BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Zip ties. Rope. A wooden shelf.
These were among the items tested for DNA evidence as authorities investigated the death of Micah Holsonbake, a member of the “Bakersfield 3.”
On Monday morning, analysts at the Kern Regional Crime Laboratory testified to the steps they took in preserving evidence processed for DNA analysis, both locally and by the FBI.
The wooden shelf was removed from a detached garage where prosecutors say Holsonbake was secured with zip ties then tortured and killed by Matthew Queen and his ex-girlfriend, Baylee Despot. Both are charged with murder.
A large reddish stain on the shelf tested positive for blood, and DNA analysis linked it to Holsonbake’s DNA profile, according to testimony.
Queen, whose trial is in its sixth day, is also charged with threatening several people and numerous gun-related offenses. He faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of all charges.
Holsonbake disappeared in late March 2018 and only an arm and skull have been recovered.
Prosecutors say Queen used the same pattern when it came to questioning people. They allege he secured them and either inflicted or threatened pain — or death.
A zip tie was found around the wrist of Holsonbake’s arm, recovered from a bag in the Kern River months after his death. Orange and black rope was also in the bag.
Investigators who executed a search warrant at Queen’s home on Compass Avenue found a spool of orange and black rope in the garage and more rope tied to the headboard of a bed in the master bedroom.
A fourth piece of rope submitted for analysis was attached to the strap of a purse that belonged to Despot which Queen dropped off at a home with other items connected to her, according to testimony. Surveillance video played for the jury shows Queen leave three bags by the front door on May 25, 2018.
Despot had been reported missing by that point. She, Holsonbake and James Kulstad became known as the Bakersfield 3 because each was either killed or went missing within two months in 2018. Kulstad’s shooting death is not connected to Queen’s case, authorities have said.
FBI analysts testified they could find no differences in the four pieces of rope. Forensic chemist Diana Wright said the three other pieces either came from the spool of rope found in Queen’s garage, or another bundle manufactured in the same manner.
The trial resumes 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.