Trial for murder of UT student Haruka Weiser begins Monday

Austin Police say Haruka Weiser's (right) body was found with obvious trauma and evidence of sexual assault. Meechiael Criner (left) is charged accused of killing Weiser as she walked back to her dorm. (Criner photo: Austin Police Department, Weiser Photo: Facebook / MGN)

Jury selection begins Monday morning in the murder of University of Texas freshman Haruka Weiser, who was sexually assaulted and killed while walking to her dorm in 2016.

Police say they found DNA evidence on Weiser’s thigh and eyeglasses, but District Court Judge David Wahlberg threw that out last month.

Now, prosecutors will have to rely on other physical evidence when representing their case against her suspected killer, Meechaiel Criner.

"It could be clothing, it could be hair, it could be weapons, it could be blood, it could be scrapings under finger nails,” said local defense attorney Amber Vazquez.

Police used surveillance video to link Criner to the crime scene.

The judge tossed out DNA evidence because of testing protocols that weren’t followed.

"The protocols involved are important and what we've seen time and time again, when they're not followed, you get the wrong results,” Vazquez said. "We cannot have faulty science. That's unacceptable in 2018."

The judge’s ruling to suppress DNA evidence for this trial also means the jury won’t hear discussion about crime labs increasing reliance on automated DNA analysis.

The trial is expected to last no more than two weeks.

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