Crime Lab Experts Summoned In Frankenhauser Murder Case

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Several crime lab employees have been summoned to testify in the capital murder trial of Eric Frankenhauser, accused of killing his girlfriend execution-style in Fayetteville last August.

A new round of subpoenas out of Washington County Circuit Court names eight Arkansas State Crime Lab employees, including medical examiner Stephen Erickson. The other seven crime lab employees with subpoenas specialize in firearms, toxicology, DNA and fingerprints, among other fields, according to court documents.

The round of subpoenas comes a day after Frankenhauser’s April 1 trial date was reset for July. Attorneys asked for a continuance because they had not yet received the results of his mental evaluation, according to court documents.

Frankenhauser is charged with a Class Y capital murder punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole, officials said.

He was sent to the Arkansas State Hospital on March 4 for a mental evaluation to determine if he is fit to stand trial. The results of the mental evaluation have not yet been released to attorneys, according to documents obtained from the Washington County Circuit Clerk.

Mental evaluations are mandatory in capital murder cases, according to court documents.

Shackled and wearing orange-and-white striped detainee garb, Frankenhauser pleaded not guilty during his arraignment at the Washington County Detention Center on Aug. 22 after Magistrate Judge Ray Reynolds read the felony charge against him.

Not guilty pleas are common during felony arraignments during which defendants are read the charges against them and are asked to enter a plea.

In the photographs accompanying this story, Frankenhauser is seen at his arraignment in the detention center.

Frankenhauser, 40, was arrested in Franklin County, Ohio, in August in connection with the shooting death of 39-year-old Jessica Stewart of Fayetteville.

He was seen walking down a road 12 miles west of Columbus when he was stopped by deputies and arrested without incident, said Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor.

Stewart was found shot in the head execution-style in front of a residence at 2228 W. Wedington Drive on Aug. 5, police said. She died the next day at Washington Regional Medical Center.

Neighbors said Frankenhauser was Stewart’s boyfriend.

Frankenhauser’s trial is set for July 16.