COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Friends, fellow soldiers and forensic experts were among those called to the stand this week in the ongoing murder trial of a Fort Carson soldier in 1987.
Michael Whyte, of Thornton, is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the death of 20-year-old Darlene Krashoc. Whyte was arrested in June of 2019 at his home and he has pleaded not-guilty.
One of the witnesses called to the stand Thursday was Carolyn Jeneski, a friend of Darlene’s since the ninth grade. She said she and Darlene joined the military together and were both stationed at Fort Carson in 1987.
She became emotional talking about the day she and Darlene last spoke, saying Darlene was supposed to pick her up the next morning but never showed.
Also called to the stand was Steven Wood, a former detective with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
He witnessed Darlene’s autopsy in 1987 and said her body showed evidence of a lot of trauma. He said Darlene had a wire hanger wrapped around her mouth and neck which Wood said appeared to be used as a bridle. He said there was also a black leather strap around her neck tied in a knot.
The defense tried several times to object the admission of evidence, including a pair of jeans and a shoe that were found on Darlene, but the judge overruled those objections.
Friday, El Paso County Coroner Dr. Leon Kelly testified as a forensic expert in the case. He said Darlene suffered multiple injuries throughout the body including to the head, neck and abdomen. He said her body was covered with injuries that were consistent with bite-marks and one of her nipples had been removed, likely bitten off after death. Darlene also had injuries consistent with sexual assault both vaginally and anally. Kelly said injuries can occur during consensual sex but it was his opinion that the acts were not consensual, noting that Darlene had some defensive wounds to her hands and the backs of her arms.
Kelly said Darlene’s death was a homicide caused by strangulation.
The defense pointed out that evidence from the autopsy could have been contaminated as practices were different in 1987 and gloves were not always worn.
The trial is expected to continue Monday with the prosecution calling more witnesses to the stand.