Do Officials Have the Right Suspect in Calaveras County Murder Trial?

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Attorneys Mark Reichel and Steve Plesser, the defense team for the Calaveras County teenager accused of the brutal 2013 murder of his eight-year-old sister, issued a press release on Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled murder trial.

The team is pushing a new polygraph test that they say shows the teen is telling the truth about his innocence. Meanwhile, the family and defense team are concerned that the real killer remains at large.

The press release:

The trial of a young teen accused in the murder of his eight-year-old sister in 2013 is scheduled to begin here Tuesday (Sept. 15) – 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 will be held Tuesday in Calaveras County Juvenile Court for Isiah Fowler, who has been jailed for more than two years – since he was 12 years old.

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 Mark Reichel of Reichel, Plesser LLP in Sacramento.

“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.

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.

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

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