Cop: Ballistics squad wiped prints from Turell murder weapon

TRENTON — The defense rested Tuesday morning after getting a detective to admit no fingerprints could be lifted from the gun that killed Michael Whitaker because the weapon has been cleaned with hydrogen peroxide.

But don’t look at Ivelis Turell, on trial for Whitaker’s murder, as the cleaner of the 9mm Ruger.

State police Detective Mike McCormick told defense lawyer Steve Slaven the ballistics squad apparently wiped down the weapon before he could dust it for prints.

In crime-scene photos shown in court, the gun is seen on the floor where it fell after the shooting at the Whitaker home on Ferry Street. It has blood spots on the barrel and trigger at that time.

Turell, 34, is on trial for the shooting death of her lover of four years and the father of her two boys on April 30, 2007. She testified it happened when the possibly hair-triggered Ruger went off as she and Whitaker snatched for it following a long argument in the bedroom of their Ferry Street home.

The prosecution contends she fired on Whitaker deliberately and then made conflicting statements to police, including that her 6-year-old son had shot the father with the 9mm.

After Tuesday’s final disclosure Mercer County Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez dismissed the jury panel of nine women and seven men and told them to be in at 9 a.m. and ready for closing arguments and his instructions of law.

They could get the case by Wednesday afternoon, the judge said.

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