Hope in the Chief Justice’s Remarks

Ohio Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has cast doubt* on the validity of some of the evidence presented at Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s trial.

During oral argument to establish whether the trial court had jurisdiction to try Jeff, the state was trying to establish that there were pointers at trial which showed that the murder could have happened in Ohio. In the process, Chief Justice O’Connor refuted the validity of testimony given by Jeff’s cellmate, Bruce Wheeler, and quashed the state’s argument that blood in Jeff’s apartment** had any relevance.

Cummings***: [Jeff’s] cellmate, Bruce Wheeler, testified that Wogenstahl
                            described how he…
O’Connor:         But that jailhouse – you know – informant – his account was so
                           discredited, with some of the information that he threw in
                           there, that both sides said, “Well, that’s not right. That never
                           happened. That’s not even part of our case.” So…
Cummings:       Yes.
                                                          *****
Cummings:       There was blood evidence in his apartment, which is in Ohio.
O’Connor:         But it wasn’t her blood.
Cummings:       It wasn’t determined at trial whose it was – that’s correct…
                                                          *****
O’Connor:         The blood never tested in the apartment – we don’t know
                           whether it was human or animal blood, so that’s not
                           probative.

It is encouraging that the Chief Justice emphatically dismissed the state’s points, which the prosecution had used against Jeff at his trial. We hope that this means the tide is turning at last. We hope that Jeff will have the chance to refute more of the state’s arguments against him. He deserves to have a new trial.

*Oral argument for Case No. 1995-0042 State v. Wogenstahl, 30:35 – 32:46 
**“[T]he only confirmed human blood found in Wogenstahl’s apartment did not match the victim.”
See Appellant Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand Case to the Trial Court, filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio, October 7, 2016 – Case No. 2016-0423; P. 46.
See also 2015 Forensics Report on Jeff’s case, by Gary Rini, M.F.S:
“The lack of detection of blood, or indications of blood clean-up, within Wogenstahl’s apartment, make it highly unlikely that the victim was murdered within Wogenstahl’s apartment. It appears that crime scene investigators removed the plumbing from Wogenstahl’s bathroom to examine the contents of the drain pipes for evidence of blood. If blood had been present, it would have been found in the drain pipes. The lack of blood in the drain pipes indicates that no blood was present, nor was there any evidence of the use of any cleansing agents that would have removed any traces of blood… ­
…The state’s contention that the victim was murdered elsewhere, or in Wogenstahl’s car, which was then used to transport the victim to the scene, is not supported by the physical evidence in the car, at the scene or on the victim.”
Volume 2 of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand Case to the Trial Court, filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio, October 7, 2016 – Case No. 2016-0423; Pp 120 -126
***Philip Cummings, representing State of Ohio
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