Criminal and Family Law

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When Cold Cases Get Hot

By March 14, 2013Criminal Defense

Almost 30 years ago, Ogden was a different place. For one thing, prior to March of 1983, Rebecca Lemberger was still alive. After March 2, Rebecca was dead, found by classmates wrapped in a blanket, under a mattress in a shed near the elementary school she attended. She had been raped, her head smashed by a rock. Rebecca was 11.

In prison in Oregon on charges of second-degree kidnapping, Gregory L. Seamons, was recently connected with the murder when his DNA matched material from the 1983 crime scene. Just 15 when Rebecca was reported missing, Mr. Seamons stated earlier in jailhouse interviews that he did not know Ms. Lemberger, though she lived in his neighborhood.

In a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune from his Oregon cell this month, Mr. Seamons wrote that he was fooling around with Ms. Lemberger prior to her death, but he suspected his now-dead father, Larry Seamons, was responsible for her death.

Whether 30 years or three days ago, forensic analysis is pivotal to proving the innocence or guilt of criminal defendants. Despite faded memories and the passage of years, genetic evidence lit a fire under this cold case that may prove difficult to quench.

Despite this, a good criminal defense may question laboratory procedure, examine preservation and possible contamination of evidence, offer plausible explanations for a DNA match and query the chain of possession of incriminating genetic or other evidence.

Without good legal counsel, and given his record, Mr. Seamons is in very hot water.

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