Suitcase center of attention at Troy murder trial

November 13, 2017 06:31 PM

TROY - A suitcase was the center of attention at the Johnny Oquendo murder trial on Monday. However, the jury may never find out the whole story about that suitcase.

Late in the afternoon on Monday, the jury watched video taken on the Russell Sage campus on November 22, 2015. That's the night Noel Alkaramla disappeared. That video, taken at night, had fairly illuminated streets. It showed a darkened figure wheeling something behind him or her through the streets of Troy.


The prosecutor, Andrew Botts, wants the jury to believe what they're looking at is Johnny Oquendo wheeling his stepdaughter, Noel Alkaramla, toward the Hudson River.

DNA expert Mallory Gage testified Monday morning she was unable to find any DNA evidence on that suitcase. That's not surprising given the suitcase was in the Hudson River for five to six weeks.

After several courtroom delays, the judge, Andrew Ceresia, finally agreed to allow the prosecution to allow that suitcase into evidence. There was also a suitcase handle found on the banks of the Hudson River in Troy. That will not allowed into evidence.

A plastic bag found around Alkaramla's head is also permissible, but there is a knot in that plastic shopping bag in which was a lock of hair. The judge says that is not going to be allowed into evidence, because the proper chain of custody was not followed.

Interestingly, the forensic expert from the New York State Police Lab, who would have been able to tie the handle of the suitcase found in Troy to the suitcase found in Albany, will not be allowed to testify anymore. Anything he said earlier Monday was stricken from the record because of a technical problem.

Testimony will resume at 9:30 Tuesday morning.


WNYT Staff

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