Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

Elephant Earring in the Room (Lateyfa Lewis)

Elephant Earring in the Room (Lateyfa Lewis)

Tue, 17 Jan 2023 08:00

A mother stabbed to death inside her home becomes a cold case until a piece of overlooked evidence come to light.

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I was taught when you speak for the dead, you never close a case. You never give up. You're speaking for the dead forever until this matter solid. You keep looking, you keep analyzing things, you keep going back, never give up. I'm Scott Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anna Sige-Nikolazi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation discoveries to conviction. And this is Anatomy of Murder. Every week we try to give you a peek behind the curtain into cases by the people we talk to, whether it's an NCIS investigator or a nobody expert, the guests take you behind the scene to what really happens in a homicide case. And today's interviewee is no different. John Flynn is the current district attorney of Erie County, New York. There's 105 lawyers and about a 100 support staff, which includes about 15 investigators. I think people really don't realize the role that prosecutors, including the chief prosecutor, the DA have when it comes to homicide cases. As it, prosecutors were involved in homicide cases very often from the time that someone dies, but it is the DA's office that calls the shots or makes that ultimate decision at least when we authorize and arrest. Our case begins on August 4, 2005, where the male men on his deli roots sitting in his male truck on Orange Street near the downtown area of Buffalo. It's also called the Fruit Belt section. There's five or six streets that are named after fruits, Orange Street, Grape Street, Lemon Street. The reason that it got the name, the Fruit Belt, was because of the large immigrant community that actually grew fruit trees that just had this beautiful fragrance that just permeated the neighborhood. But that is time went by for various reasons, some of those had to do with economics, some had to do with racial disparity and all sorts of other problems that the community slowly fell into disrepair. The University of Buffalo Medical Campus has now brought some life of economic development into the neighborhood. But back in 2005, it wasn't like that. It was run down. It was impoverished. It was crime written. But back to that day, the male carrier sat in his male truck when all of a sudden he witnessed the worst of the neighborhood. At about 11, 3 in the morning, when a young woman in her 20s ran out and was screaming, my mother, my mother, my mother, and the male men got out of his car and he noticed that there was blood on the woman and he filed a woman back into the home. That woman was 28 year old LaShawn Lewis and she was hysterical because she had just found her mother Latifa murdered. It was a scene out of a Stephen King movie. There was blood everywhere. A woman on the floor in the upper bedroom lying in a pool of blood. And the woman who ran out of the house ran back to the woman on the floor and grabbed her, hugging her and holding her and begging her to wake up. And the male man, as you can imagine, was shot. Latifa had been stabbed more than 40 times. To give you just an idea of the amount of force that was required or that a killer exerted in this particular case, police found a part of the knife blade used in the crime. And I say a part because that knife had actually broken into two pieces at some point when penetrating Latifa's chest. There were way too many stab wounds. You couldn't tell where she was stabbed. First, there was no rhyme or reason or pattern at all. There was no other evidence or no other cause of death beside the multiple stab wounds. To me, I'm sure you're going to agree with this that this seems based on the amount of stab wounds. It's a highly personal rage type of attack. Or if not that, we're normally going to be dealing with something much deeper in the psyche of the killer. The knife handle was never found and in going down to the kitchen, they had found similar knives from Chef Me that matched the knife that was found in the bedroom. Scott, when you hear that the murder weapon came from the kitchen of that home, what comes to mind? So just based on that fact first, we're looking at an intruder type attack. It would mean to me that the person did not come in armed and an early theory normally would be looking at whether this was a burglary turned home invasion. There was no forced entry, nothing was taken, nothing was ransacked. No forced entry and not a single room in the home was ransacked. So now I'd need to know more about who had access to that home. There was no evidence of sexual assault at all. They ruled that out immediately or close were on. The shattered mirror was the only evidence that there was any kind of a struggle or the only evidence that anything was kind of off. It was a mirror that was attached to a dresser. The next piece of evidence may be the smallest in size, but could provide the most significant clue. There was a little elephant earring that was found on the floor in the bedroom right near the body of Lutipo Lewis. The back of the earring that sticks in your lull was bent. So there's really nothing in this crime scene that says robbery or home invasion for any motivation to take anything because there was just nothing apparently missing. But even more than that, there's just too many stab wounds to think that this was a crime of opportunity motivated by property. So we do know that Lutipo was Lushan's mother. She was 50 years old at the time of her death and she had a total of three kids, six grandkids and one great-grandchild. From all accounts, a wonderful woman, not an enemy in the world, no prior criminal involvement was not on me drugs and having alcohol problem. Everyone was shocked and horrified by this murder. And talking to neighbors and relatives, no one could think of anyone who would commit a brutal crime like this. She was really loved by everybody. So early on in this homicide investigation, there were not a lot of clues pointing towards a specific person. We started off by talking about how Lushan had found her mom in the house, but Lushan didn't live there. So investigators wanted to know two things, why she was at the house and why she was covered in her mother's blood. She reported that she had come to her mother's house that morning at around 8.30 9 o'clock. Her mother was either still sleeping or kind of just waking up and she had left. She says that her mother gave her a check for her water bill. So was it that Lushan didn't lock the door when she left with that check this morning, now allowing someone else access to the home or was it that Lushan is somehow involved? She got in with the house key, which obviously perplexed the officers and presumably the time perplexed her. She had a key to the home because the night before she had bowed her mother's car and her mom gave her her car keys and the house key was on the same ring as the car key. Lushan told investigators that when she returned home, she found her mother unresponsive on the floor. She got down with her and began to hug her, trying to revive her. She hugged her mother and like, oh no, mother mom, oh my gosh. And like, you know, hugged her and tried to wake her up and then let her go. All of that direct contact with her mother's body likely transferred a lot of blood from the victim to her daughter on her clothes and on our hands, it was everywhere. So the grabbing, the hugging of her mom clearly explains the blood that was seen all over her when investigators in that mouth carrier first saw her. And while that can be explained, investigators did latch onto something else pretty quickly. Lushan had in her ear that morning the other elephant earring in her white ear. And obviously this could be a BRF or a big red flag moment. I also think it's a side eye moment at Asiga. An earring belonging to the daughter is found next to the body with a post which has been. The daughter is missing an earring from one ear, presumably the matching one which is sitting next to our victim. My question would be did this occur in some kind of struggle? I think that was my first read when I saw that. But then I took a step back and I can also see it another much more innocent way too. I mean, yes, there's the obvious, is there a struggle between them, which means that she is very involved in this attack and that's how the earring falls out and gets bent or remember if she finds her mother the way that she says, again, she's frenzy, she's panicked and you know, bodies are heavy. It is really, really heavy to pick up someone who is unconscious or in this case dead. So in that kind of frenzy finding is she dead? Mom, what happened when happened? Does her earring get knocked out that way? Found in the same place, but two very different paths potentially as to what led it there. Yeah, that's a reasonable assumption. Lashon, when confronted about it said that, you know what? I'll remember that morning a lot of times. I just put one earring in and I forget the other one. No one really believed that. That's how you're true. They were convinced who did it. They were convinced that Lashon Lewis killed her mom. If her daughter is involved, there would be every reason in the world to find her DNA, her fingerprints to be in the home. They had a knife blade, but nothing recovered from that. They had lots of blood. But any connection to those results would have to wait for a forensic report to come back. Even though investigators don't know about the motive, it's possible that yes to kill her could be Lashon. She was at the crime scene and she did have access. But couldn't there also be others that had access as well? I mean, what about Latifah's husband? That investigators would soon learn much more about. Latifah Lewis and her husband, Anthony, were having some marital problems. Or, if not the husband, what about Latifah's boyfriend? Latifah's motive and opportunity, we use that phrase all of the time. Lashon had the means and the opportunity, but what about motive? From all indications, they had a very good relationship. She actually referred to her mom as her best friend. They did get into some arguments over the years, over money. That's nothing unusual. Now remember, there is the issue of depositing the check to pay her water bill at the time for Lashon and there was that two to three hour gap from between when Lashon had seen her mom to get the check and now when she returned after depositing the check to find her dead. So what could have happened during those hours? Could there have been someone else? Lashon says that she went over early that morning and her mother was still sleeping that morning. That was about like say 8.39 o'clock. But between 9 o'clock and 11.30 we don't know what Latifah was doing. All we know was that she was found in her bedroom on her floor. When police got there, Lashon had come back downstairs and Lashon had gone outside and she was in her car. Investigators wanted to really learn as much as they could about the relationship between mother and daughter. And one of the first people they approached was Latifah's husband, the father of Lashon. He made it clear to investigators he believed his daughter could not be responsible and that the mother and daughter did have a good relationship. Investigators looked more into Latifah and uncovered another potential theory. Latifah Lewis and her husband Anthony were having some marital problems at the time and she either had a boyfriend at the time or she had a boyfriend relatively soon before the homicide occurred. Love Gone Wrong is one of the oldest motives for homicide in the books. I think about the case of Othello which is Shakespeare and being that I was an English major. I remember reading lots of Shakespeare but Othello really fits because it's that case of jealousy in that case he believed his wife Desdemone had been unfaithful and so he murders her. Oh boy, can you give us a couple of real-time quotes? Well wait, do you want it from Proust, Shakespeare, who do you want them to buy? Yeah, I was an English major with a minor in political science. How about you Scott? I was a communications major, I mean communicating with music. The only person of interest initially was the boyfriend, you know, maybe ex-boyfriend to be fair. She obviously had a reconcile with her husband, they were living together in the same bed that evening. He was a person of interest. So there are three people swirling on the police radar. You have Latifah's daughter, Ashon. You also have Latifah's husband, Anthony. But now you have this third player, the, you know, extramarital partner for lack of better terminology and each one of them had the means and each one of them could have had access to the home. Investigators look to rule them in or out and can do that by working the timeline. Which one had the opportunity between the hours of 830 and 1130 if Lashon's timeline was correct? This was Thursday morning when Anthony would normally be at his job. He had a rock solid L by. He was at work the entire time. He was at the General Motors plant on the assembly line, everyone saw him there. He never left. So detectives were able to rule him out as the person physically there at the time that Latifah was killed. So investigators now turn to the other man that had been part of Latifah's life, the man that she had had this relationship with. When they talked to him, he had a rock solid L by. He was almost immediately ruled out as a suspect. So at the moment barring any new information, that just leaves the victim's daughter, Lashon. There were only two keys to the house, one that the husband had on him at work and the other one that Lashon had on her. But at least part of Lashon's story does check out because she said that she had gone there to get money and remember that she left and deposited the check that she got from her mom. Investigators didn't just take her word for it and they were able to find surveillance footage that actually showed her at the bank depositing a check. She's seen on video at a credit union, cash net check at 9.30. So obviously if there's any wiggle room in this timeline, there could have been an opportunity for Lashon to be at the home to potentially commit this crime. So remember investigators talked about how much blood there was at this crime scene, so that means there's at least the potential for forensic evidence and let's look at all the things they had to test. The bedding, the sheets, samples from the room, blood on the walls, blood on the floor, both of the blades from the knife were taken to the lab, blood everywhere. But you also had that kitchen towel or the washcloth that they found in the kitchen and then you also had the earring found under the teeth of his body. Numerous blood samples were taken from Lashon, all of her clothing that had blood on him was taken from her. Knowing in investigators were really focusing on the DNA evidence as they believed it could take them over the threshold of probable cause. Here's the thing about that. When you go through those items, Scott, right, even if they got something back, I mean, if it's going back to Latifa, well, she is the victim and we know that she stabbed all those times, so that isn't going to bring us any closer to proving anything against Lashon. It was really only if there is some of Lashon's blood there that is really going to lead them anywhere down an evidentiary path. All of the DNA, all of the blood evidence was only from the victim. A lot of times in these homicides, especially like a brutal knifeing, especially when you're talking 40 stab wounds, it's not uncommon that the perpetrator stabs himself, hits her own arm, hits her own hand, hits her leg, whatever. That did not happen here. It did not manifest itself on anything that was gathered, all right, including a knife. There was none of Lashon's blood anywhere. There was no blood from any unknown perpetrator or person. Every single sample that came back was all from the victim. Obviously, I don't see you know this happens all the time. You get to the point where you're building a solid, circumstantial case, hoping the forensics will take you far enough, but it didn't happen in this investigation. Thinking about to conviction and a case that we covered, the defendant in that case, the killer, it was Daniel Marsh, and he really had methodically pre-planned everything and it was incredibly brutal that homicide, as you know. And yet there was just zero forensically to link him to it when they looked. Yeah, in that case, he was a 15-year-old. So you think if a 15-year-old can do that much planning, why couldn't the daughter potentially in this case? I'm just going to sidestep here for a moment because the case that is just referring to the defendant, Daniel Marsh, but the victims in this case were a couple, Claudia Mopin and Chip Northup. And Scott and I have talked about that case for years at this point. So I'll just throw it out there to you guys. Is that a case you'd like to hear us profile? Scott and I both put it up on our Instagrams and social media and just ask you if that is a case that you would like to hear more about here on AOM. If you're going on the theory that LaShawn pre-planned this homicide of her mother and she potentially wore gloves because no DNA transfer whatsoever at the scene, why would she take the murder weapon out of a set of knives in the kitchen? Just that makes sense and which she actually wiped the blood from her own hands on a towel in the kitchen and just leave that towel at the crime scene. Think about that. I think that's a great point Scott because again, like you say, if someone is going to take certain steps to pre-plan, well, this doesn't seem to fit that mold. And her investigators, they thought they were going down the right path, everything was lining up. And there were still some of these questions that they just weren't confident that they had the answers and they knew they only had one shot if they went so far as to make an arrest. Based on a number of factors that we've already talked about, the decision was made to place this case on hold. Now we've recently profiled cases where there's been no leads, no suspects, people remaining silent, so we understand why the case would go unsolved. But here you have the suspect at the crime scene, there's only two keys to the home and she has one of them. She admitted to being the last person to have seen the victim. Her earring is next to the body, potentially her earring, and the victim's blood was all over her. So as close as it is to be caught red handed as you can get, yet she's not charged. And sometimes whether a case gets prosecuted or not or at a certain point really does come down to the people handling or who has had a chance to look at over. So it can sometimes go back to the power of a gutsy DA or a prosecutor who is willing to go that extra mile to build the case and say, hey, we have a shot, so let's go take it. But that's when sometimes when you have a new DA come into office that that just might be the thing that changes the game. I first took over on January of 2017, shortly thereafter I met with my homicide prosecutors and I met with the cold case detective at the Buffalo Police Department. And it's common for a new DA when they take office to get a state of the office understanding of what cases are pending, what cases are cold, and in their estimation where should resources be targeted for. I wanted them to give me a rundown on the cold cases, the top 10 cases that, you know, for whatever reason, they bugged the detective where they just come get over the top and this was one of them. And it was during that review of cold cases where an interesting development was uncovered. There was one more piece of evidence that investigators obtained just months after the homicide that was overlooked and sat in a file for 15 years. A civilian witness had come forward back in 2005 saying that Lashon had confessed to her. So about four months after the Tisha was murdered, a woman walks into the precinct and she says that she has information about that case and it's coming specifically from Latifah's daughter, Lashon. She said that Lashon had come over to her home, had come to purchase, she said some narcotics from her son and they had sat there and used. They were under the influence they'd used the narcotics in the home and that afterwards that Lashon started talking and that Lashon admitted to her that she had murdered her mother and that she was telling her because she just couldn't hold it inside any longer. Adding that the fight was over money and that Lashon had told her mom that she needed to buy drugs and needed her mother to fund that purchase. For whatever reason in 2005, that statement never got to our office. So then the question really is why wasn't this brought up earlier? Came to the Buffalo Police Department and took a statement from her but quite frankly it appears that they didn't do much after that. They never notified our office of that statement. So if true, this evidence of statement is huge because now you have Lashon obviously admitting to being the one responsible for her mom's death but it also gives modem. My response was like, I, how did this happen for one thing okay and then I, this case went from the top ten or top 20 to number one. John Flynn's background brings a unique perspective to the office of District Attorney. My uncle was the District Attorney of Erie County back in the 70s. My father was a lawyer as well. When John was in the Navy, he worked in what's called the Jag Court which is short for Judge Advocate General defending the military and its soldiers in all legal matters, really cutting his teeth as a solid trial attorney. When John was honorably discharged from the Navy, he continued practicing as an assistant District Attorney. I was on trial constantly. It was like taking in water from a fire hose for a whole year. You were constantly on the front lines, phone never stopped ringing. And then eventually he went into private practice. It obviously gave me a unique perspective. I didn't come into the courtroom looking for wins all the time. Everyone is not guilty automatically okay. I appreciated the innocent and total proven guilty foundation of our legal system. Having worked on the other side as a defense attorney also, I always think that is such a plus in the category of what that gives now a prosecutor just like it would give to defense attorney. And for two reasons, I look at it strategically. You can start to kind of think in a different way if you understand the other side. But it also gives you this larger, bigger perspective. You know, I certainly know the same as true for me just when I did an internship with legal aid. I really understood the role of the defense attorney. Even certain things about the people they were representing, the defendants differently that I think aided me in my years as a prosecutor. This information told to a detective by a close friend of LaShawn just weeks before the murder that the daughter had confessed to her is disheartening at best. I mean, to use the term slipping through the cracks just doesn't seem fair to me. But it also raises the positive side of cold case investigations where another investigator comes in as we always say, at Asiga, with a fresh pair of eyes and completely digs into the case file. And sometimes something just jumps out. And clearly this issue must have been quite the shock. And it says, I said before, these are professions wrought with human frailties because we are people and whether it was someone's laziness or it was just mishandled or even much more innocently. And it just never went from point A to point B. Who knows? Again, it's something that shouldn't have happened. I think we can all agree on that. But again, it goes to the fact that a homicide case is never closed until they get to the end. And it then gave the opportunity of John Flynn to re-analyze that case and say, hey, I see a different picture. Let's make sure that we get the justice in this case, that Latifa and her family deserve. Now that we knew about this confession, let's see if we can get this over the top. As a news set of investigators poured through the cold case file, other issues stood out. The first had to do with the fact that LaShawn's hands were completely clean while the rest of her clothing were covered in blood. But here's what's unusual to me about that scouting you think about it, right? So she's covered in blood. And if she had found her mom that way, she is obviously under the shock. Then why would you go to the effort of washing your hands, right? Without changing your shirt, if it's so, you know, some people they just can't deal with the blood, which I can get, right? But then you would change everything right away. But she didn't. And I don't know. When I start to analyze it and think about it, it's almost like taking that first step to clean herself off because she's trying to maybe cover her tracks. But again, didn't think it through, it wasn't pre-planned as you noted earlier, so it's actually a misstep by her early on. You know, it's this next piece of evidence, which is to me very significant. The second piece of evidence, which was probably more damning, there were droplets of blood on her back. This is LaShawn now. I'm a shirt that she was wearing, small droplets of blood that were on her back. The immediate question was, how did those droplets get on your back if you were hugging your mother from the front? And when we're looking at it in a potentially innocent light for those same reasons that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, if she finds her mom there and so she picks her up to try to revive her or to hug her, well, what would lead those droplets onto her back? Picture two people facing each other just inches away, one raises a knife, begins to attack, and as the knife is raised again, back over their head, the knife is dripping in blood. There could be what's referred to as cast off blood as the knife is positioned over the attacker's head, dripping down onto the back of the attacker's shirt. And that's exactly the pattern they found on the back of LaShawn's shirt. One of my investigators who was a retired Buffalo Police homicide detective, he went and got a statement from her. 15 years later, her statement was, in my opinion, terrible. Numerous inconsistencies, the check, the wash in the hands, not calling 911, the earring, how did you get the blood in the back of your shirt? I must have picked my mom off on the ground and was jumping up and down with her, crying, saying, mommy, mommy, wake up, and the blood must have just went up in the ear as I'm shaking her and gone back. And just even analyzing or re-analyzing the evidence, they did start to pick apart things and see other things that at least appeared to have missed before. And one of them was an inconsistency about the check itself, the one LaShawn claimed to have gotten from her mom. Her mom never signed the check and was made out of cash. Her mom never signed the check. It means to me that her mom never had any intention of her taking that money, using that money, or if the intention of the mother was to pay the water bill, that's not what. She did, LaShawn made the check out to cash, not to pay the water bill. So the fact that she made it out to cash and the fact that the signature may have been forged, then she hands this check over to the counter, the counter gives her cash, she walks out with not really much to trace, except for the fact they were able to pull that surveillance tape that confirmed her being there. So in essence, investigators thought initially that the surveillance tape may clear LaShawn, but in essence, it may do the opposite. She lied about the water bill, so her mother never gave her the money. She basically stole the check from her mother to support her drug habit. Based on the timeline, we don't know when the actual homicide occurred. Was it before she left? Did the homicide occur when she took the check and left for the store? Or did the homicide occur when she returned? It would make sense it would be before, based on the evidence, because she couldn't go to the store with all that blood on her shirt. So it had to have happened when she returned. I think that's exactly right, Scott. When I first thought about it, I was like, she killed her mom earlier and then she stole the check and she went and then she came back to try to cover it up. But then just like you said, I was like, no, no, wait a second, because there's no blood on her shirt. They have her on surveillance so that if she's not going to the bank full of blood. So then I started to think about, well, wait a second. Now it is motive and it is the argument that must have ensued when she came back. So she does go to her mom in the morning. Remember, she said her mom was in bed. So maybe she quietly takes the check. She now goes into positive check. She gets the cash. She now goes back to her mom's house and her mom knows the check is gone. And so they start to argue. Maybe she starts to ask for more money. And this heats up to the point that LaShawn now takes the knife and murders her mother in this frenzy over whatever anger. She's under the influence, you know, whoever knows what led there, but it all starts to now make sense. When John Flynn and his team went back and looked, it wasn't just this one witness that investigators now had, but they ended up with several. LaShawn had gotten in trouble over the years for various drug crimes and was in custody for a short period of time. Now it turned out they had five other civilian witnesses who came forward and said that LaShawn admitted to them. It makes often talk about crimes they've committed outside of jail. Perhaps it's to present an image of being tough or the kind of person that nobody should mess with in a sense it's their defense mechanism. But people also talk to others in jail about things because they're just bored and they do it. Even beings can't keep their mouth shut. We as human beings have never been able to keep a secret since we've been five years old if you think about it. So Scott, when you look at all the pieces now piece together, where do you think this falls on if there is enough to now charge her? I think we're there. And John Flynn and his team thought they were there too and they placed LaShawn under arrest for her mother's murder. The lead co-located homicide detective told me, John, she did it, the daughter did it, we got to get her. We got to solve this crime. I thought it was enough and I told him to indict and then indict it. I'd be pretty happy to go into court with this one. I viewed as a pretty strong case. In talking to John or Jessica Turnie Flynn, we definitely shared this common ideology of our love of the circumstantial case. When the public hear the word circumstantial, you know, a lot of times the first thing is going to come in their mind is no DNA, no scientific evidence, obviously no eyewitness, no confession. When a lay person hears the word circumstantial, they connotate that to the nth degree. But you could have a circumstantial case with some pretty darn good evidence, okay? You know, you got pieces that are pretty good pieces, obviously, but they're still circumstantial with a capital C. And this was one of those cases. You had to put the pieces together. And it's like this, you know, you have two, five, ten witnesses that come in and say they saw someone do something, okay, are they credible? Can the jury rely on them? But if you have all these puzzle pieces that don't necessarily make sense or even mean anything unless you place them together with all the other pieces around it, well, now you've got a case that there is potentially, hopefully, no reasonable doubt when you put it all together. There is only one image that shines bright and that is guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt for this crime. Now earlier, you guys know that I got pretty excited when we were talking about the blood evidence that was found on the back of the Sean's shirt, which is blood spatter, droplets from the knife. That was the theory. And I felt it was really compelling evidence. But there are a lot of people who are on the other side of feeling that that is compelling evidence. In fact, there were some people in the legal system that believe that that science is flawed. And you know, we asked John Flynn about that. He had droplets of blood. But blood spatter evidence has its share critics. It's not an exact science. It's gotten out of criticism over a course in the past ten or fifteen years. And there have been innocent people who have been exonerated, who were found guilty because of blood spatter expert. So it's not an exact science. And so it's not rocks out. And really the common thinking is that there is a lot of issues with blood spatter evidence is that it is subjective to a degree. And some people say it is pseudoscience. Well, John clearly talks about why he doesn't see it that way. Well I concede, there's criticism of it. I do not concede that it's junk science. I think it has a role, some value, and it is reliable. There is enough general acceptance of it in the scientific community, okay? It's not perfect. But then again, nothing's perfect. I think we really most come out that it is a great piece to use in conjunction with other evidence because you can also go to with what the expert analyzes and finds. Well then that should also line up with common sense exactly like it played out here. I mean using the word conjunction in common sense, Adesika makes so much sense. But they also had other challenges that they were going to have to face a trial. When it goes a trial now, 16 year old case, you had no eyewitnesses, you had no confession, you didn't find any blood on the defendant very unusual. No cuts on her, no DNA of her anywhere, just a mom. The earring could have come loose during the time that LaShawn was hugging her mom or easily attack the reliability as we've talked about of the cast off findings. And you know question why the witness may have come forward. What was that person's intention? These are things that the prosecution must tackle early on for the jury. She allegedly admitted to five people she did it, but multiple were jail house informants. A couple of them got no benefit of all, but one did get a benefit of a reduced plea. So you can spin that. Anyway you want? Jail house informants have their own issues. They're not the greatest piece of evidence. It was by no means a slam dunk case. It wasn't a slam dunk case. In fact, in November of 2017, it was a hung jury. I said, get in our jury, go back at it. Let's go. Go right away. It was triad in a matter of months after the first one. And so while it is difficult to go back into the court room with the same case for any prosecutor, there also are benefits. And it's really because we have the benefit of hindsight. Did we miss something? Did we not make something clear enough when we explained it to the jury? Do we see that maybe where they got, you know, no pun intended, hung up that now we can go see if there's other additional evidence. And that's exactly what they did here, but they went back in and tried this case for a second time. You got practice, all right? You know what the defense is going to say? What their angle is? You know what the witnesses are going to say. If you had a bad witness and the questions didn't go great, now you got a second chance to clean that up. You know, you'll learn from the nuances in the first one and you make adjustments. And we did and we got a conviction. On November 8, 2018, LaShawn Lewis was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. During the sentencing hearing for Lewis, several family members were in the courtroom and friends of the victim addressed the court for a victim impact statement. And the tension of the moments in court were elevated when LaShawn Lewis interrupted those statements with denials, saying she loved her mother and would never have taken her life. The obvious thing in this case is that you have a child murdering their parent. A daughter murdered her mom over money. But when I think about this case, I'm kind of thinking of this bigger picture of our system. You know, John Flint isn't just the district attorney of Eerie County. He's also right now serving as the president of NDAA, which is an organization I hold near and dear to my heart, which is the National District Attorney's Association. It is for prosecutors, by prosecutors. They support one another. But they always are working towards the betterment of our profession. Can we do things better? Have we missed stepped? And that to me is really goes to exactly the work that was done by him and his team on this case. He took 13 years, but they got her that justice, that she and her family so deserved. Tune in next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio chuck original, produced and created by Weinberger Media and Frisetti Media. Ashley Flowers and Sue Met David are executive producers. So what do you think Chuck, do you approve?