In April 2019, four people were killed in Mandan in what is considered one of North Dakota’s more notorious crimes. Several days later, Chad Isaak of Washburn was arrested and charged with the murders. After two years of court procedures and delays, Isaak’s trial finally began on August 2, 2021. Jury selection took two days and, on August 4, opening statements and testimony began. The trial ended August 20, 2021.

In addition to live streaming coverage of the trial, KX News also kept a rolling reporter’s notebook of what happened in the courtroom, tracking the events and testimony as they unfolded and updating it all online.

It is not a trial transcript reflecting every word spoken in the courtroom. It’s a series of information summaries of what was happening, transcribed as quickly as possible by the reporter. As a result, some sentence structure and other grammatical usage errors may be noticeable.

Below is the notebook from the trial coverage exactly one year ago today:


The Trial

8:00 a.m.: Day 9 of testimony in the Chad Isaak trial, Day 11 in the trial overall, is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. The trial started Monday, August 2. Jury selection took two days. Testimony began August 4. The prosecution is nearing the end of its presentation, with a handful of witnesses left on its list call.

8:32 a.m.: The Chad Isaak trial has resumed, Judge David Reich presiding. The judge and attorneys are going through some legal housekeeping action related to the trial before the jury is brought in.

Defense team (left to right): Attorneys Bruce Quick, Luke Heck, Jesse Walstad; defendant Chad Isaak

8:35 a.m.: Attorneys are waiting for some exhibits to arrive for use in court.

8:44 a.m.: The jury is brought in.

8:45 a.m.: Witness recalled — Pat Lenertz, Bureau of Criminal Investigation supervisory special agent. Previously testified Aug. 5 and 6. Direct examination by prosecuting attorney Gabrielle Joy Goter. Details training and experience in law enforcement.

Witness Pat Lenertz

Lenertz was part of executing search warrants of Chad Isaak’s resident, truck, business and of Isaak himself.

Found a pair of Wells Lamont gloves, a box for a Ruger revolver in a dresser drawer with receipts inside.

Says while searching the hallway bathroom, found it was particularly clean and smelled of bleach.

Says searched Chad Isaak’s vehicle twice. First time on April 4 and later, on April 9, in a search for blood, using a chemical called “Bluestar.” Turns a luminescent bluish-green color when it interacts with blood.

Using the Bluestar, they identified a small area of luminescence on the passenger side door handle, suggesting blood. Also found some luminescence on the bottom frame of the passenger door footboard. Also on the passenger inside door handle. Also on the rear passenger inside door handle.

Investigators spray Bluestar on the driver’s side door handle of Chad Isaak’s vehicle

Also on the driver’s side door handle. Also on the inside frame of the door, the driver’s side inside armrest and the inside driver’s side door handle. Also, inside door jam of the read driver’s side door. Also the driver’s side bottom door frame. Also on the inside driver side armrest/center console and around the cupholder and on a large bottle on pop on the passenger seat. Also near the top right side of the seat near where the seatbelt holder is located.

Investigators spray Bluestar on the driver’s side door handle of Chad Isaak’s vehicle

Lenertz says the results suggest they were transfer stains, that is, blood transferred from one source to another. Says it appears to have been blood on somebody touching areas of the vehicle.

9:15 a.m.: Cross-examination by defense attorney Bruce Quick. Lenertz says he seized the empty gun box at Isaak’s home, but can’t say if the box is related to the gun parts found in the freezer. Says the gun box had a WalMart receipt and owner manual. Search of Isaak vehicle was in the McLean Court Sheriff’s Office garage. Sprayed with Blue Star in April 4th. Took photos but they did not show anything due to too much light to capture luminescence in the images. Says the Blue Star tests suggest areas to sample, but do not directly say what is stained is, in fact, blood. A lab then determines if the samples are blood.

Lenertz says Blue Star can do false positives from citric fruits. Not sure if it will false positive on animals.

Says he called police in Iowa regarding Chad Isaak when he lived there, but nothing of significance was found.

Gun box was for a Ruger 357.

9:22 a.m.: Re-direct by Goter. Lenertz says there were two receipts in the gun box. One was a Walmart on April 3, 2019, for items not related to the Ruger. The second receipt in the box was for the gun itself from April 2018.

Says using Blue Star a second time could possibly deteriorate DNA, but says the stains would not be affected outside of slight run-off.

Says they had swabbed the areas on April 4, so the second tests would not have affected what they had earlier tested for.

9:26 a.m.: Judge David Reich calls for a one-minute stretch break.

9:27 a.m.: Stretch break ends.

9:27 a.m.: Witness recalled — Joe Arenz, BCI special agent. Direct examination by Karlei Neufeld. Arenz previously testified on Aug. 6, 9 and 12.

Witness Joe Arenz

Says on April 4, four search warrants were issued for Chad Isaak, Isaak’s home, his pickup and his office. Arenz says there were 15 to 17 investigators involved in the execution of the search warrants.

Arenz says, in searching Isaak’s office, the notation in his day planner, “Stay RJR me” was significant to him because it possibly meant some interaction was to take place four days before the April 1 RJR killings. Also found it odd there were no morning appointments for April 1 and March 25 in Chad Isaak’s appointment book, or day planner,, because those were the days investigators believe Chad Isaak was in Mandan.

Prosecuting attorney Karlei Neufeld

Arenz says at Isaak’s home, what stood out for him was the odor of bleach as they entered the home. Also that the items they found in Isaak’s home were significant: The orange reversible face mask, orange hoodie, black pants black shoes, a knife in the clothes washing machine, the gun parts in a plastic container in the freezer, the nine shell casings found in a closet. Arenz says, looking at the knife, the bent tip stood out for him. Arenz says the bent knife suggested to him the knife could have been bent when striking bone or a hard surface.

Arenz says the gun parts stood out for him because it was a gun that was dismantled and put in a plastic container in a freezer. Says it was later determined the gun parts were from a Ruger 357 revolver. Arenz says investigators believe the gun used in the RJR killings was a revolver. The barrel and cylinder were missing, which Arenz found to be significant –to test a gun for ballistics, you’d need the barrel.

Arenz says they found 38 special ammunition and 9 shell casings hidden in a sock in the closet at Isaak’s home. Says they recovered 9 fired bullets from the RJR scene and the people who were killed there: 1 bullet in a band saw in the RJR shop, 1 in a box of burners in the RJR shop, 2 from Adam Fuehrer’s body, 3 from William Cobb’s body and 1 from his office and 1 from Lois Cobb’s body.

Arenz says the clothing recovered at Chad Isaak’s home was similar to the clothing worn by the suspect in the surveillance videos.

Arenz says during the search of Isaak’s truck, orange fibers were found inside the pickup and a green bucket on the passenger seat — surveillance videos showed a green hue on the passenger side of the suspect truck. Says he believed, overall, Chad Isaak’s truck visually matched the suspect vehicle.

The video shows when the suspect was in RJR, he was wearing an orange hoodie, orange mask, dark pants, black footwear, black gloves. When he was outside RJR, he was wearing a black face mask, black jacket, black clothing, black footwear.

Arenz says investigators went through all the evidence collected to determine which items should be sent in for lab analysis. Says 50 pieces of evidence were collected from the RJR crime scene. He then determined which items may have the highest probability of lab evidence in the case, given that North Dakota has only one crime lab servicing every law enforcement agency in the state. In this way, they get results quicker. Says they were trying to select the evidence with the highest probative value; that is, evidence that would havee the strongest relevance for the investigation and for use in court.

Arenz says among the items they sent to the crime lab were two swabs of blood from the shop floor, a swab of blood from the employee entrance door in the shop, a swab from the door that went from the shop into the break room, the copper bullet jacket from the band saw.

Says the decision to send in this evidence was made among several investigators and not just by him.

Arenz says the evidence to test taken from the first examination of the William Cobb truck at Indigo Signs was an orange fiber found in the door handle of the truck.

Arenz says evidence from a second search of the William Cobb truck totaled 19 pieces. The evidence most probative, that is, most valuable, was a possible palm print, orange fibers inside the pickup, swabs from the steering wheel, gearshift bar and the armrest and a set of keys inside the truck that was swabbed for blood.

Arenz says 23 pieces of evidence were collected from the search of Chad Isaak including his shoes at the time of apprehension, clothing he was wearing, fingernail clippings, a DNA sample, an orange fiber from inside one of his shoes. The most probative evidence was the orange fiber in his shoes, fingernail clippings, DNA sample, and fibers from a tape life of his clothes.

Arenz says 38 items of evidence were collected from the search of Chad Isaak’s home. Most probative: A watch located in the bathroom sink, 9 spent shell casings, a drain strainer in the sink of the bathroom, orange mask, orange hooded sweatshirt, the clothing in the dryer, the knife from the washing machine, the gun parts located in the freezer, the black gloves.

Arenz says 7 items of evidence were collected from Chad Isaak’s office. Most probative: A photo of the day planner from the office.

Arenz says 37 items of evidence were collected from Chad Isaak’s truck. Most probative: The swabs of a substance believed to be blood, the doo latch and driver’s side seatbelt housing, blaze orange fibers on the driver’s seat, other articles of clothing inside the truck, swabs from door handles that appeared to be blood.

Says firearms analysis and shoe comparisons, Arenz says they had to use out-of-state labs because the testing could not be done by the North Dakota State Crime Lab.

What was sent to the North Dakota State Crime Lab: Swabs of blood from the RJR shop, swabs from Chad Isaak’s residence, the clothing from Chad Isaak’s dryer, the door latch and seatbelt housing from Isaak’s vehicle, the swabs of the steering wheel, gearshift and keys from William Cobb’s truck left at Indigo Signs, the copper bullet jacket from RJR, the black gloves, all the clothing minus the fiber lifts from Chad Isaak’s home. 39 pieces of evidence in all.

10:14 a.m.: Judge David Reich calls a 20-minute recess. The trial will resume at 10:35 a.m.


10:37 a.m.: The Chad Isaak trial resumes, Judge David Reich presiding.

10:38 a.m.: Direct examination of BCI special agent Joe Arenz continues by prosecuting attorney Karlei Neufeld. Arenz is testifying to the evidence seized and processed by investigators.

Witness Joe Arenz

Arenz says the first batch of evidence submitted to the state crime lab came on April 4, 2019, including evidence from RJR and William Cobb’s RJR vehicle left at Indigo Signs. Arenz says they were hoping to get a latent print and a DNA sample to help identify a suspect.

Arenz says the second batch of evidence was sent April 10, 2019. That included DNA samples, from Chad Isaak, Isaak’s fingernails, swabs taken from Isaak’s truck, clothing from Isaak’s residence, the shell casings, and gun parts from Isaak’s residence. Arenz says they were hoping to obtain DNA from one of the victims.

Arenz says the third batch of evidence was sent April 15, 2019. That included blood spot cards of the four victims. Says the lab wanged known blood/DNA samples of the victims to compare to swab previously submitted.

Arenz says the fourth batch of evidence was sent June 6, 2019. That included soil and grass samples taken near Big O Tire where the suspect may have been possibly urinating. The hope was to obtain a DNA sample if, in fact, the suspect did urinate in that area.

Arenz says investigators also used the ATF lab in Maryland for tests that could not be done in North Dakota: Fiber analysis and comparison analysis of the shoes found in Isaak’s dryer and photos of shoeprints left at the crime scene. Also, victim clothing was sent to the ATF to compare orange fibers found at Isaak’s residence and possibly on the victim’s clothing.

Another lab, DNA Laboratory Inc, in Florida was used to test swabs from Chad Isaak’s vehicle. The state lab said the finding might be too complex to separate out DNA profiles and suggested they utilize a lab that could better analyze the evidence with better equipment. In the end, Arenz says, nothing came of the tests from DNA Labs in Florida.

11:15 a.m.: Re-direct by Karlie Neufeld. To Arenz’ knowledge, the chain of custody and the integrity of all the evidence were maintained.

The updates to the search warrants included supplemental information to enhance the probable cause for the search warrants.

Arenz says his report indicated he smelled bleach in the bathroom between the two bedrooms. Says the hallway bathroom was a very clean bathroom compared to all other rooms in the residence and it smelled of bleach.

Arenz says they could not say with absolute certainty that spurting blood was at the crime scene, but acknowledged it was possible for spurting blood to be at the crime scene and not on the suspect’s clothing.

The second search warrant for Isaak’s home was due to the missing parts from the gun they found in the freezer. Was advised the ATF had a canine that could possibly detect the odor of the missing gun barrel.

Electronic search warrants were done for cell towers, Facebook and Google search warrants. Nothing of significance came from those electronic warrants.

Says did not interview Lisa Nelson and Lisa Nelson’s ex-husband because they had no evidence linking them to the crime.

Tested a knife found in Oliver County along or near Highway 200. They tested it.

Arenz says it appeared Isaak did not have many friends he associated with or many community associations. The investigation indicated he spent time in the military as a medic, was divorced, had family in the Hazen area, had a clinic in Hazen and then moved to and opened a clinic in Washbrun.

10:52 a.m.: Cross-examination by defense attorney Bruce Quick. Quick says there’s no burden on the defense to prove innocence or test the state’s evidence. The burden is on the prosecution. Arenz agrees that is true.

Arenz says Mandan has a police locker room where evidence is stored. He agrees evidence should be stored in the police locker.

Says some of the search warrants of April 4 had to be amended to include additional items to be collected. Says the Chad Isaak residence was first cleared of any people, if any were present, prior to coming into the home. After the clearing, Arenz conducted a walk-through of the residence.

Arenz says the clothing seized was the same type of clothing seen on the suspect in surveillance videos.

Arenz says he could see no blood on the suspect in the surveillance tapes.

Arenz says multiple guns and knives were seized in the searches.

Arenz acknowledges there weren’t any morning appointments on any other days in the day planner in addition to April 1 and March 25.

Quick says Robert Fakler had been to Washburn on two occasions based on GPS information from the truck. Arenz says he is aware Fakler may have been to Washburn.

Arenz says Chad Isaak’s residence was searched a second time on April 8 with specially trained dogs looking for ammunition.

Arenz says bank account and financial records of Isaak were searched and other searches were executed looking for cell tower information related Isaak’s smartphone. Other searches were for phone records, the contents of Isaak’s flip one, Isaak’s computer.

Arenz acknowledges before April 4, investigators had very little information on Chad Isaak. After April 4, they did an extensive search into Isaak’s background in including using an online service to search any records available online. Investigators also did their own investigation into any criminal history and military history for Chad Isaak. Says they interviewed Isaak’s patients, especially those who had appointments for April that were rescheduled.

Says they interviewed Jackie Fakler about Robert’s affair on April 30. Says they did not investigate Lison Olson’s ex-husband about marital affairs, criminal history.

Says the history investigation they did on Isaak indicates he was a chiropractor for 13 years. Says they found no criminal convictions of any kind for Isaak.

Says a bullet found near the RJR property was not tested. A knife a resident found near Washburn was submitted to police and investigators tested it.

11:24 a.m.: Re-cross-examination by Bruce Quick. Arenz says the updated search warrants included looking for maps of Mandan.

11:25 a.m.: Judge David Reich calls for a one-minute stretch break.

11:26 a.m.: The trial resumes.

11:26 a.m.: Witness called — Jeremy Schmidt, ATF special agent based in Bismarck. Was asked to help in the RJR investigation. He handled sending firearms evidence and other items from the Mandan Police Department to the ATF testing lab in Maryland.

Witness Jeremy Schmidt

The evidence from North Dakota was sent by FedEx to the ATF Maryland lab. Schmidt says that’s not unusual — many other states and agencies do the same thing due to the distances involved.

Describes how evidence is packaged for shipping to the ATF crime lab in Maryland and how he maintains the integrity of the evidence before shipping.

Schmidt says there were 8 separate times he received custody of evidence related to the RJR killings and shipped that evidence to the ATF lab in Maryland.

The first batch of evidence on April 4, 2019, was made up of the bullets collected from the RJR scene and the bodies of the victims. The testing was to try to identify which firearm the bullets came from to narrow down the type of firearm investigators were looking for.

The second batch of evidence came in April 26, 2019, were firearms parts, shell casings and live rounds of ammunition. The goal was to connect that evidence with the first batch of evidence.

The third batch of evidence came on May 15, 2019, and contained two pairs of shoes and photos of a gun box, shoes and a bloody shoeprint. The goal was to match the photo of the shoeprint to the physical shoes.

The fourth batch of evidence came on May 24, 2019, and contained fibers, a reversible facemask and a sweatshirt. The goal was to compare the fibers to the mask and sweatshirt.

The fifth batch of evidence came on December 4, 2020, contained all the previous evidence sent to the lab and a piece of carpeting, a Taurus 9 millimeter pistol and one other item. The goal was to retest the previous evidence based on new evidence and information gathered during the investigation as well as test the new evidence.

The sixth batch of evidence contained all the victims’ clothing. The goal was to test to see if fibers were found on the clothing, if any, matched the fibers recovered by investigators.

The seventh batch of evidence came on January 28, 2021 and contained a pair of gloves to compare to fiber recovered by law enforcement.

The eighth batch of evidence contained the evidence the ATF lab found in the evidence it tested. That arrived on February 5, 2021.

11:52 a.m.: Cross-examination by defense attorney Jesse Walstad. Says he played an intermediary role in passing evidence to and from Mandan investigators and the ATF lab in Maryland.

Walstad says an unbroken chain of evidence is essential to the integrity of the evidence. Schmidt agrees.

Schmidt says the photos from the third batch of evidence were copied onto a disk he made for the photos and that he also sent an email with the photos attached to ATF.

12:00 p.m.: Judge David Reich recess the trial for a noon break. The trial will resume at 1:15 p.m.


1:18 p.m.: The trial of Chad Isaak resumes, Judge David Reich presiding.

1:19 p.m.: Continuation of cross-examination of Jeremy Schmidt, ATF special agent based in Bismarck by defense attorney Jesse Walstad. Schmidt was asked to help in the RJR investigation. He handled sending firearms evidence and other items from the Mandan Police Department to the ATF testing lab in Maryland.

Walstad is focusing on a 20-month gap between the fourth and five submissions of evidence for testing by the Mandan Police.

Schmidt says he recalls a request from ATF labs for a sample of Chad Isaak’s hair. Says no sample of Isaak’s hair was provided to the ATF lab. Also says no samples of Isaak’s dog’s hair were ever provided to the ATF lab.

Walstad asks if Schmidt ever received for testing the following weapons: A 38 caliber belonging to Jackie Fakler, a handgun in Lois Cobb’s purse, a 9 millimeter Taurus from William Cobb’s truck, 9 millimeter Walther. Schmidt says no to each of the weapons.

Walstad asks about submission five to ATF. Says he sent some items for a second round of testing, along with new items for testing. All information and materials he received were sent back to Mandan.

1:27 p.m.: Re-direct by Karlei Neufeld. Regarding the firearms raised Walstad, says he sends out to test whatever local authorities submit to test.

Says there is no firearm registry, so you can sell a weapon to a neighbor and there’d not be any registration of them.

When he received evidence from the Mandan Police, the chain of custody was intact and he added himself to the list, sent the items and received them back. And the chain of custody remained.

1:30 p.m.: Witness called — Emily Hoge, North Dakota Crime Lab analyst/forensic scientist. Outlines her experience and training in law enforcement. She works as a biological screener. Analyzes physical evidence and looks for the presence of blood, semen and DNA. Then a DNA processor examines and extracts DNA, something she also does.

Witness Emily Hoge

Hoge says reports generated by analysts are reviewed for quality assurance purposes.

She reviews the quality control processes and standard operating procedures used by the North Dakota Crime Lab.

Hoge says with respect to the Chad Isaak case and the evidence the crime lab processed, all procedures, standards and standard operating procedures were followed. Says chain of custody was maintained with the Chad Isaak evidence and ensured.

Says there were five submissions of multiple evidence items to the North Dakota Crime Lab in Bismarck from the Mandan Police Department, four of which were for DNA testing. The submissions were hand-delivered.

In this case, they were looking for blood evidence, DNA and touch DNA. “Touch DNA” would be DNA from all the people who handled a particular object, in this case, a door handle, for example.

Other than DNA, there was also an item of evidence sent in for latent print analysis.

She screened 38 items for potential blood and touch DNA. She generated four biological screening reports.

She describes how the North Dakota State Crime Lab works to prevent cross-contamination of DNA samples and the steps in how they processed the RJR-related items sent by the Mandan Police Department.

An initial test for blood is made from a cutting of a submitted swab. If there is a “presumptively positive” result, another cutting from the swab is taken for in-depth processing for human DNA.

They tested items from the RJR shops, Chad Isaak’s vehicle and house, and some from fields in Center and near RJR.

2:07 p.m.: Judge David Reich calls for a one-minute streak break.

2:08 p.m.: The trial continues.

2:08 p.m.: Emily Hoge continues her direct examination testimony on processing RJR items submitted by the Mandan Police.

She’s testifying to items she tested from the RJR shop, the bodies of the victims, and items recovered during searches of Chad Isaak, his home, his truck and his office.

Says the steering wheel, gearshift of William Cobb’s vehicle that were tested were submitted for touch DNA testing.

The keys in William Cobb’s vehicle were presumptively positive for human blood.

Several swabs taken from RJR tested presumptively positive for blood.

Noted that the watch from Chad Isaak’s bathroom sent in for testing had white spots, suggesting staining or bleaching.

Clothing and shoes and gloves from Chad Isaak’s residence submitted either did not detect human blood or no reddish-brown spots were observed.

Hoge says items that tested “presumptively positive” were then forwarded for processing for DNA samples.

Explains what DNA is and how it is extracted from samples.

Independent testing was requested by Mandan Police on the shell casings and the gun.

DNA profiles were able to be developed for most of the items submitted for further testing.

2:36 p.m.: Judge David Reich calls for a 20-minute recess. The trial will resume at 2:55 p.m.

2:37 p.m.: Discussion in the court outside the jury. Defense objects to the items submitted to the state crime lab for testing. The defense claims there are numerous breaks in the chain of custody going to the state crime lab for the testing. The prosecution says all testimony has shown that the proper chain of custody has been followed.


2:56 p.m.: The Chad Isaak trial resumes, Judge David Reich presiding.

2:57 p.m.: Cross-examination of State Crime Lab analyst Emily Hoge by defense attorney Luke Heck. Hoge says Chad Isaak’s fingernails were not tested for blood but did contain “debris” such as dirt.

Hoge says no human blood was detected on any of the clothing, no reddish-brown marks on the shoes.

Says she swabbed for touch DNA on the RJR steering wheel, the gear shift from the RJR vehicle, the keys from the RJR vehicle and the copper bullet jacket at RJR.

Says there was no touch DNA from the clothing items taken from Chad Isaak’s home. Also says there were reddish-brown spots on the sweatshirt taken from Chad Isaak’s residence, but no human blood was detected in the six cuttings of the reddish-brown areas of the sweatshirt.

Hoge says there was no human blood detected on the knife found in Chad Isaak’s washing machine.

There were reddish-brown stains detected on Chad Isaak’s purple backpack, but tests on cuttings from the backpack showed no human blood was detected.

Says no reddish-brown stains were detected on the gloves from Chad Isaak’s home, and no human blood was detected. There was also no human blood detected on the gun parts found in Chad Isaak’s freezer.

3:08 p.m.: Re-direct by Gabrielle Joy Goter. Hoge says rust stains, which are reddish-brown, would not test positive for human blood samples. Says bleach and/or detergent could degrade or break down DNA and proteins. Also says she noted in her report the clothing had been washed when she received them for testing.

3:10 p.m.: Re-cross-examination. Heck asks did she note in her report “washed,” but did not note “bleached.” Hoge says yes.

3:11 p.m.: Witness called – Kyle Splichal, forensic biologist, Defense Forensic Science Center, US Army Criminal Investigation. Details his experience and training. Splichal formerly worked at the North Dakota State Crime Lab as a DNA analyst.

Witness Kyle Splichal

Splichal reviews the procedures for maintaining the chain of custody of evidence submitted for processing. Says the chain of custody was maintained with evidence in the RJR killings and items collected from Chad Isaak and from his vehicle, home and residence.

Splichal says DNA is the body’s blueprint for creating and sustaining life. Most DNA is the same in all people, but it is the differences in DNA that identify specific individuals. A DNA profile is unique to individuals.

To avoid cross-contamination, they clean their work surface with a 10 percent alcohol solution, which removes any potential DNA left on the surface.

Describes how they identify individual DNA from multiple sources of DNA; that is, where several people leave their DNA on a surface that is tested.

3:39 p.m.: Judge David Reich calls a one-minute stretch break.

3:40 p.m.: The trial resumes with Kyle Splichal’s direct testimony. Describes how the North Dakota State Crime Lab screens incoming evidence to be tested and how it goes through other DNA analysis tests.

Splichal says a second analyst always reviews the reports and results generated by the analyst going over the evidence. Both parties must agree on the results for a report to be made final.

Splichal wrote the DNA Lab Report on the DNA analysis of the items of evidence from the RJR investigation submitted for DNA analysis.

For the victim profiles, blood spot cards for each person were used to generate the known DNA profiles.

Also, a cheek swab from Chad Issak’s was used to generate his known DNA profile.

Results of the DNA testing on the unknown profile swabs:

  • RJR building south shop door swab: A DNA profile was developed. A partial profile and a mixture of two or more individuals. Conclusions from the major profile matched the known sample from Robert Fakler. The minor profile represented DNA from two individuals. Chad Isaak was excluded from the profiles.
  • Shop floor swab near Robert Fakler: The profile matched Robert Fakler. Chad Isaak was excluded from the profile.
  • Shop floor swab near Adam Fuehrer: The profile was a mixture of two individuals. The major profile matched Adam Fuehrer. The minor profile contained limited genetic information.
  • RJR vehicle driver’s side armrest swab: Partial profile and a mixture of two individuals. The major profile matched Robert Fakler. The minor partial profile was consistent with the profile of Lois Cobb. Chad Isaak was excluded as a contributor to the profile.
  • RJR steering wheel swab: The profile was a partial profile and mixture or two or more individuals. This profile could not be separated — it was too complex based on ND State Crime Lab procedures. This was sent to another lab to try and separate the mixture.
  • RJR vehicle gear selector switch swab: A partial profile and a mixture of two or more individuals. For the major profile matched the known profile from Robert Fakler. For the minor prifle was a partial profile and mixture of two individuals. Couldn’t separate it, but was able to exclude Chad Isaak from the profile.
  • RJR vehicle key swabs: The DNA didn’t meet the threshold for testing.
  • Copper jacket swab: No detectable amount of DNA for amplification and interpretation.
  • Wire rings swab from RJR: A partial profile and a mixture of two or more individuals, but he could not separate them out. He was, however, able to exclude Chad Isaak from the profile.
  • Wire swab from RJR: A partial profile and mixture of two or more individuals. He was able to separate them out. The major profile matched the profile of Robert Fakler. The minor profile is a partial profile and mixture of two individuals. Chad Isaak was escluded from contributing to the sample.
  • Lefthand fingernail clippings of Chad Isaak: The profile matched the sample from Chad Isaak. Was able to exclude, William Cobb, Lois Cobb, Robert Fakle and Adam Fuehrer from the sample.
  • Chad Isaak vehicle doorjam swab: A partial profile and a mixture or two or more profiles. The major profile shows Robert Fakler cannot be excluded as a contributer to the major profile. The minor partial profile and a mixture of at least two individuals. Could not further separate them. Neither Chad Isaak or Lois Cobb cannot be excluded as contributors to the minor profile.
  • Chad Isaak vehicle driver’s side third door: DNA did not meet the lab’s threshold for testing for DNA.
  • Chad Isaak vehicle plastic piece: The profile was a partial profle and a mixture of two or more contributors. The major partial profile matched the profile of Chad Isaak. The minor is a partial profile and mixture of two individuals but could not separate them out. Neither Robert Fakler or Lois Cobb cannot be excluded. William Cobb and Adam Fuehrer could be excluded.
  • Dried grass and pieces of plastic swabs: No profile was determined because no detectible DNA was determined.

Splichal says, in general, there was some DNA connection between some of the victims and Chad Isaak among the swabs from Chad Isaak’s vehicle.

4:20 p.m.: Judge David Reich recesses the trial for the day. The trial will resume Tuesday, August 17, at 8:30 a.m.


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