Man Admits to Stealing Money but Not Murder
Todd Barket is facing first-degree murder charges after police say he bludgeoned and stabbed a 68-year-old woman to death in Delray Beach. On the stand, Barket recounted that he went to a consignment shop with the intention of buying a dog bowl but ended up stealing $100. Barket contends that there was no one inside the pawn shop when he went in there, but police say that they found his blood at the crime scene.
The victim, Sondra Better was found at the scene with multiple fatal wounds. Police believe that Better got off one lick that caused Barket to leave blood behind at the scene. Barket’s blood was then sequenced and matched against a current sample. Police also say that they found a fingerprint at the scene. Barket admits to being there, but claims he did not harm Sondra Better.
Fingerprint Found on Tchotchkes
Barket claims that he and his wife went from one pawn shop to another looking for tchotchkes which are small decorative objects. His fingerprint was found on one of these objects. Barket maintains that he picked the object up to show to his wife, but she wasn’t interested, so he put it back. Other such tchotchkes were found covered in Better’s blood. Police recovered a fingerprint from one of the tchotchkes, but the ones that were found near Sondra Better neither had Barket’s blood nor fingerprints on them. Police never took the tchotchke with Barket’s fingerprint into evidence.
Barket’s Blood Found in Cash Register
Police pointed out that Barket’s blood was found in the cash register, but Barket maintains that he worked as a day laborer and would cut his hands often. Defense attorneys also noted that there were 20 other blood samples found at the crime scene and these were never sent to be tested. Forensics admitted as much. The only blood that was ever tested was the blood found in the cash register.
While Barket’s version of events may or may not persuade jurors, it’s useful to note that once the prosecution has a story, they stick to it. They won’t go out of their way to test multiple samples of blood especially when those blood samples could reveal another possible murderer. It then falls on the defense to ask for the samples and run tests of their own. Of course, the defense may not be interested in knowing whose blood that belongs to either. If it is their client’s blood, and they force the prosecution to turn it over, they may be delivering a slam dunk on a silver platter.
While the state’s case may not prove Barket’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, it does have the benefit of being more likely than the defendant’s. The circumstantial evidence surrounding his guilt is compelling. The state had witnesses identifying Barket, blood, and a fingerprint. The subjectivity of what constitutes a “reasonable” doubt may or may not work in Barket’s favor.
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