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Bianca Jones / Trial of D'Andre Lane*

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Cadaver dog evidence is allowed in the Bianca Jones murder trial

Martin Grime gives evidence at the trial of D'Andre Lane
Martin Grime gives evidence at the trial of D'Andre Lane

 

Martin Grime testifies at the murder trial of D'Andre Lane - in connection with the disappearance of his two-year-old daughter, Bianca Jones - after his cadaver dog 'Morse' detects a scent inside Lane's car (on the child's blanket and on a car seat), in the girl's bedroom and in Lane's home.

Following the trial, Lane is found guilty of abusing and murdering his daughter - the jury choosing not to believe his story that she was taken in a carjacking.

The body of Bianca Jones has not yet been found.

Cadaver dogs make positive hits in search for missing toddler Bianca Jones, 12 December 2011
Cadaver dogs make positive hits in search for missing toddler Bianca Jones WXYZ

By Tom Wait
Posted: 12/12/2011


DETROIT (WXYZ) - Action News has learned cadaver dogs picked up the scent of human remains in two locations during the investigation into the disappearance of two-year-old Bianca Jones.

Sources tell us a dog signaled there was human decomposition on or near Bianca's car seat found in the Mercury Marquis where the missing girl's father, D'Andre Lane, says she was last seen alive.

Lane claims he was carjacked at gunpoint on December 2 and that Bianca was in her car seat in the back of the vehicle when it was stolen. When the Marquis was found by police a short time later only a few blocks from the scene of the alleged crime, Bianca was nowhere to be found.

Cadaver dogs also indicated they picked up human remains last week during an FBI raid at Lane's home on Detroit's east side.

Lane was held by authorities for several days after the alleged carjacking and disappearance of his daughter, but he was set free and has maintained his innocence.

Bianca's mother says she has not given up hope her daughter will be found alive.

-----------------------
Video transcript

By Nigel Moore

Tom Wait: [to camera] Well, Carolyn and Stephen, I can tell you that cadaver dogs hit in two places, as you mentioned, and, new tonight, one of those places was inside the car where the father of this missing girl says his daughter was carjacked.

Tom Wait: [voice over] The father of missing two-year-old Bianca Jones maintains his daughter was alive when he was carjacked in this Mercury Marquis. He says the man who stole his car made off with it while his daughter was in the back seat but Action News has learned a cadaver dog, which is trained to smell human remains, hit on or near the spot of Bianca's car seat inside the vehicle. That hit indicates the dog smelled signs of human decomposition and this was not the only spot the cadaver dog had a reaction.

As you saw first and live on Action News, at 6.00 last Monday, the FBI conducted a raid at D'Andre Lane's home. It was during this raid where agents also brought in a cadaver dog. That dog, once again, indicating to agents there were signs of human remains.

Bianca's mother, upset about the deepening mystery of her daughter's disappearance, spoke to us tonight but wanted to do so from inside her home. She says she's not focussed on any negative news.

Banika Jones: We are continuing to search for Bianca. We genuinely believe...

Tom Wait: [voice over] And Banika continues to have few words when D'Andre's name is brought up.

Banika Jones: I want to keep the focus solely on the search for my daughter. I want Bianca to be the only thing that people think of when they...

Tom Wait: [to camera] But also complicating this search is that there is no forensic evidence here and certainly that is also complicating whether prosecutors will file charges. Reporting live in Detroit, I'm Tom Wait. 7 Action News.

Stephen Clark: [in studio] Tom, do we know the accuracy of these cadaver dogs?

Tom Wait: [to camera] Well, in Michigan, the... the law is very complicated in terms of how the cadaver dog evidence is used and that's part of why right now you aren't seeing charges being filed. I'm told by a source, errr... multiple sources actually, that it's very difficult to bring this into a courtroom in Michigan and that's part of why this case is so complicated. Everything right now is circumstantial. Stephen.

Stephen Clark: [in studio] Tom, thank you very much for the reporting tonight. The official search, by the way, for Bianca ended yesterday. If you do have information, you're still being asked to call the Tip Line. The number there is: 313-596-2260.

Disturbing Testimony On Day One Of Bianca Jones Murder Trial, 17 April 2012
Disturbing Testimony On Day One Of Bianca Jones Murder Trial CBS Detroit

Reporting: Pat Sweeting
April 17, 2012 5:54 PM

DETROIT (WWJ) – It was day-one of testimony in the D'Andre Lane's preliminary exam in Detroit. Lane is charged in the disappearance and death of his 2-year-old daughter Biancha Jones.

First on the witness stand was the defendant's 8-year-old daughter Il'Andra. Under questioning by Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Qiana Luller, the youngster testified how her father became angry when she wet the bed, punishing her with the urine-soaked underwear which tore the underside of her tongue.

Il'Andra said Lane held the underwear to her face.

"And, when the panties went in your mouth, how did that feel?" asked Luller.

"Weird," the girl said.

After identifying a photo of what she referred to as "the stick," IL'Andra testified that her father had used it on Bianca when she wouldn't answer his questions. "She got whooped with it," IL'Andra said.

Also testifying on Tuesday was a British cadaver dog trainer who said one of his dogs hit on the scent of decomposition in the closet of the children's room at Lanes' home.

Lane has maintained his innocence, saying Bianca was taken in a car-jacking in early December.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has said there was no car-jacking and that Lane's story was not consistent with the facts of the case.

Daughter, 8, Testifies in D'Andre Lane's Murder Hearing, 18 April 2012
Daughter, 8, Testifies in D'Andre Lane's Murder Hearing WJBK Detroit

Dad Charged after Bianca Jones' Disappeared

17 Apr 2012

The 8-year-old daughter of a Detroit man charged with murder following the disappearance of his 2-year-old daughter has testified that she didn't see her sibling awake the morning of the younger girl's reported kidnapping.

The 8-year-old said Tuesday during D'Andre Lane's preliminary examination in Detroit's 36th District Court that a blanket was covering Bianca Jones' face and that her sister didn't say anything or move while on the way to school in Lane's car.

The girl also told the court a few days before Bianca vanished, Lane hit the toddler with a stick.

Days after Bianca went missing, a special investigator was called over from England. He also took the stand on Tuesday. Martin Grime told the court his cadaver dog found signs of decomposition on Bianca's blanket and car seat.

"The blanket from the baby seat and the baby seat itself were put in two completely different areas, the location of which it was unknown to me, and then we conducted screening searches in those areas, and the dog searched for and located and gave positive responses to both items," he said.

Testimony will resume April 27.

Lane has insisted that Bianca was abducted during a carjacking on Dec. 2. The car was found but not Bianca.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says Lane's story is inconsistent with the facts of the case.

Defense lawyer Terry Johnson says Lane had no role in Bianca's death.

Canine expert can testify on cadaver scent in Bianca Jones case, judge rules, 24 August 2012
Canine expert can testify on cadaver scent in Bianca Jones case, judge rules The Detroit News

By Christine Ferretti
August 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Detroit — A canine expert whose dog allegedly detected a cadaver scent in the home of a missing toddler will be allowed to testify at the murder trial of the girl's father, a judge ruled Friday.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda R. Evans made the ruling after attorneys for D'Andre Lane spent more than two hours trying to discredit the relatively new scientific method. Lane is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the death of his 2-year-old daughter, Bianca Jones

"I believe the evidence offered is sufficient to go forward. The people should be allowed to demonstrate to a jury that your client was implicated in this particular murder," Evans told the defense. "I think your argument is to weight as opposed to admissibility."

The court Friday also denied a defense motion to halt proceedings in the case while the state Court of Appeals evaluates efforts by Lane's attorneys to have the case tossed out. The attorneys said they also plan to appeal Friday's ruling.

Two forensic canine experts testified Friday before Evans ruled to admit at trial the potential evidence, which is key for prosecutors in the case against Lane.

Danian Woodson, an attorney for Lane, tried to argue against the cadaver dog evidence. But Evans cut her off and denied the motion.

After the hearing, Woodson said the alleged evidence is "not admissible, not relevant, highly prejudicial and should be excluded."

Lane has claimed Bianca was in the back seat of his 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis on the morning of Dec. 2 when he was approached by armed carjackers near Brush Street and Grand River.

The vehicle was found shortly after, but the child was not inside. Her body has not been found.

Forensic canine expert Martin Grime testified Friday and at Lane's prior preliminary examination that he brought in his victim recovery dog, Morse, two days after the girl went missing. He said the dog detected a cadaver scent inside Lane's car, on the child's blanket and car seat, and in the girl's bedroom and Lane's home.

Grime said the dogs detect only the generic scent of human decomposition. The dogs, he said, cannot determine identity, age, race, gender or the rate of decomposition.

Grime testified in court Friday that Morse has never had a false positive response, and that testing done just prior and after the dog worked in the Jones case was successful.

"I believe that the testimony, his conclusion is based on principles and methods that have been in place for several years," Evans said of Grime.

Also Friday, Rex A. Stockham, a special agent for the FBI who oversees its forensic canine program, said the agency has been studying the science for about a decade.

The FBI began testing contract and volunteer teams for the human scent detection program in 2008, Stockham said. The agency has three full-time dogs working in the country.

The dogs are tested annually to ensure they meet best practices standards. Morse has only been tested one time, Stockham said.

Prosecutors allege Lane beat the toddler to death with an 18-inch stick with a towel wrapped in duct tape at the end over a potty training incident.

Lane's attorney, Terry Johnson, contends Lane did "spank" the child with the stick, but that there was no evidence of child abuse or murder since the girl's whereabouts is unknown.

Lane told Detroit Police he left his home around 7:45 a.m. Dec. 2. He dropped his nephew and 8-year-old daughter off before visiting a gas station, Wayne County Community College in Detroit and, with a friend, near the Greyhound bus station on Howard Street. The carjacking, Lane claimed, occurred just afterward, with only him and Bianca in the vehicle.

FBI agent Christopher Hess testified at Lane's preliminary examination that the defendant was unable to explain where he was for a 45-minute window around the time his daughter disappeared.

Lane's girlfriend, Anjali Lyons, has testified she awoke Dec. 2 to Bianca's screams as Lane used the stick to beat the toddler for urinating in bed. Later the same morning, Lane carried a silent Bianca to his car. She was covered with an animal print blanket.

Lane's trial is slated for Sept. 18.

Canine evidence allowed in court, 25 August 2012
Canine evidence allowed in court The Detroit News

Forensic expert says dog detected scent of missing Detroit girl

By Christine Ferretti
August 25, 2012 at 1:00 am

Detroit — A canine expert, whose dog allegedly detected a cadaver scent in the home and car of a father charged in the killing of his missing 2-year-old daughter, will be allowed to testify at trial, a judge ruled Friday.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans said the testimony will be admitted in D'Andre Lane's Sept. 18 trial. The Detroit father is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the death of Bianca Jones.

Evans delivered her decision after Lane's defense team spent more than two hours trying to discredit the relatively new scientific method of using cadaver dogs to detect human decomposition.

"I believe the evidence offered is sufficient to go forward," Evans told the defense. "The people should be allowed to demonstrate to a jury that your client was implicated in this particular murder."

Evans also denied a motion by Lane's attorneys to halt further proceedings while the state Court of Appeals evaluates a request from the defense to have the case tossed out. The attorneys said they will appeal Friday's ruling.

Prosecutors called two forensic canine experts Friday before Evans moved to admit the testimony at trial, which is key for prosecutors since Bianca's body has not been found.

Forensic canine expert Martin Grime has testified that his victim recovery dog, Morse, detected a cadaver scent inside Lane's car, on the child's blanket and on a car seat, and in the girl's bedroom and in Lane's home. Grime said the dogs cannot determine identity, age, race, gender or the rate of decomposition.

Danian Woodson, an attorney for Lane, said after the hearing the alleged evidence is "not admissible, not relevant, highly prejudicial and should be excluded."

Lane has said Bianca was in the back seat of his 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis the morning of Dec. 2 when he was approached by armed carjackers near Brush Street and Grand River.

The vehicle was found shortly after, but the child was not inside.

Grime testified in court Friday that Morse has never had a false positive response and that testing done just before and after the dog worked in the Jones case was successful.

Prosecutors allege Lane beat Bianca to death with a hard stick over a potty training incident.

Lane's other attorney, Terry Johnson, said Lane did spank the child with the stick, but there's no evidence of abuse or murder since her whereabouts is unknown.

Lane's girlfriend, Anjali Lyons, has testified she awoke Dec. 2 to Bianca's screams as Lane used the stick to beat the toddler for urinating in bed. Later the same morning, Lane carried a silent Bianca to his car. She was covered with a blanket.

Dog expert's testimony key felony murder trial, 18 September 2012
Dog expert's testimony key felony murder trial The Detroit News

Detroit man accused of killing missing girl, 2, while babysitting

By Christine Ferretti and George Hunter
September 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

Detroit — The testimony of a cadaver dog expert may prove key in the felony murder trial of a Detroit man accused of killing his toddler daughter, who remains missing.

Jury selection is slated to begin today in the Wayne County Circuit Court trial of D'Andre Lane, who is charged with felony murder and child abuse in the December disappearance of 2-year-old Bianca Jones.

Meanwhile, the girl's mother stands behind the father of seven and is holding out hope that her daughter is alive.

Lane faces mandatory life in prison if convicted in the case that relies on circumstantial evidence, including a cadaver-detecting FBI dog.

"The dog may be the star of the show in this case," said legal analyst Charlie Langton. "That makes it challenging for both sides."

Last month, attorneys sparred over the admissibility of the testimony of forensic canine expert Martin Grime, whose dog allegedly detected a cadaver scent in Lane's home and car.

The defense argued the relatively new scientific method is "highly prejudicial" and should be excluded.

Circuit Judge Vonda R. Evans ruled it will be admitted.

Lane has claimed Bianca was in the back seat of his 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis the morning of Dec. 2 when he was approached by armed carjackers. But when his car was found shortly after, she was not inside.

Prosecutors contend Lane fatally beat the child during potty training, disposed of her body and fabricated the carjacking.

"Historically there have been cases that have been charged where the victim's body has not been found," Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, said Monday. "Although the body of infant Bianca Jones has not yet been discovered, we have evidence in this homicide case that we will prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury."

Lane's attorney, Terry L. Johnson, countered that his client did "spank" Bianca, but there was no evidence of child abuse or murder since the girl's whereabouts are unknown.

"Mr. Lane is looking forward to getting a trial behind him so that we all can continue to search for his daughter," Johnson said.

Bianca's mother, Banika Jones, said she has "no faith whatsoever in this entire proceeding."

"I'm adamantly championing (Lane's) innocence. I do not believe he was in any way involved with the kidnapping of my daughter. He was a stay-at-home father, he's not a child abuser," Jones said Monday.

"I believe my daughter is alive, and is being held somewhere," Jones said.

The trial is expected to span several weeks and include about 40 witnesses for the prosecution and six for the defense.

Cadaver dog's work questioned in Bianca Jones case, 03 October 2012
Cadaver dog's work questioned in Bianca Jones case The Detroit News

By Christine Ferretti
October 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Detroit — Defense attorneys attempted Wednesday to minimize key evidence from a cadaver-detecting dog in the murder trial of a Detroit man accused in the death of his missing toddler.

D'Andre Lane is charged with felony murder and child abuse in the fatal beating of Bianca Jones, 2, over a bed-wetting incident and then disposing of her body and fabricating a carjacking to cover up the crime. The child's body has not been found.

Lane is facing mandatory life in prison if convicted. The case relies on circumstantial evidence and is using a cadaver dog named Morse, who is handled by forensic canine expert Martin Grime.

Lane's attorney, Terry L. Johnson, said in testimony Wednesday in Wayne County Circuit Court that the dog's positive detection of human decomposition in this case, signified with repeated barking, is unsubstantiated because it hasn't been linked to a corpse.

Johnson, who questioned the forensic canine experts with direction from Texas-based police service dog analyst Steven Nicely, added that Morse didn't alert its handler to the scent of decomposition on Lane's clothing.

"You have no way of telling what Morse responded to," said Johnson, noting the positive detection hasn't been connected to Bianca's body or anyone else's. "You don't know if it was a positive or negative response."

Grime conceded a determination is usually made when something is found.

"The corroboration would normally be you finding a cadaver, bone or human blood that I could see," he told Johnson, adding that the dog has never given a false response.

Johnson has called the relatively new scientific method "highly prejudicial" and unsuccessfully fought to have it excluded from Lane's trial.

Grime testified Wednesday that Morse detected a cadaver scent inside Lane's car two days after the alleged carjacking. The dog selected the vehicle, which was among 31 others, at a Detroit impound lot.

The dog later alerted Grime of alleged human decomposition on Bianca's car seat and blanket as well as the girl's bedroom inside Lane's home.

Grime testified that the dog was accurate in tests before the visit to Detroit and after.

Grime has said the cadaver dogs cannot determine identity, age, race, gender or the rate of decomposition.

Rex A. Stockham, forensic canine program manager for the FBI, also testified about Morse on Wednesday. He said the English springer spaniel is regularly tested for proficiency, and while no dog is perfect, Morse has been accurate.

"I'm aware of no false positives for Morse," he said. "We've never had any case yet where the dog has responded and it's been shown to be incorrect."

Lane says Bianca was in the back seat of his 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis the morning of Dec. 2 when he was approached by armed carjackers near Brush Street and Grand River.

The vehicle was found shortly after, but the child was not inside.

Bianca's mother, Banika Jones, testified at the opening of the trial that she stands behind Lane and believes her daughter is alive.

Prosecutors say dog's detection of human decomposition points to murder of Bianca Jones, 03 October 2012
Prosecutors say dog's detection of human decomposition points to murder of Bianca Jones WXYZ

Posted: 10/03/2012

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Prosecutors in D'Andre Lane's murder trial say the odor of a dead body in Lane's vehicle and his home point to the murder of his two-year-old missing daughter, Bianca Jones.

On Wednesday, the jury listened to testimony from Martin Grime, a dog handler who works for the FBI in their Forensic Canine Program.

Two days after Lane told Detroit Police that Bianca was snatched by carjackers, Grime used "Morse", a 41-pound English Springer Spaniel trained to detect the odor of human decomposition, to search key areas in the case.

Grime testified that a series of barks indicated the dog detected human decomposition in Bianca's bedroom, on her blanket, car seat, as well as in her bedroom and Lane's vehicle.

On cross-examination, Grime said the dog did not detect the odor of human decomposition on Lane's clothing.

Not long after Lane reported Bianca was taken by carjackers, police found his car nearby with the engine running.

Bianca has never been found. Police and prosecutors believe Lane killed Bianca, hid her body and concocted a carjacking story to cover it up.

The cadaver dog 'Morse' - a 41-pound English Springer Spaniel
The cadaver dog 'Morse' - a 41-pound English Springer Spaniel

Expert testifies that cadaver dog gave signals about toddler in D'Andre Lane's car, house, 04 October 2012
Expert testifies that cadaver dog gave signals about toddler in D'Andre Lane's car, house Detroit Free Press

Bianca Jones
Bianca Jones

October 4, 2012

A cadaver dog with what handlers call near-perfect accuracy passed 30 cars in an impound lot before alerting on a silver Mercury Grand Marquis driven by a Detroit father charged with killing his 2-year-old daughter.

But defense attorneys for D'Andre Lane, 32, questioned whether the dog's response was authentic because the body of Lane's daughter, Bianca Jones, has not been found.

Prosecutors said Lane, who is on trial in Wayne County County Circuit Court, killed Bianca after a potty-training accident and tried to cover it up by calling police on Dec. 2 to report she was taken in a carjacking.

Police found Lane's car running several blocks away from the alleged carjacking site, but the toddler was missing. Prosecutors say the child is presumed dead.

Dog handler and FBI contractor Martin Grime testified during Lane's trial Wednesday that he and his two English springer spaniels -- Morse and Keela -- flew from England to Washington, D.C., then drove to Detroit on Dec. 4 to search for Bianca.

Local investigators took Grime and Morse, who is trained to detect decomposing human remains, to an enclosed garage at the Detroit Police Department's impound lot. Inside, he released Morse, leading him through a maze of 31 parked cars, including Lane's silver Mercury.

"He went underneath Mr. Lane's car then came out and barked ... like woof-woof-woof-woof-woof-woof-woof," Grime said, adding that he wasn't told that the silver Mercury was Lane's until after the search was complete.

"What was the response what you opened the door and the trunk, sir?" Assistant Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb asked.

"There was a positive response -- the dog barked continuously," he said, adding that the dog didn't bark at any other cars.

He said they then went to a Detroit Police Department evidence room, where investigators wrapped Bianca's car seat in brown paper and hid it in an office within a number of rooms.

Grime said there was no response during the first search, when the car seat was sealed inside the brown paper. He then asked officers to put a slit in the paper and move the car seat to another room.

"The second time, when the dog got close to the package, he put his nose in the package and gave a positive response," Grime said.

Investigators then set up a search in another warehouse using Bianca's blanket that had been in the car seat. Grime said the dog barked when it came across a brown paper bag on the floor with the blanket inside.

"Were you aware of where any of these items were going to be when Morse signaled on them?" Goldfarb asked.

"No," Grime said, adding that he can't force the dog to bark continuously and he never saw the actual car seat or blanket.

Grime said he then took Morse to Lane's house, where Morse sat and barked in Bianca's bedroom, close to the opening of a door-less closet.

"Have the results you've come up with ever been contradicted?" Judge Vonda Evans asked. He said no.

But Lane's attorney, Terry Johnson, raised questions about the dog's ability to detect decomposition during his cross-examination.

"You have no way of telling what Morse responded to at any location?" Johnson asked Grime.

"He gave us a positive response," Morse said. "The corroboration would normally be to find a cadaver or bone or blood that you can see."

"The dog did not give a positive response to the clothing worn by Mr. Lane, correct?" Johnson asked.

"No," Grime said.

Meanwhile, in Illinois...

Cadaver dogs might play role in 1990 murder case, 05 October 2012
Cadaver dogs might play role in 1990 murder case Chicago Tribune

Judge's ruling clears way for animals' handlers to testify

By Clifford Ward
October 5, 2012

A Kane County judge ruled Thursday that prosecutors in a 1990 murder case could use testimony based on the use of dogs trained to find human remains, perhaps the first time such evidence has been found admissible in a state case.

Judge Timothy Sheldon's ruling could clear the way for dog handlers to provide corroborating evidence in the case of Aurelio Montano, a former Aurora resident and convicted double-murderer who is awaiting trial in the slaying of his wife, Guadalupe Montano.

Prosecutors want to present testimony that the so-called cadaver dogs showed signs that they had detected human remains on a DuPage County farm where prosecutors allege Montano buried his wife after strangling her in July 1990.

Other states have approved testimony over cadaver dogs at trial, and Illinois courts have upheld the use of evidence obtained by drug-sniffing dogs in narcotics prosecutions. But Kane prosecutors said they could find no Illinois state case law supporting the use of dogs that detect human remains.

The judge's ruling came after several hours of testimony from Susan Stejskal, a Michigan resident with a doctorate in toxicology who has trained cadaver dogs and written a book on the subject. Dogs, she testified, rely on their sense of smell, which is substantially better than a person's.

The average human might have 5 million sensory receptors for smell, compared with 300 million for a bloodhound, she said.

"We can't smell the detail the dogs can," Stejskal said.

That ability means dogs can be reliably trained to detect the presence of human decomposition, she said, and conversely, taught to disregard odors of decomposition from other animals.

Prosecutors say cadaver dogs alerted their handlers to the presence of human remains on a Hobson Road horse farm where Montano allegedly buried his wife's body. Montano's brother worked there in 1990 and reportedly told relatives that he helped his brother bury the body, according to court documents.

Convinced that his wife was unfaithful, Montano allegedly strangled Guadalupe, authorities said. He then rolled up her body in a rug, which he placed in his pickup truck and drove to the farm, police allege.

In December 2007, Aurora police conducted a forensic dig at the farm and recovered pieces of a rug. Family members identified it as the rug from the Montano home. Three cadaver dogs sniffed the remnant and gave positive alerts for the presence of human remains, according to court documents.

The farm dig, however, did not produce the victim's body. Other family members reported to police that Montano exhumed his wife's body about four months after she was killed. Her body has never been recovered.

A nephew of Montano's told police that about a year after Guadalupe disappeared, he and Montano were having drinks at Montano's home. Montano, the nephew said, took him into the garage, where he produced a plastic grocery bag that he said contained body parts of his wife, according to authorities.

The nephew, who said he feared Montano, said his uncle placed the bag in the trunk of the nephew's car, and they drove off.

"At some point, the defendant told (the nephew) to stop, get out and dispose of the bag," according to court documents.

Montano was not charged with his wife's murder until 2008. By then, he was serving a life sentence after being convicted of participating in the 1996 drug-related murders of a Texas couple who were hanged in the basement of an Aurora house that Montano was restoring.

Detroit cop testifies she saw toddler who looked like missing Bianca Jones, 09 October 2012
Detroit cop testifies she saw toddler who looked like missing Bianca Jones The Detroit News

By Christine Ferretti
October 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Detroit — D'Andre Lane was tearful Tuesday as a Detroit Police officer detailed a December encounter with a child resembling his toddler daughter, more than a week after the girl went missing and was presumed dead.

Road patrol Officer Tanika Gibbs was called by defense Tuesday as the final witness in Lane's felony murder trial in Wayne Circuit Court.

The Detroit father of seven is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the Dec. 2 disappearance of 2-year-old Bianca Jones. Prosecutors say Lane fatally beat the girl over a bed-wetting incident, disposed of her body and concocted a tale of an armed carjacking. The child hasn't been found.

But in court Tuesday, Gibbs insisted that she had seen the child when responding to a Dec. 10 call about a fight at a residence on Houghton on the city's west side.

The 12-year veteran, who had been assigned to patrols for less than two years, said she spoke to two women at the residence and saw the girl with French braids with beads that were parted down the middle with ponytails.

The next day, Gibbs said, she saw a photo of Bianca on the Internet with the same distinctive hairstyle while scanning listings for a plumber.

"I looked again and said, 'Wait a minute ... that's the little girl who was in that house,'" she testified.

The officer said in the days that followed she spoke with two homicide sergeants, emailed the FBI and called a television news reporter. Nothing came of her tip, she said.

Gibbs conceded to prosecutors during cross examination that she didn't return to the home, contact prosecutors or Lane's attorney with the information.

The prosecution also pointed out that one of the women whom Gibbs spoke with at the home that night had a 2-year-old granddaughter.

Before Gibbs, defense called a Detroit Police canine officer who testified that he and his dog assisted in the search for Bianca. He said the dog led him to an abandoned apartment complex and directed him to a black ski mask.

Lane on Tuesday opted not to take the stand. Judge Vonda R. Evans then told the jury of 16 that closing arguments are expected Wednesday in the nearly month-long trial.

Earlier Tuesday, Evans denied a request from Lane's attorney, Terry L. Johnson, to strike key prosecution evidence from forensic canine expert Martin Grime, whose dog allegedly detected the scent of human decomposition in Lane's car and home two days after the baby disappeared.

Evans also refused to Johnson's request to bypass the jury and consider an acquittal on grounds that prosecution failed to prove the elements of its case.

The requests came after Johnson last week attempted to minimize the findings of Grime's cadaver-detecting dog.

Johnson argued the dog's positive detection of human decomposition in this case, signified with repeated barking, is unsubstantiated because it hasn't been linked to a corpse.

Johnson has called the relatively new scientific method "highly prejudicial" and unsuccessfully fought to have it excluded from Lane's trial.

Detroit dad paddled toddler to death for bed-wetting, jury told, 11 October 2012
Detroit dad paddled toddler to death for bed-wetting, jury told The Detroit News

By Christine Ferretti
October 11, 2012 at 1:00 am

Detroit — Bianca Jones was "unwanted and unloved" by her father, prosecutors say, and the man fatally beat the toddler for wetting her bed before throwing away her body like trash.

Wayne County prosecutors contend D'Andre Lane paddled the child to death on Dec. 2, disposed of her corpse at an incinerator and fabricated an armed carjacking to cover up the crime.

The scenario was laid out in closing arguments Wednesday at the close of the father of seven's felony murder trial in Wayne Circuit Court.

"Bianca Jones is dead. She died at 2 years old and he killed her," Assistant Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb told jurors.

"He killed her and threw away her body with the garbage. There was no carjacking. Bianca did not run away. There was no child abduction. She is dead."

Lane has long maintained his daughter was abducted in a carjacking. His defense attorney on Wednesday argued that prosecutors showed no evidence he beat her — or killed the child whose body was never found.

But Goldfarb told the 16-member panel that evidence in the nearly month-long trial shows Lane went to "unimaginable lengths" to punish a child for potty accidents. Lane's older daughter had dirty panties shoved into her mouth for her slip-up, prosecutors say.

Lane then left his Mitchell Street home with a deceased Bianca and tossed out the "little baby he never wanted in the first place," Goldfarb said.

"The only known thing he ever did for Bianca's mother was give her money for an abortion. She was trash to him from the beginning: unwanted and unloved," she said. "The timeline, the phone records, the 911 call he never made and all of the defendant's behavior. The defendant's story makes no sense at all."

Lane has claimed Bianca was in the back seat of his 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis when he was approached by armed carjackers near Brush Street and Grand River.

The vehicle was recovered shortly after, but the child was not inside.

During his closing, Lane's attorney, Terry L. Johnson, attempted to cast doubt on the prosecution's theory that Lane spent hours toting around a dead baby.

"He killed the baby, put the dead baby back in the bed with two other children, went upstairs to sleep, woke up the next morning, got the dead baby up and took the dead baby to the potty," Johnson mocked.

Johnson also reminded the jury that Lane was interviewed by police for hours but never admitted to killing the child.

"Even after that five hours of that pushing and pushing ... you know what he never said? 'You're right, I did it,'" he said. "You know why? Because he didn't."

"I'm not trying to make Mr. Lane father of the year. Just because he acted like a little punk (by not calling 911) and got scared and screamed, 'My baby,' it doesn't make him guilty."

Johnson also attacked key testimony in the circumstantial case from a forensic canine expert whose cadaver-sniffing dog allegedly hit on human decomposition in Lane's car and home, calling it "junk science." He said the expert, Martin Grime, admitted there's no methodology to confirm the response — barking — is accurate when nothing is recovered.

Deliberations are expected to begin Thursday.

D'Andre Lane found guilty of murder in death of daughter Bianca Jones, 12 October 2012
D'Andre Lane found guilty of murder in death of daughter Bianca Jones Detroit Free Press

D'Andre Lane as the verdict is read in Bianca Jones trial: D'Andre Lane, on trial for the murder of his daughter Bianca Jones, reacts as the verdict is read, on October 12, 2012.

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By Tammy Stables-Battaglia
3:12 PM, October 12, 2012

A Wayne County jury found a Detroit father guilty Friday of abusing and murdering his 2-year-old daughter, not believing his story that she was taken in a carjacking.

Bianca Jones, who disappeared Dec. 2, remains missing. Her father, D’Andre Lane, closed his eyes as his lawyer, Terry L. Johnson, rubbed his shoulders as the verdict was read by the jury forewoman Friday afternoon.

"We did the best we could, but we can't bring back Bianca," Assistant Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb said after the verdict in Third District Court. "That's the sad part about this."

Lane, 32, is to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 16. He faces life in prison without parole on the murder charge.

Johnson said there were issues raised during the trial that would allow Lane to appeal the case.

"Mr. Lane still maintains his innocence," Johnson said outside Judge Vonda Evans' courtroom. "He was as surprised as we were by the verdict, based upon what we believe
is a lack of evidence."

Evans spoke to jurors for about 30 minutes after they rendered the verdict.

As the jury entered the courtroom, a female juror wiped tears from her eyes. The jurors left through a back passageway. Jurors told Evans they did not want to speak publicly.

During the trial, Johnson pointed to witnesses who said they saw Bianca alive the next morning and said abductors took her after the carjacking.

But prosecutors described Lane as a manipulative child abuser who killed Bianca while disciplining her with a stick the night before her disappearance. They said he wrapped her lifeless body in a blanket, strapped her in her car seat the next morning then dumped her before reporting the abduction.

Lane called 911 at 9:45 a.m. Dec. 2, near Grand Boulevard and Brush, claiming that two men had carjacked his vehicle at gunpoint. He said they drove away with his daughter in the back seat. His car was found a few blocks away, with the engine running and the doors open.

Detroit police said more than 1,100 people turned out for the official volunteer search, which began Dec. 5, three days after the girl's father reported her missing.

Bianca's mother, Banika Jones, was not seen at the sentencing. At her home on Custer just off Woodward in Detroit, a Crime Stoppers poster featuring a picture of Bianca and offering a $22,500 reward still hangs in the front window. No one answered the door this afternoon.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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