Trial in 1976 murder case begins

Dec. 4, 2012 at 4:55 PM
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ELIZABETH, N.J., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Opening statements began in the Elizabeth, N.J., trial of a man, then age 15, accused of murdering his neighbor in 1976.

Carlton Franklin, now 51, is accused in the killing of Lena Triano, 57. Franklin was arrested in April and is being charged as a juvenile, since there was no legal provision 34 years ago to waive defendants younger than 16 to adult court, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported Tuesday.

Prosecutors say DNA evidence implicates Franklin, but defense attorney Edward Busichio noted in court Tuesday DNA evidence was found at the scene that matches neither Franklin nor Triano.

The heart of the case is semen found on Triano's underwear and on a bed spread, kept in an evidence room until prosecutors tested it and found it matched Franklin, the newspaper said.

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