The man accused of killing Vanessa Marcotte argued at a hearing Wednesday that key DNA evidence that allegedly links him to the crime should be tossed.
Angelo Colon-Ortiz, of Worcester, is accused of killing Marcotte, 27, five years ago as she was running near her mother’s home in Princeton. Colon-Ortiz has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and appeared in court in Worcester Wednesday morning.
His attorneys argued the way police went about collecting the DNA via cheek swab as they were looking for suspects wasn't fair or even done in the right language.
They said Colon-Ortiz only speaks Spanish and didn't fully understand officers who showed up to his house to collect the DNA, a key piece of evidence, since it matches what was found on Marcotte, according to investigators.
A Spanish-speaking officer came to the house as well -- but Trooper Thiago Miranda said Wednesday, "I'm able to speak and I'm able to communicate and exchange ideas, but I can't sit here and tell you I'm a professional interpreter."
Defense attorneys argued he wasn't qualified either.
The Troopers who helped arrested Colon-Ortiz took the stand Wednesday to defend the process, saying they were able to effectively communicate with the help of a family member, and that Colon-Ortiz willingly gave the sample.
Marcotte's family released a statement saying, "Vanessa’s family, friends and everyone involved with the Vanessa T. Marcotte foundation look forward to justice being served. We miss Vanessa every single day… Vanessa would have wanted us to take action. We think she’d be proud of what we’re accomplishing in her honor to make the world a safer place."
The hearing will continue on Thursday, and the judge can either decide on the DNA evidence right away or take it under advisement.
A date for the murder trial has yet to be set.
Marcotte was visiting her mother in Princeton, Massachusetts in 2016 when she failed to return from a run. Her body was found hours later in the nearby woods.