Testimony in UT murder trial focuses on eyeglasses

The pair of glasses held up in court Monday morning were found along Waller Creek. The jury was reminded the glasses were located not far from the spot where the battered body of UT Freshman Haruka Weiser was discovered in April of  2016.

Noelia Warren, the manager of an eye mart in Killeen, told the jury the frame she held matches one she sold to Meechaiel Criner in 2015. He was living at the time with foster parents in Killeen.

When asked if the glasses she sold were those found by the creek; Warren said, "Based on my experience ... and the unique prescription, they are the same glasses."

Prosecutors challenged that by pointing out the frames were not exclusive to EyeMart and the prescription given to Criner was not an exact match to the lens in the glasses found at the crime scene.

To counter that, prosecutors called Dr. John Deapen. He wrote Criner's prescription for eyeglasses. While being questioned, he  admitted getting the wrong prescription can give a person headaches and make driving a car difficult. In hammering that point, defense attorneys suggested no reputable eye care business would let a customer leave the store with a faulty pair of glasses. Dr. Deapen later responded to that after he left the courtroom.

“As blind as he is, and the stigmatism, it would have been way better than nothing, even if they had been a little bit off,” said Dr. Deapen who went on to say in his opinion, they are the same pair of glasses.

In court, Deapen explained that Criner required a prescription that was uncommon, unique and rare.
He also described the discrepancies in the glasses found at the crime scene, to what he prescribed in KiIlleen, were not significant. He disputed how Criner's defense team was trying to imply the differences were significant, and told the jury they could have been caused by the machine that made the lens, or by human error. The doctor said it was not a 'if they don’t fit you’ve got to acquit' moment.

Prosecutors spent the rest of the afternoon showing the jury property belonging to Haruka Weiser found in the shelter where Criner was located after her murder.

The items include Weiser’s laptop with a Portland sticker on it. The book her parents gave her, as well as a duffel bag believed to be the one she had the night she was killed.

The jury was also shown a pair of tennis shoes found in Criner’s room. APD Homicide Detective Ray Tynes testified the shoes, in his opinion, are similar to the type worn by the man seen on UT Security camera video. The video shows light reflect off the shoes as the man follows Haruka Weiser down a path along Waller Creek.

The security video also shows individual touching a white van on by the University. Crime scene technician’s testified that they recovered four fingerprints from that van. The Jury was told that none of the fingerprints came back to match Criner.