An attorney for one of the men accused in the murder of Latisha Frazier has asked the court to demand that police search for the missing woman’s body, saying that Brian Gaither can not have a fair trial without evidence that his “alleged actions contributed to Ms. Frazier’s death at all.”
Eugene Ohm filed the motion in D.C. Superior Court Tuesday. In it he states the police have “the duty and the burden” to recover Frazier’s remains and that Gaither will be “prejudiced against” should police not make an effort to do so.
Ohm says MPD’s decision to not search for Frazier’s body at the Virginia landfill it is purported to be in is nearly without precedent. “Chief Lanier’s decision represents only the second time that a department has declined to even try,” Ohm said in his motion.
The Metropolitan Police Department, in its public service capacity, is encumbered with the duty of recovering the bodies of any decedents and overseeing the delivery of the body to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. This process is to determine whether a homicide occurred and to take photographs, analyze bones, collect tissue samples in order to show exactly how a person died. The Metropolitan Police Department has chosen to not even attempt to recover the decedent.
The role and duty of the police department is and has always been to recover the body. It is not, nor has it ever been, the duty of the pro se defendant to find and produce the decedent. It has not been MPD’s recent practice to make no attempts to find a decedent, or to have its efforts turn on the likelihood of recovery.
Mr. Gaither’s defense is significantly weakened because he is unable to inspect the decedent’s body. In this case, the govemment appears to allege an accidental killing and relies upon apparent witness testimony reporting three separate times and causes of death. In such a case, the defense’s inability to inspect the decedent is devastating.
A status hearing is scheduled in the case for June 10.