'No-body murder cases' can't be won -- or can they?
The Star Tribune has an interesting story by reporter Chao Xiong at the top of the front page today, with the headline, "No-body murder cases can be won." Goes on to say that, "as rare as such cases are, nationwide statistics show that most end in conviction despite the hurdles that prosecutors face."
According to the story:
Data gathered by former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBiase on his website, www.nobodycases.com, show that from 1843 to March 1, 2013, 380 murder cases nationwide have been brought to trial without a body. The conviction rate was 89 percent. Half of Minnesota’s no-body murder trials have resulted in conviction.
“Let me dispense of this myth that it’s almost impossible to convict someone without a body,” said defense attorney J. Anthony Torres, who successfully defended a suspect in a no-body case in Dakota County. “Does it complicate matters? Yes. Is it impossible? No.”
Interesting, and maybe counter-intuitive. But it's certainly different from the story the Strib published March 1, by reporters Xiong and Joy Powell, which said this:
Charging someone with murder without a corpse is highly unusual. Typically, prosecutors lose such cases once they get before juries.
So, which is it? Assuming today's story is accurate (and personally, I'm interested in knowing more about DiBiase's website, the accuracy or relevance of trial records going back to 1843, whether prosecutors involved in the case pushed the Strib for more, etc.), I would guess today's story is a correction, at the top of A1.