Cisneros’ former cellmates take the stand


MASON CITY, Iowa – We end week one with statements from both the medical examiner and those who were close to Cisneros behind bars.

Former Iowa DCI Supervisor Robert Harvey is the first to take the stand on the fifth day of the Michael Cisneros trial.

He explains to the jury how they were not able to find any sign of forced entry into the home.

There was very little to no sign of blood within the home but there was one fingerprint they were able to lift, which was found near the window of John Snyder Jr.’s bedroom.

However, they never found out who it belonged to.

Later, two of Cisneros’ former cellmates at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City took the stand.

“I asked him, did you kill somebody, did you kill a dude? He said no. I asked him, did you kill a woman? He said no. Then I asked him, did you kill a kid? He never answered that question, he never gave me an answer,” said former cellmate, Jeremy Rutledge.

One inmate who was described as a “jailhouse lawyer” says he gave Cisneros legal advice.

Cisneros had told Kenneth Orte, he was concerned that DCI wanted a DNA sample, but after discovering a child was involved, Orte says he regrets helping Cisneros behind bars.

“I’m kind of curious and angry myself because I was led to believe that this whole thing from the beginning and from when Mike looked to me for assistance that it was a crime against an adult and not a child,” said Orte.

Both inmates made it clear that they were not receiving any special treatment or offers for testifying in the case.

In fact, Orte who is still in prison, claims he will have to wait to receive the ankle bracelet needed for his release by testifying on Friday.

So when asked why they decided to testify, Rutledge had this to say.

“These days little people are not given enough justice. If one is wronged, they deserve justice,” said Rutledge.

Later, former State Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas Bennett would later go in-depth with his findings on the Snyder Jr.’s autopsy.

According to Dr. Bennett, the graphic images show how severe the injuries were.

Dr. Bennett says the blow to Snyder Jr.’s face was so severe that it cracked the jaw all the way through. The strongest bone in the body.

In a second, possibly related strike, the back lower half of Snyder’s skull was injured and appeared forced toward the brain.

While the damage was not immediately life-threatening, Dr. Bennett says it was evident this was a murder.

“In my opinion with the constellation of injuries, the injuries received before his death, the seriousness of those injuries and ultimately death by drowning. In my opinion John’s death is a homicide,” said Dr. Bennett.

When asked if the fresh water drowning could have taken place at another location, Dr. Bennett claimed that it is a possibility, but not likely.

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