What happens when a person who has become addicted to drugs and has a criminal record is accused of murder? Many people believe the recidivist drug offender is guilty. People tend to make an assumption guilt that is not necessarily based on the evidence of murder, but more frequently based on a presumption of character. A presumption that often makes a leap to assume an illegal drug user is a person with questionable character, capable of more than drug use. A man who fell into this exact situation was recently charged with a violent crime. Through the help of his attorneys he was acquitted of a crime he did not commit.
The accused man was an admitted drug user; his drug use also led to legal problems in the past and he served several prison terms. This background made the man a known face amongst local law enforcement. When a local woman, who was also involved in illegal drugs, was found dead in her apartment, the man quickly became the prime suspect due to the nature of their drug relationship.
Local law enforcement found DNA evidence that included the man’s knit hat that had been found in the woman’s garbage and some of his blood was found on the woman’s jeans. From this evidence the prosecutors focused the investigation on the man as their target suspect. He was formally charged with the first degree murder of the woman; he even says that he knew his past would make him a prime target.
During the man’s criminal trial, he continued to declare his innocence and refused plea agreements that would indicate any guilt on his behalf. Through his attorney’s investigation, they were able to produce evidence to refute the damaging DNA results. During the trial, the man’s attorneys produced new evidence not found in the initial investigation, which included additional blood splatters. The man eventually received a full acquittal on the murder charge.
Source: Times-Standard, “Eureka man acquitted of murder blames himself for charge; says criminal history and drug use made him an easy target,” Megan Hansen, May 12, 2012