Judge issues a no-ruling on the no-body issue in Kiplyn case
PROVO — A judge has deferred judgment on a potentially case-ending motion against a man charged with killing Kiplyn Davis.
Kiplyn was 15 when she disappeared from Spanish Fork High School in May 1995, and prosecutors charged a former classmate, Timmy Brent Olsen, with murder.
However, attorneys for Olsen have argued that the murder case against him should be dismissed because Kiplyn's body has never been found, and neither has a murder weapon, blood nor DNA evidence. The only evidence against Olsen is alleged incriminating statements Olsen made to several people regarding his knowledge of and participation in Kiplyn's death.
Defense attorney Jeremy Delicino has argued that the case fails under the "corpus delicti" rule, which requires the state to present a "body of evidence" — which in this case would be an actual body — to support Olsen's incriminating statements.
However, prosecutors argue that foul play is the only likely option because Kiplyn didn't have money, a driver's license or any personal problems that would have led to her running away or committing suicide.
Fourth District Judge Lynn Davis recently ruled that he is not in a position to make a decision on the motion because prosecutors have not yet brought their full case, according to court documents. The evidence already presented was in a preliminary hearing nearly a year and a half ago and under a lower burden of proof, he wrote.
"Ruling on corpus delicti without considering all facts (presented) at trial or at an evidentiary hearing is an invitation to commit error," Davis wrote. "At this stage, the facts in evidence are simply incomplete. The parties are essentially asking the court to test a cake for done-ness before it has even been put into the oven."
Olsen's murder case is still on hold while an appeal is pending regarding a change-of-venue motion.
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