Last month, a prosecutor asked a judge to seize Carlos Lagantta’s shoes, suggesting that they might tie him to bloody footprints left at a crime scene in Old Louisville.
But given that the crime, a young woman’s stabbing death, occurred on Aug. 31, 2007, and that Lagantta had been in jail, awaiting trial for murder for nearly five years, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Audra Eckerle was not pleased with the request.
“It’s very frustrating when there are bloody footprints at a murder scene and five years go by without any real investigation into the circumstances,” Eckerle told the prosecutor who made the request, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Alice Jones…
And while Langantta’s trial now is scheduled to start in November, more delays are possible.
In fact, new evidence — test results on DNA that had been found under the fingernails of the victim, Tina Tatro — has prosecutors re-evaluating the case.
A judge had ordered the DNA tested in 2009 — yet it took nearly three years to get the tests done and results back. And instead of implicating Lagantta, the DNA matched a key witness against him, John Burkhead, a man who had a relationship with Tatro, discovered her body and told police Lagantta was the last person he had seen with her.
Last month, news of the DNA results prompted an exasperated Eckerle, who had previously denied requests to release Lagantta on home incarceration to grant him release while awaiting trial.
“This case has dragged on for five years,” Eckerle said. “It’s not fair. The commonwealth has an obligation to bring him to trial. Five years … is inexcusable.”
And yet she continues to let them get away with it. Which means in her courtroom, it actually is excusable.