Prosecutor: UT student’s belongings link suspect to slaying
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Eyeglasses found near the body of a University of Texas freshman in 2016 match an unusual prescription belonging to the 20-year-old man accused in her death, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Prosecutor Guillermo Gonzalez also listed items that authorities said belonged to the 18-year-old victim that were found at various places where police say Meechaiel Criner was staying. Those items included a black boot, a laptop, a duffel bag, school work and the book “All the Light We Cannot See.”
Criner is on trial for capital murder in death of Haruka Weiser, a dance major from Portland, Oregon, who was strangled and sexually assaulted. Authorities have said Weiser was killed on campus as she walked to her dormitory after leaving a rehearsal.
Criner, a 17-year-old foster care runaway at the time of the killing, faces a sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Gonzalez said a yellow Killeen High School T-shirt left in an abandoned building near campus contained a hair that was traced to Weiser through DNA analysis. Criner, who was living in Killeen before running away to Austin about a week before Weiser’s death, had been spotted by firefighters at that abandoned building.
Criner’s attorney, Darla Davis, acknowledged that Criner had been living in abandoned buildings but said that he did not kill Weiser.
Thomas Weiser, a physician, told jurors that his daughter was a diligent student who came to UT on a dance scholarship.
This story has been corrected to show Haruka Weiser was 18 when she was killed, not 19.