The attorney who represented the infamous serial killer and rapist Gary Heidnik in the ‘80s told CrimeSpace that Bryan Kohberger’s defense has dropped the ball on their client after they claimed a ‘lack of DNA evidence’ links Kohberger to the gruesome crimes.
“These must be very young lawyers,” high-profile criminal defense attorney A. Charles Peruto told CrimeSpace. “DNA evidence is slow.”
Peruto told CrimeSpace the defense team is tainting their own jury pool by jumping to conclusions before receiving all of the evidence against their client.
“The lawyers are polluting what may have been good jurors.” Peruto continued. “It’s time to ‘wait-n-see’ for all discovery. The defense is totally without strategy.”
Chuck Peruto, a Philadelphia-based attorney, represented Gary Michael Heidnik, who was convicted for the kidnapping, torture, rape, and murder of women in the late 1980s. Heidnik, whose crimes took place between November 1986 and March 1987 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was known for holding his victims captive in a pit dug into his basement floor. He tortured and raped six women and murdered two of them.
The input from Peruto comes after lawyers for Kohberger argued that there is ‘no connection’ between Kohberger and the victims.
Bryan Kohberger’s defense attorney, Jay Weston Logsdon, has asserted that there is no link between his client and the four Idaho students he stands accused of fatally stabbing. In a recent court filing, Logsdon highlighted the presence of other men’s DNA at the crime scene, casting doubt on the authorities’ use of investigative genetic genealogy to target Kohberger as a suspect, NBC News reported.
Logsdon described investigative genetic genealogy as a “bizarrely complex DNA tree experiment” and emphasized the absence of DNA evidence from the victims in Kohberger’s apartment, office, home, or vehicle. He raised concerns that the investigation appeared more like a preconceived lineup than a methodical process leading to his client.
Additionally, the attorney revealed that DNA belonging to another man was discovered on a glove near the crime scene shortly after the murders. Furthermore, the DNA of two additional men was found inside the house by mid-December, although the defense team lacks information about the testing conducted on those samples.
Logsdon further alleged that the police investigated several potential suspects, some of whom willingly provided DNA samples. The filing mentioned one individual who purportedly had their DNA obtained from a discarded cigarette without their knowledge, and others who had their phones seized and data downloaded. Logsdon also questioned how authorities identified Kohberger’s car as a white Hyundai Elantra and demanded an explanation.
“The investigation has provided precious little,” stated Logsdon, emphasizing the lack of clarity surrounding the police’s initial focus on his client. As the legal proceedings continue, the defense seeks to challenge the prosecution’s case, citing these discrepancies and seeking further answers regarding the evidence against Kohberger.
In an interview with Fox News, which was later featured in a documentary titled “Monster Preacher,” Peruto spoke about his experience representing Heidnik. At the time he took on Heidnik’s case in 1987, Peruto had been practicing law for about eight years. He mentioned that he initially thought the call from Heidnik was a prank, and he was fascinated by the case.
“When I got the call from Gary, I thought it was a prank by a classmate or friend,” Peruto recalled. “But by then, I had gained some notoriety because I got lucky in my career. And I was fascinated by the facts. I wanted to at least check it out. After interviewing Gary, I was sold because I felt this guy was just so multifaceted. I couldn’t stop.”
Peruto shared his first impression of Heidnik, describing him as insane. “When I first met him, I thought he was really insane,” said Peruto. “There was no question about it. I went back and forth in my own mind of whether he was evil or just insane.”
Heidnik had a twisted belief system. He aimed to create what he called a “perfect race of children” through his captives. Peruto explained, “He believed the world was evil. He wanted to have a race of people with a Black mother and a White father where they would have no contact with the outside world and solely rely on his teachings. He literally would have church services when the girls were tied up in his basement.”
According to Peruto, Heidnik did not intend to kill his victims, but they suffered fatal consequences from the punishments he administered, which included beatings and electric shocks.
In 1987, Heidnik was arrested after one of his captives managed to escape. He was convicted on several charges including first-degree murder, kidnapping, rape, and aggravated assault. In 1999, Heidnik was executed by lethal injection at the age of 55, becoming the last man to be executed in Pennsylvania.
Gary Heidnik’s case was so chilling that it served as one of the inspirations for the character Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb in the movie “The Silence of the Lambs.” Peruto said the character “perfectly” captured Heidnik.
Despite criticism for representing Heidnik, Peruto maintained that it didn’t bother him. “I’ve taken on unpopular cases before and they don’t affect me,” he stated.