Klein, LPD’s Reaves spar on Day 6 of Burroughs trial
MEADVILLE — Testimony was tense and sometimes heated when defense attorney Tracy Klein started cross-examining lead investigator Sgt. Michael Reaves of the Laurel Police Department on Monday morning in the Greg Burroughs manslaughter trial.
Klein emphasized that the story his client told police was consistent with the evidence officers found after discovering Katherine Sinclair in the driver’s seat of her Honda in Burroughs’ garage on the night of June 1, 2017. Reaves disagreed on several examples.
In one of the more heated exchanges, Klein asked about the Ruger .380 that fired the fatal shot not being sent to the crime lab for fingerprints or to be tested for blood or tissue from “blowback” on the weapon. Klein showed enlarged photos of something on top of the gun, then shows that it’s no longer on the gun that’s been boxed up in evidence.
Reaves said he didn’t know what the material was, and Klein responded, “Because you didn’t test it, right?”
Reaves shot back, “I can’t say that it didn’t come from your client when he placed (the gun) in her hand.”
There was more testy testimony about the garage door at Burroughs’ home in the gated community.
“He told you about the car hitting the garage door,” Klein said, showing photos of white marks and scuffs on top of the trunk. “Isn’t the damage consistent with all four statements (Burroughs) made?”
Reaves said it wasn’t.
“I don’t see damage consistent with bumping into the garage door,” he said. “The damage would have been on the bumper.”
Reaves continued by saying that there were “photo cells” in the garage-door sensors that prevented it from lowering if there was an obstruction. But Klein cut him off, saying that his answer was speculation. Reaves went on to testify that his theory was that Burroughs was pressing the button to close it from beside the door going into his garage. He started saying that was the only way to “override” the sensors and cause the door to close with something under it, but Klein objected.
Klein pointed to pictures showing that Sinclair had a remote “clicker” for the garage in her car, but it was moved from the visor to the passenger seat after the car was stored in evidence at the LPD’s narcotics office.
Reaves agreed that the clicker and a beer had been moved when investigators were testing the vehicle for going backward when placed in “Reverse” and while seeing if it could be put in “Park” and the key removed.
Klein also questioned Reaves about his report that Burroughs didn’t show much emotion. He asked if he heard the 911 call and saw him on body-cam video appearing to cry to his father that night.
‘He was awful calm for the situation,” Reaves said. “He seemed to have more concern for himself.”
Klein accused Reaves of placing more emphasis on threatening texts sent from Burroughs to Sinclair than texts Sinclair sent saying that she may be schizophrenic and that she had been in a “depressing state of mind.”
“I was waiting for medical records,” Reaves said. “She was dead, I couldn’t talk to her. I could diagnose myself with cancer; it doesn’t mean I have it.”
District Attorney Tony Buckley objected to some of the questioning that covered evidence that was learned later through “phone dumps” and Judge Dal Williamson sustained the objection.
Klein asked, “Did you make any attempt to verify suicidal tendencies?”
Reaves said, “Yes … we looked at everything.”
Klein asked why Reaves only questioned Sinclair’s father about his daughter being left-handed, and not about her mental-health history or a family argument Burroughs referred to during initial questioning. There is a record of her taking 10 Advil when she was 15 or 16, and there was testimony that she threatened to cut her wrists.
Reaves again answered that he was waiting on medical records “to validate” information.
Like other officers, Reaves — who is also a medic — testified that Burroughs and a towel he said he used to put pressure on Sinclair’s wounds should have had more blood on them.
Klein pointed out that his client waived the right to counsel and spoke to investigators and he voluntarily gave his phone code so it could be checked. He also noted that the state pathologist wasn’t made aware of Sinclair’s past “intentional overdose” and threat to cut her wrist.
Klein also asked why his client was handcuffed and the booking sheet said he was charged with murder, several hours before Sinclair was pronounced dead at Forrest General Hospital.
“He was being held on investigative detention,” Reaves said.
Klein responded, “Show me that on this sheet.”
Reaves said it wasn’t on there.
Reaves was set to take the stand again Monday afternoon for Klein to continue cross-examining him, then Buckley will be able to question him on redirect to try to explain some of the questions Klein had about the investigation.