Update: Isaiah Cardenas found guilty of capital murder
Isaiah Cardenas has been found guilty of the Capitol Murder of Rachael Musset.
The court announced the verdict around 3:30 Wednesday afternoon.
The guilty verdict carries an automatic sentence of life in prison.
Cardenas showed little emotion as the verdict was read. Mussett’s family were visibly emotional, with some seen tearing up as the guilty verdict was announced.
Cardenas announced to the court he will waive his right to appeal.
Because Cardenas was seventeen at the time of murder, he will be eligible for parole in forty years.
The day began with closing arguments from the prosecution and defense in the case.
The prosecution spent their time reminding the jury the evidence in the case, including Cardenas’ pubic hair found on Mussett’s buttock and Cardenas’ DNA found on shoes related to the crime scene and the fact that Cardenas fled officers as they attempted to arrest him.
The defense countered with these facts, saying the investigation into Mussett’s death was incomplete.
The defense stated no finger prints were taken off the windows of Mussett’s home, even though there were no signs of forced entry on the door.
The defense made the argument that the investigation got tunnel vision and focused solely on Cardenas instead of canvasing for other possible suspects.
The defense ended his argument by imploring the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
A key witness of the prosecution took the stand Friday morning in the murder trial of Isaiah Cardenas, the man accused of killing Rachael Mussett.
The prosecution brought to the stand a Victoria County inmate who claimed Cardenas confessed to the crime during his stay at the county jail. The inmate said, when asked, Cardenas explained how he arrived at the jail, saying he had beaten Mussett after she refused his sexual advances.
When pressed for a specific reason why, the inmate stated Cardenas told him and other inmates “I just want to f*** her,” but the woman refused his advances. Cardenas also told the inmate he wouldn’t have beaten Mussett if she hadn’t refused and started yelling angrily. The inmate added Cardenas blamed his action on an ecstasy tablet he had taken the same day and said he wouldn’t have hurt Mussett if she hadn’t fought back.
The inmate clarified to the court that Cardenas had only said he beat Mussett, not that he killed her.
The inmate also stated Cardenas told him he used a skillet at least once in the attack. A cast iron skillet found at the scene is believed to be the murder weapon.
The defense questioned the skillet claim, saying the inmate never mentioned a skillet when he spoke to detectives about the confession earlier in the year. The defense also called the inmates credibility into question, saying no other inmates came forward about the confession, even though the inmate claimed other inmates heard Cardenas confess.
The judge ended the day at 4:30 PM. The trial will resume Monday morning at 10 AM.
Trial resumed Thursday morning for Isaiah Cardenas, the man accused of killing Rachael Mussett in her home in June 2017.
The day began with the prosecution bringing a S.A.N.E, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, to the stand. The examiner explained her responsibility was to examine both the victim and suspect from head to toe when sexual assault is suspected in a crime.
During her examination, she revealed debris was found on Cardenas’s privates following his arrest. Photos were also shown of Cardenas’ hands, showing extensive damage the examiner says could have been defensive.
Cardenas’ abdomen also had deep scratches. The examiner said the injuries on Cardenas are consistent with a physical altercation.
In cross examination, the defense argued Cardenas’ knuckles showed no damage and believed this showed the assumption of a physical altercation is merely that, an assumption and not fact. The defense also asked if any bruising occurred near Cardenas’ upper thigh, abdomen and private area, which the examiner said there wasn’t.
The defense suggested this meant Cardenas’ could not have sexually assaulted Mussett.
The Prosecution then brought a new witness to the stand; a Victoria teen who testified Cardenas confessed to the killing the day before his arrest. The teen said Cardenas admitted to the teen that he believed he had killed her, even though he was unsure.
The teen did not believe Cardenas at first because he was smiling and laughing nervously as he confessed. It was only after Cardenas’ arrest the following day that the teen believed the confession was in fact the truth.
The defense called the credibility of the teen into question, noting he had a felony conviction and was currently under probation. The teen responded saying he had no reason to lie and added he testified today because he simply wanted to share the truth.
The presiding judge called an end to the day at 5:00 PM. An official with the prosecution tells us they believe the trial will extend to Monday at the earliest due to the amount of evidence and witness testimonies left to discuss.
The trial will resume Friday morning.
Witness testimonies continued today in the trial of Isaiah Cardenas, the Victoria teen accused of killing Rachael Mussett in June of 2017.
Witness testimony began with a crime scene technician for VPD.
During her testimony, she revealed hair was found on the left and right buttocks of Mussett, as well as on the bed Mussett was found on. The defense did not state whether the hair was Cardenas or what the result of the DNA test on the hair showed.
Her testimony was followed by Justice of the Peace Stuart Posey.
Posey had determined at the time Mussett’s death was a homicide. Posey explained Mussett’s home was full of “blood splatter…. Just about everywhere”.
The presiding judge ended the day around 5. The trial will resume Thursday morning.