It was chance that put police on the trail of a man charged with killing a 29-year-old Baltimore woman last fall, but it was science that kept them there -- and science that will convict him, an Anne Arundel Circuit Court jury was told yesterday.
David Clarence Boser, 25, of the 200 block of S. Vincent St., Baltimore, is on trial for the murder of a Emma Jean Wantland, a woman whose decomposed body was found Sept. 29 in an isolated section of Patapsco State Park, her throat cut from ear to ear.
In opening statements yesterday, assistant state's attorney Jennifer Spivak said police first became suspicious that Mr. Boser had been involved in foul play after he had a car accident on Main Street in Elkridge Sept. 23, about two miles from where the victim's body was found.
After discovery of the body, the investigation focused on him.
Police investigating the accident became suspicious because Mr. Boser gave conflicting stories about a stab wound to his arm, and they noticed blood on his 1977 Malibu Station Wagon that could not have been the result of the accident, Ms. Spivak said.
There was blood on the rear fender, blood on the hood, blood on the outside of the car doors, according to testimony from John V. Willard, a Howard County police evidence technician.
Mr. Boser was arrested after Anne Arundel County police pried molding from a rear passenger window and found blood that DNA tests confirmed matched the victim's blood, the prosecutor said.
"Emma Wantland can't be here today, she can't speak for herself," Ms. Spivak told the jury of eight men and four women.
"But there are pieces of her that she left behind, and those pieces of her will speak for her. Science will speak for her."
But assistant public defender Robert Waldman said the state's strongest evidence -- the victim's blood on Mr. Boser's car -- is not enough to pin a murder on him. It could have been put there any time, he said.
"It only means she was in contact with the car at some point, it doesn't mean this guy killed her," Mr. Waldman said. "The hard scientific evidence is not always so hard."
He said that the state's case is built entirely on circumstantial evidence -- all of which can be explained.
Blood all over Mr. Boser's car means nothing, he said, given that he was so badly hurt in the accident that he fell out of the car.
"He severed an artery in that accident," he said.
That he washed the blood from his car after the accident means even less, Mr. Waldman said.
"If your car is awash in blood, clothed with blood, covered with blood, your car begins to stink," he said. "If you don't wash your car, your neighbors will wash it for you."
Testimony yesterday focused on forensic evidence gathered by Howard County police at the accident scene and by Anne Arundel County police where the body was found.
Arthur Evans, who operates a tractor for the Anne Arundel County public works department, testified that he found the body about 25 feet off Furnace Avenue near Ridge Road in a remote area where trash is often dumped illegally.
Police forensic experts said the body was so decomposed that the time of death could only be estimated at between dusk Sept. 23 and midday Sept. 24.
The trial, before Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr., is expected to run five to seven days.