CSI crime scene investigator testifies almost seven hours in accused cop-killer trial

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Officer Thomas LaValley was killed while responding to a report of a suspicious person call at the home of Grover Cannon’s sister in the 3500 block of Del Rio Street in the Queensborough neighborhood on August 5, 2015. (Photo: LaValley family)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – After losing the morning to issues with the jury, testimony resumed this afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of accused cop killer Grover Cannon.

Cannon is accused in the August 2015 death of Shreveport Police Officer Thomas LaValley, during a suspicious person call in the 3700 block of Del Rio.

Grover Cannon

The state called SPD Sgt. Tracy Mendels, one of the crime scene investigators who investigated the crime scene where LaValley died, called back to the witness stand to continue her testimony, which began Friday and lasted about four hours.

Using photographs and diagrams of the crime scene, Mendels outlined the shell casings found, their trajectory and conclusions derived from the location of the bullet holes found inside the house.

This afternoon, that testimony continued, for almost three hours before the defense began their cross examination, which was a just over an hour long.

Mendels testified there were 14 casings from a 40.cal gun consistent with LaValley’s service weapon and one 9 mm shell casing found at the scene.

Although Dr. James Traylor, pathologist who performed the autopsy on LaValley at LSU Health Sciences Center was waiting in the wings to testify, presiding Judge Ramona Emanuel and attorneys met and decided to recess just before 5 p.m. today.

The day was shorter than the first two days of the litigation portion of the trial, it had been a long one for the jury and for LaValley’s family and friends.

Right out of the gate this morning, Emanuel temporarily suspended court after reports that two jurors became ill. The jurors were transported to a local doctor where they were evaluated.

Court staff, attorneys, as well as family, friends, observers and media waited throughout the morning for court to resume, but at 11:30, one of the prosecutors announced court would be recessed until 1 p.m. while the jury ate lunch.

When court resumed at 1 p.m., the courtroom was cleared while the judge and attorneys for both sides discussed the status of the jury members. When court was called back into session a half-hour later and the jury filed in, one of the jurors – a white female – had been replaced by a black female, one of the four alternate jurors selected earlier this week in Baton Rouge.

Traylor is now expected to testify Sunday, when court resumes at noon.

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