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▣ No Body Guy quoted in Washington Post on no-body murder cases

posted by Admin on May 29th, 2017 at 10:40 AM

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Murder cases without the victim’s body are difficult, prosecutors say, but winnable

Thelma Butler’s daughter Pamela, 47, went missing in February 2009. Police arrested Pamela Butler’s then-boyfriend in April 2017 and charged him with murder. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
By Keith L. Alexander and Dan Morse April 17

When the man charged with killing Pamela Butler appeared in D.C. Superior Court for the first time after his arrest this month, his defense attorney questioned whether prosecutors could even prove a crime occurred.

Butler, a 47-year-old computer analyst from Northwest Washington, disappeared shortly before Valentine’s Day 2009. Authorities insist that Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, Butler’s then-boyfriend, killed her in a jealous rage. But because Butler’s body has never been found, Rodriguez-Cruz’s attorney argued, there is no evidence of a murder — let alone evidence that proves her client is a killer.

“There is insufficient evidence that Ms. Butler is deceased or, if deceased, that her death is the result of a murder or that Mr. Cruz is the perpetrator,” Judith Pipe, of the District’s Public Defender Service, argued at an April 10 hearing.

It was an argument judges in the District have heard before in those rare murder cases in which the victim’s body has never been found. In the nation’s capital, there have been four such cases that have gone to trial, the first dating to 1984, according to prosecutors who track them.
Pamela Butler (Butler family)

But no-body cases, as they are called, are not that uncommon. In Maryland, Montgomery County prosecutors secured convictions in two high-profile no-body murder cases — the killings of Lisa Tu, 42, in 1988 and Michele Dorr, 6, in 1986. In a no-body case in Northern Virginia, a federal jury in Alexandria convicted a former naval intelligence officer in 2006 in the death of his wife, Doris Lentz.

For more: Washington Post

Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy

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