Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Man Placed Raw Chicken in Ex-Wife's House Vents, Faces 18 Years

A jury convicted Colorado state lobbyist Ronald Smith of second degree burglary and criminal mischief on Wednesday.

Embroiled in a bitter divorce and custody battle, Smith was accused of harassing his ex-wife and threatening to ruin her life.

Instead, he chose to ruin her home. The jury found him responsible for placing raw chicken into the home's vents, pouring bleach on her grand piano, and scratching the floors with metal cleats.

The 48-year-old waged a tough defense, pointing the finger at his ex.

Investigators found no DNA, fingerprints or witnesses to place Ronald Smith at the scene of the crime.

It may seem odd to convict an individual without concrete direct or physical evidence, but it's actually quite common.

Unlike on television, criminals don't always leave traces of DNA or fibers. Scientific advancement in the area of forensic analysis is also quite recent.

Prosecutors have always relied heavily on circumstantial evidence. Evidence is circumstantial when it indirectly establishes a fact that supports the charge. In other words, it's information from which a jury may infer guilt.

Circumstantial evidence is valid and may be the sole basis for a conviction.

In the case of Ronald Smith, prosecutors presented a large amount of circumstantial evidence.

There were reports of threats, stalking, and bizarre behavior on the night of the burglary, according to the Denver Post. Most of the destroyed items were also sentimental in value.

This evidence was enough for the jury to find guilt. And now Ronald Smith faces up to 18 years in jail.

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