Defense must live with evidence disclosure in Vanessa Pham murde - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Defense must live with evidence disclosure in Vanessa Pham murder case

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Julio Blanco Garcia (left) and Vanessa Pham Julio Blanco Garcia (left) and Vanessa Pham

The murder trial of the man accused of stabbing to death a Falls Church teenager will go on as scheduled. That was the ruling Thursday by a judge at the Fairfax County courthouse. The victim in the case, 19-year-old Vanessa Pham, was killed more than three years ago.

The recent disclosure of "voluminous" evidence prompted the team defending Guatemalan laborer Julio Blanco Garcia to ask for the dismissal of charges. Circuit Judge Jane Marum Rouch refused to do that. The judge also declined a defense request that jurors be questioned individually -- rather than as a group -- when a panel is selected.

For years, the stabbing death of college student Vanessa Pham in her own car in June of 2010 baffled police.

Documents on an upper floor of the Fairfax County courthouse indicate that police recovered a knife from the car, and although fingerprints were lifted from the knife, there was no match until two-and-a-half years later. It was then that an undocumented laborer named Julio Blanco Garcia was arrested for shoplifting champagne from a grocery store in McLean. Garcia was subsequently arrested at a worksite in Vienna.

The autopsy report on Pham notes more than a dozen stab wounds. It also indicates DNA blood testing of a white diaper cloth found in the car.

Previously released security video shows Pham's car driving out of the Fairfax Plaza Shopping Center at a normal, sensible speed. The documents in the courthouse allege Blanco Garcia confessed to police that he talked the 19-year-old girl into giving him (and his one-year-old daughter) a ride to a nearby hospital.

According to the police narrative, the teen took a wrong turn, and Blanco Garcia, who was high on PCP, became enraged and stabbed the girl to death.

Over the summer, prosecutors sent volumes of material to defense attorneys, and they also placed it in a box in the clerk's office at the Fairfax County courthouse. Reporters had access to that box and began writing stories about the evidence.

When the information became public, defense attorney David Bernhard filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the 1,600 pages of information now available in court filings was "so voluminous" that the jury pool would be tainted. In her ruling Thursday, the judge disagreed.

The filings also telegraph a likely defense. According to a defense document, Blanco Garcia was suffering from "severe PCP intoxication," he was hallucinating, and he thought the teenage driver was going to harm his daughter.

Judge Rouch had ruled earlier the murder trial will be open to pool still and electronic cameras. The trial is scheduled to begin on August 19.

Previous Coverage:

Vanessa Pham murder suspect, Julio Blanco-Garcia, appears in court

Friends find closure after learning of arrest in Vanessa Pham murder case

Man charged in murder of Vanessa Pham

New $20,000 Reward Offered To Solve Murder of 19-Year-Old Fairfax County Woman Vanessa Pham

Mysterious Fairfax Murder of Vanessa Pham Remains Unsolved

Vanessa Pham Had Facebook Status Updated Before Her Death

Search For More Clues Continue in Vanessa Pham Homicide

Police Release Video Showing Last Whereabouts of Vanessa Pham

Fairfax Co. Suspicious Death Ruled a Homicide

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