The Hair of the Dog That Bit You: Man Faces His Own Dog in Murder Trial

Michael Haydon, 44, is having a Perry Mason moment. Just as his case appeared unwinnable for the prosecutors, a surprise witness has popped up in court . . . his best friend . . . his German shepherd, Boomer. The Court has ruled that prosecutors in Wisconsin may introduce DNA evidence from his dog at his upcoming murder trial.

Prosecutors had previously dropped charges due to the lack of evidence against Haydon. Zemke was found dead in the cab of his long-distance truck on a Highway exit ramp in November 2003. Police believe that Haydon suspected Zemke of having an affair with his ex-girlfriend. Police found dog hairs on the scene and tied the hairs to Boomer.

The defense sought to exclude the evidence, which suggested that the crime scene was contaminated by hairs from other dogs. It sounds like the DNA evidence could only confirm hairs “consistent with” Boomer. Judge Thomas Flugaur ruled that the hairs could be used in the trial. In addition to Boomer, there are hairs that belong to another dog witness, Sadie — the yellow lab named Sadie that belonged to his former girlfriend.

Haydon is already serving a 25-year sentence for sexually assaulting his girlfriend at gunpoint. Notably, he was also convicted of stealing her dog.

Boomer and Sadie could prove the most dogged witnesses the defense will face since they cannot be cross examined. If there were an affair with the girlfriend, there could be an alternative defense narrative that she introduced the hairs but that does not appear to be the approach of the defense. I am also unsure why the hairs cannot be conclusively tied to the dogs by DNA like human hairs.

This is precisely why I chose a Goldendoodle for the family dog — they do not shed. Besides Molly would never be able to satisfy the mental competency requirements for testimony.

It is not clear if Boomer and Sadie will be kenneled in a canine witness protection program under different names.

Source:ABA and Wausau

Jonathan Turley

9 thoughts on “The Hair of the Dog That Bit You: Man Faces His Own Dog in Murder Trial”

  1. The dog hair’s DNA cannot be compared, like a human sample would be, to the huge number of dog/human DNA samples that allow certain marker DNA sequences to be given a statistical probability of appearing in a given population, White, Black Asian etc.
    The whole DNA sequence of a human, say in a paternity case, is not reconstructed, its too expensive, just marker segments that are distinct for different groups of people. There are now millions of human DNA sequences that have been studied around the world creating a large sampling that can give highly reliable statistical numbers for the various markers used.

    In order for DNA confirmation for the dog the entire DNA sequence of the specific dog and the entire DNA sequence of the sample would have to determined. A very expensive proposition. And also with out supporting scientific sampling to allow for assurances that the comparison is reliable for both exclusion and inclusion, it would not be reliable evidence even if it were shown to be identical.

  2. From article: “This is precisely why I chose a Goldendoodle for the family dog β€” they do not shed. Besides Molly would never be able to satisfy the mental competency requirements for testimony.”

    Careful there Professor; considering the context of the article if your better half reads your blawg you could end up in the dog house.

  3. I hate to split hairs, but the evidence suggests that the deceased victim may have been having affairs with Boomer, Sadie, and the ex-girlfriend. πŸ™‚

    Seriously:

    If the ex-girlfriend introduced the hairs from Sadie (from her luggage or clothing), couldn’t the hairs from Boomer arrived in the same manner? Do they have witnesses putting Sadie in the cab? If they do, is the amount of Sadie’s and Boomer’s hair recovered consistent with proving that both dogs were in the truck rather than just having the ex-girlfriend transfer the hairs?

  4. Not being an attorney, or even playing on on the teevee maybe I am missing something but this seems easy enough. “Of course his dogs hair was at the scene, his ex-girlfriend brought it with her while she was sneaking around, cheating on my poor, abused client.”

Comments are closed.