A Boulder District judge is mulling whether defense attorneys will be able to offer jurors alternative suspects to their client in a Longmont man's retrial next month in the 1987 murder of his ex-wife.
The evidence Boulder District Judge Patrick Butler is considering was at the heart of Kevin Elmarr's successful appeal of his 2009 conviction in the 1987 murder of Carol Murphy.
During the original trial, the judge then disallowed evidence about two different alternative suspects. Butler said his decision on the issue for the new trial could come as soon as Friday or as late as Monday. "It is my full intention, of course, to try to comply with the directive of the court of appeals," Boulder District Judge Patrick Butler told attorneys during a motions hearing Thursday.
"I think everyone agrees we don't want to do this a third time, no matter what."
The Colorado Court of Appeals last February ruled that Elmarr's 2009 first-degree murder conviction should be overturned because the trial judge -- now retired -- erred in his analysis that blocked evidence about two alternative suspects. The Colorado Supreme Court did not overturn the appeals court decision and Elmarr was set for a new trial to begin on Feb. 10.
Elmarr was not arrested until 2007 after a re-examination of case evidence revealed his DNA in samples collected from Murphy's body. Prosecutors argued in 2009 that a rough divorce and ongoing legal entanglements over the couple's children motivated him to kill Murphy.
Hikers found her nude body face down near a trail in Left Hand Canyon on May 23, 1987. Investigators determined she had been strangled and her throat was cut. Witnesses testified at the 2009 trial that Murphy and Elmarr had planned an outing to the mountains on May 22, 1987.
Defense attorneys are asking to include both alternative suspects blocked in 2009 to be allowed in February. Prosecutors argued against one on Thursday.
Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273 or at email@example.com.