Ranger Jeff Collins also testified Monday that the son of the victims became a suspect early on in the investigation, as the capital murder trial of Brandon Dale Woodruff concluded its eighth day.
Brandon Woodruff has pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder in connection with the deaths of his parents. Prosecutors have alleged Woodruff killed his mother and father inside their home near Royse City sometime after 9 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005. Their bodies were found in the residence two days later.
Dennis Woodruff was shot once and stabbed nine times, and Norma Woodruff was shot as many as five times, according to autopsy results.
Collins said the brutality of the murders led him to conclude the killings were not the result of other possible motivations, such as a robbery or gang activity.
“The injuries, especially the stab wounds to Dennis Woodruff, made it a very personal homicide, a personal cause homicide,” Collins said. “It is going to be somebody who is close to the victims.”
Collins said a lack of any shell casings found at the crime scene, as well as an “excessive amount of powder residue” on the victims led him to conclude the gun used was a revolver. Preliminary autopsy reports showed the bullets fired came from either a .44 caliber or .45 caliber gun.
He testified that inconsistencies were uncovered in Brandon Woodruff’s initial statement taken following the murders.
Michelle Lee, the mother of Brandon Woodruff’s former girlfriend, contacted Collins shortly afterward to explain a .45 caliber revolver came up missing from her Rockwall home in the days following the murders.
“The defendant became a suspect at that time,” Collins said. “He was close to the family. We had information he was the last person to see the victims alive.”
The defendant was not the only focus of the investigation, Collins said, adding he checked on reports from neighbors who lived near the Woodruffs’ Royse City home that there had been gang activity in the area. A list of all calls reported to the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office from County Road 2648 at the time of the murders totaled two. One was to report a van parked outside of the Woodruffs’ residence, removing items, which Collins said was the crime scene cleanup team and one was a report of a pickup truck hitting a mailbox from several years earlier.