Todd Frost pleads for retrial in 1993 Wisconsin Rapids stabbing death

Todd Frost pleads for retrial in 1993 Wisconsin Rapids stabbing death

WISCONSIN RAPIDS — A 51-year-old man convicted of stabbing a 25-year-old girl to dying and slitting her throat in 1993 returned to Wooden County Circuit Court docket this week to hunt a brand new trial.

Todd D. Frost was 22 when a jury discovered him responsible of first diploma murder and retired Wooden County Circuit Choose Edward Zappen Jr. sentenced him to life in jail he practically 29 years in the past. Frost was 21 when somebody killed Francine Weaver, a Wisconsin Rapids girl who labored as a waitress.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Monroe County Circuit Choose Richard Radcliffe, appearing as deputy decide within the Wooden County case, listened to proof introduced by Frost’s legal professional, Cole D. Ruby, and the Wooden County District Lawyer Craig Lambert relating to DNA proof introduced through the 1994 trial.

A roommate discovered Weaver mendacity bare on her mattress on April 1, 1993. An post-mortem decided somebody had stabbed Weaver 41 occasions and slit her throat, in keeping with court docket paperwork.

Throughout Frost’s trial, witnesses testified that they noticed Frost and Weaver strolling collectively the night time of his dying. Frost informed authorities he went house with Weaver to speak to him.

In 2015, the Wisconsin Innocence Undertaking, a nonprofit group began by two College of Wisconsin-Madison professors to assist wrongfully convicted prisoners, helped Frost in his bid to have his conviction overturned. At the moment, proof of the case, together with a yellow coverlet from Weaver’s mattress, was believed to have been destroyed. An Innocence Undertaking intern then positioned a number of the lacking proof, together with the blanket.

In 2016, Frost despatched a letter to Dr. Karl Reich, a molecular biologist and DNA analyst, lab supervisor and managing accomplice of an unbiased lab in suburban Chicago, asking for assist. Reich stated Tuesday he usually receives letters from inmates asking for assist.

Reich stated Frost’s description of what occurred in his 1994 trial involved him, so he despatched for the trial transcripts. Reich stated the transcripts matched Frost’s story of how the DNA proof testimony was introduced.

Reich stated proof present in fluid samples taken from Weaver indicated that Frost couldn’t be the supply of the semen discovered within the samples. He stated the Wisconsin State Crime Lab DNA analyst ought to have informed jurors that the pattern dominated out Frost as a supply.

Reich additionally stated an FBI analyst exaggerated the outcomes of a blood pattern discovered on the duvet. The analyst used the phrase “match” throughout his testimony and it gave the jurors the flawed impression, Reich stated. The analyst additionally stated there was a one in 20 million likelihood another person would match the pattern, however the numbers do not make sense, Reich stated.

The checks have been carried out on stains discovered on the duvet that had not been examined previous to Frost’s trial. A semen stain on the blanket was discovered to match one other Wisconsin Rapids resident. Wisconsin Rapids Police Detective Eric Daven testified he spoke to the person whose DNA was discovered twice, as soon as on April 19 and once more on Could 24.

Daven stated through the first dialog that the person didn’t recall ever being within the residence Weaver shared with a roommate. Throughout the second dialog, the person stated he had handed the residence constructing and remembered going there for an evening out after the bar. The person stated Weaver and his roommate had frequent events.

Sherry Culhane, a retired Wisconsin Crime Lab DNA analyst, spoke and testified about her work on the case and her testimony at Frost’s trial. Culhane described testing Weaver’s samples and the blanket’s blood samples.

Ruby requested Culhane why she by no means examined the semen stains on the blanket. Culhane stated he wasn’t requested to search for these spots. She stated she was requested to check the blood on the blanket. The Crime Lab has to prioritize gadgets and can’t check each stain on every bit of proof that is available in, Culhane stated.

Allen Giusti, a present FBI DNA analyst, spoke for the prosecution on Wednesday. Giusti defined how DNA testing has modified since 1994. The kind of check used on pre-trial fluid and blood DNA samples was dependable and carried out accurately, Giusti stated. He stated the kind of checks used gave a extra detailed consequence than the present checks, which changed the outdated checks in 2002. Nevertheless, the outdated checks couldn’t be scaled up from the way in which the present checks are used, stated Giusti.

Outdated checks took for much longer and it might take a month to get the outcomes, Giusti stated. New checks will be achieved inside hours. The outdated checks additionally required much more materials than the brand new checks. The brand new checks can get DNA from a smoked cigarette that the outdated checks might by no means do, Giusti stated.

Radcliffe stated the complexity of the testimony given over the 2 days would forestall him from making an knowledgeable choice instantly. He requested Lambert and Ruby to submit every of the arguments answering particular questions on how earlier court docket rulings have an effect on this case and whether or not Frost ought to get a brand new trial.

Radcliffe is predicted to decide on the case in April.

Contact Karen Madden at 715-345-2245 or [email protected]. Comply with her on Twitter at @KMadden715, instagram at @kmadden715 or Fb at facebook.com/karen.madden.33.

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