Steven Carlson Ordered to Stand Trial for the Murder of Tina Faelz

Carlson will be back in court on Oct. 31

From Bay City News:

A judge today questioned the reliability of a key prosecution witness in the murder of 14-year-old Pleasanton high school student Tina Faelz in 1984 but ruled there's still enough evidence to have the suspect in the case stand trial.

At the end of a two-day preliminary hearing for Steven Carlson, who was 16 at the time and is now 44, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman said DNA evidence that ties Carlson to Faelz's death is admissible and therefore Carlson should face trial on a charge that he murdered her.

Goodman said the testimony of Todd Smith, 44, who attended Foothill High School with both Carlson and Faelz and said Carlson made an incriminating comment the day after Faelz was killed on April 5, 1984, was problematic, but he believes it should be up to a jury to evaluate Smith's credibility.

Faelz was found dead in a ditch adjacent to Interstate 680, east of the high school, after she was killed on her way home from school. Pathologist Dr. Thomas Rogers testified she died from 44 stabbing and incised wounds.

The cold case began to crack open in 2008 when police re-examined the evidence using DNA analytical technology that wasn't available in 1984 and the evidence connected Carlson to Faelz's death.

Carlson, who has a long criminal history, including convictions for committing lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 and assault, was arrested and charged in August 2011.

FBI forensic scientist Shane Hoffmann testified today that Carlson's blood was found on a purse found hanging in a tree above Faelz's body. Faelz's blood also was found on the purse, prosecutor Annie Saadi said.

Hoffmann said Carlson's blood was the only male blood on the purse.

"I can say to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty that Steven Carlson is the source" of the male blood, he said.

However, Carlson's lawyer, Cameron Bowman, questioned the reliability of the blood evidence, alleging that Pleasanton police misplaced the purse between April 1984 and January 1986.

"Nobody knows where this purse was until 1986," Bowman said. But Saadi said she believes the reason the purse doesn't show up in Pleasanton police logs during that time period is that police didn't examine it until January 1986, when they decided for the first time to check it for blood and fingerprints.

Goodman agreed, saying Faelz's murder was a big event in the Pleasanton community and he doesn't think police would lose what he described as "a critical piece of evidence" for two years.

Smith testified on Tuesday that when he and his younger brother bicycled past Carlson's home the day after Faelz was killed Carlson approached his brother, made a stabbing motion and said, "Come here little boy and let me kill you like I killed her."

Smith said he assumed Carlson was referring to Faelz because he had been with Carlson when they saw her walking home from school the previous day.

Smith alleged that when he called Pleasanton police to report Carlson's comment they laughed him off and didn't follow up on it.

Bowman said today that Smith's allegation is "nonsense" because Faelz's murder was "a huge case" that was shocking to the community and police tracked down every lead they received.

The defense lawyer said Carlson's alleged incriminating remark isn't mentioned in the reports of four interviews that Pleasanton police conducted with Smith in 1984 and 1986.

Bowman said of Smith, "He should be ashamed to be up here (on the witness stand). He knows his testimony is not credible."

Although Bowman alleged that Smith's testimony isn't believable, he said Goodman should accept Smith's testimony that he was with Carlson in Carlson's car shortly before Faelz's body was found in the ditch.

Bowman said that according to the time frame established by Smith and other witnesses in the case, Carlson wouldn't have had enough time after he dropped off Smith at his home to kill Faelz and then be spotted at his home a short time later.

Bowman said "it's an extreme time frame" and Carlson would only have had 10 minutes to drop off Smith, track down and kill Faelz and then return home and be spotted in a different set of clothes.

Carlson is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 31 to have pretrial dates set.

49ergirl October 18, 2012 at 07:28 AM
Now I'm not being facetious when I ask this...since he was a minor when this crime occurred and likely (especially back then) would have conceivablely be tried as a minor but is now an adult what would he be tried as? Is he tried as an adult now since that's what he is now?
Autumn Johnson (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 01:28 PM
They did originally send this case to San Leandro because he was a juvenile at the time and then it was moved to the adult court.
Janis cameron October 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Steve did bragg about killing tina at school the next day. He told me it should of been me & I was next. He told lots of people that. No one believed him!
Bryan ayers October 22, 2012 at 04:59 PM
The police need to talk to John Chargin...he hung-out with the guy back then and used to talk about it quite a bit.
Maureen October 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM
So many people knew who did it, but for some reason PPD decided not to believe them.
Bob January 10, 2013 at 07:12 AM
It's been 30 years. You all should watch what you say unless you were there. It's someone's life you are messing with! His lawyer has a point..how did he stab someone that many times and be back, fully changed and not a drop of blood found on him? Think about it.
Anonymous January 21, 2013 at 08:15 AM
I agree
celli cell February 19, 2013 at 02:13 AM
Perhaps the person who claims he was back a short time later was lying. Let me guess....its his mother that corroborates his alibi . This man is a child molester, a thief, a drug addict, and a MURDER! Put him away and throw the damn key away.
celli cell February 19, 2013 at 02:14 AM
How about the blood on her purse that belonged to him you idiot.
Lorraine Vener March 28, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Those of us who knew and saw Steve on a daily basis for years know what we are talking about. We knew he did it back then. Just because technology has finally been able to identify him does not discredit what we all lived through. Let justice finally be served.
debbie D March 29, 2013 at 02:29 AM
I knew his younger sister and she had told me that the parents had made him sleep in the garage even prior to the death of Tina.I remember that so very well. Dont throw other names out there besides STEVE..Bottom line..he did it and we all knew..he didnt return to school again after a week of her death..think back...if the Pleasanton police would have had proper training/equipt in our "sheltered P-Town community" (perhaps dogs on the scent?) he would have been behind bars years ago and allowed Tina's family to have closure..unfortunately, both families will all have to go through the hurt and turmoil again with the trial/ new evidence. Have compassion for her mother and family. I grew up in Pleasanton and consider it my home town; I remember all the rumors and fear that grew with the loss of Tina...Lets just focus on justice so it does'nt happen to someone else if he gets off on technicalities. Come on group! His parents have had to suspect something and didnt do anything but protect and comply with what they knew what to do for thier child/monster..DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT WHEN TINA'S MOTHER IS DYING INSIDE AND WANTING HER BABY BACK!! ..I MET HER MOTHER AND SHE LOVED HER DAUGHTER..Carlson is ill, propably has hurt others along his dimmented path up until now.. ALOT of prayers and love should go to both families right now cause ALL are suffering!!! Those who just knew of the case/murder in "quiet, crime free Pleasanton" Please say prayers to both families. MATHEW 3:16 DD
A.D. Ray July 09, 2013 at 09:33 PM
I know Carlson did it. From facts not rumors! I have more info than I care to share, so don't believe for one second that he is is not guilty of killing Tina! I just pray he doesn't get off on a technicallity or something. On a different note, we called him "The Sponge" when I went to school with him because he never had cigs, pot, beer, etc... Now I call him "The LOSER"!
Autumn Johnson (Editor) January 13, 2014 at 04:57 PM
Trial Begins Today for Suspect Accused in 1984 Murder of Tina Faelz http://pleasanton.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/jury-trial-begins-today-for-suspect-accused-in-murder-of-tina-faelz
DEBBIE February 20, 2014 at 12:50 PM
I say, OFF WITH HIS HEAD. Before that, make him suffer in excruciating pain by castrating him. He needs to feel pain just like his victim did and this should be done in public so everyone will have peace of mind that the monster is no longer on this Earth, he is in hell for eternity. May mother and daughter now rest in peace.


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