SPOKANE, Wash. - KXLY cameras were in court today when triple-murder suspect Roy Murry appeared before his trial judge. Murry's defense team was trying to limit what information the jury will hear about the murders of three people in Colbert in June of 2015.
In this case, Murry's guilt or innocence may be decided by evidence too small to see with the naked eye.
Murry's trial is coming down to a nanoparticle level, specifically the active ingredient in a gun barrel lubricant that is one billionth of a meter in diameter.
This investigation is so science-driven that some of Murry's jurors might wish they had Ph.D's.
It is the most complex murder case that Spokane Sheriff's Office detectives have investigated in more than a decade.
Three people were shot to death in and around their Colbert home and then their was house torched in an effort to cover the killer's tracks.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said that "the fires were started, in our opinion to cover up any evidence at the crime scene."
Although it took several days, investigators sifted through the debris and found eight shell casings ejected by the gun that killed the victims.
Detectives have not found the murder weapon but think that the case can still be tied to Roy Murry.
They believe Murry used a very rare lubricant on his .22 caliber pistol called 'AccuDure,' a barrel oil created by a WSU professor that is the first of its kind.
Bill Schneck with the WSP Crime Lab explained, "he designed a nanolubricant which was proprietary and not used anywhere in the world."
After detectives found a bottle of AccuDure inside Murry's home, they asked the WSP Crime Lab to see if there were any traces of AccuDure still on the casings recovered at the scene.
Because the ballistics were so complex, the evidence was shipped off to MVA Scientific Consultants, a Georgia lab that specializes in analyzing nanoparticulates. This is where forensic scientists found the link investigators were looking for.
"In my report I said I did find particles on some of the shell casings that were consistent with the particles described in the lubricant," said Richard Brown, Executive Director of MVA Scientific Consultants.
And that is significant because AccuDure is not available in stores. In fact, Roy Murry was trying to market AccuDure to gun owners at the time of the murders.
Jury selection for Murry's murder trial gets underway on Tuesday.