Paul Leon Jordan, accused of murdering a 3-year-old girl and her baby sitter last Jan. 24, began to tremble, sob, sweat profusely and mumble when he first talked of the child during a police interrogation Feb. 14, a homicide detective testified yesterday at Jordan's trial in D.C. Superior Court.
Detective Rocco Cianciotti testified that Jordan first told him he had been in the home of Cora Barnes, the 56-year-old baby sitter and neighbor of Jordan's, just once, when he ran an errand for her about six months earlier and came into the house and "the baby started to cry from upstairs."
"When he told me about [that] . . . Mr. Jordan began to tremble, shake, sob . . .cry," Cianciotti said, from the witness stand. "He put his head down. He was mumbling . . . . His nose was running.
"I asked, 'What's your problem?' He said, 'I'm an alcoholic.' "
Later on Feb. 14, under interrogation by a second detective, Jordan, according to the prosecution, confessed to killing Barnes and Crystin Fletcher, the only child of two District police officers.
Jordan told a detective that he often visited Barnes, and on Jan. 24 stabbed her and the child after the child's cries interrupted his and Barnes' lovemaking, prosecutor Amy S. Berman has told the jury. One of Jordan's statements was videotaped and will be played during the trial.
Jordan has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder. One of Jordan's attorneys, Penny Marshall, told jurors last week that the 48-year-old Northwest Washington man was under psychological pressure from police and suffering from alcohol withdrawal when he "falsely confessed to something he did not do."
Yesterday, Cianciotti testified that when he questioned Jordan about "inconsistencies" in his statements, Jordan "got upset and kind of angry."
"He came up out of his chair," Cianciotti said. "He went to grab at me around the chest area . . . . I grabbed him by both arms and shoved him back in the chair."
Under cross-examination by Marshall, Cianciotti acknowledged that he did not call a doctor or offer to take Jordan home or to a hospital after being told of his alcohol problem.
Jordan was taken to the hospital early Feb. 15, and Marshall asked whether Cianciotti had "any idea" why Jordan "had a pain in his shoulder" at that time. The detective said that he did not.
In other testimony, Michael Bray, a pathologist in the D.C. Medical Examiner's office who conducted the autopsies of Barnes and Crystin, testified that the child had eight stab wounds in the neck and had been strangled. Bray testified Monday that he found "at least 43 stab and cutting wounds" on Barnes' body.
Raymond Dore, a fingerprint expert for the prosecution, testified yesterday that none of the 11 fingerprints good enough for comparison obtained from Barnes' home at 4321 Second St. NW matched Jordan's.
A second prosecution expert, police Officer Carl McClanahan, testified that many factors, such as how wet or dry a hand is, how dirty it is, and how an object is handled, affects whether a fingerprint of "comparison value" is left at the scene of a crime.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney James H. McComas, McClanahan was asked: "If you don't find any fingerprints [of a suspect], one explanation is, the person wasn't there, either at the time or in the immediate past?"
McClanahan replied, "That is one explanation."