The trial of a man accused of killing a 17-year-old girl has been delayed because his defense attorney believes that one of his expert witnesses may have falsified his resumé.
Death of Kiera Quintana
On July 15, 2017, 17-year-old Kiera Quintana was shot to death while sitting inside of a car in a grocery store parking lot. Twenty year-old Israel Jerome Massingill was charged with first and second-degree murder, attempted first and second-degree murder, sexual assault, patronizing a prostituted child, felony menacing, third-degree assault and domestic violence in connection with the incident.
According to an affidavit, the shooting happened because Massingill owed $100 to an unnamed teenage girl. Quintana gave the girl a ride to Massingill’s home to collect the money. Quintana waited in the car while the other girl went into Massingill’s home. The teen claims that Massingill pointed a gun at her and the two had sex, first consensually and the second time forced. Massingill then agreed to be driven to an ATM to get the cash that he owed her. In the parking lot, Massingill allegedly shot Quintana in the back of the head and shot the other teen in the arm as she tried to run away. Quintana was pronounced dead at the scene.
Massingill pleaded not guilty to all charges and waived his right to a speedy trial. He was set for a trial date of August 27, 2018. Defense attorney Steve Laiche noted that it might be difficult for him to arrange for testimony by his witnesses, who were from out of the area, by that date. District Judge Gretchen Larson said that Laiche could seek a later trial date if he was unable to arrange for testimony by the date of the trail.
In a motion filed on July 12, defense attorney Steve Laiche asked for the trial to be postponed due to irregularities with one of the defense expert witnesses. Laiche wrote, “Counsel recently discovered that a purported expert working for Mr. Massingill may not have the training and experience as he represented to counsel… This witness conducted examinations of evidence, photographing the scene and other items. All of his work may need to be repeated.”
At a hearing on the the matter before Judge Larson, Laiche shared that the man whose resumé was in question was expected to be “central” to Massingill’s defense at trial. Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein did not object to the request to postpone the trial and Judge Larson rescheduled the trial for February 2019.
After the hearing, Rubinstein said that the allegations against the defense expert were “concerning if true.” Rubinstein said that his office is looking into whether the prosecutors have ever called this man to testify at trial because of the potential impact that it would have on those criminal cases. Rubinstein stated, “I don’t have any personal information, and my office is not in possession of any information at this point that would show that the allegations are true.”