Sunday, May 3, 2009

Satin Strangler Verdict

Sea View, NJ.

In the widely publicized Satin Strangler trial, the jury in the case against Destiny Blande reached a shocking verdict of “not guilty” today.

Prosecuting attorney Ned Danton summarized the evidence in the case two days ago. Numerous character witnesses described the sadomasochistic undercurrent hidden beneath the demure veneer of Blande. The graphic testimony of ex-boyfriend Mitch Carlson was titillating, painting a picture of a woman progressively scorned to the point of igniting an anti-male vendetta.

The key to the prosecution’s case resided in evidence linking Blande to the scenes of the two New Jersey murders attributed to the Satin Strangler. A now well publicized surveillance video showed Blande entering the Sea View Marina the night of Edgar Stahl’s disappearance. Footage at that site was sporadic, not just for that particular evening. As a result, Blande was never seen leaving the marina, and exactly what happened to Stahl will remain a mystery. The evidence in the Grant Leighton case was more tenuous and placed Blande within 20 miles of the victim’s home on the night of the murder.

As though the absence of victim Edgar Stahl’s body and fragmented video evidence were not enough, the Achilles heel in the case proved to be the missing alleged murder weapons confiscated at Destiny Blande’s room at the Oceanview Motel the night of the arrest. The descriptions of the evidence in the police reports perfectly match last week’s eBay sale items that raised a media storm.

Danton read the weapons report to the jury, describing each set of satin stockings, down to the detail of the lace garter belt. He waved his hands in the air in a vain attempt to demonstrate that the missing stockings would have made a strangulation weapon of choice in the small hands of the defendant. He ended his summation with the phantom stockings still invisible somewhere in front of him as the jury, perplexed and unconvinced, gazed into the void.

Defense attorney Horace Krouch took center stage for his summation yesterday. He flashed his white-out smile, wiped his entire face several times with a handkerchief, and ran a hand along his slick Gordon Gecko hair before approaching the jury. Krouch first focused on the missing victim and then on the infamous eBay stockings, contesting that there had been tampering of the evidence. He described Blande as a delicate woman, not hateful or powerful enough to commit the murders in question. From his perspective, the gruesome details of the Leighton autopsy were important, not as a reason to seek full retribution, but rather as proof that Blande was innocent.

The defendant, Destiny Blande, never took the stand. She remained ever calm during the final morning, like a woman unnerved by or oblivious to the implications of a guilty verdict. Her librarian smile never wavered. Her viridian eyes continued to mesmerize the jury and audience, even through the final moments as Judge Grey spoke before the deliberation.

In less than three hours, the jury reached a “not guilty” verdict. All eyes turned to Destiny Blande as the verdict was read. She still showed little emotion at the news, simply nodding while gathering her paperwork into a yellow leather purse.

The biggest surprise came when Blande was allowed to leave the courtroom a free woman. Legal experts expected her to be transported to Virginia and eventually Georgia to face the next of her series of murder charges. While watching the New Jersey trial, however, prosecutors in Virginia and Georgia got cold feet.

On his way out of the courtroom, defense attorney Horace Krouch stated, “We are thrilled about the decision. We are relieved that the jury was able to come to the right decision. It demonstrates that with a methodical approach, even a seemingly lopsided case replete with convicting evidence can still be won by a strong defense. This was my most difficult case since my days at Yale Law School. Justice has been served. Destiny can now return to her normal life."

Whether Ms. Blande will be able to lead a normal life remains to be seen. The press collapsed around her as she exited the courthouse with Mr. Krouch. She smiled politely and silently evaded the microphones while shielded by Krouch.

That’s the dirt from the courthouse.


This is post #37 in The Satin Strangler Blogs (TSSB).
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