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Brownlow case goes to jury in 26-year-old murder

Published June 13, 2006 at midnight

BRIGHTON - The question of whether a 16-year-old boy brutally stabbed and killed a 15-year-old girl 26 years ago is in the hands of an Adams County jury.

Troy Brownlow, now 41, is accused of killing Nadine Grimes on Sept. 4, 1980, in her sister's bedroom in a quiet Thornton neighborhood.

Blood found on a waterbed, a sink, a bathroom wall, a dish towel, and on a hose and fence in the backyard of the home was linked to Brownlow, who was never a suspect until a routine DNA sample taken as he was exiting an Arizona prison last year found a match in the FBI's database.

Brownlow admitted to a Rocky Mountain News reporter that he was at the victim's house that day, but that he fled out the back door after seeing a "really big dude" - a tough, biker type - in the house.

Keith Pope, one of Brownlow's attorneys, used his closing argument Monday to try to raise doubts in jurors' minds as to the reliability of the blood evidence. He noted, for instance, that a now-dead detective had gotten west mixed up with north when he took notes on where in the house he collected the blood evidence.

Pope also said the same instrument might have been used to take several blood scrapings, suggesting that a single sample of Brownlow's blood might have contaminated blood samples taken from several other places in the house.

But Assistant District Attorney Michael Goodbee told jurors that blood from only two people was found at the scene - that of Nadine Grimes and Troy Goodlow.

There are always going to be inconsistencies in crime-scene investigation, Goodbee said.

Still, the blood is telling a long-hidden story, he said. "The real killer sits before you. Is it ever too late to do justice?"

Earlier Monday, an Adams County forensics pathologist testified that Nadine Grimes struggled mightily for her life and probably gained control of the knife sometime in the struggle, which left her with 80 stab wounds.

Brownlow, Nadine Grimes and her sister Deanna all attended Thornton High School at the same time.

Brownlow lived a half mile away and was an infrequent visitor to the house. When he and Deanna graduated in 1982, he gave the benediction speech.

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