Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: The Chinatown Widow

Going to Trial

Farnum had been convicted for a similar murder that happened two months after Donna's. He was caught in Pasadena attempting to break into another home by using a knife to slit the screen. Farnum's print was placed in the system and when technology caught up with forensics, it was eventually kicked back as a possible match to Donna's case.

Examining the Blood Sample
Examining the Blood Sample

Farnum had a lengthy criminal record and knew the score. Talking to detectives wouldn't get him anywhere. He denied committing the murder and said he had never met Donna.


Criminalists tested the blood, hair, semen and prints. By now they could perform DNA tests. There was no doubt: Farnum had committed Donna's murder. Prosecutors filed charges of first-degree murder with special circumstances of sodomy and torture, making Farnum eligible for the death penalty.

"His premeditation was so clear, it was almost a prosecutor's dream," Rose said. "We have to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt what's inside a person's mind. That's a very difficult thing to do unless they tell you. But he showed us. He showed us by bringing that scarf into the house and using the scarf."








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