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Wednesday, November 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Evidence testing backlog could delay trial, lawyer says

By Ralph Bartholdt Lewiston Tribune

The slow process of procuring lab results could postpone a Lewiston murder trial until next year, an attorney in the case said.

The Idaho state crime lab has completed some of the fingerprint evidence, but DNA evidence must still be processed in the murder case against Patrick J. Nuxoll, attorneys said at a Wednesday hearing in Lewiston’s 2nd District Court.

Nuxoll, 53, has pleaded innocent to first-degree murder related to the May death of 63-year-old David W. Cramer at Nuxoll’s Linden Avenue home. According to testimony from police at a preliminary hearing, Cramer died from a series of stab and slash wounds. Detectives said Cramer had been cut 128 times.

The result was a scene rife with blood pools, spatter and drops on the ceiling, walls and carpeting, in the kitchen sink and on several knives, according to court testimony. The blood evidence, as well as fingerprint and “touch DNA” evidence – skin DNA evidence left behind when a suspect touches something – was gathered by police and sent last summer to the state’s crime lab in Meridian, prosecutors said.

“There has been a lot of testing done, and there still is a lot of testing to do,” Senior Nez Perce County Deputy Prosecutor Justin Coleman said. “We’re trying to move along as quickly as we can on it.”

Coleman expects a tentative trial date to be set at a March 23 hearing.

Defense attorney Richard M. Cuddihy said once the tests are completed and pieces of evidence returned from the state’s only DNA-testing facility, they will be scrutinized by expert witnesses for the defense. They could then be retested, which will take additional time.

“Ours will be quicker,” Cuddihy said. “We’ll use an independent lab.”

Because two other murder trials have been set for this fall in Nez Perce County, Cuddihy said scheduling a trial before the end of the year in the Nuxoll case may be ambitious.

“It will be difficult to get this trial in by the end of the year,” he said. “We don’t have the evidence yet … Just based on that.”

Nuxoll was released from the Nez Perce County Jail in November on $250,000 bond.

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