Bite mark cast, shoe prints cast doubt In Carlton Gary hearing

Published: Feb. 26, 2014 at 3:44 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Day two of testimony in the Carlton Gary Stocking Strangler case began Tuesday morning with the defense calling former Muscogee County Coroner James Dunnavant.

Dunnavant testified his former boss, the late Don Kilgore, kept the bite mark mold taken from victim Janet Cofer in his drawer at the office. He says Kilgore would show it to people from time to time and say, "'This is the stocking strangler's bite mark.'"

[RELATED: Bite marks scrutinized in Stocking Strangler retrial hearing]

That was during the late 1970s when Dunnavant was the deputy coroner.

In May 2001, defense attorney Jack Martin said he submitted an open record's request to Dunnavant to retrieve the mold, but Dunnavant told the court he could not find it. He later found the bite mark mold in a file cabinet while moving things around and making room at the coroner's office within a year of taking on the position after Kilgore had passed away.

Retired dentist Carl "Sonny" Galbraith, who made the mold, was also called to the witness stand. Galbraith stated he gave the mold to Kilgore but is unsure what happened to the impression, a gel model of the same bite mark.

Galbraith also stated there is a gap in the biter's two front teeth. He even held up two yellow pieces of paper demonstrating the two millimeter hole on the attacker's teeth. He also indicated there were no bite marks underneath the nipple of Cofer's breast.

Galbraith's testimony was a direct contradiction to what Dr. Thomas David, a forensic dentist, said when he took the witness stand for the defense.

Looking at the actual mold entered into evidence by the defense, David said the bite mark does show teeth marks on the lower and upper portion of Cofer's nipple.

David also told the court and prosecutors that Mr. Smith and Doug Pullen came to visit him in 1984 to inquire about the bite mark mold.

According to David, they wanted to know what were the chances he could match the mold with the suspect's teeth. "I don't know, I haven't seen his teeth," replied David. They also wanted to know if he could exclude the person. At that point, David said one of the men looked concerned but said no one ever got back with him on making the comparison between the two impressions.

In 2006, David traveled to Columbus with Martin for a deposition with Dunnavant to make the comparison following a trip to Jackson, Ga. where he visited death row inmate Carlton Gary to create a teeth impression from Gary's teeth.

The defense handed David a box containing a cast made from Gary's teeth. He stated Gary is not the biter based on the comparison. Although, he said he can't absolutely exclude Gary, he probably can.

Judge Frank Jordan was very inquisitive about the comparison. He wanted to know about the possible rotation of Gary's teeth. Jordan held the cast in his hand and looked at pictures of the bite mold.

The defense also called two witnesses who both knew Gary before he was arrested. Ernestine Flowers, a former probation officer for the Georgia Department of Corrections, said her mother and Gary's mom were friends and that she grew up with Gary in the area of 17th Ave. When asked if Gary had a gap in his teeth as a middle school student, Flowers stated, " No."

Flowers also stated her father later helped Gary get a job working with him at Columbus Foundry between 1977 and 1978, the same timeframe as the brutal killings of the seven women. Gary was convicted in 1986 in three of the cases.

Flowers went on to say Gary was a model and never had problems with his teeth.

Walter Hewll, manager of the Moving Man Store, a men's clothing store in Columbus, said Gary appeared in TV ads for the store because he fit the role of a model and never had a gap in his teeth.

But the bombshell in the hearing came when British investigative reporter David Rose, author of The Big Eddy Club, talked about 'inconsistencies' in the book that could point to Gary's innocence. Rose was not allowed to talk about a conversation he had with Dr. Galbraith due to an objection from the state. The objection pertained to a statement Galbraith allegedly told Rose about a conversation between Galbraith and Pullen concerning the bite mark mold.

However, Rose was allowed to bring a shoe mold into the court that he purchased from Peachtree Mall on Monday. That mold was used to demonstrate Gary's actual shoe size before the court. Gary left his seat and came closer to the judge's bench. He sat in a chair and was instructed to take off his sock by the state and to put his foot on the mold for the purpose of comparing his shoe size to a shoe print found at the scene of one of the victims' air conditioning units at her home.

Rose told the court there was no match. Gary's shoe size is larger than the shoe print.

The defense then rested its case. The state will begin calling its witnesses at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

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