Despite her DNA evidence being found at the crime scene, a woman was acquitted for murdering an aspiring model inside her Santa Monica apartment. The DNA evidence was in multiple locations at the crime scene, in fact, such as the victim's cellphone, the knob of the stove and on the victim's neck. Prosecutors protested that the evidence was too much to ignore, and alleged that the defendant killed the model because of a business dispute.
The jury deliberated for about a week before coming to a conclusion. Interestingly enough, the jurors never explained their verdict and refused to talk to the media as they were exiting the courtroom. The woman's defense attorney was able to persuade the jurors that the woman was innocent because she had no record of violence, and there was no clear motive for the homicide.
Lack of a clear-cut motive and intent behind the crime was enough to cast reasonable doubt on a case that was laced with DNA evidence. The defense attorney commended the jurors' intelligence, stating that they were smart enough not to be swayed on the basis of DNA evidence alone. DNA placed the defendant at the scene of the crime, but it did not answer why or how.
Last year, the district attorney's office eliminated one of the prosecution's key arguments. That argument stated that the defendant worked for a doctor who was angry with the victim's father for a business deal gone sour. The prosecution wanted to argue that the doctor used the defendant to threaten those who broke off deals with him, but the evidence was suppressed.
Although the prosecution was able to establish that the doctor was the common thread between the victim and the suspect, the doctor denied any involvement and has not been charged. The district attorney's office released a statement that, while they disagree with the verdict, they respect the justice system.
The defense also argued that the defendant's DNA evidence easily could have been transferred to the crime scene by the doctor. Again, the jurors found this reasonable to believe, as there was no evidence to indicate that the defendant herself was at the apartment at the time of the murder.
The principle that can be drawn from this case is that, even if there is strong DNA evidence tying a defendant to a crime, this is not enough to warrant a conviction. Prosecuting attorneys must successfully establish a motive that is more than just theory.
If you have been arrested for a serious criminal offense, even murder, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Martinian & Associates Inc. can help. Even when the evidence against you seems strong, you are innocent until proven guilty. Utilize your right to legal counsel and contact our firm today!