Crime

Recording of Kudlachs among evidence and testimony in fourth day of trial

Alois Kudlach enters the Centre County Courthouse Annex on Monday for the trial in the death of his wife, Nuria. Kudlach is charged with first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon and intercepting communications related to the shooting at the couple’s College Township home in August 2015.
Alois Kudlach enters the Centre County Courthouse Annex on Monday for the trial in the death of his wife, Nuria. Kudlach is charged with first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon and intercepting communications related to the shooting at the couple’s College Township home in August 2015. adrey@centredaily.com

Prosecutors dug into electronic evidence and jurors heard the voice of Nuria Kudlach on Thursday as the trial of Alois Kudlach entered its fourth day.

Kudlach, 51, is charged with first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon and interference with communications stemming from the shooting death of his wife, Nuria, in August 2015.

Early testimony Thursday revolved around emails and recordings retrieved from laptop computers recovered from the Kudlach home on the day of the shooting.

Agent Robert Soob, of the state Office of Attorney General, testified as an electronic forensics expert, describing the devices retrieved from the home, including both personal laptops and laptops provided through Kudlach’s work, and the process for retrieving information from the devices.

Soob shared emails he said he had determined may have relevance to the investigation given the information provided to him by investigators.

These included emails in the months leading up to the shooting, including one dated Aug. 16, 2015, from Nuria Kudlach to Alois Kudlach in which she asked him to end his contact with her.

“I’m done with you,” the email read. “I’m done with (son) Alex not respecting me.”

Jurors also heard recordings of an unidentified man taken testing a recording device that were taken from a work laptop.

Earlier testimony showed that laptop had been encrypted when found and was decrypted by Kudlach’s place of work. Soob verified that many businesses require encryption on their devices, and that the practice was an “increasing trend” among private citizens.

Jurors spent the rest of the morning hearing testimony from state police forensic workers describing the firearm used in the shooting. One scientist testified that elements of gunshot residue had been recovered from Kudlach’s hands but did not show that he actually fired the weapon.

Firearms examiner Nicholas Scianna testified that he had “no doubt” that the gun provided to him by the State College police was tied to the shooting. According to tests done by Scianna, powder residue amount and patterns showed the gun had been fired at Nuria from “no greater than contact and no less than 36 inches” and was most consistent at 24 to 30 inches away.

State police lab technician Tim Gaddel testified via Skype regarding DNA evidence recovered from the scene and from both Alois and Alex Kudlach. According to his testimony, blood from Nuria was found on clothing belonging to Alois Kudlach, the kitchen knife found at the scene and on the gun used in the shooting.

State College police Detective Ralph Ralston also testified Thursday.

Ralston, along with Officer Deirdri Houck, participated in interviewing both Alois and Alex Kudlach the day of the shooting.

Ralston briefly described his actions that day, walking through the Kudlach house at about noon. He then returned to the police station, where he said he interviewed Kudlach and his son. He also testified on paperwork discovered in a backpack believed to have held the handgun used on the day of the shooting.

The notes concerned divorce proceedings and the possibility of alimony payments.

Jurors also heard several recordings Thursday afternoon, including calls made by Kudlach to his son from prison and a recording of the Kudlach family forensically obtained from his phone.

The recording involved an incident previously discussed during prosecution testimony — an argument the night prior to the shooting in which Nuria Kudlach was reported to have smashed a phone containing pornographic images belonging to her husband.

A broken cellphone was recovered from the scene, as previously testified.

In order to keep the trial moving, Centre County Judge Jonathan D. Grine announced that the call of witnesses would be slightly out of order. Defense attorney Karen Muir will cross-examine Ralston on Friday.

In the place of cross-examination, Muir called her first witness — independent forensic consultant Anita Zannin, of AZ Forensics Associates of Buffalo, N.Y.

Zannin disagreed with previous testimony by Dr. Harry Kamerow that Nuria Kudlach swung her injured arm across the kitchen as she turned after being shot, saying the blood splatter pattern only indicated passive drops, not drops cast off from a swinging object.

She also testified that it appeared a majority of the blood found on the scene came from the wounds to her right hand.

The trial is scheduled into Friday.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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