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Investigators unsure of motive as Chad Isaak’s personal items were presented as evidence on day ten of trial

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Jurors and audience members eyed Chad Isaak’s footwear as he walked into the courtroom for the tenth day of trial. Prosecutors have been introducing physical evidence, including shoes seized from Isaak’s residence, to try to link Isaak to four murders that occurred at RJR in Mandan in 2019.

The prosecution questioned witnesses about what they thought when they searched Chad Isaak’s property.

“I believe Chad Isaak killed those four people at RJR,” said Arnie Rummel, BCI supervisory special agent.

But, the defense struck back.

“You hadn’t reviewed all the evidence in this case during cross-examination, right?” said Defense Attorney Luke Heck.

“I did not review all the evidence, no,” said Rummel.

“You don’t know where everything was sent for testing, right?” said Heck.

“I don’t recall,” said Rummel.

“As a result of that, I assume if you don’t know where it was sent; you don’t know the results, correct?” said Heck.

“Yes,” said Rummel.

Isaak’s home was searched on April 4th, 2019, days after the killings. Investigators say items, including a pair of black gloves, found in the residence smelled like bleach.

“We knew that the subject had worn gloves into the crime scene when he was doing his crime; so, we were aware that we were going to be looking for gloves,” said Rummel.

Investigators say they found items they were searching for, but they did not find a motive.

“We don’t know what the motive always is. We’d like to know what the motive is, but we don’t necessarily find the motive, because some people just kill for fun,” said Rummel.

During cross-examination, the defense questioned the integrity of the search. They asked about why certain items were not deemed relevant and asked about why bleach smells were not noted in police reports.

“That was important enough for you to testify to yesterday, correct?” said Heck.

“Yes,” said Rummel.

“But it didn’t make your report, correct?” said Heck.

“That is correct,” said Rummel.

Rummel said some reports try to avoid redundancy.

Investigators say they also found parts to a potential murder weapon, ammunition, and nine empty casings in the trailer. When searching Isaak’s business they found Isaak’s calendar where “stay RJR me” was written in the calendar on Friday, March 29th. The defense said this was a note to pay his rent.

Additionally, a RJR business card with Robert Fakler’s name written on it was in Isaak’s wallet.

Then, an impression specialist compared Isaak’s shoes and the shoe prints at the crime scene, where the tests showed a match in size and maker. The defense questioned this analysis.

“However, as soon as someone starts walking in those shoes, you get wear on the treading of the shoe soles, and the shoe’s characteristics get modified from the way that they came out of the factory,” said Defense Attorney Luke Heck.

“That’s correct,” said Allison Rees, ATF imprint and impression analyst.

The defense continued to ask whether shoes and other items were tested for DNA.

The line-up of state’s witnesses for next week consists of several DNA specialists, but, so far, investigators have said that some evidence was not able to be tested for DNA.

The State expects to call witnesses for two or three more days, and then the defense will have the opportunity to call their witnesses to the stand.

The trial is scheduled to conclude by August 20th.

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