Police detail murder investigation for New London jury

Evan J. Holmes had blood on his hands when he was taken into custody two years ago at an Old Saybrook hotel, according to a police officer who testified Wednesday at Holmes' murder trial in New London Superior Court.

Holmes' condition upon arrest, the clothing he wore on Nov. 12, 2011, and the comments he made to a detective were among the details revealed Wednesday as prosecutors Paul J. Narducci and Sarah W. Bowman called police officers from New London, state police and Old Saybrook to testify about the investigation and describe physical evidence as it was placed into the record.

Holmes, 22, is accused of forcing his way into 25-year-old Jorge Rosa's Montauk Avenue apartment in New London and fatally shooting Rosa in his bed. On Tuesday, Rosa's girlfriend Gabriela Gonzales, who was in bed with him when he was killed, and who identified her ex-boyfriend, Holmes, as the shooter, had provided the jury with a first-hand account of the crime scene.

New London Police Detective Matthew A. Galante, called in to work within an hour of the 4:15 a.m. shooting, testified Wednesday that he and a crime squad detective prepared a search-and-seizure warrant for the Montauk Avenue apartment and drove to a judge's residence in Stonington to get it signed. Returning to New London, Galante learned that Holmes' white Crown Victoria had been located in Old Saybrook.

Old Saybrook Police K-9 Officer Brian Ziolkovski testified that he and his dog, Zeus, were called in after town police officers spotted Holmes' car at the Days Inn on Boston Post Road. New London police had asked Old Saybrook officers to look for Holmes after Holmes' cellphone "pinged" in town, according to Ziolkovski.

Ziolkovski said he and Zeus, who was on a 12-inch leash, were part of a tactical entry team that approached the hotel in a stack formation with long guns and shields.

Patrol Sgt. Jeffrey DePerry spotted Holmes and Sebastian walking down the sidewalk, and Holmes, noticing the police, began to run, according to Ziolkovski. He said he released Zeus, a "bite and hold" dog, and gave him the "get him" command after Holmes ignored orders to stop. The dog was running toward Holmes in "full apprehension" mode when Holmes raised his hands and surrendered, according to Ziolkovski. Holmes was compliant as he was handcuffed.

"I noticed he had blood on his hands," Ziolkovski testified.

Holmes was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt over two T-shirts, all of which had blood spots on them, according to testimony. A short time before the Montauk Avenue shooting, Holmes had been punched during an altercation with Rosa's roommate, Todd Silva, at the WildStyle Riders motorcycle club in downtown New London, according to testimony.

Galante, the New London detective, testified that when he arrived in Old Saybrook, Holmes was yelling something about his "shorty," or girlfriend, Shanice Sebastian, who had also been taken into custody. Galante said he walked over to Holmes, who asked him what was up with Sebastian.

Galante said he advised Holmes of his Miranda rights and Holmes told him "whatever was going on in New London had nothing to do with her." Galante said Holmes asked if he could sit in his car because he was cold. Galante told him no because the Crown Victoria was a crime scene.

"He said, 'You won't find a gun in there,'" Galante testified. There had been no discussion of a shooting, Galante said.

Back in New London, members of the Eastern District Major Crime Squad were uncovering "layer after layer" of evidence in Rosa's bedroom on Montauk Avenue, according to testimony from Detective Priscilla Vining of the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad.

Vining testified that Rosa's body was on the floor next to the bed when she arrived and there were towels and other evidence that medical personnel had been at the scene. There were blood smears, shell casings and a cellphone on the bed. The bed had been pulled away from the wall.

It appeared there were two sources of blood on the comforter, she testified, one coming from somebody who had been lying in the bed and the other from somebody who had stood over the bed.

It appeared one of the projectiles had passed through Rosa, into the mattress and lodged itself into the wall behind the bed. Crime Squad Detective Keith Hoyt has previously testified that the detectives had found 10 shell casings from a .40 caliber handgun and nine projectiles, some in fragments, in the bedroom.

k.florin@theday.com

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