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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.

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 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.
E.S.V. May 19, 2014 at 01:22 AM
I know he did it. I never ever heard of this "Smith" person. I read an article on this site claiming that Smith went down to Tina's body the day that she was killed, kicked her body, because he couldn't believe it was really a "Dead body". I kind of have to call BULLSH!T on this. Jay Dalimore&I were the two people who found Tina lying face down that day. I felt for a pulse on her neck, she was still warm. Judging from the stab wounds all mover her back, and a large carved wound on her side, I knew she was gone. I take great offense to this Smith whoever he is making this claim that he was there, blah, blah, I've had to deal with this trauma for 30 Freakin' years!! Let me tell you, it hasn't been a picnic!!! I am not looking for my "15 minutes"etc.. I'm simply saying that I know Creepy Carlson did it, and why. I cannot believe that the Pleasanton PD has newver called, asked me to testify, nothing. It is truly amazing in my mind that I haven't been asked anything about this case when I know that I would make a very credible witness!! My e-mail is; 1Jackwhtfan@Gmail.com, if you wish to speak to me, my schedule is pretty flexible. They claimed that when we found Tina the time it took for her to "bleed out" was about 15 minutes, she was still warm, so it happened just prior to Jay&I arriving at the scene. I never saw anyone else in the area that day except for a heavy set man mowing his lawn when we ran up the hill to find someone to have them call 9-1-1. He&I ran down the hill because he thought we were playing a "Prank" on him!!?? Who would joke about something as heinous as that???The next day when I told the PPD who I thought did it, they basically blew me off because I was a 16yr old teenager.SAD,very sad that they were so lazy/ignorant.

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