After kicking off Billy Hawk's murder trial Wednesday, attorneys detailed this morning the forensic investigation that followed Johnny Mack Salyer's 1981 slaying.
Prosecutors Lance Pope and Neal Pinkston called a series of forensic experts to testify about Salyer's body, which was exhumed in November 2015 before undergoing another medical examination. Since September, Hawk has faced first-degree murder charges in Hamilton County.
Prosecutors say the 62-year-old was involved in the days leading up to June 2, 1981, when a couple on Rocky Point Road discovered a 55-gallon steel drum floating on Lake Chickamauga. Alarmed by the smell, they called authorities the next day, who fished out the barrel and found Salyer tucked inside.
Today, prosecutors walked through the examination of Salyer's body years later.
Lee Meadows Jantz, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said she examined Salyer after his body bag was exhumed from Virginia.
"The remains were X-rayed," she said. "We (wanted) to look for any kind of metallic-type objects."
They ended up finding eight metallic-looking objects, bagged and marked A-H, which Pinkston showed jurors.
"When you recover these," he asked, "you don't know what they are?"
"No," Jantz replied.
Pinkston then showed jurors another photo of what looked like a rusty cigarette butt.
It ended up being a .22-caliber bullet, said Teri Arney, an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
After forensic specialists found the items, they contacted Mike Mathis, of the district attorney's cold case unit. Those metallic items, tested at TBI's crime lab, were not from the bullet though, Arney said.
Jonathan Turner, one of three attorneys representing Hawk, honed in on any additional testing the TBI could have performed.
"Did the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations do any testing to determine whether there was anything on the bullet like DNA?" Turner asked.
"No," Arney said.
"No testing at all was done?" he asked.
"No," Arney said.
When jurors return from lunch around 1:45 p.m., prosecutors will continue calling witnesses.