Blood found on a towel, baseball bat and knife is set to be tested for DNA at the request of the state in a Belleville murder case that opened in March, but a court order filed Thursday noted the defense’s objection to the testing.
The defendant, 33-year-old Jeremy N. Jackson, pleaded not guilty earlier this year in the killing of Nathan Funkhouser. Police collected a towel, baseball bat and knife after Funkhouser’s body was found in a Belleville apartment.
Authorities believe Funkhouser, 34, was killed in a Belleville residence on Feb. 27, but his body wasn’t discovered until March 6 when police went to check on a resident at the home in the 500 block of North 40th Street. The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis helped Belleville Police investigate.
Three days after Funkhouer’s body was found, Jackson was charged with first-degree murder.
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Authorities said Jackson was an acquaintance of Funkhouser. Court records indicate that authorities believe Jackson struck Funkhouser in the head with a baseball bat and then stabbed him in the chest with a knife. A grand jury on March 24 issued first-degree murder charges against Jackson.
Prosecutors in July gave notice to the defense that they want to conduct DNA testing on evidence, and that the tests might use up all of the DNA material.
The notice, filed by Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Conner, said the state is looking to conduct DNA testing on blood found on a towel, baseball bat and knife. The state wrote that the test procedure “may prevent further testing of the evidence, in that the testing may use up the entire evidence samples.”
Conner said she was not authorized to comment on the case. Jackson’s attorney, Jim Gomric, also declined to comment.
The Illinois State Police crime lab is expected to carry out the DNA tests, according to court records. Judge Randy Kelley wrote in Thursday’s court order that the lab would “make every effort” to preserve the evidence samples for testing by the defense. The court order also noted the defense’s right to hire an expert to review the lab’s findings.
A hearing that was set last week to discuss testing evidence was rescheduled for Sept. 22.
Jackson has requested a jury trial, a date for which is not yet set.
Jackson has remained in the St. Clair County Jail since March with bail set at $800,000.