Steven Weinstein, the guy who killed a man, hid his body in a trunk and proceeded to try and hide the smell of rotting flesh for months with air fresheners, won't be getting a new trial, the Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled.
Jerry Glaspie, 28, disappeared on January 29, 2007, and his decomposing body was found in the trunk of a car on March 24, 2007. His body was discovered with the hands and feet handcuffed, mouth covered with tape, after residents complained of the smell. Prosecutors said Glaspie was strangled after a $14,000 drug deal went bad (they were supposed to exchange $14,000 cash for drugs but Weinstein showed up with a cashier's check and Glaspie kept the money and never coughed up the meth.) In 2008 Weinstein was convicted of the killing and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the crime.
Weinstein's appeal was denied, but his current lawyer, Randy Schaffer, filed a writ of habeas corpus claiming that Weinstein wasn't properly represented, that information was withheld and that there was false testimony from a witness.
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The witness in question is Nathan Adams, a man with a history of convictions, drug addictions and mental health issues. Adams was being treated for bipolar disorder when he shared a cell with Weinstein. He wrote the Harris County District Attorney's Office letters saying he could help them convict Weinstein if they cut Adams a deal. They did and he testified, though he disappeared and had to be tracked down by the DA's office in order to appear in court, Schaffer said.
Adams testified that Weinstein told him everything about the crime, how he allegedly used a towel to strangle Glaspie, that the murder was over money, how he tried to use an engine lift to get Glaspie's body out of the trunk but couldn't. (An engine lift was found in Weinstein's garage when the body was discovered.)
Schaffer claimed the state withheld evidence -- the fact that Smith was hearing and seeing things -- but Wednesday the Court of Criminal Appeals issued an opinion stating that the information about Smith would not have swayed the jury. "Jerry was found in the trunk of applicant's car, which was parked in applicant's garage. Jerry had been concealed in this trunk for many weeks. Applicant's garage contained deodorizers, pesticides and baking soda, demonstrating that he was attempting to conceal the odor," the opinion dryly observes. Weinstein also stayed in the house for weeks after the murder and lied when asked about the smell -- it was "rotting meat" left by a roommate -- which all adds up to the fact that one witness with auditory and visual hallucinations doesn't cancel out one very decomposed body and a guy who tried to hide it.
So no new trial for Weinstein but he certainly made air freshener more sinister than we ever thought possible.