Coroner Admits Timeline Wrong in Calaveras Murder Trial

Calaveras County CourthouseLast week, we reported that the trial of the young teen accused in the murder of his eight-year-old sister in 2013 was scheduled to begin in Calaveras County, despite an extensive polygraph examination by a nationally-recognized expert that has conclusively found the youth was telling the truth about not killing his sister, Leila. The trial began in Calaveras County Juvenile Court for Isiah Fowler, who has been jailed for more than two years – since he was 12 years old.

There was a major shocker on Monday as the second week of the trial resumed.

In cross-examination on  Monday, Steve Plesser, one of the defense lawyers from Reichel & Plesser, LLP, of Sacramento, presented EMT reports and was able to get the county coroner to admit that he was wrong, and that the sister Leila died a few minutes before 12:00 noon, not two hours EARLIER as the prosecution claims.

Apparently, the coroner was never shown the EMT reports by the prosecution that verified the later – near noon – death, totally shredding the prosecution’s claims of an earlier death.

The significance, said defense attorney Mark Reichel, is that the prosecution has claimed that Isiah Fowler, 12 years old at the time, had time to clean up evidence at the crime scene because the death was early in the morning. Instead, evidence presented Monday shows that Isiah only had a couple of minutes, not enough time to clean up a crime scene…the police arrived at 12:10, and Isiah called his parents at about 12:06.

When the trial started last week, the defense provided proof that an extensive polygraph examination by a nationally-recognized expert determined that the youth was telling the truth about not killing his sister, Leila. However, the prosecution would not agree to having it presented in court.

“With the polygraph we are thrilled to be able to prove with certainty that our client is innocent, and yet we, and the Fowler family, remain concerned that the violent murderer of an eight-year-old girl is still out there. The first step toward justice is for the case to be dismissed so that authorities can renew their search for the suspect,” said Reichel last week.

“All professional standards in the justice system require that when the prosecution entertains a reasonable doubt as to the accused’s guilt, it must stop the prosecution. Our office understands why the prosecution originally brought charges; but since our client was arrested we acknowledge the fact that the ongoing work of law enforcement has discovered additional exonerating information – including physical evidence of an intruder – which now casts considerable doubt on the virtue of continuing on with the case,” said defense attorney Steve Plesser.

The defense team notes that, in February, authorities found an unknown male’s DNA on a hair resting on the victim’s body – inside her undergarments – further supporting Isiah’s insistence that an intruder killed his sister.

Reichel and Plesser said Isiah endured a nearly two-hour long polygraph session conducted by one of the best polygraphers in the U.S. – Ronald Hilley of Concord, a former FBI agent who now trains FBI agents. Hilley asked Isiah if he committed the crime in several different ways, and he denied it. The machine recorded “no deception.”

The results have been subjected to peer review and were validated by two independent polygraph experts, including Charles Honts, PhD, who is the leading researcher on polygraph evidence and who trains various Federal law enforcement agencies on effective use of polygraphs. The results showed that Isiah was clearly truthful in his denial of guilt, with a passing score so high that reviewers calculated the chances of a deceptive person producing the same results were only 2 in 1,000.

Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook has been supplied with the polygraph results and raw data, so that she may have them independently reviewed, said Plesser and Reichel, who are confident the prosecution’s independent evaluator will confirm both the results and reliability of Isiah’s polygraph.

Despite the polygraph results and the other evidence that dispels the prosecution’s case, efforts by the defense to have Isiah released have been unsuccessful.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Barack Palin

    “With the polygraph we are thrilled to be able to prove with certainty that our client is innocent

    Great, from now on we can always get to the truth of any criminal case using a polygraph.

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