JOSHUA TREE — Seven bullets: one was fired into Christy McKissic as an assailant hovered over her on her bed. Two were shot from a similar position and went through the wall, through the doorway in the neighboring bedroom and into the hallway.
Another two were shot into Renee Metcalf; one bullet pierced her left leg and the other hit her in the back. The sixth bullet came from the corner of the room after the assailant got up out of the bed, said Sgt. Marc Goodwin, former case agent in the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s homicide detail who was assigned to investigate McKissic’s and Metcalf’s deaths.
“As he left the room, he fired the last round into Ms. Metcalf’s face,” Goodwin said. “The shot in her face was fired at a very close range, which tells me that the shooter had to get up and walk towards her and shoot her as she was lying on the ground.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Goodwin testified in the second day of the jury trial against Rafael Ari Aikens. Aikens, 24, is charged with two counts of murder with enhancements for the use of a firearm.
McKissic, 32, and her mother, Metcalf, 66, were shot to death near midnight on March 23, 2017, in the Twentynine Palms home they shared with McKissic’s then 10-year-old daughter. Deputies said Aikens had a sexual relationship with McKissic for about a year leading up to the time of her death.
After hearing emotional testimony on the first day of the trial from McKissic’s daughter, who was present in the house at the time of the shootings, and the first officers on the scene, the prosecution focused on Tuesday on the crime scene homicide detectives found in the early morning hours of the following day.
Goodwin said he arrived on the scene about 3:20 a.m.
“I believe the time of day we got the call was just before 1 a.m.,” he said. “We got notified by our sergeant that a double murder had occurred.”
After attending a briefing of the known circumstances of the case, he and his team conducted a walk-through of the crime scene.
“My job at that point was to assist our crime scene specialists,” he said.
Goodwin and his team noted dozens of pieces of evidence, he said, though they were not sure what would be significant. In McKissic’s bedroom, where the shootings took place, McKissic’s body was on the bed and Metcalf’s body was in the doorway. Investigators noted a full but open bottle of Arbor Mist alcohol on a side table. McKissic was naked from the waist down, with a pair of boxers hanging loosely around her right foot. A pair of women’s underwear were marked near her other foot.
Near Metcalf’s body in the doorway, investigators marked a piece of a condom wrapper as evidence. The torn portion of the wrapper was found on top of blood splatter and the rest of the wrapper was never found by investigators.
In the corner of the room, near where Goodwin said the assailant took his sixth shot, a cartridge casing was discovered belonging to a .45 caliber bullet.
Deputy district attorney Justin Crocker presented photos of the trajectory of the bullets as determined by crime scene investigators using trajectory rods and lasers.
On Monday, Christopher Bingham, the owner of O’Three Tactical in Twentynine Palms, testified that Aikens obtained a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his shop on Feb. 7, 2017.
The gun was transported to the courtroom on Tuesday by Detective Gerardo Moreno, the case agent who took over for Goodwin after he was promoted to sergeant. Goodwin, who said he owned a similar gun, testified that the magazine that the gun comes with would hold seven rounds.
Moreno also transported the cartridge casing found on the scene and a bullet fragment that was retrieved from the back of McKissic’s head.
Goodwin said that these fragments were consistent with .45 caliber bullets and that, later in the trial, crime scene investigators will be taking the stand to further explain testing done on Aikens’ weapon and the evidence found on the scene.
The day ended after the presentation of evidence which will be stored during the trial. The trial will reconvene Wednesday afternoon and presiding judge Rodney Cortez said the prosecution is on schedule to finish its presentation on Monday, Aug. 19. After this, the defense will have a chance to call their witnesses, including Aikens, who is scheduled to take the stand next week.