Detective testifies about finding missing DNA sample at murder trial

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Frustrations of not being able to make rent was part of the audio recording jury members heard during Day 3 of the Janna Kelly cold case murder trial.

During the April 22 audio recording, suspected killer Robin Root can be heard telling police she met Kelly through a "for sale" ad in 2006, while working as a photographer taking pictures of homes for realtors.

Root said she moved into Kelly's rental property with a man she claimed was "a leach" and wasn't helping with bills.

When she started falling behind on rent, Root told police she and Kelly agreed Root would move out. Root said she understood Kelly's frustration of not being paid on time but that, generally, the two women always got along.

DNA samples were also a main focus of morning testimony.

A retired detective with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office testified. In 2014, Venus Repper was asked to revisit the 2007 case. Kepper said she discovered police never submitted Root's DNA samples.

It was during the first day of testimony that the Kent County Assistant Prosecutor said Grand Rapids police forgot to send it in for testing.

According to Michigan State Police, it wasn’t until earlier in 2015 that the crime lab received Root’s DNA samples and matched her DNA to that found on Kelly’s car door handle and a black jacket found in a dumpster just after Kelly went missing .

Kelly disappeared from her Grand Rapids home in December of 2007. Her body was found in Grand Haven Township in March of 2008.

 

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