A North Carolina man was indicted last year in the homicide of a 33-year-old woman. On August 16th, the murder charges were dismissed by a Durham Count Superior Court judge. Prosecutors plan on appealing the dismissal. However, the accused man currently remains behind bars on a temporary stay ruling by a North Carolina appellate court.
The allegations arose when the woman’s bones were found last year inside of a backpack. Allegedly, the accused man asked a friend to help him to get rid of the bones. The friend called the police and was under surveillance when he accepted the backpack containing the bones from the accused man.
According to the medical examiner, the woman died as a result of a homicide. Once the cause of death was determined, the woman’s remains were released to her sister who cremated them. However, one week before the remains were released, the accused man’s defense attorney requested that the evidence be preserved.
The charges were dismissed by the lower court because the judge ruled that the cremation of the woman’s bones made it impossible for the defense to conduct independent tests on the evidence to determine the cause of death and validate the identity of the bones. As a result, it leaves open the possibility that the bones did not, in fact, belong to the suspected murdered woman. However, according to the district attorney, for some unknown reason a portion of the woman’s skull is still available for testing. This may affect the decision as to whether the stay should be made permanent.
The man’s criminal defense attorneys will have an opportunity to address this most recent ruling before a decision is made as to whether the stay will be made permanent. If the temporary stay is made permanent, then the accused man can be held in jail during the appeals process.
Source: The Jersey Journal, “Ex-Jersey City woman’s accused killer won’t go free in N.C.,” Michaelangelo Conte, Sept. 1, 2011