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Detective takes stand in Strong trial
As the Preston Strong trial moved into day 24 Thursday, prosecutors continued to lay out their case against him with a Yuma police detective testifying about his role in helping serve a search warrant at Strong's residence four days after Yuma physician Satinder Gill was found dead.
Although he was not the first detective to do a walk-through of the residence, Detective Clay Pouquette described what he saw as he searched the home, which actually belonged to Strong's girlfriend, Adriana Guzman Ozuna, on Nov. 5, 2007.
“It was for the most part empty of furniture items. I don't think I expected it to be an empty house,” Pouquette said. “It looked as though someone was in the process of moving out.”
When asked by prosecutor William Katz, of the Yuma County Attorney's Office, what type of items detectives were searching for, Pouquette answered by saying any items that might have belonged to the victim, any types of documents or writing about what might have happened, or large amounts of money.
Pouquette also testified that he searched the dumpster outside the house, collecting several items of evidence, including a pair of white shoes, one white sock and a rubber latex glove.
“The reason I collected them is the items didn't appear to be the type of items someone would throw away,” Pouquette said.
Another prosecution witness testified earlier in the trial about finding a latex glove at a local car dealership where Strong had worked.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Kristi Riggins, Pouquette was asked if he or any of the other detectives found anything at Strong's residence that had belonged to Gill, to which he replied they had not.
Riggins also asked Pouquette about the items he had collected from the trash dumpster, asking him if the shoes had been sent to the state crime lab for testing or if detectives knew who the items had belonged to, how long they had been there or who put them there.
“I don't know,” Pouquette answered.
The 62-year-old Gill was found dead inside his home at 4596 W. La Quinta Loop on Nov. 2, 2007. He had been suffocated and had blunt-force trauma to his head. A large sum of money was missing.
Strong has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of kidnapping, one count of armed robbery, one count of burglary, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of attempted arson.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.