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Thread: Danielle Van Dam Murder

  1. #51
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    Wow, I never have heard of this case. Poor litlte girl. That is amazing that you got his rv on tape.

  2. #52
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    This was a local case, San Diego. I find myself interested in cases within Ca and SD, (Chelsea King, James Arthur Ray, Scott Peterson, etc.)

    If interested you can scroll back and find a post by someone who mentions he saw Westerfields RV in the desert and was interviewed by police.

    I feel so much sorrow for this child whose end could not have been pleasant.


    San Diego turned blue in 2012, joining the rest of California. Vote for Obama statewide, 60.4%. LGBT Chamber of Commerce, 2nd in the US. Scott Peters replaced BB. Moving forward in business and the community.

  3. #53
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    Any trial transcripts or anything?


    "I will be buried in a spring loaded casket filled with confetti, and a future archaeologist will have one awesome day at work."

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miho View Post
    Any trial transcripts or anything?
    The trial transcripts can be found here: http://www.unposted.com/trial/
    and a book on the case here: http://tinyurl.com/6bzzyf4

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    The trial transcripts can be found here: http://www.unposted.com/trial/
    and a book on the case here: http://tinyurl.com/6bzzyf4
    Thanks much and welcome!


    "I will be buried in a spring loaded casket filled with confetti, and a future archaeologist will have one awesome day at work."

  6. #56
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    Glad I could help, and thanks for the welcome.

  7. #57
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    Reply to Mammy

    Quote: "One of the things that really haunted me was that when her body was found, she had been punched in the mouth so hard that her teeth were down her throat."

    There werenít any teeth down her throat. You are obviously thinking of the one tooth which was found in the back of her mouth. The forensic odontologist (the renowned Dr Skip Sperber), testified there was no trauma to her lips, mouth, oral cavity, teeth or the surrounding bone, so itís most unlikely she was punched in the mouth. You are probably thinking of his explanation of an unfavorable root/crown ratio, and the examples he gave: being hit with a softer object and a playground accident. But he didnít say this had happened to Danielle: he believed that her teeth were missing because of decomposition.

    Quote: "I also think it was disgusting to drag the parents through the mud because of their lifestyle choices ... it was nobody's business how they lived their personal lives."

    The intruder gained access to the house through the unlocked side garage door. It was unlocked because the parents and their friends had been in the garage that night, smoking marijuana. Once inside the garage, the intruder had free access to the house, as the lock on the house-garage door had been reversed. It had been reversed so their children wouldnít walk in on them while they were smoking marijuana. I donít want to upset anyone, but there is therefore a clear link between the parentsí lifestyle choices and the loss of their daughter.

  8. #58
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    This case has haunted me for years. Does anyone know an update on the family or anything? I wonder if they moved.
    "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." ~Mahatma Gandhi

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by steffie View Post
    This case has haunted me for years. Does anyone know an update on the family or anything? I wonder if they moved.
    They did move, but I canít remember exactly when or to where. It was about two years afterwards, and they didnít move far, Iím sure they are still in or near Poway.

  10. #60
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    As parents we all make stupid mistakes. Did Danielle's parents cause her death? I say not. I think the killer would have found a way to get to her sooner or later.

  11. #61
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    I agree, Pepper. They lived a much different lifestyle than a lot of people and did things that I wouldn't do, but they loved their children and provided well for them and were devastated by Danielle being kidnapped and murdered by that disgusting pervert. There are plenty of horrible parents that cook meth with their children in the house and neglect and abuse their children and those children don't end up brutally murdered. I don't agree with the pot smoking, but at least they were discreet about it and fixed the door to where the children wouldn't walk in and catch them smoking it. I'm sure they go through the "what ifs" everyday of their lives.
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  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by findadeathaddict View Post
    I still don't get his motive....was he pissed at her mother and did it for revenge? or did he have his eye on her for sometime?
    The motive is simply this: He is a pedophile. A Predator. Predators are opportunists, they ingratiate you with their kindness and sparkling personality so they can gain access to your children. The child porn on his computer that he tried to throw his son under the bus for tells you everything you need to know about this sick bastard! Sadly, I'll be long gone from this earth before he is ever executed in my home state of California.

  13. #63
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    One of Westerfields atourneys was my client for many years (Robert Boyce). I had no idea until I ran into Stephen Feldman one day while meeting with Boyce. I added a photo (guy with glasses) but it looks like you have to click on it to see it.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanDiegodeathhag19 View Post
    has it been proven, i had read somewhere that david westerfield had invited danielles parents to an "adult" parties and they were a bit worried about it, if thats true, then i dont think they had a unique lifestlye, or else that would have been normal for them.

    im not sure that i can remember where i read that, but i think it was wiki, or actually i think it was on court tv.com but that has nothing to do with their daughter being abducted, it could have led alot of strange people into their house, but it was said that david westerfield had taped their house, like survaillence.. so im not sure.
    He told Danielleís mother (Brenda) he held adult parties, which she interpreted at the time to mean he was also a swinger (and she laughed about it when she phoned her husband immediately afterwards), but under questioning at the trial, she backtracked and said she thought he just meant parties with alcohol and without children - which is probably what he did mean.

    Their swinging could have led a lot of strange people into their house, but they apparently only did a limited amount. That being the case, I would be more concerned about the drunken and provocative behavior of Brenda and her two girlfriends at the bar that night (including propositioning strangers). Brenda told her friends the previous week that they were probably making everybody horny. But again this was apparently not typical behavior.

    I donít know of any claim Westerfield had ever taped their house. The suspicion was that he spied on them because, if he stood in his bathtub, and pushed out the window screen, he could have seen part of their back yard through the trees. But there was no evidence he had ever done so.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by gemini33 View Post
    Wow. I remember that case and when they were looking for her. Didn't a jogger or something find her? I can't really remember, but the 911 call was heart wrenching. The L.A. tv station were all over it.
    She was found by volunteer searchers, organized originally by the Laura Recovery Center.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armcast View Post
    Holy Shit! Do you know if the little girl was in the RV? When was she killed?
    When young girls are kidnapped, they are typically killed within four hours. But in this case, it was five hours before Westerfield even got to his RV, and Danielle must have been alive to leave her handprint there. (Unless it was left at an earlier time, or the fingerprint examiner misidentified it, as happens sometimes, such as with Brandon Mayfield.) The prosecution hinted that they thought she was still alive more than a day later. And, according to the entomology evidence, she probably only died about two weeks later.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisamarie View Post
    Yeah good for you guys...there are many who would not get involved..and you did..bless your heart. This isint the guy who had people in the trailor with him and they knew he had her in the bedroom and did nothing?? Sick fuck....I think there is a special hell for people who hurt children.
    That sounds like John Couey, who kidnapped Jessica Lunsford.

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by GODDESS6 View Post
    i watched this trial faithfully as i did the search for her~ when she was found i was devestated~ david westerfield is a horrid arrogant man~ his own kids changed their last names as to not be associated w/ him~
    The reason they gave was to disassociate from his NAME.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazedfemale View Post
    I remember that when the police examined the RV, it had been cleaned and smelled of bleach. This guy deserves everything he gets.
    That is what some media reported, but there was no supporting evidence. On the contrary, various law enforcement personnel said it didnít smell of cleaning fluid, didnít look like it had been recently cleaned, and there was even a very fine layer of dust throughout the interior.

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by koolstrike View Post
    Unfortunately, with You Tube resolution you cannot see inside the RV. On my master tape when viewed in slow motion, you can most definitely see westerfield inside the RV. As the rider/cameraman rides by he very quickly moves from looking out the side window (in the door) to moving to the front of the RV and looking through the windshield.

    Danielle van Dam was most definitely inside that RV at that time. The only speculation is whether the girl was dead or not.

    When I called San Diego Homicide and spoke to the detective and told him what I had, he wanted me to MAIL the tape to him.

    I told him, NO WAY. You want the tape? Come out to Glamis next weekend, we will be there.

    They came out the following weekend, we showed the detective the tape and they took the testimony of my fellow rider who had westerfield walk up and ask him to help pull his stuck RV out of the sand.

    When we showed the tape, the detective face just froze and he requested we give him the tape immediately.

    We did.

    My friend was the second or third witness when the trial began.
    He was the first witness on Day 8.

    Iím not sure what value this video had for the prosecution, as it merely provided visual confirmation of what Westerfield had told the police at his first interview. But it was valuable for the defense, as it showed the RV curtains were open, so anyone could see inside and some people did. It was also valuable for me in that the media had reported that the RV was stuck in sand dunes, whereas this video shows that the area was flat.

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisalouver View Post
    That is amazing.

    A RV stuck in the sand in the desert is suspicious to me even if there is no murder.

    How long after you had the tape did you link it to the murder?
    Westerfield had been stuck before. Both koolstrikeís friend and the other four campers who testified at the trial, all said that itís not unusual for people to get stuck, some had even been stuck themselves, and the tow-truck driver who pulled Westerfield out makes a living partly by freeing stuck vehicles.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by cachluv View Post
    If any one of you were out there alone, that person may have been hurt as well to prevent witnesses.

    Damn. Just.....damn. I'm glad they got him, and I don't know what you believe but I believe you guys were placed there for a reason that day. And that business of telling the cops he failed the lie detector because he felt so badly for the family, please. That was weak. But not nearly as weak as him telling the Feds that he was collecting child porn not for his own enjoyment but he was gathering it to turn it in to the police because it disgusted him. That's so full of holes and sounds like some shit a little kid would make up.

    Motherfucker. Rot in hell. Soon.
    He told a friend that he was simply collecting the images so he could send them to Congress as examples of smut on the Internet. He had also previously said that there was a big controversy about kids being able to access porn on the Internet, so he wanted to see for himself how much information he could get without paying, and he made a collection of different types, to document what was possible, and he wasnít doing that any more.

    The evidence is consistent with that explanation. There was only a small quantity of the "questionable" images (thatís the term used by the prosecution expert). Most of the images shown to the jury were in one folder on just one Zip disk, while the worst images, the video clips, were on just one CD-ROM. And based on the trial testimony, most of the "questionable" images were downloaded in 1999, and they had been seldom viewed since being downloaded, nor had they been recently viewed.

  23. #73
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    Beside the simply facts what really makes me mad about this entire event was that his lawyers were permitted to lie in court. Many have argued with me that the lawyers can not lie but I disagree and I use this case as an example.

    To avoid the death penalty Westerfield agreed to tell the police where he buried her. That is, he admitted that he killed her and was trying to cop a plea by using this as his only bargaining tool. Luckily her body was found before there was any agreement. All an around about way to note that his lawyers knew he did it.

    O.K., I understand (but disagree) about why his confession could not be used at trial. His lawyers did use the argument about the parents lifestyle and proposed the argument that it could have been one of the parents swingers friends that had done it. The lawyers knew that it couldn't have been, that it was their client.

    The lawyers should have been charged with perjury or whatever they legally would call their lie.

  24. #74
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    There was an outcry at the time, but it soon died down as it was determined that his lawyers hadnít broken any rules, they didnít cross the line. It is an adversarial system, and the job of defense lawyers is to make the prosecution prove their case.

    The vast majority of cases are settled by plea deals, so it is very likely that there were negotiations in this case. But the balance of evidence indicates that it was the prosecution that made an offer to the defense, and not the other way round. We do know that he didnít tell the police where the body was. (By the way, she wasnít buried.)

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by koolstrike View Post
    Westerfield approached my friend at day break. That early in the desert can be very cold, my friend was sleeping in an uninsulated trailer, it was 29 F, he was COLD. He got out of the trailer in a jacket and was trying to warm up by walking around the trailer and stamping his feet etc. The kind of stuff you do when you are cold.

    The westerfield RV was only about 100 yards from out campsite. It was superbowl weekend so the dunes typically have very few off road riders during that weekend. Actually, it is a great weekend to go since so few people are there.


    Westerfield asked my friend "hey is that your truck?" (a ford F150 s WD), my friend said yes it is, westerfield said, "hey I got stuck in my RV, it just needs a little pull out, can you help me?"

    My friend said "no I can't, there is no was a F150 with street tires will free a 36' long RV, sorry".

    Another thing my friend noticed was that he was COLD, westerfield walked up wearing a leather type vest and a long sleeve tshirt and he was sweating profusely. Sweating bad enough that my friend noticed his sweat right off the bat.

    When the rest of us woke up an hour or so later the first thing we all noticed was that an RV was stuck 100 yards from us, with no ATV's. One of our group is a very light sleeper and has a small dog, he said westerfield drove by our camp at 1:50 AM.

    We all kind of laugh and said "what kind of idiot arrives late sunday evening with no ATV's?", he probably got a dead body in there.

    Little did we know.

    When we all got dressed and went riding our camera man decided to take a quick ride past the stuck RV, that is where the youtube footage came from that was turned over to San Diego homicide.

    After our ride while we were packing up we saw the tow truck driver pulling the westerfield RV out, there was a small group of people (5 to 8 people) all standing around watching the westerfield RV being pulled out.

    In my opinion westerfield had probably killed the girl that night (or had her restrained in the RV) after he arrived. If he had not, the girl probably would have been making enough noise that somebody would have likely noticed.
    It was late Saturday evening that Westerfield arrived, and he probably didnít bring his ATVs because itís not worth the trouble if you are alone, youíre only going for a weekend, and you are hoping to meet up with friends and use their ATVs.

    He does have a propensity to sweat (perhaps because heís a bit overweight), but even if not, he had just been trying to dig his RV out, which is heavy work.

    koolstrikeís friend testified to going to sleep at about 11:00 p.m. (on redirect examination he changed that to 11:30), and Westerfield hadnít yet arrived. He (Westerfield) had made a cell-phone call at 10:26 from the vicinity of Imperial Valley, which is about the time he would have arrived at Glamis based on his timeline, so itís not unreasonable to suppose that he had just arrived at Glamis and made the call before going off into the desert. He then spent some time driving up the various washes in an unsuccessful attempt to find his friends, so he would have arrived at koolstrikeís wash (Wash 14) after 11:00.

    That 1:50 a.m. wasnít mentioned during the trial. On the contrary, although koolstrikeís friend said he is not a sound sleeper, he didn't remember hearing another vehicle pull up, even though Westerfield had passed within about fifty yards, and he did not come in while they were awake.

  26. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giada View Post

    Danielle's, (family), Weimeraner provided evidence in dog hair transference from the family home to Westerfield's RV.
    19 hairs probably from the van Damsí Weimaraner were found in Westerfieldís house and 5 in his RV.

    The prosecution argued that the dog hairs got onto Danielleís pajamas, and were carried to first his house and then his RV on those pajamas when he kidnapped her. The weakness in that argument is that there would undoubtedly also have been dog hairs on her daytime clothes when she visited him earlier that week selling cookies. And on her motherís clothes and her younger brotherís clothes, as they accompanied her. And just as some of those hairs would have been shed from her pajamas, so some would have been shed into his house from the daytime clothes of those three people. Itís also perfectly possible that a few of those hairs now in his house, would then have been transferred from his house to his RV. They might have been transferred on his laundry, or on his clothes - or even on the clothing of the two detectives who went from his house to his RV on the Monday morning. And one of those detectives had been in the van Dam house on the Sunday, where she might have picked up more dog hairs.

  27. #77
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    There was only a small quantity of the "questionable" images (that’s the term used by the prosecution expert). Most of the images shown to the jury were in one folder on just one Zip disk, while the worst images, the video clips, were on just one CD-ROM. And based on the trial testimony, most of the "questionable" images were downloaded in 1999, and they had been seldom viewed since being downloaded, nor had they been recently viewed.
    Even having just one image of child porn, or just one movie, still is TOO much and a man or woman should not have any thing like that. I dont care if he hadnt watched the video since 1920. Why did he have it?? It was not to help congress get child pornographers. Thats the excuse that all child porn watchers say. Come on. LOL

    Im just wondering, Curiosity, are you the preacherfordeaf person that was on the youtube comments? I just cant imagine too many people sticking up for this guy.

  28. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    There was an outcry at the time, but it soon died down as it was determined that his lawyers hadn’t broken any rules, they didn’t cross the line. It is an adversarial system, and the job of defense lawyers is to make the prosecution prove their case.
    They lied.

    The vast majority of cases are settled by plea deals, so it is very likely that there were negotiations in this case. But the balance of evidence indicates that it was the prosecution that made an offer to the defense, and not the other way round. We do know that he didn’t tell the police where the body was. (By the way, she wasn’t buried.)
    He didn't tell because she was found before the negotiations were concluded.

  29. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelleRain View Post
    Even having just one image of child porn, or just one movie, still is TOO much and a man or woman should not have any thing like that. I dont care if he hadnt watched the video since 1920. Why did he have it?? It was not to help congress get child pornographers. Thats the excuse that all child porn watchers say. Come on. LOL

    Im just wondering, Curiosity, are you the preacherfordeaf person that was on the youtube comments? I just cant imagine too many people sticking up for this guy.
    A co-worker of the detective who testified declared that the images WERENíT child porn. The defense naturally wanted him to testify to this, but the prosecution objected and the judge wouldnít allow it.

    These "questionable" images were introduced by the prosecution as evidence of motive for kidnapping and murder, and they are seen as motive by the members here. I gave facts which show that these images are weak evidence of motive.

  30. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by findadeathaddict View Post
    I still don't get his motive....was he pissed at her mother and did it for revenge? or did he have his eye on her for sometime?
    There was no evidence that heíd had his eye on her for some time. In fact, the only evidence he ever had his eye on her is the belief that he kidnapped and murdered her.

    The fact that some people think revenge was the motive is confirmation that there is only weak evidence for sex being the motive. And the childís own mother was uncertain if he was after her (the mother) or the babysitter. So even she must have had doubts as to the relevance of those "child porn" images. And their babysitter was a boy, so she (the mother) must have suspected Westerfield was actually gay.

  31. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by john*thomas View Post
    They lied.



    He didn't tell because she was found before the negotiations were concluded.
    Thatís one possibility. Another possibility is that he didnít know where the body was, so he couldnít tell anyone. He spent virtually the whole of Tuesday, 5th, retracing his weekend trip with two detectives. At the end of that, both detectives believed he was ready to make a deal. Yet three weeks later it still hadnít been concluded. Despite the fact that it was certain the body would be found, and probably sooner rather than later. Because it wasnít buried or hidden, and was in a place used by the public (to dump trash), and Danielle was the focus of the biggest search in the history of San Diego County. So if he knew the location, it was in his interest to make a deal as quickly as possible.

    I presume you mean the defense lawyers lied. But in that case, the legal experts who supported them or declined to take action against them, were lying when they said they (the defense lawyers) hadnít done anything wrong.

  32. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by findadeathaddict View Post
    lol, many people are awaiting this.......has Peterson or Westerfield exhausted their appeals yet?
    Westerfieldís appeal has barely begun. The opening brief was only filed last December, and Law Enforcementís response isnít due yet (but is due soon).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Linnie View Post
    I found some of the comments interesting (and depressing).... Who is that "preacher4thedeaf " I wonder? A Westerfield supporter I suppose, but rather a novel way to go about it, claiming there may have been a "child abuse ring" (channeling McMartin Preschool "conspiracies") involving a pediatrician, and mentioning some distressing facts about Mark Lunsford. In short, it's all a police plot against poor, poor Mr. Westerfield.

    Hey, if there WAS some messing with the evidence, and it can be proven, by all means, try to do something about it, because the chap IS on Death Row.... But trash-talking about other victims' parents' shortcomings and speculating on pedo rings that may or may not exist, while claiming moral superiority because "preacher4thedeaf" refused to sue a motorist who ran down and injured his/her own child does not strike me as the way to accomplish this.
    There have been many child abuse/pornography rings, but the most relevant one that I know of was busted by Operation Hamlet. Parents were accused of sexually molesting their own children and children in their care, and 12 of the victims were in San Diego County: they were aged 7 to 10 and were mostly girls. And one of those parents was from Poway (which is where Westerfield and the van Dams lived), and he was arrested on February 15, 2002. That same day, Danielleís mother received an anonymous phone call saying Danielle was still alive. And, according to the entomology evidence, Danielle most likely died the next day or the day after. Of course, that could just have been a series of coincidences.

  34. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    I presume you mean the defense lawyers lied. But in that case, the legal experts who supported them or declined to take action against them, were lying when they said they (the defense lawyers) hadn’t done anything wrong.
    Right.

  35. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linnie View Post
    I found some of the comments interesting (and depressing).... Who is that "preacher4thedeaf " I wonder? A Westerfield supporter I suppose, but rather a novel way to go about it, claiming there may have been a "child abuse ring" (channeling McMartin Preschool "conspiracies") involving a pediatrician, and mentioning some distressing facts about Mark Lunsford. In short, it's all a police plot against poor, poor Mr. Westerfield.

    Hey, if there WAS some messing with the evidence, and it can be proven, by all means, try to do something about it, because the chap IS on Death Row.... But trash-talking about other victims' parents' shortcomings and speculating on pedo rings that may or may not exist, while claiming moral superiority because "preacher4thedeaf" refused to sue a motorist who ran down and injured his/her own child does not strike me as the way to accomplish this.
    Iíve already replied to the "pedo rings" issue; I will now reply to the "messing with the evidence" issue.

    It is suspicious that the most compelling item of evidence, the bloodstain on Westerfieldís jacket, wasnít seen by the dry-cleaners, even though it was on a prominent part of the jacket. Making it even more suspicious is that one of the two suspect detectives (with a questionable history and who attempted to violate Westerfieldís constitutional rights) was also a customer at that dry-cleaners, and his name was apparently on the "chain of custody" for that jacket, and near the top of that document. Worse, the crime lab didnít examine that stain for blood spatter, and they sent extracted DNA, not the actual stain, to an outside laboratory for confirmation testing. (And even though that was the "smoking gun", the media didnít publish a photo of that stain, just a photo of the entire jacket, and the stain canít be seen on it.)

    And the second most compelling evidence item, the drop of blood on the motor home carpet, wasnít photographed or measured (so they didnít follow procedure). And when first tested, it didnít give a result for one of the DNA markers (so it might have been an old stain, starting to degrade), but the second test did give a result for that marker (even though you canít undegrade biological material).

    Iím not saying there was any "messing with the evidence" - I donít know, the above evidence isnít conclusive - but there is cause for concern.

  36. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    She was found by volunteer searchers, organized originally by the Laura Recovery Center.
    Not to mention that searchers had searched this area on the previous Saturday and found nothing. Westerfield was already under a 24/7 watch so he couldn't have placed her body there. A call was made by an "unnamed source" to search the area again. Anyone find this strange?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    There was an outcry at the time, but it soon died down as it was determined that his lawyers hadnít broken any rules, they didnít cross the line. It is an adversarial system, and the job of defense lawyers is to make the prosecution prove their case.

    The vast majority of cases are settled by plea deals, so it is very likely that there were negotiations in this case. But the balance of evidence indicates that it was the prosecution that made an offer to the defense, and not the other way round. We do know that he didnít tell the police where the body was. (By the way, she wasnít buried.)
    It was the DA who made the plea deal offer...not Westerfield's lawyers.

    [SIZE=3][/SIZE][SIZE=3]http://www.kusi.com/video?clipId=6611716&autostart=true[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=3][/SIZE][SIZE=3][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=3][/SIZE][SIZE=3]Video where Pfingst states he was minutes away from tryingto work out a deal [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=3][/SIZE]

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