Imagine entering your home, only to find that the door was already open, a sense of impending dread over what that could mean. You fully open the door to find your wife on the floor, unmoving, bound and gagged with electrical cords and duct tape. That is precisely what Fermin Cantu Sr. came home to on the in the late afternoon of November 27, 1990. Now, almost 30 years later, he is taking the stand against the alleged burglars who broke into his home and murdered his wife.
Police, despite having some early leads in the case, did not make an arrest until 2016. Jurors will be asked to decide on the guilt and fate of Jeffer Negron.
DNA Used to Finger Negron
Police say that Negron’s DNA was found underneath Minerva Cantu’s fingernails. In presenting this evidence to the jury, prosecutors said that it was “22 more likely than not” that it was, in fact, Negron’s DNA that was found underneath Mrs. Cantu’s fingernails. However, Negron maintains that he had never met Mrs. Cantu, had never been to her house, and never murdered her. A DNA expert will testify that is nearly 118,000 times more likely than not. One would guess that this is not a “conservative” estimate. In other words, the DNA evidence proves that it is somewhere between 22 and 118,000 times more likely than not that the DNA belongs to Jeffer Negron. The defense will attack the science behind this statistical representation of the evidence.
The prosecution will also provide evidence that Negron at some point admitted to the burglary. This coupled with the DNA evidence could prove damning.
However, there is one large problem with the prosecution’s case: They don’t have a motive. There is evidence that Negron had been arrested before and convicted once of cocaine trafficking. However, cocaine trafficking doesn’t necessarily mesh with a smash and grab burglar.
Another issue will be the question of whether or not the defendant intended to murder Minerva Cantu. It could be argued that they were attempting to restrain her during a burglary and robbery and she ended up dying as a result. Her 18-month-old son was found unharmed in the home. Felony murder, however, is still in play.
The question then becomes: Why did Negron break into that particular home on that particular day. Without an answer, there will still be questions as to whether or not Negron committed this horrible crime or not. One would guess that the witness the prosecution calls to the stand will provide some insight into motive. If not, the prosecution may have a hard time pinning the crime on one lone actor 26 years later.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you need top-quality representation against criminal charges, the skilled West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. can help. We will ensure that the prosecution proves every element of their case and make certain that you aren’t railroaded on bogus charges and circumstantial evidence. Talk to us today to set up an appointment.