CATSKILL — Police found Brandyn Dayne Foster’s body inside concrete in the crawl space under a Catskill home last winter, according to evidence presented Thursday in Carlos Graham’s murder trial in Greene County Court.
New York State Police Investigator Vincent Boyd provided details about the forensic evidence Thursday in the prosecution’s second day of testimony.
Graham, 31, of Catskill, was charged Feb. 15, 2018, with second-degree murder, a class A-I felony, and pleaded not guilty. He was additionally charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony; third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and third-degree grand larceny, both class D felonies; concealment of a corpse and two counts of tampering with physical evidence, both class E felonies; at an indictment hearing in May.
Boyd was one of eight investigators who, on his hands and knees, searched below the home at 124 Tool House Road on Feb. 6, 2018, and found Foster’s body entombed inside 9 inches of concrete.
Two guns were encased with Foster’s body in the concrete — a .357 Ruger magnum revolver and the pieces of a broken 10-gauge sawed-off shotgun with the hull of a 12-gauge Remington shotgun shell inside the firearm, Boyd said.
Police also found two live rounds of ammunition for the revolver and some bullet casings. A third round of ammunition from the revolver went off when it was struck by a hammer as police attempted to penetrate the concrete in the crawl space on a hunch.
“I heard a pop and saw a flash of light,” Boyd said. “That was the first indication that something was in this hole.”
After two or three swings of a rock hammer, the concrete cracked open like an egg, Boyd said, to reveal something wrapped in a garbage bag. The smell is what struck him first.
“It was the distinct smell of body tissue and decomposition,” the investigator recalled.
Police found the concrete wall after removing some dirty rocks and soil in the otherwise clean crawl space under the house, Boyd said.
Investigators found no fingerprints or touch DNA evidence on the guns or bullet fragments to determine who shot Foster. Several bullets were recovered from Foster’s chest in an autopsy performed by Dr. Bernard Ng at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.
Police recovered fingerprints from the guns because a liquid substance and wet cement was poured on top of them, Boyd said, adding Foster’s body was wrapped in garbage bags and seamed together by black duct tape.
“Over the next five hours, we started the painstaking process of removing the concrete from the body of Brandyn Foster,” Boyd said.
Police broke into two teams to search the house Feb. 6. While Boyd and his team searched the crawl space under the house, the second team searched inside the residence.
The team inside the Catskill home became suspicious when they discovered some out-of-place details in the rear bedroom, state police investigator Kevin O’Keefe said.
The first thing investigators noticed was the carpet was not long enough to touch the baseboards of the bedroom and the bedroom carpet did not match the carpeting in the closet, O’Keefe said. The padding underneath the bedroom carpet also appeared to be different than the padding under the carpet in the closet.
When investigators peeled back the carpet, they discovered a 7-foot-by-3-foot piece of plywood where a large aquarium had been that did not match the wood flooring in the rest of the room.
When police removed the plywood that was nailed to the cross beams, they discovered a hole filled with concrete where Foster was buried.
Dried concrete trickled down the cross beams as if it had been poured into the hole, O’Keefe said.
Firearms expert Maria Rauche with the state police Forensic Identification Unit testified Thursday that the 12-gauge round in the 10-gauge shotgun is likely what damaged the gun.
Bullet and bullet fragments were recovered from Foster, she said, which could have come from a 10-gauge shotgun and a .357 magnum revolver.
The trial is expected to continue starting 9 a.m. Friday with more testimony from the prosecution.
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