SAN DIEGO - A hearing is scheduled Wednesday morning to determine if convicted killer Richard Tuite will be tried again for murder after his conviction was overturned.
It was a murder that has haunted San Diego County. Twelve-year-old honor student Stephanie Crowe was stabbed to death in her bed in 1998.
Suspicion first fell on her brother and two of his friends. They were arrested and charged with murder. Then, they were released and a homeless man in their rural Escondido neighborhood that night was brought to trial. Stephanie's blood had been discovered on his t-shirt.
Richard Tuite was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison. However, the conviction was reversed by the Court of Appeals and a new trial ordered because the defense was not allowed to impeach a prosecution witness.
Defense attorney Brad Patton told 10News, "They know there was evidence we weren't allowed to present that can, in fact, come into the trial and it puts the entire family – both families – through months and months of stress and I don't see any value in that."
Stephanie's mother, Cheryl Crowe, told 10News by phone from her home in Oregon that justice is not being served, whether Tuite is freed or granted a new trial.
"Not for us, not for Stephanie, no," she said.
Patton is no longer the defense attorney of record but believes in Tuite's innocence and wants to be involved.
"I do not know if I'm going to get to play a role," Patton said. "It is my desire to get back on Richard's team and make this case happen again but I have not been contacted so I don't know."
He said his calendar is clear, just in case.