An Ohio man, convicted in 2012 of raping and murdering a young female bartender, has had his conviction overturned. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the trial judge’s decision to allow evidence of the man’s “collection” of a whopping 5 knives was prejudicial since they were not used in the killing. Prosecutors had argued, and the trial judge had agreed, that the absence of a blue knife with which the perp had been frequently seen, was circumstantial evidence in the case.
From Mercury News:
“This evidence painted Thomas as someone with bad character and allowed the jury to convict him on the basis that he acted in conformity with it,” O’Donnell said.
Justice Patrick Fischer, writing for the minority, noted that prosecutors argued Thomas was known to carry a blue knife, and that knife was missing from his collection. Fischer acknowledged it was a “close question” whether introducing that evidence was a mistake.
Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson said Wednesday he’ll ask the court to reconsider its decision.
The knife collection “was introduced because the defendant had a blue knife, people saw the defendant having a blue knife that night, when we go to his collection, the blue knife is missing,” Coulson said. “So that’s circumstantial evidence toward part of the crime.”
The media frequently engages in hyperbole when they use the word “arsenal” to describe the guns and ammo found in a killer’s home. It is usually less than I bring on a typical trip to the range. At least in the case of the Vegas killer, they weren’t way off base.
But if a “collection” of 5 knives is prejudicial as to one’s character, I’m screwed. I think that there are 5 knives in the cab of my Tacoma. More if you count my EDCs.