In a recent murder case coming out of a Texas court, the defendant unsuccessfully argued on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his motions to suppress, a portion of the State’s DNA evidence linking him to the murder, and custodial statements made to law enforcement. In 2019, the defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment after entering an open plea of guilty of capital murder. On appeal, the court overruled the defendant’s challenges and affirmed the trial court decisions.
The Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant was arrested in 2019 for a murder committed in 1974 after the cold case was reopened. While the defendant was a suspect in the initial investigation, he was released after being given a polygraph test. After the case was reopened in 2019, various items from the crime scene were sent for testing at the Serological Research Institute (SERI) for DNA testing. When no matching profiles were found in the FBI database, the DNA profile was sent to a laboratory in Houston for forensic-grade genomic sequencing (FGGS). The FGGS test resulted in a match with the defendant’s profile.
Following the match, detectives conducted a trash run on the defendant’s home, collecting five bags of discarded trash to test for the defendant’s DNA. The DNA collected from the trash of the defendant matched the DNA profile produced by the FGGS DNA profile of items from the crime scene. The defendant was arrested and he admitted to detectives that he committed the murder, revealing the location of the murder weapon in the process.