The Arkansas Supreme Court today affirmed the conviction of Curtis Lavell Vance in the Oct. 20, 2008 slaying of KATV anchor Anne Pressly. Jury found him guilty of burglary, theft, rape and murder in the beating death of Pressly in her Heights home.
Among other points, the court said it found no error in Vance’s claim that DNA evidence and a statement he gave police should have been suppressed at the trial. The court said Vance had freely given a saliva sample during a time when he was not under arrest and thus couldn’t mount a constitutional challenge to use of that evidence. It also said he had waived Miranda rights in questioning by Little Rock police detectives in which he made incriminating statements about being in Pressly’s house. The court also denied Vance’s appeal that his case was prejudiced by introduction of testimony linking him to a rape of a Marianna school teacher (a charge that eventually ended in a hung jury and mistrial). The court said the crimes were sufficiently similar for the earlier assault to be discussed.
UPDATE: In concurring with the decision, Justice Jim Hannah wrote a short separate opinion on a point that might have significance in the future on use of evidence of an unrelated crime: