect, Wichman joined the search for Clinton in Sandusky.

Wichman also showed the jury video surveillance footage from outside Firelands Regional Medical Center that showed Clinton's vehicle arriving at Jackson's home at about 3:12 a.m., leaving at 4:16 a.m. The video also showed his vehicle returning about 4:20 a.m. and leaving a minute later.

After searching Clinton's car and his apartment on Monday, detectives continued to piece together his movements after he left Jackson's home.

An ATM receipt recovered from his apartment showed he went to a Citizens Bank ATM at 4:30 a.m. and made two transactions.

A Kroger receipt found in his Clyde hotel room showed he went to the store in Sandusky at about 1 p.m. and bought two bottles of Tylenol, Unison, and Nyquil.

Wichman was still on the stand Wednesday morning, just before noon, as a video of his interview with Clinton was being shown to jurors.

To see complete coverage from the first day of the trial, click HERE

— Due to graphic testimony, viewer discretion is advised —

Watch live and past video from the trial in the player below

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