Monday, July 9, 2012

The Case of Preston Hughes III: Summary

Current as of September 23, 2012:

Sixteen year old Shandra Charles and her three-year old cousin Marcell Taylor were stabbed to death in a dark, overgrown, wooded field located in west Houston. Each suffered two stab wounds: one each to the chest and one each to the neck. Shandra's left carotid and jugular were completely severed. Marcell's left carotid and jugular were punctured.

The evidence that Preston Hughes committed the murders consists of:
1. Shandra Charles identified her assailant as "Preston" to a police officer before she died.

2. The murder weapon was found in Preston's apartment. There was blood on the knife.

3. Preston's clothes, recently worn, had blood on them.

4. Shandra's glasses were discovered in Preston's apartment.

5. Preston Hughes confessed, not just once, but twice.
I summarize my findings below.

1. Shandra Charles could not have possibly identified anyone as her assailant. Anyone with a severed carotid artery will lose brain function within 90 seconds. They will die soon thereafter, within several minutes. The police officer claiming to have heard a dying declaration arrived on the scene no earlier than 15 minutes after the stabbing. The officer reported that, rather than attempting to staunch the blood from her bleeding neck wound, he interviewed her. The officer reported that she was calm and spoke in complete sentences. This cannot be true.
Pools of Blood
Eleven Twenty Five
Cases Involving Carotid Arteries
Silence of the Lambs
Where's Willis?
2. Preston's knife, the one found in his apartment, was not the murder weapon. The knife has a single-edge blade approximately 1" wide. The neck wounds were made with a double-edged blade approximately 5/8" wide.
Shandra's Neck
Stabbings Well Done
Stabbings Redeaux
On Being Blunt
The Right Tool for the Job
Marcell's Neck
3. No blood was visible on the clothing. The police seemed particularly uninterested in testing the clothing for blood. After 213 days of no testing, the clothing was subjected to a presumptive test for blood just 4 days before the head of the serology lab would testify at trial. The presumptive test would be positive for blood. The areas of clothing highlighted during the presumptive test were then subjected to a definitive test. The definitive test was negative for blood. There was no blood on Preston's clothing.
The Searchers
Down the Rabbit Hole
4. A pair of eyeglasses was indeed found between the cushions of Preston's sofa. The police conducted two searches of Preston's apartment: one before 2:58 AM and one after sunrise. Items from Preston's apartment were secured during the first search and turned into the property locker at 2:58 AM. The eyeglasses were not listed among the items turned in. The items were then removed from the property locker, returned to Preston's apartment, and staged for photographs taken during the second search. The eyeglasses appear only during this second search in which the other items were clearly staged.
The Searchers Part 2
The Searchers Part 3
Down the Rabbit Hole
5. Preston's two confessions are the most exculpatory documents of all. They reveal that he had no knowledge of the crime. In each confession, he confessed to stabbing Shandra as many as ten times.  In the first confession, he made no mention of Marcell being stabbed. In the second confession, he confessed to stabbing Marcell in close proximity to Shandra. Both confessions are falsified by the facts of the crime scene. Shandra and Marcell were each stabbed only twice, and in identical, precise fashion: one stab wound to the chest and one stab wound to the neck. Shandra and Marcell were not stabbed in proximity to one another.
Confession #1
A Blogger's Cruelty
The Big Why
The Big How
Easy Peasy
The Gingerbread Man
Confession #2
In summary, not a single piece of evidence used to convict Preston Hughes withstands scrutiny. There is no viable evidence that Preston Hughes committed the crime.


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