A 35-year-old Minnesota man has been charged with murder in the second degree in connection with the November 2015 disappearance of his girlfriend. He was convicted of interfering with her body in February 2016 after admitting to police that he had moved her body to an undisclosed location. The man claimed that his girlfriend had taken her own life, but he refused to tell police where he had disposed of her body.
Prosecutors say that the homicide charge was the result of diligent police work and not a breakthrough. Detectives re-interviewed witnesses and examined text records that allegedly reveal that the couple were fighting at the time of her disappearance. One witness is said to have told detectives that she saw the man cleaning plastic sheets at a warehouse where he was once employed. Another allegedly said that he moved a box that looked heavy from the warehouse to a pickup truck that had been rented by his girlfriend.
The man confessed to police in 2015 to pointing a gun at his brother to compel him to take his girlfriend's body to the warehouse, but he remained insistent that she had shot herself. Police say that statements he made while incarcerated contradict his initial account of the events in question. Police now believe that the man dismembered his girlfriend's body in the warehouse before disposing of her remains. The man faces an additional 40 years behind bars if he is convicted.
Murder cases involving victims whose bodies were never found can be very challenging for prosecutors, and this is especially true when the events in question occurred several years ago. When presented with facts like these, criminal defense attorneys may seek to establish reasonable doubt by questioning the recollection witnesses have of events from long ago that transpired in a matter of seconds. Attorneys could also question the reliability of jailhouse informants.
Source: CBS Minnesota, "Police: Man Convicted Of Hiding Girlfriend's Body, Now Charged With Murder", Reg Chapman, May 8, 2019