Judge William Jackson on Wednesday morning refused to compel authorities to search for the body of Latisha Frazier, a D.C. woman missing since August and believed have been killed and buried in a Virginia landfill.
Jackson said the possibility that defendant Brian Gaither was being untruthful in his statement that he placed Frazier’s body in a dumpster, or was remembering incorrectly on which day or in what dumpster he disposed of the body, coupled with the safety risk to those conducting a landfill search, made such a search inappropriate.
“The only notion that the decedent’s body is in a landfill comes from your client’s statement that he put it in a dumpster,” Jackson told Gaither’s defense attorney, public defender Eugene Ohm. “All of this effort [to search for the body] would be based on the assumption that Brian Gaither is telling the truth and has an accurate memory… the only compelling reason to search for the body is to provide some closure to the victim’s family and the Metropolitan Police Department, I believe, is aware of that.”
Ohm had argued in a court brief and in oral arguments Wednesday that Frazier’s body likely contains physical evidence that determines Gaither’s culpability. He said Gaither, at this point, is suspected of killing Frazier by manual strangulation. If she was in fact killed in that manner, evidence of that would be preserved on her remains even now, Ohm said.
“It is such a significant piece of evidence,” Ohm said. “[MPD] can’t abdicate that responsibility [to search for the body] and certainly can’t point the finger at us to go do this.”
The case has not been indicted by the Grand Jury.
Early into Wednesday’s brief hearing, Ohm said that he would seek an evidentiary hearing if the motion to compel authorities to search for Frazier was denied. He declined to comment after the hearing.
Read the motions from prosecutors and defense counsel here.