Defendant presented evidence seeking to raise a reasonable doubt that he had committed the crime.
A witness testified that around the time and in the area of Samantha’s kidnapping, she saw a car that was not defendant’s Thunderbird but was similar to the description Sarah A. gave of the abductor’s car. Another witness testified that early the morning after the kidnapping, in the area where the body was found, he saw a motorcycle and a red “small S.U.V. or a pickup with a camper shell . . . and somebody at the back of it bent into it.” It was unusual to see a vehicle there at that early hour. Several witnesses testified they stayed at the Comfort Inn in Temecula the night of the kidnapping and noticed nothing unusual. Defendant had checked into the hotel alone without luggage and did not appear to have a child with him. The next morning, the room in which defendant stayed seemed normal. Another witness testified that on July 18, 2002, he saw a black Honda containing two persons who acted suspiciously near the apartment complex where defendant lived.
An expert who examined maggots collected from Samantha’s body opined that the maggots could not have appeared on the body until around 6:00 a.m. on July 16, 2002 (i.e., after defendant checked into the Comfort Inn). He also testified that it was possible the body could have lain where it was the previous evening without the flies that laid the maggots discovering it before it got dark, and the flies would not deposit the maggots in the dark.
Defendant presented several witnesses in an attempt to discredit the validity or significance of the DNA evidence.
Several family members testified they had seen no indication defendant was molesting any of the girls who testified he had molested them. Defendant’s sister, Elvira, testified that Lizbeth V., Catherine C.’s mother and defendant’s former girlfriend, was angry with defendant and wanted to harm him.