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August 2, 2018

Phone data expert links murder victim, defendant

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Members of defendant Bernard C. Duse Jr.’s family wait for the Fauquier County Circuit Court to open for the first day of his trial Monday morning.
Lt. Tim Carter, who heads the Warrenton Police Department’s investigation of the case, testified Wednesday.
Duse Murder Case
• What: July 26, 2017, murder in parking lot of CVS pharmacy at 510 Blackwell Road, Warrenton.

• Victim: CVS Manager Alex Olsen, 64, of Culpeper County.

• Court: Fauquier County Circuit.

• Defendant: Bernard C. Duse Jr., 77, of Alexandria.

• Schedule: Five-day trial will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday, July 30.

• Penalty: If convicted of both charges, Mr. Duse could be sentenced to life in prison for murder and a maximum three years for the felony weapon charge.

• Fast facts: At about 10:15 p.m. last July 26, Mr. Olsen — the store manager — left the CVS to put trash in a dumpster at the back of the property. At close range, Mr. Duse allegedly shot his boss in the back of the head. Mr. Olsen collapsed to the ground, face up. At close range, the defendant then allegedly shot him in the face. Mr. Duse at the time worked as the store’s assistant manager.

• Prosecutors: Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher; Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Jamey Cook; Senior Commonwealth’s Attorney Abigail Owens.

• Defense lawyers: John F. Carroll and Colleen Sweeney of Fairfax County.

• Judge: Herman A. Whisenant Jr.

• Jury: 9 men and 5 women, including 2 alternates, selected Monday morning.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
After putting 22 witnesses on the stand in Fauquier Circuit Court this week, the prosecution on Wednesday afternoon rested its case in the trial of an Alexandria man charged with murdering a Warrenton CVS manager in the store’s parking lot last July.

Bernard C. Duse Jr. allegedly shot and killed his boss, Rex Mack Olsen, 64, of Culpeper.

Mr. Duse, who filed an employment complaint with CVS, allegedly shot Mr. Olsen in the back of the head and the face.

The defendant also faces a felony weapon charge. If convicted of both charges, he could be sentenced to life in prison for murder and a maximum three years for the weapon charge.

Five prosecution witnesses testified Wednesday, including a Warrenton police officer who headed the murder investigation, two CVS employees, an eyewitness who works at the nearby Ruby Tuesday restaurant and a telecommunications data analysis expert.

After a full day of testimony, Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. declared a recess until 9 a.m. Thursday.

On Thursday, Fairfax defense lawyer John F. Carroll, who represents Mr. Duse, will present his client’s case to the jury.

Mr. Carroll expects to put up to four witnesses on the stand.

On Friday, Mr. Carroll and Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher will make closing arguments to the jury.

The jury then will decide Mr. Duse’s guilt or innocence.

His five-day trial began Monday.


Day 3
Wednesday, Aug. 1
Prosecution

• Robert L. Arnold
District manager, CVS Pharmacy

Mr. Arnold oversees 19 Virginia CVS pharmacies, including the Blackwell Road store. Three years ago, the company had to fill a Manassas store manager’s positon. Mr. Duse briefly managed that store until the company chose a permanent replacement.

The Manassas job ultimately went to another CVS employee, Mr. Arnold testified.

He discussed the decision with Mr. Duse, telling him that he would return to the Warrenton store and continue as assistant manager.

“He was not happy with that decision,” Mr. Arnold said. “He was very disappointed.”

Mr. Duse probably believed he would get the Manassas store manager’s job, the witness said.

As part of a corporate-wide restructuring plan, CVS in late 2015 or early 2016 eliminated the assistant manager position, replacing it with the operation’s manager post.

That plan also created a store manager in-training program.

Mr. Duse hoped he would be chosen to participate in the program. But he failed to meet various criteria and to attain a minimum score on a written assessment to qualify.

Mr. Duse filed an age discrimination complaint against CVS. He included a “draft” of the assessment in the complaint to help make his case.

Mr. Duse claimed he had found the draft assessment on his vehicle windshield.

The prosecution showed the jury a store video of Mr. Duse using a key to remove a multi-page document from a “lock box” in the Warrenton store manager’s office. The defendant reviewed and kept the document, according to the video.

The secured cabinet contains various confidential documents, including personnel files, according to Mr. Arnold.


• Simaranjit “Sammy” Kaur
Pharmacy supervisor, Warrenton CVS

Mr. Olsen gave her a set of store keys, including one that provided access to the “lock box,” Ms. Kaur explained. The secured cabinet contained documents related to the store’s annual “loss-prevention” audit.

Ms. Kaur testified she needed access the documents because she helped with that review.

Mr. Duse told her that he should have the store keys, she recalled. A former shift manager, Ms. Kaur gave him the keys while Mr. Olsen had been on vacation last year.

To her knowledge, no other shift managers had copies of the store keys.


• Heather Johnson
Ruby Tuesday employee

Ms. Johnson took a break at about 9:45 p.m. the night of the murder. From the restaurant’s side entrance facing the CVS, she noticed a person “pacing around” and apparently peering into the store’s fence-enclosed dumpster area.

She described the person’s behavior as “very odd.”

The individual seemed of “average height” and wore a black T-shirt, Ms. Johnson told the jury.

She couldn’t determine the person’s race.


• Timothy Carter
Lieutenant, Warrenton Police Department

At the time of the murder, Mr. Carter worked a sergeant in charge of the department’s criminal investigations. He heads the Olsen case investigation.

Lt. Carter interviewed two witnesses — Joshua Lloyd and Heather Johnson. Mr. Lloyd testified Monday, July 31.

Mr. Lloyd testified he stood in front of the nearby Ruby Tuesday restaurant when he saw person near the CVS dumpster area.

Both Mr. Lloyd and Ms. Johnson stood about 184 feet from the dumpster site, Lt. Carter testified. Landscaping partly obscured their view of the dumpster area, he said.

Mr. Lloyd initially told Lt. Carter that he couldn’t identify the potential killer race.

He later would describe the suspect as a “white guy” to the lieutenant. Mr. Lloyd also would describe the suspect as “tan”-colored.

Early search warrant affidavits related to the Olsen case prepared by Lt. Carter described the suspect as a “light-skinned male.”

But on the witness stand, Mr. Lloyd admitted he no longer could be certain of the suspect’s race.

Law enforcement authorities later identified Mr. Duse as a suspect, based on an accumulation of evidence.

For example, Lt. Carter soon after the murder interviewed Julia Olsen — the victim’s widow.

He asked Mrs. Olsen if she know of anyone who might do “harm” to her husband. Mrs. Olsen mention that he had trouble with the defendant related to the CVS employment complaint.

That led to a review of cell phone data that showed Mr. Duse’s and Mr. Olsen’s cell phones travelled at the same time the night of the murder from Warrenton to an area near the defendant’s Alexandria home, Lt. Carter said.

Mr. Olsen always kept his cell phone with him. But investigators never found that phone at the crime scene.

Police on Aug. 2 arrested Mr. Duse outside his home.


• Mike Melson
President, Hawk Analytics, Temecula, Calif.

A telecommunication data analysis expert, Mr. Melson used a software program he wrote to evaluate 60,000 records over a three-month period related to Mr. Duse’s and Mr. Olsen’s cell phones.

The data allowed him to track the movements of Mr. Duse’s and Mr. Olsen’s mobile phones as they accessed cell towers between their respective homes and the Warrenton CVS store.

When Mr. Duse and Mr. Olsen drove to work, cell phone data indicate they used the same routes.

The data also allowed Mr. Melson to spot “anomalies,” or departures from the routine.

One such anomaly occurred the evening of Mr. Olsen’s July 26, 2017, murder. While Mr. Duse didn’t work that night, the data place his phone in the Warrenton area around the time of the killing.

Mr. Olsen always kept his cell phone with him, but investigators didn’t find the device at the murder scene.

But, the data show that both Mr. Olsen’s and Mr. Duse’s phones left Warrenton that night at the same time and travelled the same route the defendant used to get from work to his home near Alexandria, Mr. Melson said.

Both phones also arrived near Mr. Duse’s home at the same time, he said.

Mr. Melson plotted the cell phone data on maps included in a slideshow presentation to the jury.

The analyst has little doubt the phones travelled in the same vehicle. If the devices travelled separately, the two vehicles had to be “locked” at their bumpers, he said.


Previous coverage

> Victim’s widow and police officers testify

> Prosecution begins its case

> Jury selected Monday morning

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