In a highly-publicized cold case dating back to 1990, DNA evidence from a beer can appears to implicate Steven Gribben in the murder. According to police, everything in the living room was spattered with blood except the beer can which had Gribben’s DNA on it. On that basis, they are trying the man 30 years after the murder occurred.
The defense contends that the DNA evidence is not conclusive. Police at the time had little or no training to deal with DNA evidence and that is the only thing linking the defendant to the murder. Further, investigators allowed a “psychic detective” to handle the beer can and other key pieces of evidence to help break the case. From there, it is unclear where the evidence went or how it arrived back in police custody. In other words, police cannot establish the chain of evidence.
DNA alone as evidence of guilt
This is an interesting trial for a number of reasons. First, the only evidence that the prosecution has is DNA evidence taken from a beer can at the scene. The beer can allegedly does not have blood spatter on it. The defendant is accused of stabbing the victim in the neck. The prosecution believes that the defendant stabbed the victim, stole his money, did a bit of cleaning, and then rewarded himself with a beer, leaving the empty can on the table without any blood spatter on it. If so, is that enough to prove murder to the jury?
The role of the prosecution in this matter is to simplify the case to the above-written narrative. The defendant wanted money, he stabbed an associate, and he drank a beer. How do we know? He left the beer can on the table and it was placed there after the murder. How do we know that? Because there would be blood spatter on the beer can after the murder if had been there before.
The role of the defense is to complicate the issue. Sure, you can prove that the defendant was an associate of the victim and the victim wound up dead, but we can’t be sure how the DNA evidence got on the beer can. The defendant drinking a beer after murdering an associate is a possibility, but it is not the only possibility. The evidence was tainted by numerous violations of criminal procedure that are enforced today that were not enforced in 1990.
You probably think it’s more likely than not that the defendant murdered the victim for his money. But are you willing to convict this defendant beyond a reasonable doubt based on the beer can evidence?
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing charges related to criminal conduct, call the West Palm Beach criminal lawyers at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule an appointment and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.