Darrick Anderson

Darrick Anderson, right, with his lawyer, Tim Kiefer, listens to testimony Tuesday at Anderson's preliminary hearing. He is accused of first-degree intentional homicide for the March 27 death of Downtown resident Andrew Nesbitt.

A man who was stabbed to death in his apartment last month suffered 70 knife wounds, the Dane County medical examiner testified Tuesday at a preliminary hearing for the man accused in the homicide.

Dane County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Vincent Tranchida said Andrew Nesbitt, 46, suffered the wounds to his head, neck, torso and extremities during the incident early March 27 in which Nesbitt was killed.

Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ordered Darrick E. Anderson, 23, of Columbus, to stand trial after finding probable cause he committed a felony. Anderson is charged with first-degree intentional homicide for Nesbitt’s death. Authorities have not yet said what motivation Anderson may have had for killing Nesbitt.

Nesbitt was found on his bed in his North Butler Street apartment. Madison police Detective Pedro Ortega-Mendoza testified the bed had been stripped to a bare mattress and pictures were knocked over in the bedroom. But he said no other signs of a struggle were noted in the apartment.

Anderson’s lawyer, Tim Kiefer, called Tranchida to the witness stand to press him on the kinds of wounds Anderson had suffered to his right hand, which were not seen on surveillance video taken before Nesbitt’s death but were present on Anderson’s hand at the time he was arrested the day after the homicide.

A criminal complaint quoted Tranchida, after looking at a photograph of the cuts on Anderson’s right fingers, as saying he believed the cuts were caused by a knife sliding in Anderson’s hand as it was being used.

But on the stand Tuesday, Tranchida conceded to Kiefer that the cuts “could be” consistent with wounds Anderson suffered as he defended himself in relation to a knife.

Kiefer questioned whether it was possible that Nesbitt first brandished a knife, which was taken away by Anderson and used to kill Nesbitt, but Tranchida said there was no way to say who started the fight.

But under cross-examination from District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, Tranchida testified Nesbitt had defensive wounds to the palms of his hands, including some cuts that appeared to indicate Nesbitt had tried to grab the knife as he defended himself.

Many of Nesbitt’s wounds were to his back, Tranchida said, and many were very deep, indicating a lot of force was used to inflict them. That force, combined with blood, could have made the knife handle slick enough to slip through the hand of Nesbitt’s assailant and cause the kind of cuts seen on Anderson’s hand, Tranchida testified.

Ortega-Mendoza said blood droplets found in the kitchen of the apartment were tested for DNA, and an oral swab taken from Anderson after his arrest confirmed the blood was his .

Anderson will formally enter pleas to the charges against him at a later date. Kiefer declined to say after the hearing whether Anderson would seek to enter pleas of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

In an unrelated case against Anderson pending in Columbia County, he has sought to change his not guilty pleas to insanity pleas, but his motion hasn’t been heard in court yet.

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Ed Treleven is the courts reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.