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Accused murderer Igmidio Mista, 33, of Fremont, appeared Tuesday in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court for a hearing to discuss evidence in the case. Prosecutors and defense attorneys have been hashing out the best way to appropriately test some of the limited evidence.
At issue: possible DNA evidence on two bullets, and blood evidence on a shoe.
There was only a trace amount of evidence collected from the bullets, and officials were concerned about using up the material in forensic tests. Mista’s defense attorney, David Klucas, had similar concerns about a blood evidence collected from a shoe that Mista may have been wearing.
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation analysts wanted to test the blood evidence, but Klucas was concerned their tests would exhaust the material, possibly leaving nothing for a second test.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Sandusky County Common Pleas Court Judge Barbara Ansted green-lighted the tests on the bullets. Additionally, Ohio BCI analysts determined their tests on the blood evidence from the shoe would still leave enough material for testing later.
Sandusky County assistant prosecutor Lorrain Croy declined to elaborate on the tests being done on the bullets, and she would not say where the bullets were found.
Mista is accused of opening fire inside Last Call Bar following an argument.
He is charged with three counts of murder in the deaths of off-duty Elmore police officer Jose Andy Chavez, 26; bartender Ramiro Sanchez, 28; and Daniel Ramirez, 25. Chavez and Sanchez died at the scene and Ramirez died later at ProMedica Memorial Hospital in Fremont. Ramiro “Juni” Arreola, 25, was wounded but survived.
Given the tension and harsh words exchanged among people who attended Mista’s hearing in April, security was tight at the courthouse Tuesday. Authorities searched bags and used hand wands to check each person. Several deputies, including Chief Deputy Bruce Hirt, remained in the courtroom during the proceedings.