By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The lawyer for a U.S. Air Force airman accused of kidnapping and killing a Mennonite girl is arguing to restrict proof from being allowed at trial that prosecutors say ties him to the crime.
Mark Gooch has pleaded not responsible to the taking pictures dying of Sasha Krause, 27. The Mennonite girl disappeared from her church group exterior Farmington, New Mexico, on Jan. 18, 2020, as she was gathering materials for a Sunday college class.
Her physique was discovered greater than a month later in a forest clearing exterior Flagstaff, Arizona, her fingers sure by duct tape.
A Coconino County Superior Court decide in Arizona will take into account motions Thursday to decide what proof may be admitted in Gooch’s trial, which is scheduled to begin later this month. He faces life in jail if convicted of first-degree homicide and different fees.
Gooch attended the listening to nearly from jail with a black eye, the results of a battle a number of days in the past with one other inmate, Coconino County sheriff’s spokesman Jon Paxton mentioned. Authorities are investigating what led up to it.
Defense lawyer Bruce Griffen has requested that proof be excluded from trial on Gooch’s whereabouts main up to Krause’s disappearance, his connection to the Mennonite church, communication along with his household and knowledge on crimes he may need dedicated in opposition to Mennonites as a youngster.
Griffen mentioned the relevance of the proof would not outweigh prejudice in opposition to his shopper.
In courtroom paperwork, prosecutors argue Gooch displayed a sample of disdain for Mennonites. While Gooch’s mother and father have been a part of the church and he grew up in Wisconsin within the religion, he didn’t change into a member.
“This dislike is obvious by the acts of housebreaking concentrating on Mennonites, his surveillance of Mennonites, and his outward hostility towards Mennonites — even ones he didn’t know,” prosecutor Ammon Barker wrote in courtroom paperwork.
The protection additionally has questioned the reliability of cellphone tower information that prosecutors used to link Gooch to Krause. And Gooch’s lawyer needs the decide to weigh in on whether or not an knowledgeable for the prosecution can testify and whether or not statements Gooch made to a sheriff’s detective have been lawfully obtained.
Barker mentioned the cellphone information traces up with Gooch’s monetary information, surveillance video and his admission that he was in northwestern New Mexico across the time of Krause’s disappearance.
Gooch and Krause did not know one another, and prosecutors aren’t positive why he would have focused her. Luke Air Force Base, the place Gooch was stationed in metropolitan Phoenix, is a couple of seven-hour drive from Farmington, the place Krause lived in a Mennonite group and taught Sunday college lessons.
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