Judge to hear arguments on search for Latisha Frazier's body

Attorneys in the Latisha Frazier murder case will be in court tomorrow morning for a hearing on whether or not authorities are obligated to search for the missing teen’s body.

Frazier is believed to have been killed in a beating in a Southeast D.C. apartment in August. She was 18 years old at the time.

Five young people are currently being held on murder charges in her death. None have been indicted in the case.

Frazier’s body is believed to have been placed in a dumpster near the crime scene, then emptied with that dumpster’s contents into a Virginia landfill. MPD Chief Cathy Lanier has said a landfill search for Frazier is prohibitively expensive and dangerous.

But Eugene Ohm, defense attorney for one of the defendants, Brian Gaither, has sought to compel authorities to search for Frazier’s body, saying that Gaither can not have a fair trial without it.

Mr. Gaither’s defense is significantly weakened because he is unable to inspect the decedent’s body. In this case, the govemment appears to allege an accidental killing and relies upon apparent witness testimony reporting three separate times and causes of death,” Ohm wrote in his motion compelling the search. “In such a case, the defense’s inability to inspect the decedent is devastating.”

Government prosecutors oppose the search, arguing that specialists believe it would cost a minimum of $2.5 million, require 25,000 truckloads of trash to be moved from the landfill search location and would last at least 164 days.

“Even just on those facts that have been made public, it is clear that Latisha Frazier’s last moments of life bound, gagged, blinded, and coughing in a closet were nothing short of horrific,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Kavanaugh wrote in response to Ohm. “The tragedy is only compounded by the fact that Brian Gaither was successful in his mission that her body never be found.”

Judge William Jackson will hear both sides tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9:30 a.m.

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