Murder conviction with no body? Local lawyer weighs in

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)– Brian Walshe, husband of missing mother Ana Walshe, has been charged with murder. But how can you convict someone with murder without a body?

Professor Andrew Horwitz, Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at Roger Williams University, says a body is not necessary for a conviction– but the instance is rare.

“You need to mount enough circumstantial evidence that all possible alternative explanations of where she might be and why there is no body– that we don’t get to the level of reasonable doubt,” said Horwitz.

Brian Walshe has pled not guilty to the charges. But prosecutors and Horwitz say the evidence is already over overwhelmingly against him.

Investigators say they found a bloody knife in the family basement, ten bags of evidence at a transfer station in Peabody, incriminating online searches and more.

The google searches included, “10 ways to dispose of a dead body if you really need to,” and “How to clean blood of a wooden floor.”

“The Google searches certainly look bad right,” added Horwitz. “So, you’ve got to come up with, ‘In what alternative world and what alternative scenario someone might engage in this type of search’– other than, ‘I just killed my wife and I need to figure out what to do with the body.'”

Other pieces of evidence include Brian Walshe’s alleged $450 purchase of cleaning supplies, a hacksaw and a hatchet connected to Brian.
Horwitz says the defense can go one of two ways.
“Things like, ‘Many of the Google searches were fantasy driven. A guy was fantasizing about doing this to his wife, but never in fact did.’ Or ‘The fact the wife was missing or he’s trying to figure out ways of finding her.'”
He concluded, “Is it possible to prove a murder case without the dead body? Yes. The answer is very clear– undeniably yes.”
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