Scientists: Little evidence points to Elliott

A single drop of murder suspect Larry Bill Elliott’s blood was found on a fence outside the victims’ town house, but no evidence of his DNA was found inside the home where Robert Finch and Dana Thrall were fatally shot, forensic scientists testified Tuesday.

The blood on the fence is the only forensic evidence linking Elliott to the scene.

Elliott, 52, is charged with the murders of Finch, 30, and Thrall, 25, who were gunned down in their Rollingwood Village town house in Woodbridge on Jan. 2, 2001.

Prince William County prosecutors say Elliott was obsessed with Finch’s ex-girlfriend and committed the murders out of jealousy.

A blood stain taken from the jeans Finch was wearing when he was killed contained a mixture of DNA — some of which belonged to Finch and some of which belonged to another person, but definitely not Elliott, said state forensic scientist Brian Edmonds in Prince William Circuit Court in Manassas.

Tiny blood stains found in Elliott’s truck, which was spotted near the victims’ house shortly before the murders, did not conclusively match samples of Finch or Thrall’s DNA.

Some of the stains were too small to yield DNA samples and one stain contained a mixture of Elliott’s blood and another person’s blood, but Thrall and Finch were both eliminated as possible contributors, Edmonds said.

A single hair police recovered from the crime scene did not belong to Elliott, Finch or Thrall.

Witnesses called by Elliott’s defense attorneys Tuesday painted a picture of a quiet, calm man who was dedicated to his work in Army counter-intelligence.

Many of the witnesses were Elliott’s former co-workers, who testified they were shocked to learn Elliott was charged with the killings.

Coworkers said they knew little of his involvement with Rebecca Gragg, 34, Finch’s ex-girlfriend and a central figure in the case, who he described to them as a “business partner.”

Gragg and Elliott met in the late 1990s when he responded to an adult classified ad she placed in search of a “sugar daddy.”

Their relationship was not sexual, but Elliott spent more than $400,000 on Gragg — paying for her housing, bills, car and private school tuition for her children.

Both Gragg and Elliott were married to other people during their 11/2-year relationship.

Alexander Zane, one of Elliott’s co-workers, said Elliott once showed him a nude photograph he kept on his desk and spoke about a woman who was working for him in a business venture — making clothes for exotic dancers.

Shortly after the murders, Elliott and Zane were planning to get together but Elliott canceled, saying someone had been killed and he was being questioned by police.

“He said, ‘I may have to beg off because I might have a meeting with a detective and I’m not sure which way it’s going to go,'” Zane said.

Gragg, a stripper and social escort, said Elliott was jealous of other men in her life, including Finch.

Gragg and Finch had two children together and were embroiled in a bitter custody battle at the time of the murders. On Thursday, she testified that Elliott called her shortly after Finch and Thrall were killed and alluded to hurting someone.

Elliott said he was covered in blood and had garbage bags he needed to throw away, Gragg testified.

“He said our problems had been taken care of and that we could start our life together,” Gragg said. “[When I asked what he meant, and what had happened] he said it didn’t have anything to do with me, but that it was all taken care of.”

Elliott’s trial is scheduled to continue through next week. If convicted of capital murder, Elliott faces the death penalty.

Staff writer Kate Bissell can be reached at (703) 878-8068.

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