Date set for review
of evidence in slaying
The 6th District Court of Appeal has set Feb. 27 for oral
arguments that will address crucial evidence in the case against
Maurice Xavier Nasmeh, accused of killing Jeanine Harms of Los Gatos
The arguments will focus on whether Los Gatos police violated
their search protocol by seizing Nasmeh's Jeep Grand Cherokee when
they examined it. Seizing the vehicle had not been allowed by their
warrant, though a search was allowed.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Linda Condron last
February ruled that police violated the warrant, saying it was
unacceptable that the Jeep was impounded for more than three weeks.
Subsequently, she barred crucial fiber evidence found in the car
from being used at trial.
Condron's ruling threatened to collapse the case against Nasmeh.
Prosecutors have built their case on the fiber evidence, which they
say connects Nasmeh to Harms' murder. Harms, a 42-year-old Fujitsu
employee, disappeared in July 2001 after a date with Nasmeh, a
Campbell architect who is now 42.
The fibers match a yarn crafts project that Harms had worked on
in her home, as well as fibers found on Harms' area rug, which
police believe was used in disposing of her body. The fibers were
also found in the cargo area of Nasmeh's car. Nasmeh's attorney, Dan
Jensen of San Jose, says such fibers are commonly found in car seat
insulation, including Nasmeh's car.
Without the fiber evidence, Jensen says there's nothing to
connect his client to the homicide.
Prosecutors believe that Los Gatos police had the right to
impound Nasmeh's car because they had probable cause to believe it
contained evidence of a crime and was used to dispose of Harms'
Nasmeh's attorney filed the original motion to suppress that
evidence. The state Attorney General's Office is representing the
district attorney's office in the appeal.
Nasmeh has been held in Santa Clara County Jail without bail
since his December 2004 arrest.