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Des Moines woman faces murder charge after reporting dead body

The general public tends to presume guilt whenever a person is accused of a violent crime such as murder or assault. But our criminal justice system is not based on the presumption of guilt; it is based on due process, and that means that accused individuals have rights and are presumed innocent unless guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

A 35-year-old Des Moines woman is facing a murder charge after calling police to report a dead body at a local motel. Police arrived on the scene and reportedly found a 36-year-old man deceased in one of the rooms on the property.

Police reportedly brought the woman in for questioning, and investigators claim that some of her statements didn’t correspond with other witness statements and surveillance video obtained by detectives.

An autopsy is expected to confirm the cause of the man's death, which may shed further light on the events that happened at the motel. A news report doesn’t indicate how the man may have been injured.

While the full range of facts in this case remains to be seen, it isn’t difficult to imagine how the discovery of a dead body could cause a person to be traumatized and perhaps confused. Witness statements and video footage are also common types of evidence in criminal cases, but such evidence is not always reliable.

The accused woman in this case reportedly has a few prior convictions -- one for allegedly supplying alcohol to a minor and two for operating while intoxicated. She apparently has no prior convictions for violent crimes. She will need a strong criminal defense to protect her rights and freedom.

Source: Iowa City Press-Citizen, "Des Moines woman charged with murder," Linh Ta, June 2, 2014

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