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Read every word.


Sounds like you are grasping at straws. Before you get ticked at me go back in one week and read your own words. Kinda sounds like a 10 year old trying to cast confusion into the issue of who ate all the ice cream.

Just one question:

In your opinion did OJ kill his wife and Ron Goldman?

Robert J. Shem

Regarding my expert testimony opinion: In Firearm Identification there are three possiblities when it comes examining guns and fired ammunition components - Positive Identification, Inconclusive, and Positive Elimination.

The criteria for eliminating a gun as the possible source of a bullet or cartridge case are as critical as the criteria for matching a gun to fired bullets and cartridge cases. Clear, unequivocal toolmark findings are a prerequisite. Shot-to-shot differences, the presence of dirty lubricants, wear and tear, among other factors complicate the calling of both positive identifications and positive eliminations. Personally, I believe that Luke was putting his neck on a chopping block when he made the positive elimination. I watched Luke's elaborate PowerPoint testimony in support of his point of view and left the courtroom no more convinced of a postive elimination than when I entered. The inconclusive result, my findings, were the result of 26 years of experience that oftentimes requires a conservative call. Many "real life" examinations are not as clear-cut as those portrayed on CSI.

You also failed to mention that Luke agreed with me that the bullet removed from the decedent - an exceptionally rare 10R rifled engraved rimfire bullet - could have been fired from the firearm in question.

At the end of the day I know that my testimony was equally fair to both Mr. Owens and to the people of the State of Alaska; therefore, I did not have to preface my opinion with "I may be wrong, but . . ."


Thanks for reading, Bob. My point in general, though, is that the State could not produce the gun. The gun that they came up with could not be tied to Matt except that it had, at one point in time, been in the police evidence room. You said it couldn't be eliminated. Luke Haag and others said it coud. When the State tried to impeach Luke, it wound up backfiring on them.

All in all, though, Matt did not get a fair trial. I think you would agree that Luke Haag, Stuart James and Greg McRary are well-respected experts in their respective areas. Further, I think you would agree that they generally testify for the prosecution. All three thought the prosecution's case was weak to the point of reasonable doubt at a minimum. Every JS officer who watched Matt told me that Matt did not do this. The court clerk, at the beginning of the trial, told me that she respected my job but that it was a waste of time because he was guilty. At the end of the trial, she said that he did not do it. It seems that most people without any ideological axe to grind that looked at the evidence reached the same conclusion: Matt did not do it.


Having someone's fate resting on your shoulders is an awesome responsibility and as I read your post I hear that weight in your words. I don't hear a bruised ego that you lost, but rather that you weren't able to do right by your client. I don't see how Brian got to his conclusion. I'm not sure what the OJ test would prove to him - that the system works? That it doesn't?

Shem's comments don't say anything about the case except that he stands by his testimony and certainly proving a gun was the murder weapon or wasn't is a lot harder to do conclusively than saying it isn't conclusive. His comment does raise a little question about whether you're so into this that you are concluding every marginal call in favor of your client. (Well that's your job as his attorney.) I guess it would be interesting to see data on how many losing attorneys feel like you do - that their client was done wrong.

In any case, you raise a lot of doubts. That's what an appeal is for. I wish justice be served for the victim's family, for the accused, and for the people of Nome and of Alaska.


Thanks for your comment, Steve. I hope my comment to Mr. Shem showed why I included the evidence. I have handled a lot of cases and have had a few cases turn out opposite the way that I thought they should turn out. Every lawyer who has the guts to go to trial knows about this. But I've never had a case like Matt's. It was like riding a train headed to a wreck. And I couldn't stop it.

I wish for justice for Sonya's family. Everything about her showed that she was a very nice young lady who had a great deal of life ahead of her. I cannot imagine as a parent losing a child in such a brutal way.

I can understand the frustration of the Native community in Nome. Their fears and frustrations were all at once confirmed when Matt was charged.

But Matt did not do it. And I don't think that it will promote healing or justice until the State decides to not just sacrifice a lamb, but to find Sonya's killer.

N. Martinez-Parra

My husband is a law enforcement officer,so naturally I found your article very interesting. It only saddens me and yet concerns me that our justice system has several glitches in it. I appreciate the extensive analysis you have provided.


I am a fiction writer researching a novel drawing upon the incidents, motivations, and tensions in Nome. I would love to ask you some questions about this if that would be at all possible. This case in particular has caught my attention. It seems to me that there are a lot of deeper and older issues at play in this situation,in Nome and surrounding areas. In Matt's case it truly seems like he is paying a debt that he wasn't responsible for. Email is sarah.rr28@yahoo.com. Thank you.

In your eye

It appears that you are delusional in the fact that Matthew Owens did not do it. The evidence is overwhelming that Matt Owens did do it. Why else would he drive directly to the crime scene where it happened. The only reason that Nome did no convict him was because there was a "church" woman that saw Matt Owens attend.

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