On Thursday, after a 3 ½ day jury trial, a Portland man whose girlfriend allegedly stabbed him with a kitchen knife was found guilty of Burglary, Theft and 4 lesser crimes.
Calvin Luarca, 30, was accused of entering Zonnisha Meyer’s residence uninvited. Luarca was said to be in possession of Meyer’s iPhone when she stabbed him. Injured and stunned, Luarca immediately fled the scene with Meyer’s iPhone. Witnesses testified they saw someone fitting Luarca’s description running from Meyer’s house holding his side. Luarca drove himself to a nearby Urgent Care where police later discovered Meyer’s iPhone covered in blood on the rear floor of his car.
The jury deliberated for less than 2 hours before coming to a guilty verdict on all 6 counts. Unfortunately for Luarca, his attorney, David Kurtz, advised him not to testify though Kurtz stated in his closing arguments that it was Luarca’s decision not to testify. The end result was a conviction of the following crimes; Burglary 1, Theft 2, Assault 4, Interference with Reporting a Crime, Witness Tampering, and Violation of a No Contact Order. Four of the crimes have a special punishment provision associated with Domestic Violence (DV). Luarca could face up to 87 months in prison. Sentencing will take place in April.
Because Luarca was convinced not to testify, the jury was prevented from hearing Luarca’s version of events. Contrary to Meyer’s admission that she stabbed him, Luarca said he was attacked from behind in the stairwell of Meyer’s house. He said he did not get a good look at the assailant, but he believed it was not Meyer who stabbed him.
In corroboration with the unknown assailant scenario, the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab found DNA profiles of 3 unrelated individuals on the tip of the knife with the dominant DNA profile from Zonnisha Meyer. The other 2 DNA profiles had components that were too low to compare.
The WSP Crime Lab also found finger prints on the blade of the knife but were unable to determine who the finger prints belonged to because there was no formal request by the Vancouver Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit to perform a finger print test. VPD Major Crimes Unit Detective Carol Boswell testified that she was called in on her day off to work with DV Unit Detective Sandra Aldridge, who was also called in on her day off, to process the crime scene. According to her testimony, Boswell collected 2 swabs for DNA analysis, one on the tip of the knife and one on the end of the blood covered handle. No other swabs or analysis of the knife were requested.
Defense counsel asked the WSP Crime Lab expert Trevor Chowen if the knife had been wiped down after Luarca had been stabbed. Mr. Chowen testified that he has unable to determine if the knife had been wiped down after the stabbing.
Unanswered questions remain surrounding the Luarca case and the actors involved, such as, why was there no Evidentiary Hearing held prior to the case being called ready by the court? Perhaps the varsity team with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office needs to reopen this investigation.