Attorney: 'weak case' against Schmidt

February 26, 2009 4:52:45 PM PST
A defense attorney for the man accused of killing Sabrina Pina says prosecutors have a weak case against his client. [PHOTOS: Images from Sabrina Pina case]

We heard from the defense attorney for Theodore Schmidt Thursday. Schmidt is the former high school classmate accused of abducting and murdering Pina.

Thursday was an emotional day as friends of Pina said goodbye at a public viewing.

"She was a very lively person," said Joaquin Ortiz, a friend of Pina. "You knew she was in the room."

Ortiz knew Pina and her husband since college. Thursday was especially rough.

"That's all in stages, I guess," he said. "You have to grieve for a little bit. But you have to let her soul rest as well."

But as tears were shed over her death, there were new developments in the case. Schmidt was supposed to appear in court Thursday. However, the judge opted to not have him appear. His attorney is calling the case unusual at best.

"At this point, hinging on a pretty thin read on the fingerprint on a piece of tape," said defense attorney Jim Lindeman.

Investigators say Pina was kidnapped from a Kohl's parking lot on Saturday and later shot and dumped along a rural road in northwest Harris County. Investigators say a fingerprint found on a piece of duct tape used to bind Pina linked them to Schmidt, an old high school classmate.

On Thursday, Pina's close friend now recalls his face, but not much more.

"Sabrina never mentioned him," said Tatiana Armenta. "We never saw each other. We went to parties together. We never saw him there. So it was kind of a shock."

In the criminal complaint we received on Thursday, Schmidt is accused of kidnapping, as well as attempted robbery prior to allegedly killing Pina. Investigators have confirmed Pina's purse is still missing.

We've also learned investigators have seized several computers from Schmidt's apartment. Schmidt's attorney says he expects this case to go to trial.

Investigators say they're reviewing DNA samples and firearms evidence, as well as Schmidt's clothing. We don't know when a new court date will be set. That's yet to be determined.

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