Day 5 of Isaak trial focuses on video surveillance

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Day five of trial testimony in Chad Isaak’s case centered on the visual evidence.

Anchor Brooke Williams has been following the trial all day, where much of the focus was on video surveillance — what it shows and what’s missing from it.

The prosecution was working to establish a timeline of the suspect’s movements, while the defense was working to show there’s gaps in that timeline that raise questions.

“I went back one week and one week to the day, March 25th it was, of 2019, I seen the same truck at the same time pull into that frontage road that goes over to McDonald’s and park in the same spot,” said Ben Zachmeier, former operating partner of Big O Tires.

The prosecution says that video on March 25 shows the suspect taking the same path he used when they say he committed the murders at RJR Maintenance and Management a week later. One by one, those who worked in the area were called to the stand to testify about business surveillance video provided to police.

“Did you look at those videos to see whether they were full and accurate videos from the period of time that was requested?” asked Prosecuting Attorney Gabrielle Goter.
“Yeah,” said Andrew Nicola, a former car salesman at Schmidt Auto.
“Were there any gaps in that surveillance video?” Goter said.
“Well, they’re like motion-activated so I guess sort of. When there was any sort of movement or whatever they would kick back on or whatnot,” said Nicola.
“So from the time that movement was detected and provided in this case to law enforcement until the end, are there any gaps in that footage?” asked Goter.
“No,” said Nicola.

“Mr. Nicola, do you see what occurred there?” asked Defense Attorney Jesse Walstad.
“Yes I did,” replied Nicola.
“Can you describe what occurred?” said Walstad.
“It would have been a gap,” said Nicola.
“Would you say about a 40-second gap?” asked Walstad.
“Yeah,” Nicola replied.

During cross-examination, the defense took steps to illustrate holes in the timeline and use the video evidence to raise reasonable doubt about what the surveillance captures. They also asked a witness to review this eight-minute-long video and count the number of white trucks observed in that timespan.

“How many white trucks did you observe in that video?” asked Walstad.
“Approximately 24,” Chris Isaak, an employee at Railway Credit Union, replied.

The state on its redirect tried to establish there were other identifying characteristics, such as direction of travel that allowed investigators to zero in on the exact truck they were searching for.

“Do you have any idea whether there is a suspect vehicle in this case?” asked Goter.
“In this instance, I believe so, yes,” said Chris.
“Have you had any involvement in tracking said suspect vehicle?” said Goter.
“I have not,” Chris replied.
“So you wouldn’t know about any individualized characteristics of any white pickup truck or any suspect vehicle in this case?” said Goter.
“Correct,” said Chris.

The suspect vehicle the prosecution believes is linked to Isaak.

A North Dakota patrol and probation officer was also called to the stand to testify about timelines and maps that were put together tracking the movement of the suspect, Chad Isaak, and the route of that white Ford F-150 pick-up truck based on those surveillance videos.

You can watch the trial live through our KX News app as well as through our website.

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