DNA Expert Witness & Bone Evidence

Jurors in El Paso, TX, acquitted Guillermo Nieto of murder in the 1999 death of his new bride, Sheila Westphal. He had met her a year before on the Internet and was accused of burying her body in his yard. The DNA expert witness could not confirm that a bone found at Nieto’s home was Westphal’s. The expert could only say the bone belonged to a female and someone related to Westphal’s daughter and her brother, Sam Barbagallo. The expert also testified that most people have common DNA thresholds and that he believed the DNA taken from the bone was not read correctly.

An expert report showed that the DNA from the bone also matched DNA of someone missing from Hurricane Katrina, which thrashed Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005.

Excerpted from ElPasoTimes.com.