Prosecutors say that Howard Godfrey, 61, raped Patricia Scoville, and then suffocated her to cover up the crime. The 28-year-old's body was found near a popular hiking trail in Stowe after she had been missing for eight days. Godfrey was living in Morrisville at that time. Prosecutors say he initially denied ever knowing Patty Scoville, but after police told him that DNA evidence from the crime scene matched his, Godfrey changed his story. He told police he had sex with Scoville, but he said it was consensual.
14 years after the murder, police finally matched the DNA from the crime scene to a sample taken from Godfrey in a separate attempted abduction case.
"Ultimately that DNA would be used to identify the person who raped and killed Patti Scoville. That person is now sitting in this courtroom. That person is Howard Godfrey," prosecutor Matt Levine told jurors.
But the defense paints a different picture. They say that Scoville's injuries were not consistent with a sexual assault. The defense also claims that two hairs found in Scoville's mouth during an autopsy did not belong to her or to Godfrey. The defense says that's evidence that the real killer is still at large.
The defense claims that DNA evidence alone is not enough to convict. But in the end, that will be up to the jurors to decide.