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Catherine doubts herself on ‘CSI’

Henry Thomas guest starred as a convicted murderer who claimed that he was innocent, and his case just happened to be Catherine's first as a solo CSI.
/ Source: msnbc.com

E.T. phone your lawyer: A very grown-up looking Henry Thomas (aka Elliott from “E.T.”) starred as Jeremy Kent, a convicted murder who claimed that he hadn’t committed the crime. He alleged that he’d been railroaded by a sneaky attorney and an opportunistic cell mate, and that the evidence that convicted him would not stand up to 2009 standards. The state supreme court granted Kent a new trial. The case had been Catherine’s first as a solo crime scene investigator.

Scant evidence: Kent’s alleged victim was 90-year-old Thomas Harrott, whose house had been broken into. Harrott called 911, but was killed with a hammer. A fingerprint on a rock that was found in the living room, presumably used to break the window, linked Kent to the crime. That and some shaky witness testimony was the only evidence. Kent wanted to talk to Catherine about the case. “He probably wants to talk to you about how he got life based on a rock,” said Nick.

Team work: The CSIs brought their 2009 technology to the 1991 crime scene. Ray checked out X-rays from Harrott’s body and disagreed with the then-doctor’s questionable findings. Riley checked the carpet from the crime scene and found a new hammer-shaped imprint on the carpet. Catherine also re-examined the rock and made a more definitive link to Kent. The ridges of his fingerprint had a distinctive smiley face-shaped center.

Advice from the master: In 1991, they had never found the murder weapon. But at the scene, it suddenly struck Catherine: “The first thing Grissom taught me: ‘People never look up.’” The hammer was in the tree and bark had actually grown around it, fossilizing a bloody fingerprint. But the print didn’t belong to Kent.

There are doubts: Kent admitted to Catherine that he had been at the scene, but said the body was already there when he arrived. “I call that perp fiction,” Brass told Catherine. He urged her not to doubt herself, but Catherine remembered how she once almost ran over a man on the way home from a party with former husband Eddie. “If you had hit the guy, you would have called the cops,” Brass said. He told her that Kent’s freedom “depends on getting you to doubt yourself.”

The accomplice: Audio from the 911 call and a search through Kent’s high school yearbook led the team to Sabrina Owen, who’d been Kent’s secret girlfriend. She said she loaned Kent her father’s car, but wasn’t involved. But when the team confiscated the muscle car, they found a shard of glass from the victim’s house with Sabrina’s blood on it. After some prodding from Brass, she admitted that she was with Kent when he murdered Harrott. She’d also been pregnant with Kent’s baby.

Tonight’s lesson: Brass told Sabrina that the felony murder rule means that when a murder is committed during the commission of a felony, such as a burglary, all the participants can be charged with first degree murder — “no matter who swings the hammer.” Note to self: When burgling house with pals, don’t let them kill anyone.

Why the re-trial? Kent just wanted a chance to see his son. Sabrina had never visited him in jail and had never even told him whether she’d had a boy or a girl. “All I think about in here is that kid who has no idea I exist,” he said. He hoped that Sabrina would testify against him at his trial because his son might be in the courtroom. “It may be the only chance I get to see him.” Catherine told him that she was saving her sympathy for Thomas Harrott.