Murder trial: Blood found on Chidinma’s dress matched that of Usifo Ataga – Forensic expert tells court

A forensic expert, Dr. Richard Somari, told the court that the DNA blood sample found on Chidimma Ojukwu’s red dress matched that of murdered businessman, Usifo Ataga. 

 

The trial of the University of Lagos Mass Communication student for the murder of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, continued on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at the Lagos High Court sitting Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island.

 

Ojukwu and Quadri, are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, and stabbing while her sister, Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count of stealing an iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.

 

Ojukwu and the two others were arraigned on Oct. 12, 2021, by the Lagos State Government.

 

Dr Somiari who testified as the eleventh prosecution witness, told the court that the DNA blood sample found on Chidinma’s red dress matched that of the victim, Ataga.

 

Led in evidence by the Lagos State Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, Somiari, a director and consultant for the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, told the court that he had practised in the area of forensics for 15 years and had conducted over 500 forensic tests.

 

The forensic analyst also told the court that concerning Chidinma’s case, his office received 21 different items on different days from their DNA centre staff members.

 

According to him, the items were received for evidence and they included a stained red dress, an army green t-shirt, and a DNA sample from Chidinma Ojukwu.

 

He said that other items received were urine, blood, gastric content, and bile which were retained for a toxicology report. He said that the goal was to create an evidence triangle to link the suspect to the crime scene and the victim.

 

Somiari said that the DNA on the red dress matched that of the victim, Ataga, but it did not match that of Chidinma and the other suspects, who were initially charged alongside her, Babalola Disu and Oluwatomi Dada.

 

The witness was cross-examined by the first defendant’s counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu.

 

The witness narrated how the result of the toxicology report was forwarded to the office of the Attorney General of Lagos, the Commissioner of Police, and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

 

He, however, said that not all forensic reports went through such a procedure.

 

When asked if he questioned the report given by the toxicologist, the witness said, “I have already said that I am not a toxicologist. It is a toxicologist that can do such”

 

Egwu, however, requested for the video of the crime scene to be played and the court granted it.

 

While the video was playing, he asked the witness whether the samples of blood on the cotton, the wall, the duvet, white polo the victim was wearing, were tested.

 

The witness answered that the samples were not submitted.

 

He, however, said that the markers indicated in his report had nothing to do with the video. He had earlier said that some samples were in storage but not tested.

 

The second defendant’s counsel, Mr Babatunde Busari, also cross-examined the witness.

 

He asked if any DNA sample was taken from the second defendant, Quadri, and the witness said no.

 

The counsel also asked the witness if he took part in the toxicology analysis, to which he answered no.

 

After listening to the testimony, Justice Yetunde Adesanya adjourned the case until May 30 for continuation of trial. 

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