By Lou Raguse
Now that a jury has sentenced Daphne Wright to life in prison for killing Darlene VanderGiesen, we can take a look at the more than 100 pieces of evidence presented in her trial.
The judge permanently sealed the gory photos of VanderGiesen’s body, so that there’s no chance they end up on the Internet. But the rest of the exhibits include a trail of clues that led police to Wright.
Police were first suspicious of Daphne Wright because of emails she sent Darlene VanderGiesen using a fake name, warning VanderGiesen to stay away from Wright’s lover, Sallie Collins.
VanderGiesen’s sister forwarded the messages to police when the deaf woman disappeared. Officers traced the emails to the house where Wright lived.
They brought Wright in for questioning, and soon learned those emails actually provided motive. Wright admitted she was jealous of VanderGiesen and that she was the last person to see her alive.
Officers took a search warrant to Wright’s house, where they found the crime scene. Wright’s roommate didn’t realize Wright had painted the basement. Random, still-sticky splatters of blue paint covered blood stains and chainsaw scuff marks on the floor.Â And in the small coal room where VanderGiesen was dismembered,Â the paint covered tiny pieces of VanderGiesen’s body. When Wright talked to police, she had blue paint on her jeans.
DNA tests confirmed that tissue belonged to VanderGiesen. And this receipt for a chainsaw, found in Wright’s garbage, gave officers a timeline.
She kidnapped VanderGiesen from a Pizza Hut parking lot Wednesday February 1, and killed her soon after. She wiped VanderGiesen’s fingerprints from her vehicleÂ then had to wait two days, until she could afford to buy the chainsaw. Then, she cut up VanderGiesen and dumped the body parts.
At the Sioux Falls landfill, investigators never found the actual chainsaw. But they found VanderGiesen’s lower body in three piecesÂ lying nearby a section of carpet, which matches the carpet from Wright’s basement. Near the body parts, they also found Daphne Wright’s shirt, which tested positive for both Wright and VanderGiesen’s DNA.
When investigators found VanderGiesen’s upper body in a Minnesota ditch,Â a plastic bag was tied over her head. The rope around her neck matched this spool of rope found in Wright’s garage.
The evidence was mostly circumstantial, but it overwhelmingly pointed at Daphne Wright. And the jury decided it was enough to send her to prison for the rest of her life.
(( Source:Â KELOLAND TV ))