- Feb 6:
- Nasmeh's girlfriend: Harms' brother told me 'move, or I'll kill you, too'
- Jan 27:
- 911 transcript: Fear, chaos at scene of killing of suspect in Harms case
- Jan 26:
- San Jose: 911 tape describes scene at Nasmeh killing
- Jan 23:
- Mystery deepens over what happened to Jeanine Harms
- Jan 18:
- Timeline: The Jeanine Harms case
- Jan 16:
- Photo slide show: The Jeanine Harms murder case through the years
- Jeanine Harms' brother kills chief suspect, then himself
In another strange twist in one of the South Bay's most notorious crimes, the family of the chief suspect in Jeanine Harms' disappearance found women's clothing, shoes and what appears to be a clump of human hair in his San Jose home.
Maurice Nasmeh's mother discovered the items while boxing up the San Jose architect's belongings after he was famously gunned down by Harms' brother last month in a vigilante-style killing.
Relatives on Wednesday gave Los Gatos police two small nylon bags filled with the clothes and shoes and a small sealed plastic sandwich bag containing hair. The items will be tested to determine whether they are linked to the 2001 disappearance of Harms, whose body has never been found.
The unusual items were found almost six weeks after Nasmeh, 46, was killed inside a Peet's coffee shop by Harms' brother Wayne Sanchez, who then ran outside and turned the gun on himself.
"It will be analyzed like any piece of physical evidence the police take possession of that might have relevance in a case," said Brian Welch, the Santa Clara County deputy district attorney who leads the office's homicide unit. "The extent of the process won't be known until the criminalists begin their work."
Nasmeh's family found the clothes and hair while sorting through items in the small house he rented on East Hedding Street in San Jose.
"We have nothing to hide," his mother, Doris, told the Mercury News. "I don't think the hair means
The items were found in a laundry closet. The plastic bag with the hair was behind the nylon bags, family members said.
"It wasn't hidden," Nasmeh's mother said. "It was in with the linens and a bunch of things like nail clippers. It could have belonged to a girlfriend. It's not a whole bag of hair; it had two strands, like pearls."
Nasmeh wasn't married but did have a girlfriend, who was with him the night he was killed.
Nasmeh's family allowed a Mercury News reporter to visually examine the bags and hair before they were turned in to police. The hair is a light brown color with highlights. At the time she disappeared, Harms' hair was brown with highlights. Pieces of what appear to be lint can be seen in at least two places on the swirl of hair in the bag. A crumpled brown wrapper from a medium-size Reese's peanut butter cup was in the bottom of the bag.
Welch and Los Gatos police Chief Scott Seaman declined to discuss the items because they have yet to be processed at the crime lab.
Nasmeh is the last person known to have seen Harms before she disappeared on the night of July 27, 2001. Harms met Nasmeh at a bar that night and invited him and a man she had a date with to her home for a nightcap.
Nasmeh was arrested in December 2004 and held in custody for 21/2 years. But charges were dismissed in June 2007 after questions were raised about fiber evidence that authorities said connected Nasmeh to Harms. Prosecutors vowed to retest the evidence at a top lab and refile charges about a year later.
One of the former lead investigators on the case, Mike Schembri, told the Mercury News last year that all test results were due back by December and Nasmeh would be arrested and recharged any day after that. But almost four years after his release, Nasmeh remained a free man until his deadly encounter with Harms' brother.
"What we have to do now is decide how we proceed on this case," Welch said.
Welch and assistant district attorney Jay Boyarsky two weeks ago asked the prosecutor on the case -- Dale Sanderson -- to write a memo detailing the reasons he believes Nasmeh killed Harms and to explain why retesting fibers has taken so long.
The memo is due next week and Welch said he doesn't know whether it will be made public, now or later.
Welch had tried to reach Harms' parents, Jess and Georgette Sanchez, on the Friday before their son Wayne shot and killed Nasmeh and then killed himself. There was no answer, and an answering machine did not click on.
"You can't help but wonder, had I gotten through, would they have shared it with their son and would things have gone differently," Welch said.
Nasmeh's mother said the family wants the same answers as anyone else, especially the one that has burdened so many hearts for nearly 10 years: What happened to Jeanine Harms?
"I know he didn't do it," she said. "It was painful to him and to us."
Contact Linda Goldston at 408-920-5862.