NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Wednesday, the jury on the Joseph Belstadt trial saw photos of Mandy Steingasser’s decomposed body from when it was found in Bond Lake Park.
Detectives testified about the day the remains were recovered, October 25, 1993 and what else they collected from the scene.
Charles Keith Shepherd, one of the men that spotted Steingasser’s body at the park that day, took the stand.
He recounted walking along the ravine with his brother-in-law when they saw denim clothing on the edge. He said his brother-in-law went closer to investigate, realized what he’d found, and they left to call the sheriff’s department.
Photos of the ravine area and Steingasser’s body were then shown.
Some photos showed Steingasser’s pants pulled down with her underwear showing. Others depicted a pint liquor bottle in the pocket of her denim jacket.
Detective William Carosella was the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office crime scene technician who took the photos. He pointed out a bra tied around Steingasser’s neck in a couple of the photos.
Prosecutors repeatedly questioned detectives about how they handled the body and other evidence at the scene. They testified gloves were always used, and nothing was touched with bare hands.
Carosella testified a tire iron, a piece of wood with a nail sticking out of it, carpet from a trunk, and other debris were collected from the area.
Belstadt’s attorney asked him whether other debris in the area, including cigarette and marijuana butts, were also collected.
Carosella said he didn’t remember seeing cigarette and marijuana butts specifically, but testified there was other debris that wasn’t collected and this was a common area where people dumped garbage.
Carosella was also one of the deputies to collect items from Belstadt’s car a few days later.
Belstadt’s attorney asked Carosella about several items collected from the car including carpet from the trunk and side panels, items with hair on them, soil from the wheels, and several others, which were listed in the search warrant inventory.
Carosella said he couldn’t remember all of them specifically.
Also Wednesday, Stephanie Landes, who was Stephanie Bartlett in 1993, testified Belstadt took her to a “park-like setting” in Lewiston twice in the summer of 1993. She was 15-years-old at the time.
Past North Tonawanda detective Ross McQuade testified the woman showed deputies how to get to that park after Steingasser’s body was found.
He identified on an enlarged map the spot the woman said she and Belstadt parked when they went to the park. He said it was the same parking area near the ravine where the body was found.
He testified about a separate area of the park being a common place where kids would hang out.
Carosella testified the parking area near where Steingasser’s body was found was an area he would commonly find kids parked, partying and being intimate.