The person who pleaded responsible in August 2021 to the 1974 murders of a Fort Price teenager has appealed for retrial.
Glenn McCurley, 78, waived his proper to a jury trial on the third day of courtroom proceedings final summer time and adjusted his plea to responsible of premeditated homicide. Decide Elizabeth Seaside accepted the petition and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
McCerley has confessed to the kidnapping and homicide of Carla Walker, a 17-year-old woman in Fort Price whose murders have haunted her household and pals for many years. Her household waited greater than 4 many years for solutions about her disappearance, till DNA know-how and a diligent police investigation led to McCerley’s conviction.
By way of his legal professional, McCerley appealed the ruling in December. On McCurley’s enchantment, his attorneys argued that the DNA proof towards him mustn’t have been admissible at trial, police obtained DNA from McCurley’s trash with out a warrant, and Fort Price investigators incited McCurley’s confession.
The Tarrant County District Lawyer’s workplace responded to the enchantment in April. In response, prosecutors rejected the arguments on enchantment, saying the conviction should stay.
On Might 24, Assistant Prison District Lawyer Frederica Sargent and McKerley’s protection legal professional Stephen Mears defended McCurley’s enchantment to the Second Court docket of Appeals.
Carla was final seen on February 16, 1974, when she and her boyfriend, Rodney McCoy, attended a Valentine’s Day dance at Western Hills Excessive College. The 2 stopped within the car parking zone on the bowling alley after the dance.
In his confession, McKerley advised detectives that he had been consuming whiskey and beer that Saturday night time and was driving round city. He stated he noticed Carla and McCoy within the automobile and attacked – he opened the door, hit McCoy within the head with a pistol and pulled Carla away. Carla’s physique was discovered three days later in a properly close to Lake Bainbrook.
A long time later, Fort Price Police detectives Leah Wagner and Jeff Bennett reopen the chilly case. By coordinating with varied forensic laboratories, investigators used forensic family tree and new DNA extraction know-how to deal with McKerley as Karla’s killer.
The DNA profile was created and analyzed by Outram, a forensic family tree laboratory positioned in a suburb of Houston, and the Serological Analysis Institute exterior of Richmond, California. The DNA profile was ultimately matched to the DNA pattern the police had obtained from McCorley – first from a McDonald’s straw pulled from McCorley’s trash after which from a direct DNA pattern that McCorley had accredited.
Employees from Outram and the Serological Analysis Institute witnessed McCurley’s experiment and described intimately the method by which McCurley’s DNA was linked to Karla.
On the enchantment, McCurley’s attorneys stated testimony and proof from Outram and the analysis lab shouldn’t be utilized in courtroom as a result of Outram and the workers on the Serological Analysis Institute lab haven’t been licensed by the Texas Forensic Science Fee.
Nevertheless, because the DA workplace notes in its transient, Outram and the analysis lab are utilizing very new know-how, and there’s no accreditation course of for them but.
The enchantment additionally says that the DNA pattern pulled from McCerley’s trash mustn’t have been utilized in courtroom as a result of the police didn’t have an injunction to take action. The enchantment acknowledges that police legally don’t want a search warrant to go looking trash, however argues that the authorized search doesn’t lengthen to discarded DNA.
“Searching litter for observable physical items is profoundly different from laboratory analysis of litter for a DNA profile,” says the enchantment.
In its response to the enchantment, the DA Tarrant County workplace stated: “There are no privacy rights associated with” the litter or the DNA present in that litter.
Lastly, the enchantment argues that McCerley’s confession has been induced. In response to the enchantment, Fort Price investigators promised McCerley that he wouldn’t be sentenced to dying if he confessed. To make use of a confession in courtroom, an individual can’t be persuaded or compelled to admit.
In the course of the trial, Tarrant County prosecutors confirmed footage of McCerley’s interview with detectives Wagner and Bennett, wherein he confessed to killing Carla. He advised Fort Price detectives that he was “just dragged” when he strangled and killed Carla.
The enchantment features a backwards and forwards from the video interview wherein McCurley says that if he advised detectives what occurred, he could be hanged or go to the electrical chair. One detective stated, “They won’t do that to you. I promise.”
The attorneys on enchantment stated this was proof that investigators persuaded McCerley to admit.
Nevertheless, on the trial, investigators stated they advised McCerley that these punishments wouldn’t happen as a result of these punishments don’t exist – people who find themselves sentenced to dying are given a deadly injection, not positioned in an electrical chair or hanged.
“While there was discussion about the possible punishment, it ended with Detective Wagner making it clear that in the end, the jury had to decide,” the DA’s workplace stated in its response. “In any case, the appellant was clearly more concerned about his wife and who would take care of her if he were in prison, regardless of the sentence.”
McKerley’s attorneys say the excellence wasn’t clear, and it did not matter whether or not McKerley’s confession was “true or false”.
McCurley was arrested on September 21, 2020, at his dwelling in Fort Price. McKerley lived close to Walkers’ home – his sons went to the identical college that Carla attended.