Letter to the Editor: Jeff Campbell


By Jeff Campbell

June 9, 2020

Threshold Point. On June 8, 2020, it was nine (9) weeks, (63 days or 1,512 hours) since Zach Gifford was killed on April 9. In most jurisdictions there’s a window of two-days (48-hours) to solve homicides. Zach’s death, as any unnatural human death by violence, is in general terms a homicide. Suicide and accidental discharge by the victim can be ruled out, since he received three gunshots in the back.

You may have seen a television documentary show called “48 Hours.” That’s significant because if someone isn’t charged or arrested in that window the case likely goes “cold.” There’s nothing cold about Zach’s homicide. We know, investigators and prosecutors know the who, what, where, when and how. Zach’s case is not a mystery.

In my experience working/studying homicides, unattended and suspicious deaths, and autopsies. Even cold cases are charged within 2 or 3 days, once sufficient evidence or “probable cause” for a reasonable person to believe a murder occurred by person(s) identified, no matter what degree. Sometimes it’s called an “open charge of murder.”

We’re way past a threshold date for a charging document or initial presentation to a grand jury for subpoenas. The investigators should’ve written their “Affidavit(s) in Support of a Criminal Complaint” (with attachments) by now. After the pathologist’s and press releases, it appeared they were on the threshold of charging. Since those releases published May 20th there’s been ample time to plug holes and “perfect” the State’s case.

Forensics should be done. The Coroner’s final report should be finished. The prosecutors should have enough to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” to a jury as required in trial. Although prosecutors don’t need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to charge or arrest, they need only show probable cause in a preliminary hearing or to a grand jury.

Based on my experience and training I remain unprejudiced since, like you, I haven’t seen all the evidence. We don’t have enough for an informed speculation.

For Zach, his family, do not forget and do not let this linger unresolved. Blessings and Peace.

Vayan con Dios, Jeff C. Campbell

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