Dusty Wall Found Not Guilty

January 10, 2014

On December 22nd the body of John Strangways was discovered at the Royal Palm Resort. Mr. Strangways was the manager of the hotel. Mr. Davey Crockett, owner of Crockett’s Honey, discovered his body around midnight while at a party for Greg Stanton. The C.S.I team was called in to investigate. Upon investigation, the evidence seemed to suggest that Mr. Strangway had been strangled to death by the rope found around his neck. In addition, white residue was found on the rope. C.S.I took samples of 5 suspects’ fingertips for residue on their hands, which was sent for additional testing. The body was released to the coroner’s office. The final report from the coroner’s revealed that the immediate cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation and the case should be considered a homicide.

Dusty Wall, the maid for the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, was charged with murder in this case. It was revealed during the trial that Dusty had been stealing money, jewelry as well as prescription drugs from customers. The hotel was doing an investigation on Mrs. Walls. During her court case, there was evidence presented from toxicology reports and forensic testing. A gas chromatography was completed which showed that the drink contained high levels of ethylene glycol and trace amounts of thujone. There were two fingerprints found on the glass of the deceased, one from Mrs. Walls and the other fingerprint was that of the chef from the resort. Fingerprinting was inconclusive. It was determined that Mrs. Wall’s had hypochlorite on her clothing however this could be explained because she is a maid at the hotel and uses those chemicals quite frequently.

In the end, Mrs. Wall’s was found not guilty for the murder of Mr. Strangway. Following the court case we got reaction from Eli McKay who stated “Nobody proved the defendant guilty with inconclusive evidence. Fingerprints on the glass showed that of Mrs. Wall’s and the chef.” A second statement from Karl Killgore, one of the juror’s on the case, was “I felt like the right decision was made based on the evidence presented. The prosecution did not prove the defendant guilty.”

From what we know about forensic testing, fingerprinting is not always accurate. In 2004, an Oregon man was charged with detonating a series of explosive bombs in Madrid’s subway system. A partial fingerprint was taken from the explosives, which indicated he had done it. However, Interpol ran additional testing and identified an Algerian suspect who was later found guilty of detonating the bomb. This changed the future of how fingerprinting is used in court cases. In addition, there has been discussion about cognitive bias when fingerprinting suspects. This happens when investigators have feelings about suspects but may not fingerprint all involved.

For now the case remains open.