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Pistol comes into focus at Chyung murder trial

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published March 21. 2014 1:00PM   Updated March 21. 2014 11:42PM

Jurors at the trial of Chihan Eric Chyung are learning more about State’s Exhibit #57, the weapon used to kill Paige Bennett five years ago, as Chyung’s murder trial continues in New London Superior Court.

State forensic examiner Lucinda Lopes-Phelan pulled on a pair of blue rubber gloves on the witness stand this morning and unpackaged the Model 19 Glock 9 mm pistol that Chyung used to shoot Bennett at their Norwich home on June 2, 2009. Chyung admits he shot and killed Bennett, his wife of just three weeks, after they argued, but says it was an accident. The state alleges he intentionally killed her. Lopes-Phelan testified that she tested stains on the gun for blood after receiving it at laboratory and the results were negative.

Dahonot Sun, a DNA expert, said he tested the pistol for DNA to compare with known samples taken from both Chyung and Bennett. The Glock’s handle contained a mixture of DNA from two or more persons, Sun testified, and neither Chyung nor Bennett could be eliminated as contributors to the mixture. The DNA of both Chyung and Bennett was found on the slide of the gun, and they could not be eliminated as contributors to the mixed DNA found on the trigger, Sun testified. He also testified that DNA from Bennett and Chyung was present in a swab taken from a bloodstain on the T-shirt Chyung wore that day.

Gunshot residue was not found on swabs taken from Bennett and Chyung’s hands, according to Fung Kwok, another examiner from the state forensic laboratory. Gunpowder generally does not travel beyond two feet, Kwok said, and it can be dispersed if the hands are washed or  moved around a lot.

When the trial resumes this afternoon, a firearms expert who tested Chyung’s pistol is expected to testify. The jury also may begin viewing a video of Chyung’s interogation by Norwich Police Sgt. Peter B. Camp.

k.florin@theday.com

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