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January 18, 2005

Comments

Trey R. Barker

Interesting, and ultimately depressing, story. The veracity of crime labs and chain of custody is something needs to be explored more fully, on both sides of the fence. The lab, and the investigating agency, would have to go quite a great distance to prove a 35-year old chain of custody to me. Even when chain of evidence or custody is only a few months long and on something much more minor than a murder, it is fairly difficult to maintain. My own small local sheriff's office (Bureau County, IL, pop. 35,000), where murders are rare but burglaries are fairly common, works incredibly hard to maintain that chain. Their procedure, as best I know it, is to assume a 'worst case' posture. That is, assume everyone along the way will question the chain so be able to prove it with overwhelming documentation, even if it's a case as minor as misdemeanor criminal damage to property, a broken window or the like. It is better, they believe, to have more documentation than they need, rather than get caught without something vital.

As for what could be an apparent 4-year old co-murderer, that might almost make an interesting anthology. Here's the scenario, what is each writer's solution? The fact that it's twisted enough for me to even have that thought depresses me even more.
Trey

amber

**Im Gary Leitermans Great Grand Daughter.When all this first started i didnt know what to believe. I wanted to think that he didnt do it because of the obvious reasons so i thought that i would just listen to what evidence they have and go from there. I haven`t made it to any of the trial but i have been talkin to my mother who is there, and ive also been reading up on this.I now know what to believe from the evidence and from my heart and that is that he is innocent. Gary is a wounderful man and i dont think that he would have ever even thought about doing something like this. If you knew him and his family you would know that this man would have never been capable to do some thing this horrific. I also think that all this is bull shit. This man has sat in jail and has been through so much . And for what? They have no REAL strong evidence to convic this man.Not to mention when he does get out of jail he is going to have to deal with all the drama that this has caused. Well thats all ihave to say for right now. Thank You
Bye

Ron Huch

I knew Jane Mixer as a student. Everything
said about her by her family is true. Something does not seem right in this reopening of her murder. The prosecutors are going to have to show some connection between Leiterman and Mixer other than the
flimsy(to say the least) DNA argument. Did
Leiterman just decide to go out one night and kill someone? Then never do it again.

Also: 1. I never knew Mixer to refer to
herself as "Janie" 2. After waiting 4+
hours it was out of character for her not to
have informed her parents of the situation.

I think her murderer is already in prison.

Peter Asquith

Why hasn't Ruelas been charged as an accessory?

James Bridge

I just watched this compelling story last night, 7/1/06 on TV...I missed how Leiterman was on file in the DB to be cross-checked for DNA. Could someone clarify please?

Thanks

Manny

The presence of DNA from a 4 year old boy in that specimen "proves" and not merely "suggest" contamination as mentioned by the DNA expert. The DNA test is NOT the one in question here. It is where these DNAs meet each other in the RECEIVING AREA for incoming specimens. I would recommend to the defense - Get somebody who has expertise in specimen handling to explain persuasively how contamination can occur.
Manny

roy maddox

I went to school with leiterman played football with him. He was weird in my opinion then.

Manny

Is it true that the judge who presided in this case belongs to the same class as Jane Mixer ? If yes, why did he not recuse himself from this case and have somebody totally unrelated take over. I am wondering why he allowed this contaminated evidence to be presented to the jury. Was he subconsciously inclined to have somebody be convicted in the murder of a classmate ? (The feeling might be - Finally somebody can be prosecuted and convicted based on this dazzling DNA test result.)

North Pole Alaska

Assume for a minute there was no contamination of evidence. What if Jane borrowed or accidentally switched pantyhose from someone else who came into contact with Leiterman? (She was living at college w/ other women.) And assume that the blood of the child (4yrs at the time) was present at the murder and was an injured during the struggle/murder as an innocent bystander, hence his blood on Jane. Perhaps it was the 4yr old's parent or caretaker. The 4yr old grew up and murdered his mother - why? That's very telling, more than a coincidence?

Glenn maddox

I went to school with Gary he was weird then he never interacted well with girls then. When sex was dicussed he always found it disgusting.

Jen

If the DNA is a match to the boy, then check out the 4 yrs olds family. And the boy, in later years, brutally murders his own mother? So who’s to say that the father of the 4 year old didn’t commit this crime? There DNA would match. They need to look further into this case. Apparently the handling of the evidence was poor. No rubber gloves at the trial, things just thrown into an evidence box. Things not bagged, the DNA would be contaminated. Sounds like the state of Michigan is of no help and quick to brush this off and close the case without a thorough investigation, they are quick to decide.

solly leiterman

My husband Gary Leiterman's Appeal is underway. An Oral Argument is scheduled on July 17, 2007 in Detroit, MI. We hope that justice and common sense will prevail and set this innocent man free. The main issue is the DNA evidence which the state says were free of lab contamination. This is false. Written documents from the MI state police laboratory clearly identifies a document that clearly reveals a contaminant during the testing of the evidentiary materials.The state's witness, Dr. Mulligan when asked if he remembers making a sample handling error(meaning a contaminant)that required redoing a test, he responded, I cannot recall..." How convenient of an answer. His testimony is simply inaccurate and outright misleading. What the jury did not hear is that there was contamination indeed! Now the prosecution is saying that this "contamination event" was of no importance and that it did not match any lab employee.This makes it more serious since such unknown contaminant would have come from other case work or persons without authorization to be present in the lab.
The state's handwriting witness, Lt. Riley's testimony was also false and misleading. This witness used some of my letters (not my husband's) to compare with the questioned handwriting. We can prove this. We have copies of his analysis bearing letters that I have written. None of my husband's letters matched any of the questioned handwriting. We have since gotten another handwriting analysis from an out of state,former FBI agent and former handwriting analysis trainer who concluded that the handwriting was not the same. This wonderful, generous man did it pro bono.
Quite simply, both the state's DNA witness and the handwriting witness, offered erroneous and misleading testimony to support the state's presumptions. Sadly, they corroborated with the prosecuting office to falsely convict an innocent man. This is wrong and it needs to be further explored through another evidentiary hearing or at the very least a second trial.

Solly Leiterman

Manny

With the softball season in Kalamazoo approaching, I can already see (in my mind), Gary walking around dressed in a staff uniform with a cooler on hand. He was a permanent fixture in those yearly events. I feel sad that his appeal was denied.
The presence of Ruelas' DNA with Gary Leiterman on the specimen is like a fly on the soup served to the jury ! How can the jury and judge so readily accept and swallow it as if it pure and wholesome ?
DNA testing is not the one in question here, it is integrity of specimen processing that is compromised allowing Ruelas' DNA to get into such specimen (like a fly in the soup, you don't have to ask the cook if that soup is OK. It is obviously contaminated and not OK).

John Clemens

My sympathy goes out to both the Mixer and Leiterman families. Neither family has received justice in this case. I find it appalling any Juror would convict when you know there was also DNA evidence for then 4 yr old. When I first heard this case it amazed me a jury convicted Mr. Leiterman beyound reasonable doubt when the DNA itself left reasonable doubt on it's accuracy. I certainly hope that the Leiterman family finds someone with some sense to overturn what I feel was injustice. This seems to be another breakdown in our Judicial system.

Robert

A Michigan state DNA scientist was recently fired for illegaly testing DNA in a state police lab involving her personal life. Another black mark for a lab already known to have problems. The onus is on our judges and justice system to clean this lab up and retry many cases prosecuted purely on this shadey DNA, stating with the Leiterman case.

Manny

Specimen or evidence processing (not DNA testing) is the one in question here.
How Ruelas' DNA did not create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury is beyond me. The prosecutor must have hypnotized and asked these jury members to believe something contrary to their common sense !

SMG

The Leiterman family should go to the Innocence Project at Benjamin N. Cardozo School Of Law and speak to Barry Scheck. He is the foremost legal DNA expert in the United States.

I saw the replay of the 48 Hours Mystery tonight and thought to myself - this was a wrongful prosecution.

I believe there was more than enough reasonable doubt to find a no guilty plea.

Anon

SMG - I saw the 48 hrs mystery show today as well. I am absolutely flabbergasted that the jury did not feel there was reasonable doubt. This man should not be in prison. Please, Mrs Leiterman, go to the Innocence Project!

RJB

WTF? Is right. There was more than enough reasonable doubt in this case. The problem is that DNA against a defendant to a jury seems to switch the burden of proof to force the defendant to prove he's not guilty. Who would know where they were on a given day during a given time 35 years ago. It's nuts. The prosecuter baffled 'em with BS though....sad.

RAL

After studying the trial documents and reading the book, "The Michigan Murders" I am convinced that an innocent man has been imprisoned. I believe this conviction was brought about by an over zealous district attorney and an incompetent defense lawyer.

In retrospect the failure of the appeal is not surprising. Consider the "bag of worms" that would have been opened by reversing the decision or declaring a mistrial. Every prisoner in Michigan whose DNA had been processed by the state police lab would be appealing their conviction.

Restating, in my opinion an incomtetent defense, an over zealous prosecuter, and a flawed laboratory procedure has placed an innocent man in prison. How the jury did not understand reasonable doubt puts a major question in front of our justice system and results.

Trish F

I worked with Gary for over 10 years in the OR as a perioperative nurse and colleague. It was very surprising to say the least when this all came out in the news. I didn't believe it then and don't believe it now. My thoughts and prayers are for Gary and his family.

rbslprs

why is there no mention of the photos found in Leitermans home library in any of these postings??? The pictures according to the search and seizure notes describes 2 polaroid photos of a foreign exchange student(child) that lived with them, laying on the bed, eyes SHUT in a drug like state(hmm, vicotin, benadryl other drugs used by Leiterman) with her panties pulled DOWN to reveal her genitals.(Hmm, sound familiar???) How do We know Jane wasnt the only victim? Do they have to be killed to be a victim???
Also, ALL neighbors and friends Always say, ....he was a nice family guy, quiet, yadayadayada. Look at stephen grant for instance, did his neighbors say....oh yeah, I knew he was capable of committing such a vicous crime. Hello!!! and his sister says he's misunderstood, at least shes not trying to blame dahmer for her brother's crime. Although he is filing an appeal.(as well)
As a mother I just cant dismiss those pictures!!! And I could not/ would not support anyone who took them, or possessed them,ie husband, grandfather, great grandfather,... Ronald McDonald, NO ONE!!!

Valeri

I just watched this again last night on 48 hours mystery. The first time I saw it I really didn't pay much attention to it (I guess I missed where the 4 year old's blood was on her hand) but then when I watched it again last night I realized that the 4 year old's blood IS NOT ON HER HAND - sorry but I feel it has to be contamination in the lab and they mixed this blood up with someone else's - or not! Hello - now we have reasonable doubt!! - now this is not to say that Mr. Leiterman's DNA was contaminated, as his DNA (as far as we know) was not presently in the lab for any other reason - but it still exists - that there was contamination - and I agree with so many of you here - especially North Pole Alaska- what if she borrowed the pantyhose or switched pantyhose - you just never know - and there my friends - IS REASONABLE DOUBT!- - he may very well be guilty - could have been a random thing that was an accident and he was scared then he tried to make look like a serial killer did it - or not (i now think he is innocent) but the fact is there is doubt - it makes you want to go around and not touch anyone - brush up against anyone - you just never know...

Ron Broussard Jr.

I worked side by side with Gary for at least 6 years helping to save lives at Borgess Med Center,s operating room. And with his and his beautiful familys loving blessing have brought my family to fish on his lake. When I first heard of this atrocity of justice I was in complete shock. All I could tell my wife is honey they got the wrong guy. The law is so far off with this case. Gary is the prefect gentelman, husband and father. I can remember of how proud he was of his kids. We would talk of them for hours while we helped perform kidney transplants. Michigan I love you 4 ever but you have to make this right and give my freind back to his family. The state has made a terrible mistake. Please give Gary and his family my love and tell them we pray for them. thank you.

mitch

This reminds me of the Tim Master's travisty of justice. For those unaware, Tim Master's was falsely convicted f a crime he had absolutely nothing to do with. The prosecuters were desperate to clear an old cold case, so they decided Tim Master's would be the scapegoat. It took 9 years, but DNA proved Tim Masters was innocent and he was released from prison.
Here, the exact opposite has occured. Obviously faulty DNA evidence in the hands of an over zealous DA with tunnelvision has decided to ignore the DNA that he doesn't like, but accept the DNA he does like.........Does anyone else find it curious as to why the DA didn't say it was the 4 year that killed Ms Mixer?......According to the DNA evidence, he is just as guilty as Mr Leiterman......in fact, the 4 year seems mre guilty since we know him to be a convicted murderer while Mr Leiterman wasn't.

CWEmde

Wow. I just finished watching an A&E Cold Case regarding the murder of Jane Mixer and the conviction of Gary Leiterman. What shocked me most was the interview with one of the jurors Steve Kesten- a complete idiot. His explanation of Ruelas' blood? A mix up... no big deal. He later says this (regarding the guilty ruling) "I'm fairly certain we made the right decision..." I swear to God that put a cold chill down my spine. How the hell does such a moron get on a jury? And even if Gary Leiterman's DNA was on Mixer's stocking doesn't mean he murdered her. And the police investigating? They really don't give a shit if he did it or not. They seem more concerned about their reputation and that they nailed someone. The whole thing is sickening. I just can't believe this poor guy is in prison.

mitch

CWEmde, just read your post. I couldn't have said it any better. Mr Leiterman "may" be guilty, but the evidence just is not there. I hope he gets a reasonable judge to hear his appeal

Sara

Everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that Gary's DNA was not found on 1 spot but on about 12 spots. Do you think they mixed up all 12 spots that had his DNA in the lab? It's understandable to think there's a possibility of the 1 blood spot on Jane's hand being mixed up with other DNA there but not the 5 spots on the pantyhose on her legs, 3 on the towel and 1 on the pantyhouse around Janes neck. I'm without a doubt convinced that Gary picked Jane up based on her ad in the paper for a ride and murdered her in cold blood. The multiple instances of DNA evidence are undeniable.

Cami

His DNA was there period! you mean to tell me that they just take a random swab and it ends up with murdered DNA evidence from a 30 yr old case?? I am a criminal justice major. How come he didn't respond to his conviction? He just stood there cold. Why weren't there tears??? Look how many serial killers had normal lives and their friends couldn't believe it either.....Ted Bundy, Green River Killer, BTK. Some of these guys had families and worked in the church. That is how they do it. They live normal lives so no one will suspect them. I think he did it and he finally got caught. Murderers better keep looking over their shoulders because cold case files are going to catch up with them.

george

the DNA labs record in Lansing was severely impeached when at least on member of the lab was later fired for their mishandling of public trust; a female employee for bringing her husband's underwear into the lab and testing it to see if He was guilty of infidelity. How could a man be doing life in prison when people knowingly jeopardized the security of an institution with this much power over people's lives. Every case that she ever worked on or was involved in should be scrutinized carefully.
Readers of this forum should Google "the Santa Strangler"; a well known case in California where the perpetrator was eventually convicted on DNA evidence from three slides prepared for the rape kits; keep in mind as in the Leiterman case DNA was at the time "science fiction" It is the oldest case in LA County using DNA; two of three of the vaginal smears had degraded badly and the one used for conviction took "weeks" to yield a clear read out. Doesn't it seem strange that Gary's DNA imprint could be so clear when the victims own DNA was not recocgnizeable. The guy in California was clearly guilty; He bragged about the murders to two of his son's girlfriends. They weren't even close in Gary's case!
Was the Michigan DNA Lab looking to establish a new milestone for this "Science" for rekindling degraded samples??

Lynn

I just watched this story on Cold Case Files and am confused. Didn't John Ruelas say he remembers his uncles having an argument, one of them had a gun in his hand, not in a holster. He also remembers something about seeing feet and a lot of blood..he described it as "profusley". He didn't know if the person that was killed was male or female. Why were the uncles not investigated? I read somewhere that they were not considered suspects; that they didn't know Mixer and had no motive to kill her. Why is Ruelas' interrogation not discussed more where he talks about his uncles? I'm Tivoing the program again so I can watch that part over to see if they explain why the uncles weren't suspects. Does anyone else know why this is?

lisa potter

I just finished watching Extreme Forensics, and did not feel good about the conclusion.

While watching the show, it occured to me that girls often borrowed each others clothing, especially panty hose. Back then, it was easy to get a "run" in panty hose. What if Jane Mixer had a "run" in her panty hose and asked one of her girlfriends if she could borrow a pair because she was getting ready to leave on a most important trip.

If that could have happened, then you would have to follow the pantyhose trail and see where it leads.

Also, how does anyone know those were her pantyhose? Just because they were found at the crime seen doesn't mean they were hers? Those hose could have been brought along by the killer?

As for the 4 year old boy, who knows maybe he was in taken along during this horrible event. Makes sense, that a 4 year old boy who was exposed to observing a murder, later becomes a murderer.

I am not suggesting innocense of the accused. However, I am sure that Jane Mixer and her family would want all plausible theories investigated and proven to prevent an innocent person from conviction.

puzzled

Just because some of you say that Gary was "weird" in school doesn't make him a murderer. C'mon ppl, would you want someone accusing you of murder just because they thought you were strange, weird, or different? I think not!

I don't know this man or his family but from what I saw on 48 hrs last night, I don't think that he should have been convicted on the DNA evidence alone. Something is up with that - there was a mix up or something - or at least it's possible, because the 4 yr old's DNA being on her just don't make sense. If I'd been on the jury, I couldn't have convicted him on the DNA evidence, not unless there was other PROOF of his guilt.

I agree with the person who said that maybe they should have looked into the father of the 4 YO. Maybe there is a reason he grew up to be a killer. It's just as much a possibility as Gary doing it.

I'm sorry, I just don't think there was enough evidence to proove Gary to be guilty. Perhaps I'm wrong but to me, it's not "beyond reasonable doubt", not even close!

IF he is guilty, then he deserves to be in prison, but if he is not, then he should be allowed to rejoin his family and continue his life as a free man.

Put yourself in his shoes and consider for a moment that he is innocent.....how would you feel?

The bottom line is that only 2 (or 3) ppl know for sure if he is innocent or guilty......Gary, God, and the real killer.

Derek

I saw this on 48HRs Hard Evidence. IMHO, there is no hard evidence to put him in jail.

Thirty years ago, were police trained in the handling of DNA evidence? The answer is no because they didn't even know about DNA evidence.

Gary had piles of newspapers around his home. The prosecution said that he "kept clippings of the murder" in his home. There were no "clippings" to be found. It was piles of old newspapers that were never thrown out. Nothing had been "clipped" or saved by Mr. Leiterman.

The blood of Ruelas was probably in the crime lab because of the murder investigation of his mother. It only shows that there had to be contamination in the lab. No DNA from Jane Mixer was ever found on her panty hose so how do they even know those were her panty hose? Logic would suggest that if they were on her and used to kill her why wouldn't her own DNA be on them?

The whole case stinks. An innocent man, in my opinion, is sitting in a jail. This is a travesty of justice. Courts and prosecution are so interested in a conviction they will do anything to get a conviction.

BK

Cami- You are a Crim Justice major and one of the factor you used for believing his guilt is his reaction to his verdict? How about an analysis of the standard of reasonable doubt and the prosecution's burden.
I think you could formulate an argument for either side, but I really do worry about the public's perception of the veracity of DNA and the authorities handling of criminal investigations. No opinion on his innocence or guilt-- it just seems that once people hear about DNA they shut out any other possibilities. I think it makes us feel comfortable and lets us shut out any doubts that we may have because we think science doesn't lie. Science doesn't lie, but humans certainly mess up, as proven in this case and many many others :(

jcforrester2

Just saw the 48 Hours episode this evening. It is an obvious case of cross contamination. The family website mentions that Gary Leiterman's DNA from the sample he gave was present in the same lab as the evidence in the Jane Mixer murder and the evidence from the Ruelas case PRIOR to the match which convicted him. If this timeline is true then its a gross miscarriage of justice and Mr. Leiterman should be set free on appeal.

By the way. Did anyone notice the strange posts from "Glenn" and "Ray" "Maddox" above? I always wonder about people who troll the internet to cause a ruckus and am impressed by the fact that no-one gave them the time of day!

Good luck on the appeal

Shan Brown

It's very hard to imagine how this jury sleeps at night after convicting a man with so little evidence. The prosecutor was obviously on a mission to make a name for himself at any cost. I watched this program on Dateline ID and saw nothing about any inappropriate pictures taken of children and am wondering where this came from.
The four year olds DNA could have been from a father or relative as
I know of a situation like this that has happened. His family definitely needs to contact Barry Scheck and I pray for them all.

DM

I don't believe I am well versed enough on the evidence presented in the case to render an opinion regarding the jury's verdict. I do, however, wonder about the lack of discussion regarding Mr. Leiterman's previous scrapes with the law (child porn, drugs) from those persons who stated he couldn't believe he could do such a thing to Ms. Mixer because he was nice, a good nurse, a wonderful family man, etc. Obviously he has a side that you didn't know about. While I agree that his past transgressions do not mean he is a murderer, the picture of the drugged exchange student in a seminude state certainly should make you question your certainty about Mr. Leiterman's innocence.

Lisa

Leiterman's DNA profile was entered into a database. Did they take a new sample of Leiterman's DNA to make sure there wasn't any error with the database information? If they didn't test a new sample, then it is possible that the DNA profile from the database was someone else's. It only takes a mistake to attach the wrong name to information that has been entered by a human. If it was never double checked, it should be, to rule out the possibility of a data entry mistake.

Greg vinson

How in the world did this even get to a jury? This story should scare everyone- the guilty and the innocent. I find it very troubling that juries are instructed to decide "beyond a resonable doubt" and then render decisions where there is nothing but reasonable doubt. DNA has only been shot down in court once in my memory- during the OJ trial- and it freed a guilty man. the impact of that trial on our judicial system is vast in my opinion.

In this trial with evidence sitting for 35 years and a question of contamination- a fair-minded DA would have required police to come up with more evidence linking the suspect to the crime. with people like this having power over our lives it makes you just want to stay home and always have an alibi for what you are doing(such as commenting on a blog) I hope this ridiculous decision is overturned on appeal.

Steve Hennigan

I was absolutely appalled to see that Leiterman could be convicted on the basis of DNA testing alone. I'm appalled also that a jury could be persuaded to come to such a conclusion. It is a disturbing fact of life that any one of our lives could be completely destroyed by a conclusion from a laboratory test.
Steve Hennigan, MD

ruth

I hope those jurors can sleep at night. I've watched this story twice and am amazed that anyone could choose to declare someone guilty on the evidence presented. If Gary doesn't deserve an appeal, no one days. My prayers are with his family....and him.

Michelle

WOW! I just finished watching about this case. I am so baffled. It really scares me to think that I could be arrested and have to prove my innocence. I guess innocent until proven guilty is just for shits & giggles. As for people that went to school with Mr. Leiterman, just because he was an awkward teen does not make him capable of murder!
My heart goes out to the Leiterman family.

Michelle

BTW...I just realized that the two "old" classmates (of Gary) are actually related. That would explain why the comments are almost identical.

Urgr8one

wow this Jury is scary. I truly hope each and every memeber of this Jury has misfortune. Why? Because, they convicted a man when there was nothing but reasonable doubt. Sad no one has stepped in and made this right. Looks like this jury was just dumb and ignorant of what "beyond reasonable Doubt" means.


I think the two Maddox guys are representitives of what the jury considted of.

It clear to see that almost everyone here thinks the Jury was crazy. Like I said, I wish bad things on this Jury because they were careless about their verdict.....right or wrong, the evidence just wasnt there especially the strange DNA evidence with 4 year olds there.

Allison

I'm sorry, but the fact that he drugged an underage foreign exchange student in his home, stripped off her clothes and took perverted pictures of her DOES MEAN he is a sexual freak. There is no explaining those away. He does sound like the kind of person to do this, I'm afraid, no matter how "nice" he is now. Nice guys don't do that sort of thing.

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