14 February 2005

Ongoing Murder Trial

My local courthouse has a jury trial ongoing for a murder which has all the makings of a Court TV show - if only Virginia judges would allow them in a court room. A very pretty young woman who works at Hooters disappears in the middle of the night. Her on-again-off-again, at least verbally abusive boyfriend called in her disappearance and is the accused.

As I can discern it (through the local news and the courthouse gossip vine), the prosecution's strongest evidence is that the accused made some statements before they found the body in which he talked about the decedent in the past tense and talked about some evidence which they claim no one told him about. One dog traced an unidentified scent from the lady's abandoned car almost to their mutual house. Another couple bloodhounds were given the scent of the lady's makeup and trailed a scent from the abandoned car to a pond. The governments' theory of the case appears to be that the defendant killed the lady, hid her body at a sports park near where the dogs lost the scent at the pond, and the next morning slipped away from the police who were tailing him and hid the body in a dumpster at an apartment complex.

The difficulty is that the prosecutor's theory of how it happened just does not seem to fit. They don't seem to have any forensic evidence at the house or in the car reflecting a struggle or injury. They don't have a weapon which can be tied to the bullet wound. It's debatable whether the defendant had time to do the things the prosecution alleges the night of the murder. It gets real thin when the prosecution claims he slipped the police for "at least 18 minutes" the next day during which he went to get the body, made "a 27-mile, 74-stoplight roundtrip", and hid the body at the apartment complex.

Of course, the prosecution also has the problem that another man has confessed to the murder.

There's more to it but you'll have to read the articles to get it all.

Suspect in homicide was victim's boyfriend, is the father of 6-year-old son

Prosecutor: Suspect knew details in slaying
But defense counters that evidence of guilt is lacking in woman's shooting death

Police describe crime scene

Evidence draws tears from defendant

Murder trial testimony conflicts

Witness alleges death threat
She says defendant said he could kill the Hooters waitress

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