PORTLAND – Linda Dolloff was shot from a distance of no more than 18 inches, a firearms expert testified Tuesday, possibly undercutting one of Dolloff’s statements about the night her husband was beaten nearly to death.

Kimberly Stevens, a senior lab scientist at the Maine State Police crime lab, said she based her analysis on lead vapor residue on the shirt that Linda Dolloff wore on April 12, 2009, when Jeffrey Dolloff was attacked in the couple’s home in Standish.

Linda Dolloff says an intruder beat her husband, then shot her when she heard a noise and walked into the hallway from her separate bedroom.

Prosecutors have charged her with attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and filing a false report.

They say she beat her husband with a softball bat, then shot herself in the abdomen and reported a home invasion to cover up the assault.

Testifying in Cumberland County Superior Court on Tuesday, Stevens said she detected lead vapor, which comes out of the barrel of a gun when a bullet is fired, on the shirt that Linda Dolloff was wearing.

She then fired the gun that Dolloff said was used — it came from the top drawer of her husband’s dresser — into pieces of a cotton sheet from various distances.

Stevens said her tests indicated that while gun wasn’t pressing against the shirt when it was fired, the lead vapor residue couldn’t be detected from a shot fired from any farther away than 18 inches.

Linda Dolloff hasn’t said how far the intruder was from her when she was shot, but she has told police that she didn’t see the person who shot her, suggesting that the person was at least several feet away.

Dolloff’s lawyer Daniel Lilley said Stevens ignored the fact that no gunpowder residue was found on Dolloff’s shirt, saying the lack of it suggested that the gun was at least 4 to 5 feet away when it was fired.

Stevens noted that the shirt wasn’t recovered by police until after it was thrown out in the operating room where Dolloff was treated for her gunshot wound, compacted with other Maine Medical Center trash and dug out of a pile of eight tons of hospital waste.

“Powder sits on the surface and falls off very easily,” she said.

Still, Lilley said, the fact that Stevens ignored the lack of powder residue and focused on the lead vapor test was another example of authorities settling quickly on the theory that Linda Dolloff was responsible for her husband’s beating and concocted a cover story.

“You picked one piece of evidence that supports your theory and ignored everything that contradicts it,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, another crime lab scientist said she found three bloody footprints at the foot of Jeffrey Dolloff’s bed.

Alicia Wilcox, whose speciality is forensic identification, said the prints weren’t clear enough to identify whose bare feet had made them.

Linda Dolloff is heard on the tape of her 911 call that night apparently going into her husband’s bedroom and calling his name repeatedly.

Several bloody footprints were also found around the bathroom where Linda Dolloff said she called 911, and on the steps leading from the home’s second floor, where the bedrooms are, to the front door.

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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