It’s been nearly a week since the start of the Keith Lintz murder trial.
A “smoking gun” has yet to be presented to sway the jury one way or another.
The 28-year-old Cass County man is accused of shooting, stabbing, and beating Carolyn and John Tarwacki in February of 2010. If convicted he faces a murder one charge, which carries life without parole in Michigan.
On day four the trial was off to a slow start. The defense questioned several pieces of evidence that were submitted during Detective Fabian Suarez’s testimony the day before on Wednesday.
In particular Lintz’s attorney, Greg Feldman, said he couldn’t find the thirty search warrants that Suarez testified had been executed during the investigation. Feldman says he only found 22, plus he plans on going through all of the tip sheets that were called in during the two year investigation.
Friday morning’s first witness was a trooper from Michigan State Police discussing the results from the autopsy. He showed the bloody sweatshirt John Tarwacki was wearing the morning he was shot and stabbed. Plus the trooper showed the jury the bullets that were recovered.
A firearms examiner from Michigan State Police, Lieutant Beth Clark, testified about the type of the gun used in the murder. She said after examining the five bullets from the crime scene, it was determined a 32 caliber gun was used.
She said that of all three guns found during the search warrants, none of them matched the murder weapon that had to have been used based on the forensics examination.
"All three firearms, one was 357, one was a 25 caliber, one was a 22 caliber. All of those are different calibers than the 32. So I could eliminate all three of those firearms as having fired any of these bullets based on caliber."
It was implied that during the murder investigation, despite searching several places Lintz had been staying, the gun was never found.
However a witness did testify that he heard Lintz confess to the murders in tears while clutching a bible.
Shane Zimmerman was called to the stand and told the jury he ran into his old friend from childhood, Keith Lintz.
Lintz and Zimmerman were both being held at the Berrien County Jail in the early months of 2011.
Zimmerman said he was surprised to see Lintz, “As soon as I see him I mean it was kind of like I hadn’t seen him in so long and my reaction was like damn I haven’t seen you in a long time. I thought you were already incarcerated for… these murders.”
While the two were staying at the jail together Lintz was interviewed by police. Lintz told Zimmerman, “the police had shown him photographs or whatever of the victims. He explained to me, he told them to take them out of his face that he didn’t want to see them.”
After that Zimmerman contacted Trooper John Moore with Michigan State Police and wanted to tell him about what Lintz had told him. Police arranged an arrangement so Lintz and Zimmerman could be cell mates.
After staying with each other for four days, Lintz eventually told Zimmerman late at night that the Tarwackis didn’t deserve to die.
Zimmerman recalls, “I looked over and saw him like snuffling, like crying. And he… and I don’t know if he was stating it to himself or if he was stating it to me… he just said those people didn’t deserve to die.”
After Zimmerman was done testifying for the prosecution, Zimmerman’s mom hugged the Tarwacki family. She told them that he just wanted to do the right thing.
Zimmerman told the jury on the stand that he didn’t receive anything for his testimony and that he is still in prison. He just contacted police, wanted to share the information because he felt the family deserved closure. He said after a lifetime of f---ing up, he could do something right.