November 3, 2023 at 11:45 a.m.

Judge says testimony from crime lab personnel will be allowed in Way trial

Aric Way and Phillip Schmidt-Way appeared in court Tuesday in front of Judge Craig Day as their attorneys worked through a Daubert challenge motion hearing.

The Daubert motion to challenge was filed by the attorneys for the Ways, and involved potential trail testimony from Dr. Robert Corliss and Ruth Henk.  Both appeared by zoom to give testimony in front of Way and the attorneys.  

The Ways are charged with first degree intentional homicide-party to a crime and allegedly combined to murder their mother/grandmother in an attempt to stop the sale of her rural property.  They are scheduled for an eight day trial starting November 27 and ending December 6.  It was noted Tuesday that the prosecution has a list of 72 witnesses.

Also concerning witnesses is the fact that the defense has one more expert they may add.  Judge Day imposed a November 15 deadline to add the expert so the prosecution has time to prepare.

The defense filed the Daubert motion in regards to the potential testimony at trial by Corliss and Henk, both of the state crime lab.   Dr. Corliss performed the autopsy on the victim and Henk performed testing on the bedding, carpet and items from a vehicle believed to be used in the crime.  After two hours of testimony and questions by defense attorney Adrian Longacre and prosecuting attorney Edward Minser for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Judge Day said he believed the questions by both party have been addressed and answered.  He said he will allow the two crime lab employees to testify.

Dr. Corliss, MD is a forensic pathology specialist in Madison, and has over 22 years of experience in the medical field.  Henk has been with the crime lab since 1991 and has been in charge of the trace elements function the past 6 1/2 years.  

The Daubert challenges were for entering a potential strangulation as part of the testimony by Dr. Corliss and about an experiment conducted by Henk to determine the use of sulfuric acid.  After discussion and some comments from Judge Day, both sides seemed satisfied.