- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

BALTIMORE — A veteran police forensic scientist became teary-eyed yesterday when testifying about the brutal killing of three children whose throats were slashed last year in their apartment.

The scientist, Salvatore J. Bianca, said he was dispassionate and unemotional at the crime scene and while working in the police lab, but he had trouble maintaining his composure in court.

“That’s why sometimes I tear up,” said the 30-year police veteran, dabbing his eyes with a handkerchief. “It’s all coming back to me.”

Mr. Bianca has been on the stand for days, testifying about potential DNA and blood evidence he collected from pants, gloves and other items of clothing that prosecutors will attempt to link to the two defendants.

The evidence presented yesterday included a pair of jeans stained with the bloody impression of a knife, the shorter of two knives apparently used in the crime.

“You can see the outline left behind by the wet blood,” Mr. Bianca said, pointing to a poster-size enlargement of a photograph of the pants displayed for the jury.

The blood stain came from a knife with a 3-inch blade and 41/2-inch handle. A knife matching that description has not been presented in court as evidence.

The state has produced a boning knife with a 12-inch blade and a 5-inch handle that was found at the crime scene.

The state’s case against Adan Canela, 18, and Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 23, is expected to hinge on the DNA and blood evidence implicating them in the slayings of Lucero Solis Quezada, 8; her brother, Ricardo Solis Quezada Jr., 9; and cousin Alexis Espejo Quezada, 10.

The children were beaten with an aluminum baseball bat and their throats slashed with knives in their Northwest Baltimore apartment in May 2004.

Mr. Canela is the cousin of the victims. Mr. Perez is the uncle of the victims and Mr. Canela.

The men face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the slayings.

The defendants, the victims and their immediate families are illegal aliens from Mexico. Family members have received special visas for the trial, which could last into September.

The victims’ families have defended their kin, and police have testified that family members had been “reluctant” to cooperate with investigators. The family members say they do not speak English, but prosecutors have presented witnesses who said some family members regularly communicated in English without difficulty.

Prosecutors have not offered a motive in the slayings but say the DNA and blood evidence will prove that the accused are the “cold-blooded killers.”

The defense teams have offered several alternative explanations for the crime, including that Mr. Canela’s father, Victor Espinoza Perez, smuggled the family into the country and later had the children killed to “send a message” when he wasn’t paid for the illegal trip.

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