A forensics officer who processed the scene where the bodies of two little girls were discovered Christmas Day, 2017 said he observed no signs of forced entry in the Oak Bay apartment.
Andrew Berry, 45, is on trial for the murders of his daughters Chloe, 6 and Aubrey, 4.
On Thursday, Const. Andrew Harward of the Saanich Police Department, under questioning from Crown attorney Patrick Weir, told the jury how he learned about the double homicide.
When his boss, Sgt. Michael Duquette, phoned him on Dec. 25, 2017, Harward thought he was calling to wish him a merry Christmas.
“It was not in fact, a Christmas salutation…we would be going to the scene of a double homicide.”
Harward learned he would be the primary identifying officer for the case – placing him in charge of all decisions relating to the forensic processing portion of the investigation.
He didn’t go to the Beach Drive apartment until Dec. 26, after he had been briefed with other officers, including Duquette, and obtained a search warrant.
He arrived that morning to process the scene with Duquette. From viewing the exterior the building itself, Harward said he didn’t notice any pry marks or problems with the door frame – located on the northwest side of the apartment building. He also said he didn’t notice signs of forced entry on the south entrance or the entrance from the car port. “When I arrive on scene I look for signs of forced entry on the door. And those can be pry marks, they can be foot marks, they can be anything of that nature, I didn’t observe any signs of forced entry on the exterior,” he said, adding that he did not “see any obvious blood on the exterior of the building.”
Harward said Duquette entered unit 103 ahead of him with a video recorder – going from room to room and videoing an overview of the scene. Harward followed, taking ‘overall shots’ to create a record of the unit as it was upon their arrival. He observed the front door to the suite for signs of forced entry, and said he again observed none.
“When you were taking your exterior photos, did you observe anything that suggested further examination was necessary outside of the suite?” Weir asked.
“No,” Harward responded.
“Can you tell us what sorts of things would lead you to believe further investigation might be necessary outside of the suite?”
Harward said: “If I had seen a pry mark on the front door then it would have caused me to take a closer look at the front door. A lot of the evidence that I find at break and enters is usually at the point of entry.”
As the officers processed the scene, the bodies of Chloe and Aubrey were still in their beds where they had been discovered the day prior.
Harward entered Aubrey’s room and noted blood on the bed, on the walls, on the floor and splattered across the horizontal blinds, which he said were not broken or deformed.
“Why are you looking at the window area?” asked Weir.
“I’m still at this point, trying to determine if there was a point of entry into the suite,” Harward said. “If the door doesn’t show signs of forced entry, then you start looking at the windows.”
Harward testified that, as he continued to process the scene he found that windows in the suite – one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in the dining area – were all in a “locked position” with the levers facing downwards.
A window in the kitchen dining room area faced south onto a pathway, and a number of small items including a snowman figurine, sat undisturbed on the sill.
Satisfied with his examination of windows from the inside, Harward said he did not examine the exterior of the windows.
Harward said he did not swab every blood sample, or the “pink floaties” in the hallway, moved there by first responders. He did not swab the carpet at the entrance, where he said there may have been cross-contamination from the number of first responders on scene the day prior. And in the absence of information of someone fleeing the scene, Harward did not cordon off areas around the outside of the apartment building for processing.
Harward told the courtroom that based on his assessment of the points of entries, he did not believe that there would be any fingerprints found on scene that did not belong to Berry, Aubrey or Chloe.
Cross-examination of Const. Harward continues Friday morning.