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California lady’s conviction for murdering her husband overturned after 20 years in jail

California lady’s conviction for murdering her husband overturned after 20 years in jail


Jane Dorotik has spent 20 years combating for her freedom. The California mom and spouse was convicted of murdering her husband Bob in 2001, however all the time maintained her innocence.

From jail, the place she was serving a sentence of 25 years to life, Jane spent years submitting motions pushing for a brand new examination of the proof.

Working with Loyola Challenge for the Harmless, new testing of proof was completed, together with of blood discovered within the couple’s bed room. They mentioned it revealed a number of the spots had been by no means examined and others weren’t blood in any respect.

“If you happen to simply take a look at the entire items of proof that Loyola was capable of completely take aside, and but we all know what was advised to the jury within the authentic conviction,” Jane Dorotik tells “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty, who has has coated the case for twenty-four years.

“Jane, how would you describe what the final 22 years have been like for you?” Moriarty requested.

It has been torturous in some ways,” defined Jane. “I suppose many moments once I thought, “How do I maintain going?’

WHO KILLED BOB DOROTIK?

When “48 Hours” first met Jane Dorotik in 2000, the life she had as soon as discovered so serene within the foothills exterior of San Diego — a life she had shared along with her husband Bob — had taken an unimaginable flip.

Jane Dorotik: How can this be? How can this occur? Certainly I am going to get up and it is a dream.

Jane had been change into the prime suspect in Bob’s homicide. Authorities believed that she viciously attacked him of their residence.

Jane Dorotik:  I actually did not do that. I cherished my husband.

Jane and Bob Dorotik
Jane and Bob Dorotik

Household picture


Jane, 53 years outdated on the time, and Bob, 55, shared greater than half their lives collectively.

Jane Dorotik: I used to be 23 after we had been married … Bob was a beautiful, loving, inventive individual.

Bob spent most of his profession as an engineer. Jane labored as a nurse, and later, as an govt within the well being care business. The couple raised three youngsters, Alex, Claire and Nick.

Jane Dorotik: The household has all the time been extremely vital to each of us.

Additionally vital to Jane, had been their horses. Whereas Jane’s ardour was breeding and driving, Bob was an avid jogger. And that, says Jane, is the final picture she has of her husband.

Jane Dorotik: Bob was sitting, really, on this chair, going through the TV.

Though Jane was underneath suspicion, she allowed “48 Hours” into her residence.

Jane Dorotik: He mentioned he was going out for a jog, and he was really — had his jogging go well with on, was tying his sneakers. … That was the final I talked to him.

It was round 1 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2000, when Jane says Bob left to go for that run. As hours handed with none phrase from him, Jane says she grew involved.

Jane Dorotik: It was starting to get darkish … I — determined to exit and look.

Jane says she looked for Bob, driving up and down the hill the place he typically ran. By 7:45 p.m., Jane’s concern turned to concern.

Jane Dorotik: I mentioned, “Sufficient. That is sufficient. One thing is mistaken.” … And that is once I made the decision to the Sheriff’s Division.

Deputy James Blackmon: My first … thought that night time was possibly this man had a coronary heart assault and … fell down the embankment alongside  Lake Wohlford Highway .

As Deputy James Blackmon, and others from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Division, looked for Bob, involved family and friends gathered on the Dorotik home.

Claire Dorotik: The minute I noticed my mother’s face, I knew instantly one thing horrible had occurred.

The Dorotik’s daughter, Claire, 24 on the time, had spent the weekend visiting her aunt and returned residence to a distraught Jane.

Claire Dorotik: She was freaked out, she was scared, she was nervous, she was crying.

Jane Dorotik: It was a horrifying feeling that bought increasingly horrifying when he wasn’t discovered.

After which, within the predawn hours of Feb. 14, Deputy Blackmon became a driveway, a number of miles from the Dorotik residence, and observed a physique off the highway.

Bob Dorotik T-shirt evidence
The T-shirt Bob Dorotik was sporting when his physique was discovered on the facet of the highway a number of miles from their Valley Middle, California, residence. He had been bludgeoned within the head and strangled.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Division


Deputy Blackmon (2001): At this level, I might see the shirt, the … pants … And he was laying on his again.

From Jane’s description, he instantly knew it was Bob Dorotik.

Det. Rick Empson: I bought there a little bit after seven within the morning.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Detective Rick Empson was known as to the scene.

Det. Rick Empson: There was no proof of any sort of auto accident.

The proof Empson did discover instructed one thing else.

Det. Rick Empson: I might see that he had blood on his face … there was blood close to the again of his head, and I might see that there was a rope round his neck.

Bob Dorotik had been bludgeoned and strangled. The one-time lacking individual case had became a murder investigation.

Erin Moriarty: Is there anyone you possibly can assume who would wish to see your husband lifeless?

Jane Dorotik: No person. No person.

As legislation enforcement requested Jane questions on Bob, she allow them to into her residence.

Jane Dorotik: “Are available in. Search. Search for something.”

Detective Empson observed a chunk of rope hanging from the porch that caught his consideration — pondering he had simply seen one thing comparable on Bob Dorotik.

Det. Rick Empson: It seemed to be the very same sort of rope that was discovered round his neck.

And when investigators bought to Bob and Jane’s bed room, they discovered one thing extra troubling. They believed they had been taking a look at blood spatter.

Det. Rick Empson: There was no query in our thoughts that this assault occurred in the master suite.

They documented their findings in a diagram, taking photographs alongside the best way of what they believed to be blood on varied objects within the bed room, and of what seemed to be a big blood stain on the underside of the mattress.

Jane Dorotik: I do know when Bob had a nosebleed he made a remark about getting  some blood on the mattress.

Jane says there was a logical rationalization for a number of the different blood, too — they’d canines who had been injured and had bled.

Jane Dorotik: This little canine had an abscess on her cheek that was overtly draining on the time and little drops of blood we would discover when she sat on the sofa. … The carpet items are what the detectives eliminated, feeling that there was blood on the carpet.

dorotik-bedroom.jpg
Investigators rapidly decided Bob Dorotik wasn’t killed the place his physique was discovered, as a result of there wasn’t sufficient blood there. After they searched the Dorotiks’ residence, they discovered spots of blood everywhere in the bed room.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Division


The spots of blood investigators mentioned they discovered  everywhere in the bed room shocked Jane.

Erin Moriarty: Do you will have every other rationalization of how that blood spatter might have gotten there?

Jane Dorotik: Probably not.

Erin Moriarty: On the ceiling, on the window, on the partitions?

Jane Dorotik: No.

Including to authorities’ suspicions was the bloody syringe discovered within the rest room rubbish. Jane advised “48 Hours” she used it to medicate her horses.

Jane Dorotik: I do know that I give the horses photographs on a regular basis … in the event you go look in my fridge proper now, you may discover horse syringes.

Investigators theorized that Jane hit her husband with an object within the bed room and strangled him. She then dressed him in his jogging go well with, put him of their truck, and dumped him alongside the facet of the highway the place his physique was discovered.

Erin Moriarty: Why do they consider you killed your husband?

Jane Dorotik: You already know, I assume I have been by that one a billion instances. I do not know.

However investigators thought they knew, believing the motive was cash, and escaping a troubled marriage. Jane was the principle breadwinner, and so they realized the couple had break up up for a 12 months in 1997.

Jane Dorotik:  I do not make any apologies for the truth that we had tough instances. However that does not change the truth that we cherished one another.

And that love, says Jane, is why they reconciled. They’d been again residing collectively as a pair for a year-and-a-half earlier than Bob was killed.

Jane Dorotik: I actually assume the separation brought about us to actually regroup and take into consideration what was vital.

Claire Dorotik: They had been getting alongside higher than they ever had prior to now. I used to be residing there. I can inform you that.

However legislation enforcement was unmoved, and three days after Bob Dorotik’s physique was discovered, Jane was arrested, and charged with first-degree homicide.

Jane Dorotik: I do know I did not do that. I do know there’s a killer on the market … however how am I going to clear myself?

Kerry Steigerwalt: She’s baffled ‘trigger I do not assume she is aware of what occurred.

Launched on bail, Jane began getting ready her protection, hiring lawyer Kerry Steigerwalt.

Kerry Steigerwalt: She is aware of she’s positioned because the killer and she or he’s not the killer.

And at trial, Jane’s lawyer would current a shock suspect, who he felt was chargeable for Bob Dorotik’s homicide.

THE TRIAL OF JANE DOROTIK

Jane Dorotik: I do know that I’m harmless, however I haven’t got any extra religion within the authorized system. I consider I may very well be convicted for one thing that I did not do. And that is very scary.

Whereas Jane nervous about her end result at trial, Claire Dorotik was way more assured about her mom’s probabilities.

Claire Dorotik: My mother couldn’t have completed this crime. She did not have the motive, and she or he did not have the chance.

However when the case went to trial in 2001, a 12 months after the homicide, prosecutor Bonnie Howard–Regan described the Dorotik’s marriage as severely troubled and advised jurors that Jane did not wish to pay Bob alimony in a divorce.

Bonnie Howard–Regan (in courtroom): Bob Dorotik by no means went jogging. And he by no means left that residence alive.

In response to the state, Bob had really been killed Saturday night time, almost a day earlier than Jane reported him lacking. The post-mortem carried out, by Dr. Christopher Swalwell, confirmed undigested meals per what Jane mentioned they’d for dinner that night time.

Bonnie Howard–Regan (in courtroom): Can you give us an estimate of how lengthy after Mr. Dorotik ate, how lengthy after that, he — he was killed?

Dr. Christopher Swalwell: Sure. It was very shortly after he ate. …I’d say it was most likely inside a few hours.

And he wasn’t killed on the facet of the highway, the prosecutor mentioned. There wasn’t sufficient blood there. As an alternative, she mentioned Bob’s blood was everywhere in the bed room. Lead detective Rick Empson testified he had requested Jane to elucidate that.

Det. Rick Empson (in courtroom): She indicated initially that she had a canine that — had been bleeding, after which indicated that roughly per week prior, Bob had a bloody nostril over within the nook by the range, and that Bob had cleaned it up.

There was proof somebody cleaned the bed room. The carpet subsequent to the potbelly range and tiled ground was moist and had blood stains beneath.

Erin Moriarty: Did any of the blood from his nosebleed get on the carpet?

Jane Dorotik: Uh huh (affirms).

Erin Moriarty: Are you aware the place?

Jane Dorotik: Uh huh. Proper subsequent to the tile. ‘Trigger I — I am the one which helped him clear it.

Authorities dismissed Jane’s explanations. Their principle was that Jane hit Bob within the head of their bed room with an object whereas he was mendacity in mattress, though they by no means recognized or discovered any weapon. Charles Merritt, a criminalist and bloodstain sample analyst for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Crime Lab, recounted 20 places the place he noticed blood stains.

Charles Merritt (in courtroom): On one of many pillows … on a lamp … this specific nightstand. … on the potbelly range … on the ceiling itself. … after which on the underside of the mattress.

The jury was additionally proven this proof of tire tracks discovered close to Bob’s physique. The state’s professional Anthony DeMaria mentioned he matched the three various kinds of tires on Dorotik’s truck

Bonnie Howard–Regan (in courtroom): Are you saying the measurements taken on the scene had been equal to the measurements … taken off the precise automobile? 

Anthony DeMaria: Sure.

Bob Dorotik evidence: bloody syringe
A bloody syringe present in a rubbish can within the Dorotik’s rest room.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Division


Essentially the most telling proof connecting Jane to the homicide, in response to the prosecutor, was that syringe discovered within the rest room. It had traces of a horse tranquilizer inside. And despite the fact that there was no proof that Bob had been injected with something, it had Bob’s blood and a bloody fingerprint on it.

Bonnie Howard–Regan (in courtroom): The proof will present that the fingerprint on this syringe was Jane Dorotik’s.

Erin Moriarty: Are you able to clarify that?

Jane Dorotik: I can not actually clarify it, aside from – I do know that I helped Bob clear up a nosebleed. And if that is the identical time once I took the syringes and threw them within the trash … and there was some blood on my hand, that would have — made that occur.

However maybe essentially the most highly effective witnesses had been the Dorotiks’ two sons, Nick and Alex. They each testified in opposition to their mom.

Bonnie Howard–Regan (in courtroom): Did you say something particularly in regards to the syringe?

Nick Dorotik: Nicely, I requested her — the way it bought there and what it was doing there.

Bonnie Howard-Regan: And what was your mom’s response?

Nick Dorotik: She mentioned that — her greatest concern in all this was that the — that us relations would begin questioning her.

Kerry Steigerwalt (in courtroom): Your mom all the time settled issues logically, tried to?

Alex Dorotik: No.

Kerry Steigerwalt: — you would not agree with that assertion?

Alex Dorotik: Nope. …It will be my mother mainly saying, “That is what you need to settle for.”  After which my dad would both settle for it or there could be threats of divorce or one thing. That is what I bear in mind from rising up.

Jane’s attorneys Kerry Steigerwalt and Cole Casey admitted it was a giant blow.

Erin Moriarty: Would you say that is been essentially the most damaging testimony?

Kerry Steigerwalt: Yeah.

Cole Casey: It is not what they mentioned. It is the truth that they had been there testifying for the prosecution.

When it got here time for the protection to current its case, Steigerwalt really agreed with the prosecution on a serious level — that the homicide happened within the bed room. However he had a jaw-dropping different suspect: Claire Dorotik.

Kerry Steigerwalt (in courtroom): Girls and gents, Claire hated her father.

He claimed Claire, an avid horsewoman, hated her father as a result of he threatened to promote the animals she cherished – and instructed that she was able to homicide.

Kerry Steigerwalt (in courtroom): That is what Claire is. A hot-tempered, explosive particular person.

It was a dangerous technique that Jane reluctantly agreed to.

Jane Dorotik: All I can do is belief what Kerry says is one of the best ways to go.

Erin Moriarty: Are you in any respect involved that the jury will marvel a few lady who would enable herself to be defended by pointing the finger at her daughter? May that work in opposition to the 2 of you?

Kerry Steigerwalt: It could. I do not know. …  I believe it’s the most viable protection. And I believe it is supported by one of the best proof.

Steigerwalt insisted Jane wasn’t bodily capable of commit the homicide, however Claire was.

Kerry Steigerwalt (in courtroom): She runs marathons. And she or he’s a private coach. She is as match a lady as you will note on the age of 24.

However bear in mind, Claire and her aunt mentioned they had been collectively, two hours away.

Kerry Steigerwalt (in courtroom): They known as the aunt …That is the extent of the investigation on the alibi of Claire Dorotik. … That alibi is nonsense.

The jurors by no means heard from Claire, who took the fifth, or Jane, who selected to not testify. However they did hear from a lady who mentioned she thought she noticed Bob the day he disappeared – sitting between two males in a black pickup truck not removed from the place his physique was discovered.

Kerry Steigerwalt (in courtroom): Who killed Robert Dorotik? … Was it Claire Dorotik? … Or girls and gents, was it another person?

In his closing argument, Steigerwalt accused investigators of dismissing witnesses like that lady and focusing solely on Jane.

Kerry Steigerwalt (in courtroom): The prosecution had targeted on one individual and that is not the best way to conduct an investigation. That is not the best way to run a case.

Bonnie Howard-Regan (in courtroom): Jane Dorotik and Bob Dorotik had been the one two folks in that residence that weekend.

Bonnie Howard-Regan mentioned there isn’t a want to research additional when you will have adequate proof.

Bonnie Howard-Regan (in courtroom): They searched that bed room and so they noticed all of the blood and so they knew that was the crime scene … What extra investigation do they should do?

It took the jury 4 days to return a verdict.

Jane Dorotik
Jane Dorotik reacts because the responsible verdict was learn in courtroom.

CBS Information


COURT CLERK: We the jury within the above titled trigger discover the defendant Jane Marguerite Dorotik responsible of the crime of homicide within the first diploma in violation of penal code …”  

Erin Moriarty: Did Jane Dorotik get a good trial?

Matthew Troiano: No. No. … As a result of equity signifies that you are presenting issues precisely, and it — it seems prefer it was not completed precisely.

JANE DOROTIK ADVOCATES FOR HER INNOCENCE

Jane Dorotik (jail interview with Erin Moriarty): It virtually did not register for a minute. It is like “No, this cannot be.” … I used to be so sure that I used to be strolling out … I believed they’d see the reality.

Jane Dorotik by no means imagined she’d be discovered responsible.

Jane Dorotik (jail interview): It is arduous to maintain going (crying).

jane Dorotik jail interview
“I simply, I can not see my approach clear to a life in jail. I simply can’t see it,” Jane Dorotik advised “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty in an interview in jail.

CBS Information


On the time of her conviction for the homicide of her husband, she was 54 years outdated and sentenced to 25 years-to-life.

Jane Dorotik (jail interview): I imply, I simply, I can not see my approach clear to a life in jail. I simply can’t see it.

Decided to show the jury bought it mistaken, Jane grew to become her personal advocate, engaged on her case for a few years. “48 Hours” spoke with Jane once more 20 years later about her efforts.

Jane Dorotik: All by the jail — my jail journey, I continued to put in writing to … all  innocence tasks I might consider, asking for assist. … On the identical time, realized … that I needed to combat for myself.

Jane filed motions from jail citing such points as inadequate proof and ineffective help of counsel.

Jane Dorotik: I’d describe my protection as restricted and insufficient.

In her filings, Jane indicated that she needed to testify at her trial however had left that call as much as her lawyer. And that had she testified, she might have defined Bob’s abdomen contents — stating that he typically ate leftovers from the earlier night time. She additionally described her lawyer’s alternate suspect principle, pointing to her daughter Claire because the killer, as absurd.

Erin Moriarty:  Do you consider that your daughter Claire had something to do with the demise of her dad?

Jane Dorotik: Completely unequivocally not. And my protection lawyer, everyone knew she was away for that weekend.

In regard to that protection technique, Claire, later wrote in a e-book, “how might I be offended at my mom, when all I did was fear about her.” Jane’s lawyer, whom “48 Hours” interviewed on the time of her trial, didn’t communicate with us once more. 

Jane Dorotik: That was the worst technique of my life ever… I mentioned to my lawyer, “If something occurs to Claire, I am gonna get up and say I did it.”

In her filings, Jane additionally questioned why her protection lawyer accepted the “unhealthy forensics “pointing to the bed room because the homicide scene, reasonably than presenting different situations as to the place and the way Bob Dorotik might have been murdered.

Erin Moriarty: Did the protection too simply settle for the bed room as against the law scene?

Matthew Troiano: That could be a very reputable argument.

CBS Information guide Matthew Troiano, a former prosecutor and present protection lawyer, was not concerned within the Dorotik case, however he reviewed a number of the courtroom paperwork at “48 Hours”‘ request.

Matthew Troiano: The protection made a strategic choice. … Are we going to dispute {that a} crime occurred on this location or … are we basically gonna concede that it occurred there after which give you a special narrative of the way it occurred there? And so they selected the latter.

And that call, Troiano says, possible led the protection to level the finger at Claire for the homicide.

Matthew Troiano: They needed to blame any person else for one thing that occurred in a particular location. … And so they, at the least, because it pertains to the daughter, you understand, went again to her, having some disagreement along with her father about one thing. … And it was – it was a threat.

Erin Moriarty: Have you ever ever seen that type of protection?

Matthew Troiano: You do not — you do not see it. I imply, it might occur when there are clear details and proof to assist it, however when there are none … that is, you understand, that is a showstopper.

And, in truth, Claire was by no means charged with any wrongdoing in connection to her father’s homicide. The protection accepting the bed room because the homicide scene is very puzzling to Troiano, as there have been stories from a number of eyewitnesses who mentioned they noticed a person jogging that day — accounts per Jane’s depiction of occasions, not the prosecution’s.

Matthew Troiano: That is essential, essential proof.

Jane Dorotik: And all of that was actually not pursued. … And … I did not know of all of the witnesses. … Had there been an intensive investigation initially, all of that will have come out.

By way of the years, in filings, Jane raised issues with all the case in opposition to her, arguing that authorities targeted on her from the very starting of the investigation and did not observe different investigative leads. However movement after movement was denied. And relating to Jane’s ineffective counsel claims,  the decide rejected all of them, ruling that her lawyer’s efficiency was not poor, and that his actions had not affected the result of the case.

Jane Dorotik: There have been many moments the place I doubted when is that this ever going to show round. Many, many moments.

Nonetheless, Jane did not quit. She continued searching for new proof to clear her, particularly as DNA testing grew to become extra superior. In 2012, she filed a petition for DNA testing of that rope discovered round Bob’s neck, and different objects, like Bob’s fingernail clippings, which had been saved, however by no means examined. And in 2015, the movement was granted.

Erin Moriarty: Is that uncommon that she lastly even bought testing based mostly on her submitting motions on her personal?

Matthew Troiano: Sure, it is — it’s totally atypical.

It was presently that Jane lastly bought the eye of a wrongful conviction group, Loyola Regulation College’s Challenge for the Harmless.

Jane Dorotik: I get this glorious letter from Loyola saying, “You have contacted us and we’re occupied with your case. … And after that, Loyola took over. Bought the testing completed.

And what that testing revealed, in addition to a contemporary examination of different proof, would change the course of the case.

Matt Troiano: That is actually what flips the script to say that there is extra right here. That is extra than simply an insufficient investigation. There’s a completely different narrative that is operating by these take a look at outcomes. … there may be proof that one other individual may very well be concerned.

A NEW LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE

Matthew Troiano: Whenever you discuss in regards to the proof on this case … the following testing reveals that you simply may need a special rationalization for issues … that basically make clear what might have occurred right here.

Jane Dorotik spent years behind bars asking for a brand new examination of the proof used to convict her of her husband Bob’s homicide. Now, working with a group from Loyola Challenge for the Harmless, the courtroom allowed them to have new DNA testing on objects such because the rope discovered round Bob Dorotik’s neck, his fingernails, and clothes. Attraction filings state that overseas male DNA was discovered on a number of objects.

Bob Dorotik
Bob Dorotik

Household picture


Jane Dorotik: The outcomes of that — none of my DNA anyplace.

Matthew Troiano: There may be bodily proof … from fingernail clippings … from a rope … from his clothes, that’s overseas to Jane.

The group from Loyola Challenge for the Harmless declined to be interviewed. We requested Nathan Lents, a Professor of Biology and Forensic Science at John Jay School of Prison Justice, who was not concerned within the case, to evaluate courtroom paperwork about new proof, such because the DNA on the rope.

Nathan Lents: Whereas they did not get a profile that will be ok to go looking a database and even match to a suspect, they did get sufficient DNA that’s not attributable to Bob or to Jane.

However whereas Jane and her group believed the outcomes pointed to her innocence, the state got here to a special conclusion, stating in filings: “… the DNA obtained was too low stage to make any dependable interpretation.”

Lents agrees the DNA ranges had been low, however he believes it was sufficient to exclude Jane, and that the absence of Jane’s DNA on the rope, in addition to underneath Bob’s fingernails or on his clothes, is critical.

Nathan Lents: With the speculation of crime that they offered, you’ll count on plenty of Jane’s DNA on Bob … and if — if she had moved his physique, there’s plenty of DNA switch which may have taken place there — that wasn’t discovered.

The appellate group additionally reviewed the bed room blood proof the prosecutor advised the jury was absolutely examined and was Bob’s.

Prosecutor Bonnie Howard-Regan (in courtroom):  Now, the proof will present that every one this blood that has been described to you, the observations made on this bed room, that it was all despatched out for DNA evaluation, and all of it got here again Bob Dorotik’s blood.

However in response to the attraction, not each single spot within the bed room believed to be blood was examined. As an alternative, consultant samples had been examined.

Nathan Lents: There have been instances the place simply merely one swab with a management was taken and it was consultant, uh, of quite a lot of spots. That is not good observe … it simply invitations misinterpretation.

Matthew Troiano:  Whenever you’re speaking about blood spatter and also you’re attempting to research the way it bought there … it is advisable do a reasonably complete take a look at to have the ability to draw the conclusion that you simply’re drawing.

Erin Moriarty:  However I believe the prosecution might argue … You’ll be able to’t afford to check, are you able to, each single drop that appears like blood?

Matthew Troiano: Proper. … However whenever you say we did every little thing … and that is not correct, that is the place the issue lies.

In truth, the appellate group says that a number of blood-like stains on objects together with a pillow sham, the nightstand, a lampshade, turned out to not be blood.

And there have been these stains on the bedspread, which criminalist Charles Merritt pointed to at trial and described as Bob’s  blood. Jane’s legal professionals realized these specific spots had been by no means examined in any respect, and as a consequence of improper storage,  the bedspread couldn’t be examined once more.

The dealing with of the proof, over the course of all the investigation, was additionally raised on attraction.

Nathan Lents (taking a look at picture with Moriarty): This one is tough to even take a look at. Um, you will have an investigator who positively ought to know higher, um, dealing with homicide proof together with his naked arms. … Along with clearly depositing his personal DNA throughout this crime scene, he is additionally risking transferring proof from among the many varied spots that he is amassing.

dorotik-syringe-evidence.jpg
The contents of the Dorotik’s rest room rubbish can.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Division


And there is that syringe, with Bob’s blood and Jane’s fingerprint, discovered within the rest room rubbish — one thing the appellate group, and Lents, thought may very well be defined.

Nathan Lents: And in the event you throw that syringe within the rubbish can … Bob throws a — a bloody Kleenex in that rubbish can, they might switch. Switch of DNA from one object to a different in a trash can will not be surprising.

Lents feels the truth that syringe was even discovered within the rubbish, factors fingers away from Jane.

Nathan Lents: If you happen to’re cleansing up after a homicide, you will not depart the bloody syringe within the waste bucket — basket.

However the state stood by its authentic investigation, sustaining the bed room was the homicide scene, stating that the proof nonetheless factors to Jane Dorotik because the killer, and that the protection “arguments are largely derived from hypothesis and misstatements of truth.”

Jane’s appellate group, although, maintains the bed room didn’t even seem like against the law scene, one thing Lents additionally believes.

Nathan Lents: There may be not a constant sample to the proof that signifies a violent bludgeoning that happened in that bed room. … if Bob had been alive right now and investigators had walked in his room, nobody would say, oh, this seems like somebody was murdered right here.

Jane Dorotik: If you happen to simply take a look at the entire items of proof that Loyola was capable of completely take aside … and but we all know what was advised to the jury within the authentic conviction …  So — how can that occur?

As her attorneys reviewed proof, Jane Dorotik, in 2020, was quickly and conditionally set free of jail as a consequence of COVID well being issues. The query now grew to become, was the brand new proof her legal professionals had been discovering sufficient to make her launch everlasting?

JANE DOROTIK’S FINAL PUSH FOR FREEDOM

In the summertime of 2020, Jane Dorotik and her group hoped a courtroom would overturn the jury’s verdict, turning her non permanent launch from jail into lasting freedom.

Erin Moriarty: What had been their main factors?

Matthew Troiano: The testing that was completed initially was inadequate. The best way that that testing was offered to the jury was inaccurate. There have been various completely different arguments that they made.

A listening to was scheduled, however then abruptly the state requested an unplanned digital listening to.

PROSECUTOR KARL HUSOE (distant listening to): The individuals are keen to concede petitioner’s new proof declare…

The prosecution admitted what Jane’s legal professionals had argued all alongside.

PROSECUTOR KARL HUSOE (distant listening to): The DNA proof because it exists now, in 2020, is way completely different in high quality and amount than offered at trial in 2001. 

That the brand new DNA take a look at outcomes – in addition to points with how the Sheriff’s Crime Lab dealt with proof — solid doubt on the decision. However what got here subsequent was much more surprising. The state requested that Jane’s homicide conviction be overturned … and the decide agreed.

Jane Dorotik: I all the time believed that in some unspecified time in the future … the reality would come out.

However Jane’s ordeal wasn’t over. Three months later, in one other stunning transfer, the DA’s workplace determined to retry her.

Jane Dorotik: I do not assume any of us thought … that San Diego County would try and retry me. However they did.

Matthew Troiano: The state believes that she did this, and so they wish to pursue it. … Then you will have this battle … in courtroom. … If you happen to’re conceding that there have been issues … how are you going to do it once more, basically with the identical proof?

Jane Dorotik: It was astounding to sit down in that courtroom and see what they attempt to put ahead as precise proof. After which additionally thrilling to see my group take it aside.

Dorotik tire tracks
Tire tracks close to the location the place Bob Dorotik’s physique was found.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Division


Jane’s attorneys questioned the credibility of a number of of the State’s consultants, together with Charles Merritt of the Sheriff’s Crime Lab. The decide finally dominated that the brand new trial might go forward, however that some key proof offered in her authentic trial wouldn’t be admissible — together with these tire tracks close to the place Bob’s physique was discovered that had been linked to Jane’s truck.

Matthew Troiano: You might have various completely different vans that may very well be per these tire tracks … It is in essence type of junk science-y.

In Might 2022, simply as jury choice was about to start, the prosecution shocked everybody but once more.

Jane Dorotik: We go into courtroom because the jury is assembled and able to come into the … courtroom Monday morning. And every little thing’s modified.

Deputy DA Christopher Campbell (in courtroom): We not really feel that the proof is adequate to indicate proof past an inexpensive doubt and persuade 12 members of the jury. So we’re requesting that the courtroom … dismiss the costs presently. Thanks.

Choose: Ms. Dorotik, you’re free to go. Good luck to you ma’am.

Jane Dorotik
Jane Dorotik deal with reporters after her conviction was overturned.

Aleida Wahn


JANE DOROTIK (to reporters): It simply is overwhelming to understand that now I can decide my very own future. It is one thing I’ve prayed for and hoped for.

After the listening to, Jane’s attorneys spoke about her decades-long combat.

MICHAEL CAVALUZZI ( to reporters) Jane’s dignity in standing up and stoically combating for her innocence in opposition to each threat and each menace. That is why this case bought dismissed right now and … so far as we’re involved, we’re transferring on.

The District Lawyer’s Workplace and Sheriff’s Division declined to talk with “48 Hours.” The case in opposition to Jane Dorotik was dismissed with out prejudice, which implies, if new proof surfaces, expenses may very well be introduced once more sometime.

Erin Moriarty: However then, would not that depart nonetheless a shadow over Jane Dorotik?

Matthew Troiano: Oh, positive, it does. I imply, there is not any query about it. … From a sensible perspective, do I believe it is over? Yeah, I believe it is over. However from a authorized perspective, no.

Jane Dorotik is working to rebuild her life after spending almost 20 years in jail.

Jane Dorotik: My whole household has been blown aside by this hurricane of occasions. … It has been heartbreaking on so many ranges.

Claire Dorotik didn’t reply to”48 Hours”‘ request for remark, however Jane says they’re nonetheless shut. Her son Nick died in 2023. Alex Dorotik didn’t present a remark to “48 Hours,” however in response to filings by the state, he stays satisfied his mom killed his father.

Erin Moriarty: Do you will have hope that your loved ones will come collectively in some unspecified time in the future?

Jane Dorotik: In fact I do. In fact I’ve hope.

Jane additionally has hope that she will be able to make a distinction in different folks’s lives, as she works with advocacy teams that assist incarcerated ladies.

Jane Dorotik: To me, it is not nearly my story. And sure, we will all sit right here and say, “That is so horrendous.” And “How did this occur to this lady?” … However except we glance systemically, what number of others are we gonna discover? And to me, that is critically vital.

Many unanswered questions on this case stay, together with, maybe, an important one.

Matthew Troiano: What occurred right here? … We do not know what occurred to Bob Dorotik. … The place’s justice for Bob? The place’s justice for Robert Dorotik?

Jane Dorotik has filed a civil go well with in opposition to the County of San Diego. The go well with additionally names a number of members of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Division and its Crime Laboratory.


Produced by Ruth Chenetz and Dena Goldstein. Atticus Brady, George Baluzy and Joan Adelman are the editors. Greg Fisher and Cindy Cesare are the event producers. Lourdes Aguiar is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the chief story editor. Judy Tygard is the chief producer. 

#California #womans #conviction #murdering #husband #overturned #a long time #jail



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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