Gerry Stano’s Murder Case Reviewed by an Expert
Gerald Stano is believed to be the first serial killer in America’s history. Born in 1880, Stano lived in Kansas. There he worked as a blacksmith and later as a carpenter. He had a violent nature, and was arrested for assaulting a police officer. He served two years in jail for stabbing a man to death. This ended up getting him thrown into a reformatory.
He was arrested again for another assault charge and served for a time in jail. Eventually he was given the maximum punishment allowable, which was a seven-year sentence. In return, Stano was placed in charge of the whole district. He ran for governor and lost. However, he did receive the votes of the other Democrats in the race.
Over the years, Stano has maintained a low profile. He worked occasionally as a contractor but refused to accept compensation for it. He also participated in a national campaign to elect other serial killers to high offices, but was unsuccessful. He is best known for being the last suspect from whom detectives still searched in the unsolved murders of girls in Texas.
The information about the investigation into the deaths of thirteen young girls that Stano solved came to the attention of the media in 1996. The press began to publish articles with headlines such as “The Monster Who Slayed thirteen Girls”. Stano had always maintained that he was not responsible for these deaths. His attorney, however, immediately accused Stano of participating in the serial killers’ escape from the prison where he was serving time.
Stano continued to maintain throughout the investigation that he was innocent. He repeatedly told reporters that police officers were negligent in handling some evidence connected to the murders. He even offered the services of a private investigator to dig up dirt on the victims, but his offer was rejected.
After several months of refusing to discuss the investigation, his trial was scheduled to begin. His defense attorney presented twenty-eight pieces of physical evidence, which allegedly pointed to the involvement of the serial killers in the crime. None of this evidence was admissible at trial. The judge threw out eighteen of the twenty-eight pieces of evidence and found that some testimony could be excluded because it was hearsay. Gerry Stano lost his first trial.
During the second trial, which resulted in a verdict for the defense, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty. The judge ordered a new trial, which began with a statement by the lead detective on the case. Detective Holcomb indicated that he saw similarities between the victim and the killer, stating that the victim matched the description of the suspect that was drawn in the police sketch. This conviction was challenged by the lead prosecutor, who claimed that the drawing was merely an opinion and that more evidence would prove that the killer did in fact commit the crime.
In the third trial, which ended in a hung jury, the judge instructed the jury to find the defendant not guilty, but asked them to consider what they saw as reasonable doubt. The jurors voted to find the defendants not guilty on all but one charge. The judge cited the lack of evidence and concluded that the balance of probability pointed to guilt. Gerry Stano was declared not guilty on all counts.
Following the conviction, Gerry Stano filed a motion to suppress, challenging the legality of the police detective’s testimony at the second trial. Although the trial court allowed the motion, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal reversed the decision. The court reasoned that although the fingerprint print from the bloody glove was excluded as insufficient under the standards set forth in Atkins, the confession of the suspect was not suppressed because of the exclusion of the fingerprint. The court also stated that the confession should be suppressed because it was obtained against the subjects’ constitutional rights.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has since revisited the case. During a recent hearing, the three judges opined that the evidence had been sufficient to establish a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant. They went on to state that even if the confession was coerced, it still had sufficient probative value to support a finding of innocence. After a careful reading of the opinion of the majority of the court, it is apparent that the majority believes that Gerry Stano’s murder trial was not tainted by improper handling of the evidence. Based upon this fact alone, they are unwilling to second-guess the investigative team or testify in the case against Stano.
Although the decision in Atkins may seem clear in some regards, the fact remains that every state is allowed to adopt its own method of proof for the purpose of enforcing the constitution. Furthermore, even if Atkins is considered by some to be an unchallenged ruling, there are countless cases across the nation that utilize similar techniques to establish guilt without having to resort to invasive techniques such as lie detection. Therefore, having a strong legal team by your side is essential when you are being charged with a murder. Hiring a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will ensure that you obtain the very best possible outcome in the case.