in murder case
By Fionnola C.
Nasmeh, an architect who worked on the
construction project at Skyline College, was
arrested on Dec. 16, and charged with felony
Nasmeh, 40, of San Jose, worked
on Skyline's campus as principal architect and
designer of construction projects during the
period in which he was authorities' prime
suspect in the disappearance of 42-year-old
Jeanine Harms, a Los Gatos woman.
arrest of Nasmeh is the result of a lengthy
40-month investigation by city, state and
federal investigative agencies.
Authorities believe that Nasmeh and
Harms first met and socialized on the evening of
July 27, 2001, with other acquaintances, in The
Rock Bottom Brewery in Campbell. Later that
evening, police believe both went to her
residence in nearby Los Gatos.
affidavit released by Los Gatos Police
Department, states "That he took her body, her
purse and keys...put everything inside the cargo
area of his Jeep and drove from the scene to
dispose of the evidence."
for Sugimura Architects of Campbell, the company
doing architectural design and review of
buildings 3, 8, and others at Skyline College,
required him to be at Skyline often.
Nasmeh's absence, campus construction site
manager, Doug Henry, of Swinerton Construction
Management said, "his position is being filled
by several people within the Sugimura staff.
We're taking a lot of time to make sure projects
aren't interrupted. It's been a challenge, but
we'll get over it."
When asked about
security checking of employees, he said, "We
leave background checking to the firms we work
with, and Sugimura's history of working with
other clients was very strong."
now there's a little bit of worry among staff,
as Maurice put together the drawings, parts of
which came together as a result of many
consultations with deans and faculty," said
Skyline's Facilities Supervisor Richard
According to Gerald A. Peel,
Skyline's Public Information Officer, "Nasmeh
floated around campus, dealing with people on a
certain level.... He did space allocation and
requirements among focus groups with faculty and
staff. We knew absolutely nothing in advance of
the arrest, and therefore had no concerns at
that point.... I see no position statement on
behalf of Skyline College other than, we were
all taken by surprise."
From the time he
was named prime suspect until the time of his
arrest, authorities needed a solid link to
connect the accused directly with the
disappearance of Harms in order to obtain an
That link came in the
summer of 2003, when an oriental rug that went
mysteriously missing from Harms' residence was
turned into police, after police used media
exposure hoping to discover its
The rug was turned into police
in April 2003 by San Jose resident Charlotte
Massey, according to the arrest affidavit.
Massey had found the rug during the summer of
2001, a few weeks after the disappearance of
Massey found the rug as it lay at
a dumpster, about a half-mile from Nasmeh's home
in San Jose. The dumpster was situated behind a
shopping center which was under construction due
to remodeling at the time.
forensic tests done on the rug recently link
Maurice Nasmeh to Jeanine Harms, according to
the official arrest affidavit, "the rug found a
half mile from Nasmeh's residence is linked to
both Jeanine Harms and Nasmeh.
development in the case was enough evidence for
authorities to arrest and formally charge
Maurice Nasmeh with felony murder.
never arrest anyone for homicide that we're not
absolutely sure is the right one," according to
lead investigator Mike Schembri of the Santa
Clara County District Attorney's office,
Since the body of Jeanine Harms has not
yet been found, police believe there's a risk
for destruction of evidence, should Nasmeh be
let out on bail. He remains in jail on a no bail
warrant. His next appearance in court is
scheduled for February 18.