Courtroom bombshell: Cold case murder trial halted by last-minute discovery


A courtroom bombshell could dramatically impact an already extraordinary case.

The 1985 murder of Sharla Spangler in Columbus went unsolved for 32 years. Last year police charged a Knox County businessman with her murder.

Doug Krumlauf's trial was set to begin Tuesday. But a last-minute discovery has thrown the case into question.

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"What was relayed to me was in reviewing their testimony for this trial, they were looking and they realized that they could have done YSTR testing on some of the property that was submitted to them," said prosecutor Dan Lenert.

He told the judge BCI had discovered testing that had not been done on DNA recovered from the victim's body.

"So today, a BCI analyst was getting prepared to testify and goes, 'Oh my, we didn't do yet a more specific exacting DNA analysis on these various samples,' which is specific only to males. The results of which could be crucial to either side depending on how it comes out, " said defense attorney Sam Shamansky.

"So it could be exculpatory, it could be damning almost?" asked Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt.

"Yes," Lenert answered.

Spangler been shot to death on January 30, 1985 and left under a semi-trailer at the corner of Dublin Granville Road and Hamilton Road. She was 24.

She was last seen leaving the Gold Fox lounge in Gahanna where she worked.

Other employees found her car in the parking lot, still running.

Thirty years later, Doug Krumlauf was arrested in Knox County on an unrelated domestic violence charge.

His fingerprints were entered into a database, where Columbus Police cold case detectives say they matched prints taken from the scene of Spangler's murder.

Detectives spent nearly two years building a case, and in April of 2017, charged Krumlauf with murder.

"We've had this trial date for over six months, but in order to have a fair trial, we have no choice but to let BCI test the DNA," said Beatty Blunt.

Based on the delay, the defense asked the judge to release Krumlauf, who has spent more than a year in jail.

Prosecutors argued against it.

"I can't say that it wasn't BCI's chemists who kind of dropped the ball on this and caused this, but it certainly wasn't the Columbus Police Department or prosecutor's office that caused the delay," said prosecutor Nancy Moore.

The judge ruled Krumlauf be released to house arrest, pending the outcome of the test and a future court date.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office, which runs BCI, tells 10TV there was no mistake on BCI's part.

A spokesperson says "BCI conducted all the testing requested of them, as well as additional testing" required by their protocol.

They say, "In reviewing the file for trial, our staff learned of additional information not provided to us at the time of testing that led our staff to recommend additional testing be conducted.

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