Videos show MacVilla, Nellis together

JOHNSTOWN — Autopsy photos, surveillance videos and several items of evidence collected during the investigation into the disappearance and death of Michaela MacVilla were presented to the jury during the Fulton County Court trial against Daniel Nellis proving that she was with Nellis, the alleged killer, just hours before she was murdered.

Taking the stand for almost an hour on Wednesday was Dr. Michael Sikirica who conducted the autopsy of MacVilla’s body on Oct. 3. He testified that the manner of death was a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to the back of her head. Sikirica testified that while performing the autopsy and examining her skull and scalp, he determined the shot was fired close range; approximately a couple inches from her head. He also testified that there was no evidence of any disease or any other injury that could have caused her death.

Sikirica testified that MacVilla’s body was twisted and her head faced down. He said there were signs of mild decomposition which meant she had been dead from several days to approximately a week.

MacVilla was last seen on Sept. 25 leaving work at midnight from the Stewart’s Shop on East Main Street in St. Johnsville. Her body was found exactly one week later on Oct. 2 in heavy brush off of a powerline road that ran off of Kringsbush Road. She was last seen wearing her Stewart’s uniform and she was found wearing that same Stewart’s uniform, however, she was found partially nude with her pants around her ankles.

Sikirica testified that he completed a sexual assault kit on MacVilla, however, during cross examination, defense attorney Brian Toal questioned whether there was any indication of a sexual assault. Sikirica testified that the sexual assault kit showed there was no evidence of MacVilla being sexually assaulted. He also said there was no evidence that there was any kind of a struggle. He said there was however, a bruise on her neck and an abrasion on the midline of her neck.

Also taking the stand were state police investigators Sean Ryan and Brian Kenney, who both testified that they conducted searches at Nellis’ residence, at the location where MacVilla’s body was found and at 53 Dolge Ave., Dolgeville where a dozen handguns were found that Nellis allegedly had access to.

When searching the location where MacVilla’s body was found, Ryan and Kenney testified that a black lighter and a pair of glasses were found near her body.

While searching the upstairs residence to 53 Dolge Ave., several handguns, along with explosives, ammunition and material for making new ammunition were found. During Kenney’s testimony, he was shown several items of evidence by Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown and was able to identify each handgun that was found.

Both Kenney and Ryan testified that while at Nellis’s residence at 758 Route 108, the front door was boarded up with plywood and bullet holes were found throughout the home including in the master bedroom and on the stairway. Kenney testified that there were approximately 10 to 12 bullet holes found. Also while searching Nellis’ residence, a surveillance system was found, in which Investigator John Montesano analyzed the footage from the system.

During his testimony, four videos were played for the jury that showed the entrance to Nellis’ home. The first video showed a silver car pull up in front of the home at approximately 12:43 a.m. on Sept 25. Both MacVilla and Nellis are seen exiting the vehicle and entering his residence. A second video shows at approximately 7:22 a.m. on Sept. 25, a Fulton County sheriff’s deputy at the residence after Nellis called 911 multiple times claiming the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang was at his house. A third video at approximately 11:59 a.m. show both Nellis and MacVilla leaving the residence that same day. And the final video showed Nellis returning to the residence at 12:59 p.m. on Sept. 25 alone.

The trial will continue today at Fulton County Court in front of Judge Polly Hoye.

By Patricia Older

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