In an ugly episode, former Arizona State football player Loren Wade stands accused of murdering his Sun Devil teammate Brandon Falkner. The Phoenix trial continues (and here), where the following testimony came last week:
Cale Readis and Tyrone Bowers said they saw Loren Wade punch Falkner with gun in hand and then, in a separate motion, shoot him. "He drew the gun back, chambered it and then he fired," Readis said.
A fight over Arizona State star soccer player Haley van Blommestein might have precipitated the killing. Wade dated the soccer star.
Wade was impaired by alcohol, according to the police report, and enraged to discover van Blommestein talking to Falkner. Witnesses said he put the gun into the driver's side window and pulled the trigger.
However, in an out of court special hearing, it was revealed Wade tested positive for anabolic steroids the night of the murder. From the East Valley Tribune:
Former Arizona State University football player Loren Wade had steroids in his system the night he’s said to have shot and killed another former Sun Devil, Brandon Falkner, according to testimony during a hearing Friday for Wade’s murder trial.
Jennifer Valdez, a toxicologist for the Scottsdale Police Department, told Judge Arthur Anderson on Friday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court that analysis of a urine sample taken March 26, 2005, showed it contained seven steroid compounds not produced naturally by the body.
At the time, the football team’s preseason training was well under way.
This data will rekindle once again for the millionth time, the 'roid rage' controversy. The use of anabolic steroids may or may not cause the reputed 'roid rage. The Nation believes that androgens can cause increased aggression in those who central nervous system is primed for aggression. Testosterone is the fuel for the engine of aggression. Meanwhile back to the trial:
Her testimony came during a special hearing outside the purview of the jury, in which prosecutor Juan Martinez, defense attorney Ulises Ferragut and the judge discussed whether evidence or testimony about the steroids would be allowed into the trial.
Valdez told the judge that she didn’t have a standard by which to compare the results, so she couldn’t judge the amounts of each compound in his system, nor identify what types of steroids they might be.
Of interest was the the Sun Devil players underwent routine dope testing, which did not pick up the steroids in Wade.
“The players were being tested regularly at that time,” Ferragut said after the hearing, “and he always tested negatively.”
As always in doping and forensic cases, the results are not clear-cut. Furthermore, the judge will not allow the evidence that Wade was taking steroids be introduced as evidence.
Ferragut said that either the crime lab’s test could have been inaccurate, or the compounds could have been some other substance.
The judge ultimately ruled that steroid-related evidence or testimony will be inadmissible before the jury.
The prosecutor hadn’t previously approved an expert who could help the jury understand the results, and the judge feared that would leave the jury with information impossible to interpret on their own. Anderson also agreed with the defense’s argument that more notice was needed to prepare a defense for the evidence.
Anderson said he hadn’t yet decided whether Martinez would be allowed to ask Wade about the steroids if he takes the stand.
Wade was present for the hearing. Out of the jury’s sight, he was transported from jail in black-and-white stripes and chains, not in a suit, as has been allowed for the trial.
The trial continues in Arizona.