Jury hears blood evidence arguments in Bisard trial

Blood evidence

Blood evidence takes center stage Monday in the trial of suspended Indianapolis Metro Police Officer David Bisard. He's accused of driving drunk in his squad car and crashing into a group of motorcycles, causing the death of Eric Wells and injuring two others.

On Monday, prosecutors are presenting what they call their strongest evidence yet: the blood tests taken from Bisard after the crash which showed he was over twice the legal limit to drive. Defense attorneys are working to discredit that evidence.

It took a medical assistant about 15 minutes to take blood samples from Bisard, but she spent over two hours on the witness stand.

Michelle Johnson spent hours explaining to jurors precisely how she drew David Bisard's blood.

She said she'd only done about three such blood draws before conducting the draw on Bisard. She testified that she scrubbed Bisard's arm with alcohol. Not wanting to contaminate the sample, she realized her mistake, cleaned it and moved to the other arm.

The vial provided by police was expired and other vials had to be brought in. Johnson said the filled vials went from her hand to the hand of the police officer conducting the investigation.

Under cross examination, Johnson admitted there were conflicts between the clinic's protocols and those of IMPD. For that reason, there was no evidence label placed on top of the vials to seal them.

A police officer watching the draw told jurors a different story. Former Lawrence Police Lt. Stan Stevens offered contradictory testimony, claiming he caught Johnson's mistakes and the bad vials.  However, Stevens first told IMPD investigators that the blood was taken from Bisard's possibly contaminated right arm. 

Monday, he told jurors he made a mistake, too, and now insists  the crucial blood evidence really came from Bisard's clean left arm.

Bisard's attorney compared her certification to on-the-job training. The probable cause affidavit which states that the blood was taken from Bisard's right arm is wrong and that it was taken from his left arm.

Blood test results are the best evidence prosecutors have, and they say they'll be able to sell it to the jury.

Tests showed that Bisard was driving with a .19 BAC when his police car crashed into standing traffic.  The 2010 collision killed Eric Wells, and critically injured Mary Mills and Kurt Weakly.

"We're gonna sell it based on the facts of it. Vial 1 was tested six times. Vial 2 was tested three times," said Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson. "We have DNA tests. That's all evidence that the jury's going to hear."

Defense attorney John Kautzman says the tests are unreliable and the way the blood was obtained and stored was flawed.

Under cross examination, jurors heard how Johnson didn't follow the manufacturer's precise method of mixing the blood with preservatives in the vial to prevent fermentation and the creation of alcohol.

By all accounts, Bisard walked, talked, and behaved that day as if he were completely sober.

Both Johnson and Stevens said they saw now indication that the now suspended IMPD officer was intoxicated.  At the time, Stevens  remembers telling investigators, "I could not believe impairment was involved. For the life of me, I didn't see anything."