Judge Rules Key Scientific Evidence Admissible In Trial

Lloyd Harris’ trial to begin in October.

Frederick, Md (KM). A key piece of scientific information will be admitted as evidence for the prosecution in the trial of Lloyd Harris, 53. State’s Attorney Charlie Smith says it involves acid phosphatase found in the victim’s body.

Harris is charged with the rape and murder of Stacy Hoffmaster, 15 more than 20 years ago. Hoffmaster went missing in October, 1996. Her body was found in December of that year in an area off of East South Street near Interstate 70. Police at the time say she had been strangled.

A hearing on the admissibility of evidence was held earlier in the week.   Circuit Court Judge William Nicklas issued his ruling on Friday.

Smith says the prosecution argued that the acid phosphatase found in her body was a key piece of evidence in its case against Harris. But the defense said the substance had deteriorated over time. The Judge ruled in favor of the State. “Judge  Nicklas denied their Fry-Reid motion which essentially said that the evidence we would have put in in this trial is scientifically reliable, enough to present it to a jury,” he said. “And they’re entitled to beat it up at trial,so to speak, but they’re not entitled to preclude the jury from hearing it.”

“We’re going to be able to have a scientist take the stand, an expert forensic pathologist take the stand, and say that he believes that the deposit of the acid phosphatase occurred shortly before death, which is a critical piece of evidence in our case,” Smith says.

Acid phosphatase is found in semen and is used by prosecutors and forensic pathologist to prove that a woman had been raped. Smith was asked if this substance could prove that Harris did indeed rape Stacy Hoffmaster before she was killed. “I don’t want to comment on that in terms of what those findings will reveal because we don’t comment on evidence pre-trial. But I can tell you that evidence does exist, and we plan on admitting into our case in chief,” he said.

Harris’ trial is scheduled to begin in October, 2017. Earlier in the week, he turned down a plea deal which would have required he plead guilty to 2nd-degree murder and rape for Stacy’s killing. He would have received 40-years in prison, but had to serve 20-years before being eligible for parole. Harris’ attorneys said their client would have to have served 30-years before being eligible for parole, and that would essentially be a life sentence.
By Kevin McManus