I honestly don't think the boys had any thing to do with the death of Stephanie, however I do believe that Richard could have done it. I believe he got in the house thought he had found this girl Tracey and killed Stephanie but the possibility of cross contamination was too much and if I was on this jury I would have believed that cross contamination could have happened in the crime lab so I would have come up with the same verdict just because I would have also believed of the incompetence of the Escondido police department. I agree with others who say that if the boys had done it one of them. would have slipped and told someone that they had done it. I am sad about the whole situation because unless there is a jail or death bead confession I don't think we will ever know who committed this horrible crime.
Here is where I believe the problem lays, both the Escondido, Ca and Oceanside, Ca police departments are small town the equivalent of small town police departments; though because of a gang problem they both have their share of gang related murders and I will touch on that in a second.
Let me start with the small town issue. These two police departments don't get this type of crime very often (thank God) and they don't have the experience and should have asked for help from the San Diego police department or the FBI, Escondido should have never turned to Oceanside. The police officers and detectives that would have had to be at the murder scene with this young girls body still present would have been emotional as this would have been something that hit home as some of them would have had young children at home, and being citizens of the city of Escondido and would have wanted this case solved to give them as well as the public that feeling of security the city was used too if they caught the murderer quickly.
First they pinned it on teenage boys including the brother, they put heavy tv style pressure on these kids and got them to confess and announced that they caught the killers and the people let out a collective sigh of relief, and everyone was happy because there would soon be a trial. Thank God they boys were not convicted.
I believe it was this small town mentality that ruined the investigation, they wanted and needed a suspect fast and that pressured the lab and mistakes where made.
Now let's visit the gang murder issue that people bring up and other murders that happen in Escondido and the Oceanside areas of responsibility, yes both police departments have experience in these type of murders where gang members shoot and kill each other or domestic murders (husband kills wife), however these types are usually straight forward and the suspect is usually on the scene or they have eye witnesses in the Crowe case they had a mystery on there hands and the victim was a young girl, that experience they don't have and the pressure of that is what I think led to the mistake.
I am afraid because of the unintentional blunders made during the investigation that the person responsible will never be found, even if it was someone right there in the family, and that's horrible and worst of all it means that it is possible that a murder of this kind can happen again.
10News - Retrial jury finds Richard Tuite not guilty in 1998 slaying of Stephanie Crowe - 10News.com - News