Case Against Man Arrested In 1994 Death Of Woman Dismissed

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Criminal charges against a man suspected in the 1994 murder of a Vancouver, Washington, woman have been dismissed.

Richard Knapp, 60, was released from the Clark County Jail this week after several years in custody. Detectives had used a genealogy database to charge him for the rape and murder of Audrey Frasier.

Knapp’s trial was set to start next week, but another suspect in the case changed their story in a new deposition. Knapp’s lawyers told Oregon Public Broadcasting that one of Frasier’s neighbors admitted in the deposition that he had sex with her the night she died.

Frasier, who was 26 and also known as Audrey Hoellein, was found strangled at her apartment on July 17, 1994, where she lived with her 5-year-old son, according to newspaper archives.

The motion to dismiss reveals “new and credible evidence” was discovered since the charges were filed in 2019. “The State no longer feels it can bring forth sufficient evidence to prove these charges beyond reasonable doubt,” according to Jeff McCarty, deputy prosecuting attorney.

The Vancouver Police Department, whose detectives spearheaded the initial murder investigation and Knapp’s arrest, didn’t respond to requests for comment from OPB.

Knapp’s defense attorneys said they believed the cold case detectives had “good intentions,” but failed to rule out other possibilities.

Knapp has never admitted in court to knowing or having a relationship with Frasier, according to his defense.

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