Throughout the Leila Fowler murder investigation and trial, the prosecution relied heavily on the fact that no one saw anyone go into or away from the Fowler house on the morning of Leila’s murder. No one heard any screams either. Therefore, Isiah Fowler (the only person known to have been in the house at the same time) must be guilty. His story of an intruder killing his sister must be false. No one could get into and out of the house without being seen.
For example, on Saturday February 13, 2016 Lodi, CA police were called to a house in a tightly spaced development on the 2300 block of Woodlake Circle, after a relative found the body of 74 year Dorothy Wiederrich. Ms. Wiederrich was stabbed to death. Neighbors did not call the police because they didn’t see or hear anything. Someone got in, brutally killed this woman and then escaped and no one saw or heard a thing.
It happened in Valley Springs, CA. It just happened in Lodi, CA.
It can happen anywhere.
At last Wednesday’s hearing I met Isaiah Fowler for the first time, albeit only via introduction by his attorney Mark Reichel (www.reichelplesser.com). We were in court and there was no time to converse with the young man. It is difficult to get too much of a read on him, but he does look very tired. As you would expect with a 12 year old, it is difficult to determine during so brief an encounter if he fully understands everything that is going on around him. He was very quiet and reserved, but did make eye contact with everyone.
Mr. Mellen’s Statements
Now to the comments about Mr. Mellen’s statements regarding what he did and did not see on the morning of the stabbing. After carefully reviewing the limited evidence provided to this point by the police, Mr. Mellen does not live across the street from the Fowler residence, except in a fairly broad definition of that term. His address appears in the Police Reports.
Imagine that you are standing in the street facing the Fowlers’ residence. To left the road goes up hill toward central Valley Springs and the baseball fields where the Fowlers were watching the game that morning. To your right the street runs downhill in the direction of Mr. Mellen’s home. Running Mellen’s address through Google maps, Mellen’s house is at least six (6) houses downhill from the Fowler’s. In addition he has a sizable tree in the front yard.
The Fowlers would have returned to their house that morning from the opposite direction. After coming over the apex of the road, they would have almost immediately turned into their driveway. The odds seem very small that anyone living at least six houses down the street would have noticed them arriving. It should be pointed out that in this neighborhood the lots are large and the homes are not wedged up against each other. The point is the Fowlers did not go past Mellens’ house when they rushed home that morning.
Where were the dogs?
One neighbor I interviewed wondered where the Fowlers’ dogs were on the morning of the attack and where they have been since. This neighbor was sure the Fowlers kept two (2) dogs at the house, one of which was always tied up near the front door. That neighbor need not worry about the dogs. The Fowlers never owned any dogs while living at the house. Neighbors right around the Fowlers’ house confirmed that the previous tenants had two dogs that were treated poorly. One witness said that one of the dogs was tied up to the bumper of a truck regardless of the weather. The same neighbors confirmed that there were no dogs at that location for at least a year and half.
The Search Warrant Rumor
One member of the press asked if it was true that Mr. Fowler would not let police into the house when they arrived without a warrant. The report by the Officer who arrived first at the scene included no such claim and every subsequent report of interviews with Mr. Fowler show that he was extremely co-operative with the police.
In the company of Mark Reichel, the Defense Attorney for Isaiah Fowler, I spent Saturday in and around the crime scene of the Leila Fowler stabbing. The community is not as isolated as one might think and the neighbors were glad the initial law enforcement and media frenzy has passed. There were a few obvious instances of people driving past the house out of curiosity.
Inside the Fowler’s former residence it is quiet, but not gory. The various law enforcement agencies ripped out furniture, carpets, plaster board from the walls and even the fireplace in the living room. Any place where evidence might be hidden was opened up and left open. The room where the killing took place is void of any personality because nothing but chemically treated blood stains remain on the wall. Only when you begin to mentally recreate what happened in that room does a chill consume you.
However this case plays out, that feeling will never leave me.
Much of the time and investigator grinds out the day-to-day work involved in personal injury cases and the like. Sometimes a really interesting and high-profile case comes in and you just feel the adrenaline start pumping.
That happened yesterday, when I was contacted by Mark Reichel and Steve Plesser of Reichel & Plesser Law (www.reichelplesser.com) to be the investigator in the very tragic stabbing death of 12-year-old Leila Fowler of Valley Springs, California.
For those who have not heard of this case, the violent death of eight year old Leila took place in her home on April 27 of this year. The only other person at home at the time of her stabbing was her 12-year-old brother. Her brother called Leila’s father and girlfriend who were attending a Little League baseball game at the time to tell them he saw a man hitting his sister and that he scared the stranger from the house.
When Leila’s father and girlfriend arrived at the house, followed shortly thereafter by the local police, Leila was found still bleeding from 21 stab wounds. Based an a vague description of the alleged attacker, the area was locked down and search commenced. The small community situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada between Sacramento and Stockton was on high alert.
On Saturday May 10, authorities arrested Leila’s 12-year-old brother and charge him with the murder of his sister. On Wednesday, May 13, Mark Reichel and Steve Plesser (www.reichelplesser.com) were retained to represent the defendant and I was asked to come on board as their investigator.
This is a very high-profile case, but the nature of my job is no different from it is in any case. Attorneys don’t like surprises. Litigation is a minefield of surprises and my job is to clear the mines. It doesn’t matter if the information I uncover helps or hurts our client’s case. What matters is that it doesn’t come as mine that Reichel and/or Plesser step on at trial.
This case appears to be a very large minefield and there is a lot of work to be done.
To any of you who may have yet to cast your ballot today, I hope you will take a moment while on your way out to thank the volunteers who help to make the process possible.
October 31, 1892: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Is Published
On this day in 1892, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle was published. The book was the first collection of Holmes stories, all of which had been published in The Strand Magazine between July 1891 and July 1892.
The book contained twelve stories, all of which featured Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes.