Tuite retrial jury selection begins

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Jury selection was scheduled Tuesday for a man whose
conviction in the 1998 killing of a 12-year-old Escondido girl was reversed by
a federal appeals court.

Richard Tuite faces a retrial on a charge of voluntary manslaughter in
the death of young Stephanie Crowe. The 44-year-old defendant has remained in
custody since the 2011 reversal because of the pending retrial. He had been
serving a 17-year prison sentence when the appeals court reversed his 2004
manslaughter conviction, ruling the trial was unfair because a judge limited
cross-examination of a prosecution witness.

Tuite is accused of stabbing Stephanie to death in January 1998 because
she resembled a girl with whom he was obsessed.

Tuite, a schizophrenic drifter, was known to frequent the area around
the Crowe home. Escondido police detained Tuite in the neighborhood and
collected his clothes shortly after the killing but let him go free as
investigators focused their attention on Stephanie's then-14-year-old brother,
Michael, and his then-15-year-old friends, Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser.
The boys were eventually all charged with murder.

The District Attorney's Office later dropped all charges against the
boys just before trial when Stephanie's blood was found on a shirt Tuite was
wearing the night of the killing. A judge ruled so-called confessions from the
boys were coerced under harsh interrogation tactics by Escondido police and an
assisting Oceanside police officer.

The families of all three boys later won a federal civil rights lawsuit
against the cities of Escondido and Oceanside on grounds they were denied their
rights against self-incrimination and false arrest. In late 2011, the Crowe
family settled a suit for $7.25 million and in early 2012, a judge officially
declared the boys factually innocent of the crime.

Categories: KUSI