Noel Martin with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office in Tyler was the final witness to take the stand in the 354th District Court Friday, the second day in the capital murder trial of Brandon Dale Woodruff. Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday morning.
Brandon Woodruff has pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder in connection with the deaths of his parents.
Dennis Woodruff was shot and repeatedly stabbed and Norma Woodruff was shot multiple times as they sat together on a sofa inside the residence. Their bodies were discovered on the evening of Oct. 18, 2005.
Martin was one of two investigators with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office who were asked by the Texas Rangers to assist with the case. Martin, whose expertise is in blood stain pattern analysis and crime scene reconstruction, arrived the next day, after the Woodruff’s bodies had been removed and sent for autopsies.
Prosecutor Adrienne McFarland showed Martin photos from the murder scene, one of which was a close-up of Dennis Woodruff’s leg, which had several spots where blood had accumulated.
Martin testified the pattern was consistent with what he called “free falling” blood, which he claimed could have been caused by blood dripping from an object held above the victim.
McFarland asked whether the blood could have come from a knife which had been plunged repeatedly into Dennis Woodruff and Martin replied it might have been.
Martin said blood consistent with “gunshot splatter” was found on the blinds behind the couch, and there were several areas of blood drops on the carpet.
“Mostly it was passive blood, in the form of a blood trail leading from the couch to the back part of the house,” Martin said. Although additional blood traces were not visible to the naked eye, Martin testified luminal, a chemical which glows brightly when it reacts with blood, also detected blood in one of the bedrooms as well as the bathroom of the residence.
The jury also heard Friday from Lindsey Ferguson, a senior at Abilene Christian University, who attended school with Brandon Woodruff when he was a freshman there in the months before the murders.
Ferguson said the defendant was well-known and well-liked on campus.
“He was a very fun guy,” Ferguson said, adding that Woodruff was also known to spend freely. “He was very generous, very fun-loving. He said he was a model, so I assume he had money from that.”
The prosecution has alleged Woodruff stole his mother’s Chevrolet pickup truck and was seen driving it after the murder, rather than his older Dodge pickup.
Ferguson said Woodruff often told his friends he was going to get a new truck, but they only ever saw the Dodge.
“He said his parents didn’t want it to happen yet,” Ferguson said. “They wanted him to prove himself with good grades.”
Ferguson was among the group from the university who drove the Chevrolet to Texarkana for Woodruff for the funeral of his parents, while Woodruff flew to the city from Dallas. Once they arrived, Ferguson said, Woodruff refused to drive the truck, instead wanting to ride while others drove.