Various tidbits which reporters following the case did not report.
1) There may have been some procedural mistake involving evidence and the grand jury
Here is another whisper clip involving the judge and an employee of the court.
2) Even up to the day before the trial ended, the defense had still not received all the 'discovery' material it should have had at the beginning
Much worse. Here is a clip from a hearing three months before the trial. The defense paid perhaps one of the crookedest people in law enforcement, in that region, to take their DNA samples to Texas, which was the epicenter of DNA scandals at the time.
The specific person who was responsible for transporting the DNA samples may get a separate page on this website eventually.
3) On the Next to last day of trial the judge, prosecutor and defense did something very devious
Esar Met was not going to testify, the main defense lawyer saw to that, but any incentive the younger lawyers had to have him testify was removed.
His interview had already been 'suppressed except for impeachment', but the judge now made a further stipulation that if it were used, it could only be used to respond directly to testimony during trial.
So if somebody wanted to ask about any of the odd statements made by others, such as the translator's reference to two kicks, that would not be allowed.
Or if somebody wanted to show that it was a Reid Technique interview, by showing the entire "Did you plan this or was it an accident" section, it would not be allowed.
What if somebody wanted to go over the entire 'confession' part of the interview to show that he constantly changed his story whenever the FBI agent asked him to? The judge covered that by prohibiting 'fishing expeditions."
4) The footprint expert returned to testify
The first time he testified, at the beginning of the trial, he was asked if he had been given footprints of the four roommates to check against the footprints found at the murder scene. He said he had been given four footprint samples, and all of them were labeled 'Esar Met'.
The prosecutor had been counting on the footprint evidence since it was possibly the strongest piece of evidence he had. The DNA could be discounted since she had the DNA of other people she had come into contact with, and horseplay would probably leave DNA. The 'bloody jacket' was even weaker, since it had no resemblance to how blood would be deposited during a violent murder with blood spattered all over.
The first appearance by the expert made the prosecutor look dishonest, so he put the expert up in an expensive hotel and provided him with footprint samples of the four roommates.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that if the footprints matched any of the roommates then it would be proof Esar Met was not the killer. The simple fact that this was a real possibility, in fact a greater than 50/50 possibility, should have discredited the whole trial.
Ultimately the expert, who had initially been hired to testify that the footprints could have come from Esar Met, admitted that they could have come from any human being who was not a basketball player with size 20 feet or a child with size 1 feet. This is a very long clip, about 9 minutes.
In fact most of the people in that courtroom could have matched the footprint.
5) After Esar Met refused to plead guilty, the prosecution and defense worked together to force a bench trial
After the 'outburst' in which he said he did not kill the girl, the judge, incredibly, told the defense lawyer he could have more time to get a guilty plea.
The prosecution knew that most of the evidence pointed to one of the roommates, and they knew it would be difficult to win at a real trial.
So the prosecution invited the defense lawyer into his office to discuss forcing a bench trial.
Because of the heavy publicity, and because a not guilty verdict would be devastating to law enforcement especially since they got a 'confession', a bench trial would have been an easy guilty verdict with little or no publicity.
The defense lawyer makes it clear that he is advising Esar Met to take a bench trial, but evidently somebody who knew the U.S. legal system told Mr Met what was going on, and he declined.
The motive behind the bench trial attempt was the weakness of the evidence, so the charade was an attempt to use loopholes in the legal system to quietly convict a person who the evidence did not point to.
6) One more example of the complete lack of ethics in Utah
Esar Met had been in custody more than 5 years by the time of this recording, May 2013, and his lawyer is urging him to give up his right to a speedy trial, supposedly guaranteed by various constitutions, i.e., U.S. constitution, Utah constitution, etc
What was the problem for the defense that they wanted him to wait?
The prosecution had not yet cleaned up its DNA evidence so it could be used at trial. Five years after his arrest. And the defense also had not examined the DNA evidence which would be used at a trial.
In other words the defense lawyer was saying 'You have spent five years in jail, there is no evidence yet which points to you, but the prosecution says they will have evidence soon, and then we will have to test and verify their evidence, so please nod your head yes.'
The media is almost fully on the prosecution payroll, so the defense lawyer has no worries.
If there were reasonable evidence that Esar Met was guilty such tricks might be okay, but there never was any such evidence.
Most college educated Americans cannot shoplift a candy bar without leaving a hundred pieces of evidence.
How would a rural hillbilly with a second grade education commit a crime like that and not leave a single piece of evidence?
The answer is a lot easier than most people in Utah want to admit.
7) Here is a coded conversation which took place several minutes later at the same hearing.
The judge, prosecutor and defense lawyers are discussing various things when the judge discreetly slips this into the conversation.
The judge and defense had been thoroughly embarrassed when media reported that it appeared Esar Met was being pressured to plead guilty.
They knew that any more conversations about anything other than a trial had to be done in a way that the court record could not be used to prove blatant collaboration against the interests of Esar Met.
8) Here is another clip about a mistrial motion
This issue was reported on by Salt Lake media, but the reporting ignored a lot of things.
1) If a piece of peripheral evidence can pop up suddenly and cancel out all of the evidence the prosecutor has, then there certainly is not any evidence 'beyond a reasonable shadow of doubt' nor anything close. If the case is so weak that it can be discredited by a simple new piece of minor evidence then the case is based more on 'can you imagine he might be guilty.' This is the issue the defense lawyer raised in his opening statement
which is certainly proper and well said, if only the defense lawyer had been harmless in his defense of Esar Met.
But he was not harmless.
He took deliberate calculated steps to assist the prosecution, something he would not have done if the defendant were a friend or family of his, or if he thought there would be proper scrutiny of his work. Of course he knew the media would play along.
A person can speculate about his goals, his motives, he may have been simply trying to live out the role of 'wise lawyer' who 'sacrifices others' when appropriate for some 'greater good' which he considers himself wise enough to perceive.
All of the demons of history are people who imagine they see some greater good and authorize themselves to sacrifice others for their vision, instead of simply acting properly.
2) The supposed 'Brady violation' is a red herring all parties are using to distract from the evidence itself. The prosecution argument is that the prosecution should not have to do the work of the defense, and that argument is what the judge promoted, but that argument is irrelevant. The state, and its various agencies, did a collection of work involving various agencies, including crime scene collection. Mr Met was going about his business when several dozen agents of the state abducted him, gave false information to the public, gave him a 'defense lawyer' who was overtly supportive of the prosecution, then tries to hold him responsible for finding exculpatory evidence?
At any rate, the probable blood stain, judging by comments made in other clips, was near the upstairs bathroom, the tile floor of the upstairs bathroom was visible in that photograph. The killer walked out of the bathroom with bloody feet, which should exclude Esar Met since there was no blood in his shoes, then the killer appears to have cleaned up in the upstairs roommates bathroom.
3) The judge shifts back and forth, during the trial, on how she values different kinds of evidence. Sometimes she will take a strictly procedural view i.e., follow the law exactly, sometimes she will overrule procedure with common sense. The only consistency in her actions is that she consistently favors the prosecution. In this case she narrows her interpretation of the issue to the very strict Brady definition in such a way that favors the state, but ignores a whole host of bigger issues.
4) All of the people involved are hamming it up 'for the record'. They want to create a clear record which shows that they did not violate any standard in such a way that it might come back to bite them. This kind of theater is evident throughout the trial, and this issue is a good example.
The judge does not want anybody to say she favored the prosecutor, but she wants him convicted.
The prosecutor does not want people to say he prosecuted a person for a crime they did not commit, but he feels obligated to help cover up law enforcement errors and he knows he has to tweak the evidence to win.
The defense knows they have to appear to be helping their client, but they know that their own interests are better served by helping convict him.
It also looks like the defense lawyers considered it a 'career building' case. The senior defense lawyer plays 'mentor' and gives freedoms to his proteges, in exchange they have faith in his supposed wisdom and excuse his collaboration with the prosecution on the grounds that his seniority allows that. In other words he pretends wisdom and everybody else backs up that illusion, trusting that in the future more senior people will cover problems.
9) Here is another troubling aspect of the 'upstairs blood' issue
A very long clip, ~11 minutes, with a defense lawyer interviewing the crime scene tech.
This case is full of indications that employees of the state interfered with evidence, and this is another example.
This crime scene technician was ignorant about a lot of aspects of the case. He did not remember many different things and clearly was not on top of the case.
But when asked if he thought the upstairs blood could have impacted the case, a question with an obvious answer, he responds strangely that he did not believe so, because there was plenty of other evidence, according to him, which indicated guilt.
He then mentions the jean jacket, which he also tested, but which is also highly suspicious to people on the defense.
First, it is odd that he would express the opinion that such an obviously important piece of evidence would not have a bearing on the case.
Second, he is indicating the case is very strong, in his opinion, which everybody else obviously disagrees with, this is not a 'solid' case with clear guilt. Several items have come up by this point in the trial which would completely cancel out the prosecution case, negate all of their evidence, if proven. And if all of the forensic evidence can be cancelled out by one trivial circumstantial fact then the forensic evidence is not strong.
Third, and worst, is that his comment about the jacket indicates that he felt there was sufficient evidence to convict, but that the jacket was 'extra' evidence. This suggests he received input from the prosecution about the case, clearly inaccurate input regarding the strength of the evidence, which influenced his opinions, and possibly his work.
This casts further doubt on the truthfulness of there having been genuine blood evidence on the back of the jacket.
10) Regarding DNA evidence, as with all of the other evidence, the jury was given inaccurate information in the context of the trial
The purpose of the trial was to 'prove' that Esar Met killed Hser Ner Moo.
The two main pieces of DNA evidence used were skin cells from Esar Met supposedly found under Hser Ner Moo's left fingernails, and her blood found on the back of his jacket.
Usually, DNA is thought of as being in an obvious context. If you find x person's DNA on the trigger of a gun then that person likely pulled the trigger. If you find it in a rape kit then that person likely committed the rape. In those cases it's appropriate to say "It is one in a trillion chance it was somebody else's DNA".
In this case though, neither of the DNA samples are consistent with the crime.
If you assume Esar Met is guilty, and you accept any of the versions of his confession, there isn't a moment when she scratches him and gets DNA under her nails. She is pushed down the stairs, convulses and dies.
If you assume he is guilty there is no reasonable scenario in which he is so violent with a body that he sprays blood all over the place, but gets no blood on his clothes except four stains, in a straight line, on the back of his jacket.
The medical examiner testified that she had three cuts on various fingers which were consistent with playground cuts, they were partially healed. Various other people testified she had minor finger cuts and that she rode on Esar Met's back in what would be called piggy back riding in the U.S.
So if a person wanted to use the DNA evidence in a fair trial it is not enough for a DNA expert to say 'a trillion to one it is her blood'. It would also require another expert to put that probability in its proper context with regard to situational probabilities.
It's extremely unlikely either DNA sample came from murdering someone, but the jury was led to believe that they did.
If a person wants to ignore context and present evidence inaccurately, then they have to do that for everybody.
Several blood stains contained mixtures of a major and minor profile, with the major profile being Hser Ner Moo and the minor profile being unidentified.
One sample contained two DNA samples from Hser Ner Moo and roommate #1. Statistically it's extremely unlikely that the two tiny stains overlapped by chance. The prosecutor attributed the roommate's DNA to spitting betel juice, but people spit betel nut juice in gobs, like chewing tobacco, they don't spit a tiny stain which just coincidentally is the size of a blood stain later deposited.
That isn't to say roommate #1 did or didn't commit the murder. The only thing that can be said is that there was no proper collection of evidence.
11) One more interesting piece of DNA
Esar Met's white t shirt had a small amount of blood on it. The blood was tested for DNA and two profiles were found. Profile 1, the major contributor, was Esar Met.
Initially Hser Ner Moo was definitively excluded as being the second contributor, the minor profile. Then, strangely, a change was made so that she was not excluded from being the minor contributor.
Here are two long audio clips from the trial in the 4 to 7 minute range with long pauses.
Hser Ner Moo's initial exclusion was not due to some statistical variable that needed to be refined. It wasn't some quirk of science that got updated as more was learned about DNA.
She was excluded because the mystery second contributor had DNA features which neither Esar Met nor she had.
Like if you put an apple in a basket and an orange in the same basket, and then you test the contents of the basket to see if there are potato chips. You can test the basket and say "There are two samples which have two different fruit peels, in other words apple peel and orange peel, and potato chips do not contain apple peel or orange peel, therefore there are not potato chips in the basket.
It's very clear cut, unambiguous, a simple exclusion based on logic. The excuse given for revising the standard is not applicable, it is being misused. If the exclusion is the result of a local i.e., Utah, rule change then it would be strong evidence of an administrative effort to throw the trial.
Hser Ner Moo is not the second profile. That is clarified in the second clip #1524.
So who is the second profile? Notice in the false confession interview Esar Met refers to his girlfriend in a very casual way.
Line 1154 at https://pastebin.com/qZcK69HH
During his sentencing he also refers to his girlfriend and says he visited his girlfriend before he met up with his uncle. The specific alleles in sample 2 excluded all of the references the expert had i.e., it was not from Hser Ner Moo, it was not from the roommates, etc. If he met his girlfriend that day, as he says, then there is a fair chance the DNA is hers.
The girlfriend was never mentioned by the media because it conflicted with the image the prosecution wanted to paint, and she was never mentioned by the defense for the same reason, since they were carefully cooperating with the prosecution.
But the two times that he made statements i.e., his interview and his sentencing comment, he mentioned her both times. During an early hearing one of the roommates mentioned her as well, but that testimony changed at the trial.
Many Mormons are very conservative, and it's possible they felt that since he was carousing with another refugee girl then he needed to be 'punished', while roommate #1 was heavily disabled so perhaps could be excused for the murder. In his sentencing comments he says he had planned to marry that girlfriend. People from conflict zones and refugee camps tend to get married earlier than people with comfortable lives.
An important point regarding his interview is that a lot of it was not truthful, and a person has to look at other facts to try to find out which parts are truthful. That is a feature of Reid Technique confessions.
The interviewers, the FBI agent and detective, were not interested in the truth. Their job was to pretend they wanted the truth but to actually get a confession whether accurate or not.
Reid Technique confessions have been studied extensively and this is a simple feature of them. If you want the real truth you don't use deception or force. You use those things if you are after something else like a confession.
Esar Met got attacked out of the blue, assaulted for reasons he had no clue about. Then he was told "What happened when she came to your house on Monday?" Line 142 at https://pastebin.com/qZcK69HH
He had been awake a long time, mildly beaten, terrorized, threatened. So he tried to remember the last time she had visited that house, and described the visit accurately, though it was not Monday, it was the previous week. This is another thing that the defense and prosecution knew, but covered up.
As the interview progresses the FBI agent and detective continue pressing him to say what they want him to say, and he does.
One of the very few details he provides without pressure is about his girlfriend, a detail he mentions in suitable context and very casually. Probably one of the very few truthful things he provided.
Did the defense contact the girlfriend and verify that he had been with her that day before seeing his uncle?
The defense did not contact anybody that wasn't approved by the prosecution nor call any of their own witnesses, so they did not.
12) There's more though
News media in Utah did not actually report the full extent of flaws in the DNA evidence.
There was not 'just one' sample which appeared to implicate one of the roommates, and there was not 'just one' sample whose test reporting criteria changed to avoid mentioning that Esar Met was excluded from being the contributor.
13) Another awkward clip from the same witness
This should make any employee of the legal system cringe.
The prosecutor knows he owns that witness. The poor forensic technician will say anything the prosecutor wants and clearly has arranged some of his testimony beforehand with the prosecution.
The jury has been hand selected for their simplicity, the juror who took notes even got dismissed.
The supposed bloody jacket evidence is embarrassing for the prosecution, but maybe this witness can help?
Actually it's not a forensics question, not even a science question. It's a common sense question.
The prosecutor wants the witness to says that if Esar Met took off his jacket and set it somewhere, then sprayed blood everywhere, four droplets could arrive on the jacket in a linear fashion.
Imagine smashing a watermelon with a mallet and it produces a clean pattern of four drops in a linear pattern.
The question he should have asked was "Would a laboratory pipette filled with blood and shaken over the coat produce a linear pattern?"
The answer then would be yes.
14) For many people the 'scratch evidence' indicated guilt
Did Esar Met attack Hser Ner Moo, and did she scratch him?
Notice at 2 minutes 44 seconds he scratches for several seconds https://youtu.be/jTwG-kBPOZM
That was about 12 hours before the exam. He had been living in jungle just several weeks earlier, and had obvious skin issues.
Even aside from his scratching himself, a person can just look at his skin.
Here is the totality of the testimony given in that regard, perhaps the single strongest piece of evidence used against Esar Met.
Keep in mind that the prosecutor had the full report and all of the photos in his possession for 5 years by the time of the trial.
Keep in mind too that there are 25.4 millimeters in an inch.
Aside from the weakness of the evidence, it not only doesn't prove his guilt, it doesn't even indicate it, there is another problem.
The defense asks if some of the injuries could have been caused by Hser Ner Moo riding on his back and kicking him in the chest as he jumped around like a horse.
15) More DNA issues
When DNA is used as evidence in a public trial, the implication is that it is statistically overwhelming. It usually contains phrases like "one in a quadrillion" or "one in a quintillion".
The DNA under the fingernails is not actually useful in proving guilt because it appears to be related to separate contact, but the prosecution did present the fingernail evidence as DNA proof of guilt in the murder.
What Salt Lake City media failed to report is that the statistical certainty number used with this evidence was not in the quintillions.
It wasn't even in the quadrillions. Nor in the trillions. Not billions. Not millions either.
It was one in 1142. Just over one in a thousand.
To the extent it was legitimately tested and reported by the lab, it was a mixture of two samples which would occur in one out of every 1142 mixtures of samples in the U.S. database used for those statistics.
So the prosecution and media were being dishonest with that piece of evidence, as with many others.
Here is another example. The rape kit was reported as having 'insufficient' DNA for testing, according to Sorenson labs. The prosecutor tried to use this to suggest the possibility of a rape as he interviewed this witness, who started working at Sorenson shortly after the murder.
Paperwork written by a woman who worked there in 2008 but was no longer working there at the time of trial specified how much DNA was actually found, and it was none.
Evidence shows that the most likely scenario is that the 'rape' had the same motive as putting the victim face down with her underwear in front of her face. In other words it was a 'fake rape' using an object, and was done by somebody who does not distinguish between children and adults, and it was done to create an 'adult' lesson about mixing with other ethnicities.
16) During the trial, a lot of time was spent 'verifying' the time cards
There's a pretty good reason for this. Most people who have worked time card jobs know that cheating is common when using time cards. Groups of people often handle each others' time cards, especially when there are several ethnicities working a job. Whoever arrives first may clock in a few of his or her buddies. When people want to leave early it's common for them to ask somebody to clock them out if they are sure they can get away with it. Often times lower level managers or supervisors cooperate to some extent.
When Hser Ner Moo first went missing news media was doing their job as best they could. They interviewed the father, and he said he had seen his daughter when he came home, and called out to her asking where she was going.
Despite all the testimony about when Hser Ner Moo disappeared, there is nobody that is known to have seen her after about 1pm. Except her father. But his job ended a bit later, so it looks like he was working American style, i.e., somebody else agreed to clock him out.
He worked at Deseret Industries with roommate #1 and roommate #2, who also left a bit early that day.
All articles which mentioned the father seeing his daughter were removed around the time of the trial, though some archived copies still exist.
"Through an interpreter, Hser's father, Cartoon Wah, told The Salt Lake Tribune he saw the girl leave the apartment and walk south. He said his daughter didn't respond when he asked where she was going."
Notice that the Salt Lake Tribune changed their version to say
"One of her brothers saw Hser Ner Moo leave the apartment Monday afternoon and walk south. She didn't respond when he asked where she was going."
At trial the brother who was home said he had been asleep.
So the father knew who was in apartment #472 at the time Hser Ner Moo disappeared. He understood roommate #1 has problems and left the case to the prosecution.
The police knew when Hser Ner Moo was last seen, but they did not want to put the father on the spot, and say how they knew.
A neighbor said she saw the girl between 1130am and 1pm, which was the last 'other' reliable sighting. Her brother had actually been sleeping when she left, he testified at trial, and did not 'have an argument with her' as media reported. That neighbor witness gave that information during the search, and later testified to that at the preliminary hearing. She was an illegal immigrant, she admitted during that hearing. Shortly after that she 'disappeared' also, and police then pushed the last seen time to 2pm based on her testimony, which solved several problems for the prosecution. Although she does not testify at trial, the stipulation does report her timing accurately, but the testimony by a police officer who took that statement during the search changes it to 210pm. So jurors are given a choice between believing a reading of a statement by her, which is truthful, or believing a police officer who is lying about what she said. Most of that type of juror will believe the police officer.
Was it easy to prove the timecards accurate? Who was the person who certified them as truthful and accurate?
His name is given only as "Von Keetch"
According to Intelius there are two 'Von Keetches' in Utah.
One of them was one of the most prominent lawyers in Utah, and known in legal circles nationwide. He was friends with Kenneth Starr, of Bill Clinton fame, he even watched the plane that crashed into the pentagon on 9/11.
It's unlikely that he was chief records custodian for Deseret Industries, a thrift store operation run by the LDS church.
The only other "Van Keetch" in Utah, his son Jared Von Keetch, is more likely.
Either way, the jury was told that 'Von Keetch' certified that the time cards were truthful and accurate. Most or all of the jury would have given that the highest credibility just because of the name.