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'America's Most Wanted' tainted evidence

June 9, 2012 at 11:57 AM

SPOKANE, Wash., June 9 (UPI) -- A Washington judge said she could declare a mistrial in a murder case in which a hat allegedly worn by a killer was worn by an "America's Most Wanted" actor.

Lawyers for Patrick Kevin Gibson, who is on trial for the 1992 death of Brian R. Cole during a botched robbery in Spokane Valley, said the tainted evidence is unfair in an already complicated trial, The Spokesman-Review, of Spokane reported Saturday.

A sheriff's detective sent a hat found at the crime scene to "America's Most Wanted" producers in Washington, D.C., to be used in a filmed re-enactment of the shooting in 1993. Actor Trevor St. John and host John Walsh both handled or wore the hat during the filming, before it was tested for DNA, the newspaper reported.

DNA testing in 2004 found more than one genetic profile on the hat.

"This doesn't look good, folks, in terms of the integrity of this entire trial," said Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.

DNA testing in 2010 of a fake beard found at the scene linked Gibson, 60, to the shooting. Police arrested him in May 2011.

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