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Testimony: DNA Evidence Doesn't Link Defendants to Slain Royal Oak Women

The preliminary examination of Alan Wood and Tonia Watson, who face murder charges in the Nov. 20 killing death of Nancy Dailey in her home, continued Friday in 44th District Court.

DNA evidence taken from the scene where do not positively link the two parole absconders charged in the case to the victim, according to testimony Friday from a Royal Oak Police detective and two Michigan State Police lab technicians.

Alan Craig Wood, 48, and Tonia Michelle Watson, 40, are charged with murder in the brutal slaying of Nancy Dailey in her Woodwardside Subdivision home. The preliminary examination for the two continued today in  before Judge Terrence Brennan.

Testimony Friday focused on evidence such as nail clippings, a washcloth with traces of blood on it, a blue scarf used to bind Dailey's arms, a knife encased in dirt that was removed from the median of Woodward Avenue and clothing belonging to the defendants.

Royal Oak Police Detective Carl Baretto described collecting the evidence and DNA samples from the defendants. Under cross-examination by Wood's attorney, Elias Escobedo, and Watson's attorney, John Holmes, the detective said the DNA evidence did not directly tie Dailey to the defendants.

“In terms of the clothing, in terms of anything connected with Mr. Wood, there is absolutely no DNA evidence on any of the clothing that he had that was associated with Miss Dailey’s blood,” Escobedo said. “None of the clothing or any of the property you took into possession as evidence as a part of this investigation — none of Mr. Wood’s property had any of Miss Dailey’s blood on it?”

“Correct,” Barretto responded.

In court, Wood and Watson displayed different demeanors. Wood paid close attention to the testimony while Watson appeared aloof, often looking down at the floor.

Dailey's cousin, Leah Storto, and nearly a dozen other relatives and friends sat nearby in the courtroom, listening.

Many of the clothing items Wood and Watson were wearing the day of Dailey's slaying were identical to what they were wearing at the time of their arrest two days later, on Nov. 22, Barretto testified. However, the detective said police have not been able to find a blue jacket Wood was seen wearing at a hours before the killing. In the McDonald's surveillance video, Wood is wearing a blue scarf like that used to bind Dailey's arms.

Melinda Jackson, a forensic laboratory scientist with the Michigan State Police, testified she was responsible for analysis of bodily stains found on the evidence for the possible presence of DNA. Amy Altesleben, of the Michigan State Police Crime Lab in Northville, testified she performed analysis of DNA on the evidence samples. The women testified the washcloth did not show the DNA of either Wood or Watson and that the scarf contained "multiple donors" of DNA. They said there was no DNA evidence that pointed directly to the defendants, although neither could be excluded.

Judge Brennan adjourned the hearing until 9 a.m. March 23.

Previous testimony reveals chilling details

Wood is charged with premeditated first-degree murder and felony murder while Watson is charged with felony murder. Both are also charged with larceny in a building and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device. They face life in prison if convicted of the murder charges. 

In a hearing Jan. 27, Royal Oak Police Detective Perry Edgell told the court about his 4½-hour interview with Watson the night after her arrest in which she described the details of how she and Wood came to target Dailey, break into her home, rob her and kill her.

According to the detective’s testimony, Watson and Wood left immediately after killing Dailey, used her ATM card to withdraw $200 and went to Pontiac to purchase drugs. Watson told the detective that night the couple stayed at the De Lido Motel in Detroit and watched media coverage of the crime.

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