Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Christa Worthington

On the Stand

Tim Arnold, Christa's ex-boyfriend, also took the stand early on in the trial and described the scene as he first saw it upon entering Christa's house on the day in question. He talked about the mental stress he endured after finding her body and after being named as a main suspect in the murder case, which eventually led to a suicide attempt and his admittance to a psychiatric hospital. He claimed that he was repeatedly questioned by investigators, but adamantly denied having any involvement in her death. Ryan reported that the defense team tried to "draw parallels" between Arnold's interrogation, where he was outright blamed for the murder, and McCowen's seven-hour interrogation by the same two officers, who the defense suggested used coercive techniques to elicit a false confession.

Reverting back to evidence that supported their argument that the crime scene was contaminated by first responders, the defense team questioned paramedic Jeffrey Francis, who claimed that he and one of his co-workers moved Worthington's body in an attempt to resuscitate her. However, after realizing she was deceased, they covered her body with a nearby blanket because she was nude and it was, as Francis said "a decency thing" out of respect to the victim, Ryan reported. The defense suggested that by covering the body with the blanket, from which DNA was later extracted, the first responders had compromised the crime scene and possibly destroyed vital evidence. During the trial, the prosecution downplayed the possibility of first responders contaminating the crime scene, suggesting that any disruption was minimal and did not detract from the fact that McCowen's DNA was still found on the victim. 

Dominic Dunne's Power, Priviledge and Justice

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