A state-prison inmate serving decades for stabbing a Lancaster city woman numerous times during a lengthy home invasion in 2014 will not be a getting a new trial, an appellate court ruled.
Elswart Bodden, serving 37 ½ to 95 years for the brutal attack, argued for relief, claiming he should have been allowed funding to hire an eyewitness identification expert in presenting a defense at trial.
On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected that argument, deciding that an eyewitness expert would not have changed the guilty verdict because police and prosecutors had “ample evidence” beyond eyewitness testimony.
The victim, then 30, testified at trial that Bodden stabbed her repeatedly during the hour-long attack inside her West Orange Street apartment. She survived, crawling to her cellphone after Bodden, 25, eventually fled the apartment.
The Superior Court cited trial Judge Howard Knisely’s “well-reasoned” initial denial of Bodden’s request, writing prosecutors presented the following evidence, aside from the victim identifying her attacker:
- Police caught Bodden fleeing the woman’s block in a vehicle
- Bodden left his cigarettes and a cellphone on the victim’s porch. (DNA was collected from a cigarette butt.)
- Bodden admitted to going into the apartment
- The victim’s blood and DNA was on Bodden’s clothing
The victim testified last summer in specific detail about how the attacker ascended her stairs, as she organized an upstairs office, then beat and stabbed her in a room.
At one point, Bodden asked the woman if she had kids, and later asked how she was still alive with so many stab wounds.
Lancaster city police Detective Nathan Nickel filed charges.
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