Those in Virginia who follow homicide cold cases may be interested to learn of a recent interesting twist in a 1984 case. The case involved the murder of a 14-year-old girl in San Diego. In 2012, evidence from the case was re-tested and trace amounts of evidence were linked to a retired San Diego Police Department criminalist.

Officers seized computers and boxes of evidence from the home of the former SDPD criminalist when the evidence was allegedly linked to him. He committed suicide in October 2014 allegedly due to the investigation. His widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of San Diego stating that the case involved cross-contamination and that the actions of the police department led to her former husband’s death.

None of the evidence that was seized was linked to the homicide, and the computers and 14 boxes containing personal items of the family were not returned until after the death. The widow requested that the personal items be returned six times before the police finally released the evidence to her. When asked by a judge if the seized evidence was listed in the search warrant, a homicide detective admitted that it wasn’t. He also admitted that the evidence was found to be irrelevant to the case one month after it was seized and that it should have been returned to the family earlier.

Those who have been accused of a crime are entitled to legal representation. A criminal defense lawyer can help a client by ensuring their rights aren’t violated during the investigation and trial. If they are, evidence may be ruled inadmissible or charges could be reduced. In this case, officers seized evidence from the home that was not listed on the search warrant. This evidence is not admissible in court. The widow may be able to receive damages from the city of San Diego due to the effect that the seized evidence had on her former spouse.