Judge denies defense’s allegations of tampering with evidence as Tristin Bailey’s murderer’s mother’s trial looms

st.Johns County, Florida – mother of a teenager He is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Tristin Bailey. She appeared in court on Tuesday as a judge considered what the state would need to prove and what evidence she could present at her upcoming trial.

Crystal Smith has been charged with tampering with evidence in connection with this case, which is a felony.

According to Smith’s arrest warrant, surveillance video showed her washing Futch’s blue jeans the night he murdered Tristin Bailey. Jeans and the sink drain later tested positive for blood, according to the warrant.

On Tuesday afternoon, Judge R. Lee Smith ruled, based on expert testimony, that Smith’s washing of his jeans may have covered up DNA evidence, and will be admissible in court. wax.

Related: Tristin Bailey: The murder that shocked St. John’s County | | Family has left strong memories of Tristin Bailey as he marks two years after his death aged 13

Some samples taken from jeans did not show enough DNA evidence. Brooke Hoover, an analyst with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, previously testified that the pants may have been laundered. She testified again at Smith’s felony hearing on Tuesday.

“The possibility [the jeans] It was washed, so it didn’t give results,” Hoover said. “It could have been there in the first place.”

Smith’s attorney, Matt Kachergus, argued that this was merely a personal opinion rather than an expert opinion. Therefore, the jury should not hear it.

“That’s what the state is trying to do is bootstrap what is considered public opinion under the guise of expert testimony and present it to the jury,” Cachagas said.

Judge R. Lee Smith dissented and ruled that Hoover’s testimony about the possible washing away of DNA evidence could be brought to trial.

The judge also considered a motion filed by the state to prevent the defense from alleging that Smith tampered with the DNA results. Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Dunton said it doesn’t matter if the DNA evidence was actually destroyed or tampered with.

“What we’re claiming is that she modified the jeans. Period,” said Danton. “It doesn’t matter if she succeeds or not.”

Defense pushed back.

“By granting the state’s motion, you deny the defense.. a viable defense by arguing that nothing that happened could have compromised the availability of this evidence.” It’s one of the theories,” Cachagas said.

The judge said he would not make a final decision on the motion on Tuesday and will continue to take it on advice.

Former federal prosecutor criminal defense attorney Curtis FallgutterA person not involved in the case believes prosecutors have a strong case against Smith regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s hearing.

“Obviously, it’s somewhat irrelevant whether DNA evidence or speculation or evidence comes in, as they like to say. If she’s bleeding, she’s destroying the evidence.” I understand this.”

Jury selection for Smith’s trial will begin Monday, with the trial set to begin next Wednesday. However, if jury selection lasts more than his one day, it continues the following Monday.

Related: After murder conviction, Aiden Futch appeals life sentence. How it will affect his mother’s trial

The maximum penalty for a tampering conviction in Florida is five years in prison.

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https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/05/09/judge-denies-defense-motion-as-tampering-with-evidence-trial-looms-for-mother-of-tristyn-baileys-killer/ Judge denies defense’s allegations of tampering with evidence as Tristin Bailey’s murderer’s mother’s trial looms

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