Former San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst speaks on Stephanie Crowe case

SAN DIEGO - San Diego County's district attorney at the time of Stephanie Crowe's death explained to 10News why the case continues to baffle even the greatest legal minds.

When Crowe was murdered in 1998, Paul Pfingst had two daughters around her age. He also thought he had found her killer.

"I have never, in 30 years and in thousands of murder investigations, ever seen a case like this," said Pfingst, who served as the county district attorney from 1995-2003.

Pfingst admitted to 10News that the case still haunts him. Additionally, many say the Stephanie Crowe case cost Pfingst his job.

After charges were dropped against Michael Crowe, Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser, Bonnie Dumanis used the case as ammunition and defeated Pfingst for his seat -- around the same time Richard Tuite was convicted.

Pfingst said, "There were two excellent cases, but they're against different people."

The case against the three boys had a potential murder weapon, and the case against Tuite had blood evidence.

"You could never reconcile the two different cases, and each one provided doubt for the other case," Pfingst said.

Years later, the three boys were vindicated, as a judge ruled them "factually innocent."

Now, Tuite has received a similar verdict.

"We will never know, for certain, who killed Stephanie Crowe," said Pfingst.

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