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April 13, 2023 46 mins

One night in December of 1986, Cara Knott disappeared while driving home. She and her car were found the next day off the side of a highway. That same day, a local police officer known for pulling over women late at night was seen with scratches on his face. But did he actually kill Cara Knott? We talk with Jim Trainum, retired MPD homicide detective and investigative consultant.

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and
Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast
are solely those of the individuals participating in the show
and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV.
This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable
for everyone. Listener discretion is advised. Hello, everyone, Welcome back

(00:28):
to Facing Evil. I'm Rasha Facarrero and I'm Evette Gentile.
This week we are talking about the murder of Kara
Knat and this case is it's a very surreal and
creepy one because it's one of those where you say,
this could totally happen to any one of us. It's

(00:49):
when the person you trust in to protect you ends
up being the person you should be the most afraid of. Yeah, sadly,
you're so right, Evet. And of course, for those of
you who have been with us from episode number one,
this case, at least for Yvetna, I reminds us of

(01:09):
our very first case from our hometown in HONOLULUJOVII, the
cold case of Lisa Au. And it's sad this was
only four years later after the case of Lisa Ou
happened Lisa Ow is still a cold case. She was
murdered on the side of the road in nineteen eighty
two and this happened in nineteen eighty six, but there's

(01:31):
differences in this one. And we get to talk to
an amazing expert who's going to walk us through the
entire case. And his name is Jim Trainum. He is
an expert in forensic evidence and criminal procedure and he's
going to talk to us about everything, and so thankful
he's such an open book and an open heart. Yes,

(01:55):
and it's going to be an amazing conversation. But now
our Sir Trevor is going to walk us through today's case.
The twenty year old San Diego State student was murdered
by an on duty CHP officer in the North County.
The main unanswered question is is how she was able
to be either duped or cohn and who stopping and

(02:19):
we don't know why. It was two and a half
weeks after the murder that homicide detectives went to Pyre's
Power Way home and led him away in handcuffs. Every
day of the trial has been like attending Kara's funeral
over and over and over again. Karakat was a twenty
year old woman who was mysteriously found dead in nineteen

(02:41):
eighty six in a ravine near San Diego, California. Nat
was a student at San Diego State University. She had
plans to get her doctorate and become a teacher. On
the night of December twenty seventh, nineteen eighty six, she
was visiting her boyfriend in Escondido who was sick with
the flu. Who knew Kara said she was very considerate

(03:02):
and often overly cautious. For example, she always locked her
doors and never picked up hitchhikers. Just before eight pm
that night, she called her parents, who lived forty five
minutes away, to let them know she was coming home,
but she never arrived. Kara NAT's family set out to
find her that very night. Around five thirty in the morning,

(03:24):
they found her car parked off of the Mercy Road
off ramp. Three hours later, police found her body strangled
and thrown from a bridge, but there was no sign
of sexual assault or robbery. The passenger door was locked,
but the driver's side window was partially rolled down. Earlier
that night, a witness saw a police officer pull over

(03:47):
a car at the Mercy Road off ramp. They described
it as a VW light blue. Kara drove a white
VW and just before ten pm that night, two women
said they saw a police officer named Craig Pyre at
a nearby gas station. He had blood and scratches all
over his face, and according to them, he was acting

(04:07):
incredibly nervous. When he returned to the police station a
half hour later, his coworkers say he was quote bloody
and disheveled. He told them he had slipped and fallen
into a chain link fence while getting gas. Pyre had
been with the California Highway Patrol for thirteen years, and
by all accounts, his career was the most important thing

(04:28):
to him. Pire's fellow officers called him quote hot pencil.
This was because he gave out more traffic tickets than
anyone else, about two hundred and fifty per month. He
would often ran to his colleagues about highway safety and
keeping the public safe. Soon, though, it was revealed that
there were two sides to Officer Pyre. There was devoted
police officer and something else, something more nefarious. The California

(04:53):
Highway Patrol was getting reports from young women that he
pulled over, saying he was engaging and off putting behavior.
After pulling them over, he would sometimes order them to
his favorite spot off the I fifteen Freeway. At that
point he would ask them about their love lives, or
sometimes get into their cars and take them on rides
deeper down a vanc At lane called Mercy Road. Two

(05:16):
days after her murder, Officer Pyre appeared on a TV
news special giving tips on how to stay safe as
a driver at night. Scratches were still visible on his
face as he talked, and on January fifteenth, nineteen eighty seven,
Craig Pyre was charged and arrested for Karaonaut's murder. After
two trials, he was convicted and sentenced to twenty five

(05:38):
years to life. But to this day, Pyre, his family,
and his friends all claim he would never commit such
a violent act. However, others claim differently. And so what
happened to Kara not? Was Officer Craig Pyre actually guilty?
And what does the debate surrounding his guilt tell us
about the reliability of evidence versus witness testimony? So the

(06:06):
murder of Karen Nott brings up a ton of questions
questions about procedure evidence. The list goes on and on,
and today we have an expert with us on all
of these things. His name is Jim Trainum and he's
a retired homicide detective for Washington, DC's Metropolitan Police Department.

(06:28):
But his resume goes far beyond that. He's written a
book called How the Police Generate False Confessions and he
is a recipient of the Ethics and Law Enforcement Award.
Jim A Komo Mai or welcome to Facing Evil. Well,
thank you very much. So I just told our listeners
just a tiny bit about you, but I am hoping

(06:51):
that you can tell us a little bit more about
your career and how you got started and how you
got into doing all of this today. Well, I spent
over half of my twenty seven years with PC Police
Department in the homicide branch, and what happened earlier in
my homicide career actually shaped the rest of my life,

(07:14):
really and that was in a very high profile case,
one of the first cases I had, I obtained a
false confession from a totally innocent person, and I did
so using the standard interrogation techniques that we were taught
and that would pass muster in any courtroom in this country,

(07:35):
and I wanted to find out not only how did
I convince this person to confess to a crime that
they didn't commit, but also how did they know all
the details about the crime that, as we love to say,
only the true perpetrator would have known. And so that
kind of started me into looking into how things like

(07:57):
confirmation bias and other factors can adversely influence the way
that we do investigations. And so I began teaching other
law enforcement officers how to avoid the same mistakes that
I made, and I began working on other alleged wrongful

(08:17):
conviction cases doing case reviews in general, and yeah, I
was just finding out there's so much that when it
comes to how we analyze evidence, so oftentimes we make
mistakes in the way because of the way that we
think and the way that we process, and it also

(08:39):
other pressures like the pressure to close the case quickly
and things along that line. So since I've retired in
two ten, I began to use what I learned and
reviewing cases not only active murder cases coal cases, but
also are cases that were alleged wrongful convictions and testified

(09:01):
and several of those cases. That's all around the country,
and I continue to teach and learn as well. I'm
still taking classes. In fact, i'm taking more coming up
very soon from the UK, basically how to think like
a detective something even though it's something you already know,
but you can always evolve and already learn. Right, there's

(09:23):
so much out there that, like I said, we're basically
taught for mechanics of how to do our job, but
there's so much lacking in how to think about how
to do our job. And that's one thing that they
excel in and over there, and so I'm hoping to
use that in order to help create more training programs

(09:44):
and help improve more enportment practices here in the US. Beautiful.
I love that, Jim. That's so powerful that you said that,
because you know you're retired, but yet you're still evolving
and still learning. And I just do have one question.
When you were talking about the technique. I was listening
to you on a podcast and it was called the

(10:04):
Trust and Justice podcast, and you were talking about that
particular technique, which was the read technique, And is that
what you were taught early on, you know, in the
very beginning when you got that false confession. Yes, I
was taught not only the read technique, but you know,
the thing is, there's a lot of different interrogation schools

(10:25):
out there, but the majority of them teach a variation
of it, and it's an accusatory approach, and unfortunately, the
way that it's designed they promoted as a way of
getting to the truth, but unfortunately the way it's set up,
you're trying to get to the truth that you believe
it to be, and so what you're looking for so much,

(10:48):
it's not information but confirmation. And if you happen to
have the wrong person to begin with, then you know,
that just sends you further down the wrong path. Right.
There's been this movement within the criminal justice system that
they're trying to set up what they call the sentinel
event reviews. It's like, if there is a failure of

(11:11):
some sort, either maybe a case goes unsolved or wrongful conviction,
rather than look at the individual causes like we're so
good at and blaming individual people, we're trying to look
at the big picture because let's say, like in my case,
you know, yes I got a false confession, but you know,

(11:31):
let's also look at all the other things that influenced
my decision. At the time, there was some faulty forensics
or supervision pressure to close the case. It is a
high profile case, things along that line. And so when
you look at the big picture and understand all the
contributing factors and you're transparent about it, then not only

(11:53):
can you work to correct all of those things that
contribute it to the problem, but you also gain more
trust from the cards. You're willing to admit that, yes,
we made a mistake, here's some mistake, and this is
what we're going to do to fix it. I believe
that's the way in the future to go towards helping
to resolve the trust issue that we have. Absolutely, so

(12:35):
let's just jump right into it. Let's talk about Karen
Not How familiar were you with this case? You know,
for us, like when we first started researching this case,
immediately you think the HP officer he had to have
done it. Was that your first reaction as well? Well,
it's never my first reaction. I've reviewed all of the

(12:59):
public information that's out there as much as possible. I've
dug into it as much as I can, and so
I haven't been privy to a lot of the internal
reports and things like that that oftentimes offer really important nuggets.
But when I start looking at a case, I don't
really have any preconceived notions as to whether or not
it's him. I'm going to look at the evidence and see,

(13:22):
First off, the evidence wasn't obtained reliably and wasn't analyzed properly,
because that's where you tend to have your failures, and
so going into it, yes, he was convicted and all
of that, but I've worked a lot of cases where
it looks like a slam dunk at the beginning, but
once you get into the nitty griddy of it, the
evidence kind of starts to not be as clear as

(13:47):
people try to make it out to be. So Jim,
with all of that being said, full transparency, I am
married to a retired police officer. You know, She's asked
me not to say what city she worked for, but
she did work in the state of California. But I
was talking to her about this case and I told
her you were interviewing you, and I was like, babe,

(14:09):
like what do you think, Like do you think like one,
like why would this HP officer, you know, pull Kara
not over and like why would he be driven to
do this and then go if he did do it right,
and then go right back to the rest of his shift.
And she told me, she said, you know, I feel
like it's more common than we'd like to think because

(14:32):
it's about power. And I was like, really, like it
just for me, my mind doesn't think that way. So
do you think that it is about power? Looking at
it at first? I try not to go in there
with that perception. That doesn't mean that I haven't formed
an opinion. Right, you're a human, right, yes, And the courts,

(14:53):
actually you have convicted him. Now, this is a very
circumstantial thing. I mean, this is old school. They saw
at the old school away that they didn't have cell
phone tracking stuff. You don't have surveillance videos, you don't
have you know, the DNA, all the stuff that we
rely on so heavily to solve cases today. And it
is very circumstantial. However, it is a very strong circumstantial case,

(15:18):
even if you want to discredit some of the evidence
that would no longer even be considered in a court today,
such as the evidence about the rope the fibers. Forence
Aguinnis said that he was able to match the rope
that was found in the car to the marks on

(15:39):
her neck, and there were identical lengths and things like that.
All that stuff has pretty much been discredited. See it's
not you know, accepted as you know, scientific evidence anymore.
Fiber evidence is highly questionable, and there's been a lot
of abuse of findings about fiber evidence in the pasting courtance.

(16:03):
But even taking all that away, my first thought is that,
you know, this is probably the first time he ever
killed anybody. This is you know, but we know, based
on the evidence that he did lure or did take
several women down there, And if I was a betting person,

(16:25):
I would bet that at some point in his career,
you know, before all of this, he actually engaged in
sexual encounters down there, that this was something that I mean,
why would you keep doing it? Yeah? Right, Yeah, that's
the point. If you failed, you know, each and every time,
why would you keep trying this? And in this case,

(16:47):
something just went wrong. Yeah, even though he was a
patrol officer, you know, he probably didn't have any comprehension
about how homicides are investigated about you know, what kind
of clues he could have left behind because he wasn't trained.
He didn't have any experience in that, and so I

(17:08):
mean he just panicked and he did his best to
cover up. But he didn't have any other option but
go back to work, right, to continue on like normal.
But the fact is, though, there were witnesses that actually
saw him. You know, there were people at the convenience
store of the gas station that saw him in there,

(17:30):
and they visibly saw scratches on his face. And there
was another witness that saw him take her down, you
know that Mercy Road, or saw the car there. I mean,
doesn't that say like a whole lot right there? You know?
And then he goes on television and you know, gives
this statement with the scratches on his face. After he's

(17:53):
done this, he probably didn't have much of an option.
I mean, the scratches are there, and so he had
explained them somehow. I mean, he can't avoid that whatsoever.
I mean, he tried to cover his tracks. He tried
to modify his logs and things along that line in
order to make it look like he was somewhere else.

(18:14):
He did what he could. He did what he could
to let's he created an alibi. However, some things he
just could not hide. Yeah, but like the TV thing,
I mean, that was the area that he patrolled, and
so I suspect that his supervisors just put him up
and say, look, we want you to do this. It's
not like he volunteered for it, and so he just

(18:35):
had to put on a brave face and go about it.
And if he had refused to do it, I think
that would have caused more immediate suspicion at the time.
Right for sure. I do want to ask you, Jim,
and I know you were telling us about you know,
the fibers. Not that forensic evidence not necessarily holding up
in court today, but the other thing that I'm curious about,

(18:59):
so like would it be considered part of again, like
is this circumstantial evidence or is this actual forensic evidence?
The fact that pires blood type is a rare blood
type and is type AB and that was on Kara,
that's not just a coincidence, right, Well, it's also circumstantial

(19:21):
evidence because it's not like DNA today where you can say,
like the odds of it being anybody else is one,
and however many trigan pod brilliant or whatever along that line.
You know that blood type is about eighteen percent of
the population so that's that's a lot of people that
it could be. However, the defensive attorney fallacy they call it,

(19:46):
is when you look at an isolated piece of evidence
and you try to discredit it, like they did by saying, look,
that's eighteen percent of the population. The thousands of people
who could have or millions of people who could have
left that But yeah, but there weren't millions of people
who were taking women down into that area, who were

(20:06):
acting inappropriately with them, who were there that night, who
get a B and C. So all of that combined
makes a very tight case, like the perfect storm. As
one of our former guests told us, Yeah, it's so
interesting to me. You know, I just want to talk
about the fibers, like, because you know, we do know
that from his little badge, you know, on his uniform,

(20:29):
that yellow fiber was actually found on Kara. Why can't
they use fibers? Like? What is the argument against it?
I guess I should say the main argument is that one,
it's kind of subjective. It's based on the visual examination.
That material could potentially come from thousands of different sources
and all of that. But the problem has been is

(20:51):
that examiners have overstepped their bounds when they're testifying. Now,
in this case, from what I read, pears like they
didn't do that. They said that they were visually similar. However,
in the past, other examiners have said, I know it's
an exact match, or I've never seen anything you know

(21:12):
like this, right, and so that's why, you know, fiber
evidence what has led to exonerations of the past, primarily
because the examiners have overstepped their balance, got it. However,
in this case, from my understanding, there was also the
addition of the dye in the fiber itself. The color

(21:33):
die be matched up right there. So not knowing anything
about the die part, you know, I would say that
that that's a very interesting piece of evidence right there,
and so I'm not really sure how admissible that would
be today. But even without that evidence, take the fiber evidence,
throw it away, you still have Yes, Yes, I mean,

(21:55):
I think the behavioral evidence is one of the the
strongest pieces of circumstantial evidence. I mean, in looking at
a diagram of how the roadue was laid out and
all of that, him going down there on a regular basis,
and really there was no need for him to do that.

(22:16):
I wouldly find fault with the supervisor at that point
if they had complaints, which they did, women down to
that isolated area. Well, first off, I mean for officers' safety.
I don't know what their policy is. You're during that
time period. I was working as a uniform patrol officer
during that time period. If you had a traffic stop,

(22:37):
you called it in, right, That's what my wife was saying. Yeah,
you call it in because you want just for your
safety so that if something happens, they know who you're
stopping and where you are. And he didn't do that
in this case, if I recall, right, I don't think

(22:57):
he did it in a lot of the cases. Yeah,
because you're not going to spend you know, thirty minutes
talking to somebody like he did with a lot of
these women and all of that, because your supervisor is
going to call you out. So that should have been
a red flag. If he got complaints from at least
two women that I know of, that he was taking

(23:18):
them down to that lookay, Plus, you don't want to
get yourself in an isolated spot, you know, where it's dark.
That just increases the danger to you. Right outside of
everything else, that should have been a inch red flag
for them to go, wait a minute, you know, why
are you doing this doing our research? There was even
like a you know, a joke with other officers, you know,

(23:41):
other HP officers that, oh, you know, how many people
did you pull over today? He had a high rate,
didn't he. Yeah, he was known for pulling over and
especially women. Well, that was also a different time back then, true,
it was the eighties. Yeah, I mean people would make jokes.
I remember during that time period or maybe maybe before,

(24:04):
there was a DJ and DC that would do these
a skit where it would involve officers actually know in
certain terms, committing raped during traffic stops that were making
jokes about it, right, And so I mean, as horrible
as that was, that that was kind of like, you know,
something that people really didn't take seriously. They may kind

(24:27):
of make fun of it, right, And that kind of
makes like I said, it makes me believe that he
was at least successful in having some kind of sexual
conquest in the past, and that's why he continued to
follow this pattern, right, So it was basically a shotgun effect.
You know, he would just try it and work at work.

(24:50):
So Jim, you know, one of our first episodes that
we did was a case in Hawaii about a young
woman by the name of Lisa al And this was
in eighty two and this is still an open case.
It had to do with supposedly a police officer or
somebody impersonating a police officer, where this young woman got
killed and she was left in the hills of Tantless

(25:13):
and she was there for approximately about ten days. But
this goes to the question of forensics, right, there are
so many things that they did wrong in that case,
and now we're in eighty six with the Karaknat case.
Right in that time frame, would the forensics like had

(25:35):
it advanced at all in those four years, not all
that much. I think the disadvantage that you had in
eighty two was the fact that the body wasn't found
for quite some time, right, Yeah, ten days is a
long time, and it was in the rain, and yes, yes,
but you also had that gap between you know, when

(25:56):
she went missing and when she was found, And here
you didn't have much of a gap at all, No,
because her family went out searching for her asap. Yeah,
and they had a lot of good luck. Yes, the
fact that she stopped at the gas station, so they
were able to put up a timeline, but yeah, I
mean we were still I mean, stuff really had advanced

(26:20):
all that much during that time period. And also remember
different agencies had different provins, capabilities. Yeah, that's HONOLUPD or
HP very different. I'd say, Yeah, we really don't have
any kind of standards across the country in law enforcement here. Yeah,
it's still that way now, Jim. It is still that

(26:41):
way now. I mean it's not like the UK, where
they can come up with a single set of operating
procedures and best practices and all of that. Here you've
had eighteen thousand different kingdoms across the country with different
levels of capabilities, training and everything else. And so sometimes

(27:03):
it's just a luck of a draw. Yeah, it's so true.
Though you have to think about that, like they did
have so much luck. I mean, of course you don't
want to think about it's lucky to find, you know,
a beautiful young human dead. But at least they were
able to find Kara and seemingly get closure because you know,

(27:26):
Officer Pyre was convicted. But all of that put aside,
I am curious, Jim. I mean you've alluded to the fact,
of course, we think that you know, pire may have
sexually assaults at other people, but for all intents and purposes,
he wasn't convicted of anything prior to this. What do
we think would make a seemingly I know, there's no

(27:48):
such thing as normal, but a seemingly normal HP officer
be capable of this. That's a hard question. Is that
really a hard question? You know, one is power? Yeah, power,
It's possible. Like one of the first encounters was one
that was consensual, and I mean that is possible. And

(28:15):
so he just got this idea in his mind that
you know, hey, they're women out there who are turned
on by this by cops and all that sort of stuff,
and there are women who are attracted to male police
officers and also vice versa. But so yeah, I mean
they're attracted to the power thing and all of that.

(28:37):
But for him to have killed her, like I said,
I think that something just went totally wrong. He had
no plans. Yeah, there's no indication that he got any
plans to do this whatsoever, or that he would have
done have done this again in the future unless he
got kind of caught up in this situation. I just
think whatever happened, he panicked and he did what he

(28:59):
did and he just did not know how to cope
with it afterwards. You can really get away with murder,
and I mean if you really think about it, I mean,
a stranger on stranger cases, no connection with him, make
sure nobody finds the body, you know, that sort of stuff.
But he didn't have time to do all that. Now
he had to do something because he was also a

(29:21):
nerd time perenstrate. You know. Another thing that is really

(29:45):
interesting is his family. You know, his family really believed
that he was innocence because they truly believed that the
evidence wasn't strong enough. What do you think. I mean,
I think we are all in union and of what
we believe. But his family still believes that he didn't

(30:05):
do it because again, like you said earlier, right, it
was all circumstantial evidence. Before I went to homicide, I
worked burglary cases. And I loved working burglary cases because
there are a lot like serial killers, because there's no witnesses,
you know, because the burglary makes it's careful. They don't
have to commit the burglary, and so they do it

(30:27):
in such a way that if there's a witness there,
they go back off or whatever. And so typically what
you do is you rely on forensics, and you rely
on patterns and things along that line, circumstantial evidence if
you tie them to the stolen property because they sold it,
stuff along that line. And so people think circumstantial evidence

(30:48):
there is a dirty word. It really isn't. You don't
need to have an eyewitness. You don't have an eyewitness
in a lot of murder braises. True. So that's the
best you can do. But of course you know they
believe them, just like the confirmation. But your confirmation by
is just just to clarifying case. If people don't understand
what it is. It's when you get a belief and

(31:10):
then you begin to search for evidence that confirms that
belief rather than search for evidence that you know impartially.
And so you're very selected. And so a lot of
times you'll see a family members on both sides whatever
they will kind of cherry pick, uh know, what they

(31:31):
want to want to hear and what they don't want
to hear, cherry pick, you know, or kind of well
she said this this time or this that time. Well
it might not be relevant, it might not make any difference.
But because they come up with a little indistress, a
little discrepancy. They think that wipes away, you know, all
of the evidence right there. Yeah, I whish, of course

(31:53):
it does not, does not, But I feel for them.
I understand, you know, what they're saying, and so they're
victims too, of course, of course, of course, yes, I
couldn't agree more. With all the cases that we cover
on facing evil, we know that there's not only one victim. Ever,
it always affects all of the families involved, whether guilty

(32:14):
or not. And yeah, it can be heartbreaking at times,
it absolutely is. It is because it changes lives on
both ends. Everybody's bucking wrongful conviction cases and exonerations. A
lot of times you have the family members who are
just devastating, Yeah, because they have put so much faith

(32:35):
in the prosecution and the police officers and justice. The
protective for exonerations first comes up, that's what they turn to,
and so a lot of times the cops and the
prosecutor would say, no, this is you know, bs, it
is trying to pull some shady stuff. There's actually organizations
out there now that work with family members who are

(32:57):
going through this just to kind of help them through
the process, which is a good thing, because that's and
everybody was concentrating on the person getting exonerated, but nobody
was thinking about the victim in the victim Stanley, Yes,
that's beautiful. I love the more support there is out
there for people going through anything. This especially, I think

(33:20):
is beautiful. Jim, I would like to ask, with all
of your expertise, can you tell us did you agree
with the final verdict based on the evidence that I've seen.
I do agree with the verdict that you know there
is less he beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty. Certainly.
That's such an interesting question that Rasha asked. And then

(33:43):
when you put that in there, because the fact is
that the jurors weren't they like seven to five the
first go around with him. So funny because I've actually
had cases where it was eleven to one a jury
for a conviction, and then the second time around it
was a straight up acquittal. Really wow. I thing is
a lot of times people will ask me during a trial,

(34:06):
what is the jury thinking? What do you think about?
I have no clue. If you can understand every single
human on the face of the planet, then maybe you'll
have a clue. Yeah, yeah, probably not even there, but
so much of it depends on their own personal experiences.
You know, their own you know, biases and things along

(34:27):
that line, you know, their own life stuff. But also oftentimes,
and I hate to say it, you know the way
the evidence is presented. Yeah, I know that they switched
attorneys and so all of that comes into play. Yeah,
that's why the system is so imperfect. Is also one
of the reasons why you know, I'm not a believer
listen in the death penalty, because they're so invariable that

(34:50):
go into a jury's verdict. Yea, as much as their
cold You're only supposed to consider the evidence. Each person
considers differently, you know, based on their life. Yeah, right,
their own experiences. We know that Pyer, he's been up
for parole a few times, right, and he's been given

(35:14):
an opportunity to present DNA to the Innocence Project. And
I'll let you speak to that because I know you
said you you've worked with this particular nonprofit, but he
has denied to take it. Doesn't that say that I'm guilty? Well,
not only has he refused to take it, but he

(35:36):
also refuses to give an exclamation as to why. Oh
he hasn't said why it's a clarifi. So I think
there's not just one innocence project. They're multiple ones around
the country, you know, Okay, okay. And I can see why, like,
on the surface, they may want to look at this case,
especially when they start seeing things like you know, the

(35:57):
evidence about the marks on the neck and the fiber stuff,
they might want to consider it. But when it comes
to DNA stuff, I mean, that's the low hanging fruit
for them. And you wouldn't believe the number of cases
that I've worked where there is DNA evidence that could
be tested, but the prosecutor fought it tooth and nail,

(36:17):
mainly because we have this belief in this country that
verdicts should be final, that the family should have to
go through this stuff that once it's done done, So
that's something that you always have to fight against. So
if he's being offered the chance to do something that
could really potentially clear him one and he's refusing, I

(36:40):
think that's good circumstantial evidence in and of itself. But
like I said, he's not giving a reason. And you know,
the other thing going against him is all of these
people who have been exonerated, who've been up for multiple
parole hearings. One of the reasons that they oftentimes were
refused parole was that they kept saying, no, but I
didn't do it. They want them to accept the responsibility,

(37:04):
but they won't do it. In his case, he still
says that he won't do it, but he doesn't take
a chance that's offered to him to exonerate himself or
to explain. I say that, but it might come back,
thinks just because of the way the evidence was kept,
or all kind of things that might not allow testing
of the evidence. You know, we always like to look

(37:26):
for the light, of course, on facing evil, and there
have been a few positive developments that came out of
Kara's case. So Sam Not, who was Kara's father, he
lobbied to pass a bill which at the time would
have allowed women motorists to stop at places that they
felt more comfortable or more safe being pulled over. Now, sadly,

(37:48):
although it didn't pass, I think it started the conversation.
At least, what do you think. I know that a
lot of places, if you're pulled over by an unmarked unit,
that you're able to go to a place that's well lit,
that's safe you know that sort of thing, just because
in the past they've had people posing as police officers,

(38:10):
ye who have the lights and all that kind of stuff. Yeah,
the car, but the car isn't visibly marked. The problem
is is that you have a rogue cop heer. So
typically if you have a unit that is highly marked
as you know, as a police officer, that sort of thing.
But even these days, you have the extra advantage of

(38:32):
if you are pulled over, you can get on your
cell phone. We did not have that in nineteen eighty six,
did not have that. See one of the things you
can do. Okay, you're pulled over by the California Highway Patrol,
you can down nine one one saying I'm being pulled over.
This is this legit. I love that. I believe we
can absolutely and you correct me if I'm wrong. Give

(38:54):
credit to Kara's father, Sam not again, because he fought
for this. You know this eighty three million dollar communication
system that enforcement agencies now have an emergency agencies have
to help coordinate where you know something may be going wrong. Unfortunately,

(39:16):
you know, Kara didn't have that back then. I would
not have been aware of any kind of system like
that that existed. So you know, once you have a
problem like this, and once you identify just like I
talked about before, you can then come up with solutions
to the problem. And oftentimes, you know, law enforcement unfortunately
is very slow to responding. You know, they kind of

(39:38):
dig their heels in. They're going to blame it on
the one individual rather than realize that this could be
part of a larger problem, or if we did have
this system in place, didn't this one individual couldn't have
done this anyway. And so a lot of times it
does take pressure from family members, from the media, from

(40:00):
politicians and all of them. Law enforcement. They hate two
things basically the way things are and change is that
an oxymoron. So they're going to be you know, we
don't have a problem because we fired them. Well, yeah
you do, because anybody else could you know, do this
similar you know, falling into this pattern of inappropriately pulling

(40:24):
over women and engaging in inappropriate conversations with them. So
there's a system to that not only protects the driver,
but also protects the officer as well. I would love
to know, because I see that that glimmer and hope
in your eyes. I would love to know what light

(40:46):
in the darkness of Kara's story that you can take
away or give to our listeners. Well, you know, one
of the things that you had mentioned earlier is or
to mention that the family got closure. Yeah, and unfortunately.
I mean I've worked with a lot of families, especially

(41:07):
in these unsolved basis and all that I would meet
with them on a regular basis and talk to them,
And one of the things I kind of cautioned them
about is, you know, you're looking for closure, but it's
not going to come because you know you're going to
get a conviction. You know they're going to go to
jail and your love when it's still dead. Still. However,

(41:28):
I encourage them, just like with her father, to try to,
you know, do something meaningful. Now. It doesn't have to
be as big an event as what he did. But
it's just like there's organizations out there, the support organizations
for other you know, crime victims and you know family

(41:51):
members of homicide dictims and things like that, and they
can help you with your pain. But you can also
turn around and share your experience with other people who
are also in that similar situation, and you can turn
this around and actually help somebody else. And do good
and make that part of your loved ones memory. I

(42:13):
don't care what they were doing when they died. I
don't care you know about any of that stuff. It's
still a tragedy and you can still improve somebody's life
or improve the system, going that extra mile, body together
and working as a group, so beautifully said, paying it
forward and working together. Jim, It's been a true honor

(42:35):
to have you on the show. Thank you for being
here with us today. Well my pleasure and I hope
that I did add something to this case and kind
of explained a few things, and thank you for having
me appreciate it. Today's IMOA is dedicated to Kara's parents,

(42:57):
Sam and Joyce, and the entire Ohana. After her death,
Kara's father, Sam Knot successfully lobbied for a bill that
allowed women to stop at places they felt most comfortable
when being pulled over. Instead, the state Senate voted in
a bill that further punished drivers for not pulling over

(43:17):
us directed sadly, but Sam Nut he persisted, and he
convinced several local law enforcement agencies to change the way
they handled nighttime stops for women. And because of Sam
Knot's work, San Diego County now has an eighty three
million dollar communication system that allows law enforcement to communicate

(43:39):
with emergency services in a way that wasn't possible on
the night that Kara was killed. And the memorial nature
preserve where he planted and raised oak trees from acorns
is still there. It is called the Kara Nut and
San Diego Crime Victim's Oak Garden. Today's final message of hope,

(43:59):
and he goes out to the memory of Sam Not
as well as to Joyce Not and the rest of
the family who, in the aftermath of the worst tragedy
of their lives, persisted for justice, persisted for hope, and
persisted for humanity. Onward and upward. Imua, Imua. Well, that's

(44:29):
our show for today. We'd love to hear what you
thought about today's discussion and if there's a case you'd
like for us to cover, find us on social media
or email us at Facing Evil pod at Tenderfoot dot tv.
And one small request if you haven't already, please find
us on iTunes and give us a good rating and
a good review. If you like what we do, your

(44:50):
support is always cherished. Until next time. A Loja Facing

(45:12):
Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and tenderfoot TV. The
show is hosted by Russia Peccarero and a Vetchantile. Matt
Frederick and Alex Williams our executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio,
with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk, Donald Albright and
Payne Lindsay our executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot TV,

(45:33):
alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Carolyn Talmidge. Original
music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Find us on social
media or email us at Facing Evil pot at tenderfoot
dot tv. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV,
visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen

(45:56):
to your favorite shows. The
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