Latah County Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Evans rested the states case after calling their final witness this morning. That witness was James Collyer, the father of Meister's former friend. Collyer was also a witness in the original trial and testified Meister told him he'd killed Tonya Hart while Meister was staying in Collyer's home.
During cross examination Collyer admitted he wasn't sure of the exact dates the alleged confession occurred, but says he was sure it happened.
Now it's the defense's turn to present evidence. Attorney Tom Whitney called Doctor Richard Ofshe as their first witness. Doctor Ofshe is an Emeritus Professor at the University of California, Berkley. Dr. Ofshe has spent most of his professional career in the field of false confessions. He testified that false confessions are a common occurrence and can happen with our without pressure.
"If there's a very high profile crime, there's a good chance someone in the community who is unstable, may really want attention, may be depressed, may call the police and say, 'I did it,'" said Ofshe. "It happens all the time."
Throughout the next two weeks of the trial the defense is expected to try and prove that Meister gave a false confession to police - due in part to the interrogation method used by police . Ofshe explained to the jurors through a diagram how someone who is innocent can be coerced into a confession under the right circumstances.
Meister was originally convicted in 2003 for the murder of Hart. Meister confessed to the crime during a recorded police interrogation.