The court heard from 2 witnesses Wednesday, as the Crown closed their case in the Travelodge murder trial.
Nearly 3 years ago, on September 8th, 2013, London Police were called to the Travelodge Hotel at 800 Exeter road. When they arrived, they found the dismembered body of 20 year old, Orangeville local Alex Fraser.
Fellow Orangeville local James McCullough is accused of first degree murder and committing an indignity to a human body.
So far, the court has heard that McCullough and Fraser traveled from Orangeville to London in a cab, and checked into the hotel on the night of September 7th, 2013. Two other men would be seen arriving to the hotel, and eventually leaving. McCullough would then book the room for another night, and tell the front desk that he didn’t need housekeeping. Fraser was never seen again.
Nearly 24 hours later police arrived at the hotel and arrested McCullough.
Detective Andrew Gradkowski was called back to the stand Wednesday, to continue his testimony from Tuesday. Gradkowski, who is a retired London police officer, is also an expert in blood stain pattern analysis.
Over the course of his testimony, Gradkowski gave the jury a tutorial on the different types of blood stains, then proceeded to outline the various blood spatters and blood stains found in room 326 of the Travelodge.
As per Gradkowski’s testimony, blood “spatters” indicate an impact. The first spatter he described to the jury was on the carpet between the two beds. Blood spatters were also found on the night table, on the toilet in the bathroom, on the bathroom walls, and in various other locations around the room.
During an investigation, most crime scenes are inspected by “luminol,” also known to some as a UV or “black lights.” This is used to identify fluids – such as blood – that may not be visible to the naked eye. As per Gradkowski’s testimony, this is called a luminol reaction.
Prior testimonies stated that though the room appeared “untidy,” there was nothing about it, that appeared out of the ordinary.
During Gradkowski’s inspection of the room however, the luminol reaction indicated a number of locations, where there appeared to be “pools of blood,” concluding that Fraser had been stationary in some of those spots for a period of time. He also testified that a number of those “pools” had “swipe marks” which would typically indicate some type of clean up had occurred.
The luminol reaction indicated “pools” of blood found in between the 2 beds, right outside the bathroom door, inside the bathroom, and inside the bathtub.
In fact, perhaps the most appalling evidence of all, was the bathtub. As mentioned, officers were unable to detect anything “unusual” about the hotel room. With the naked eye, the bathtub looked the same as any other. The luminol reaction however, showed a horrifyingly different image.
The blue areas in this image indicate the fluid that reacted with the luminol – in this case, Alex Fraser’s blood.
Gradkowski testified that in his 24 years on this job, he has never lit up an entire room with a luminol reaction. Needless to say, this indicates a very significant amount of blood.
Further inspection indicated that something was dragged across the carpet with Fraser’s blood on it, right outside the bathroom, though Gradkowski was unable to state whether it was dragged to or from the bathroom.
During the examination of the body, Gradkowski also testified that Fraser’s body – except for the head – appeared to be cleaned off before put into the duffle bags.
On top of the number of locations in the hotel room, McCullough’s clothing contained a number of blood stains as well, including his pajama pants and his socks. His socks in fact, were stained to the point of saturation, concluding that they came into contact with a large amount of blood for a period of time.
The next witness called to the stand was Brendan Carmichael, a registered psychiatric nurse who was working with McCullough in an early psychosis assessment and recommendation program.
Carmichael testified that he met McCullough on September 13th, 2012, nearly a year before the Travelodge incident.
According to Carmichael, McCullough had talked about “the need to eliminate celebrities.” He talked about “slaying a person as a sacrifice,” and as “an offering to God.” When Carmichael asked McCullough if he’d ever “slayed anything,” McCullough had admitted to slaying 3 cats.
McCullough talked about cutting a cat open and being fascinated by it’s insides. When Carmichael asked is he’d ever fantasized about doing that to a human, McCullough answered, “yes.”
In another meeting between the two, McCullough discussed killing and eating another human being, stating that “when you eat someone, you get their traits. You get their good qualities and their muscles.”
When asked if he’d ever planned on doing this in the future, McCullough said no as he was aware that it was illegal and he didn’t want to get in trouble “with the government.”
On December 10th, 2012 the two met again, where McCullough admitted that he had exaggerated certain statements in past meetings. He admitted that rather than killing 3 cats, he had actually only killed one. He told Carmichael that he needed to be serious when speaking to adults and not “over exaggerate.”
During the defense’s cross examination, it was determined that McCullough had been involved in an early psychosis program for people suspected to have had psychotic episode.
The crown closed it’s case following these two witnesses, and court is adjourned until Monday, when the defense will call it’s first witness.