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Airman on Trial: Experts Dispute Murder Weapon

Sasha Krause disappeared on Jan. 18, 2020, as she gathered materials for a Mennonite Sunday school class. Her body was recovered about a month later in a forest clearing just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Law enforcement officials who searched for Krause used cell phone data, surveillance video, and financial records to track down the alleged perpetrator: a man named Mark Gooch, a U.S. Air Force airman stationed at Luke Air Forces Base in metropolitan Phoenix.

Prosecutors allege that Gooch was motivated to kill Krause because of his early history and disdain for Mennonites. Gooch was raised in the Mennonite faith in Wisconsin but never joined the church. So far, the evidence suggests that Gooch and Krause were not acquainted.

According to expert testimony presented by prosecutors, the bullet recovered from Krause’s skull was fired from a rifle owned by Gooch. However, Gooch’s defense lawyer, Bruce Griffen, presented expert testimony that contradicted the certainty of the prosecution’s evidence. 

In a recent interview on Law & Crime Network, Denver defense layer Jeff Wolf discussed the juxtaposition of these two expert witnesses and how it might impact the case.

“You want to highlight that the two experts don’t agree, and if the two experts don’t agree, then there isn’t a scientific certainty that connects our client to the crime itself,” explained Wolf.

“What you really want to do is play them off of each other and show that the science is not settled…” Wolf concluded.

Watch the full video for extended commentary from Jeff Wolf or for more details about the case.