|Re: 2/17/04 - WTNH: Yale Co-ed Murder: Can it be solved?|
Yale Co-ed Murder: Can it be solved?
New Haven-WTNH, Feb. 17, 2004 11:00 PM) _ It's been just over five years since a Yale student was found brutally stabbed to death in an upscale New Haven neighborhood. Her murder remains unsolved.
There's a new paper offering suggestions about how to solve the case.
What's incredible is these suggestions are being made by the man who to this day remains the only named suspect in the murder. James Van de Velde charges police are so convinced he's the killer that they've failed to follow leads and conduct tests on evidence that could potentially solve this case.
James Van de Velde doesn't come back to New Haven often.
After all, this is where he was thrust into the national spotlight. It's where he says his life was wrecked after being publicly named as the suspect in the murder of Suzanne Jovin.
Jovin was an attractive, Yale student found murdered in an upscale New Haven neighborhood five years ago just blocks from where Van de Velde, her thesis advisor, lived.
Van de Velde is taking the offensive, releasing a detailed paper. It is his theory on who killed Jovin, how New Haven police botched the case, and what he believes could be done to solve the murder, including the use of cutting edge DNA tests on evidence.
"I think it's important, I think it is interesting. I think it's insightful," says Chief Ortiz.
New Haven's new police Chief Francisco Ortiz is now overseeing the 1998 case. While others in the department continue to characterize Van de Velde as a prime suspect, all Ortiz will say...
"I'm not at liberty to say who is prime or in the pool or otherwise."
But he will say he's confident his detectives are looking in the right direction.
"They have a very good case right now so this isn't a simple case of a complete mystery."
But it is a high profile, unsolved murder and after five years Van de Velde wants unbiased, outside experts to get involved.
Dr. Henry Lee says,"I'm more than happy to participate and take a look."
Experts like Connecticut's renown forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee who says his offer to help was initially turned down by New Haven police.
Team 8 recently sat down with Dr. Lee and Barry Scheck, the nationally known DNA expert who represented OJ Simpson.
"I think it's always a good idea to have a fresh set of eyes and independent people look at something," says Barry Scheck.
But Lee is skeptical.
"We need some physical evidence. A good crime scene and some witnesses and a little bit of luck. With this particular case, so far we don't have any," says Dr. Lee.
They do have a partial unidentified fingerprint found on a soda bottle near Jovin's body.
We asked whether it would help to try and link it to DNA found underneath Jovin's finger nails.
"It would put someone at the crime scene certainly," says Scheck.
However, Scheck says even the latest DNA technology may not provide answers.
"This is evidence you can destroy. If it turns out in two years there's a much better chance at getting a result than there is today, isn't it in the interest of everyone concerned to get a result than get no result," says Scheck.
Meanwhile, Van de Velde continues to campaign for his innocence.
Van de Velde talked to us at great length and answered our questions but at the insistence of his attorney he would not do an on camera interview.
Watch the story with Team 8 Investigator Alan Cohn: video.wtnh.com
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