A nine-month police investigation into the disappearance of Chula Vista mother of three May Millete ended Tuesday with the arrest of her husband, Larry. And now an 8-page arrest warrant lays out the defense attorney’s case against Larry Millete. It's a laundry list of escalating strange behavior leading up and following May's disappearance. But is that enough to convict him of murder?
“We cannot let someone murder someone and gain a benefit by hiding the body in a way that we cannot discover it,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan told a crowd of reporters after Larry Millete’s arrest.
But not only is there no body, there is no weapon and some could even argue there's no proof of a crime.
The DA’s team of investigators, however, does point to a mountain of circumstantial evidence they say points to a motive – May’s extramarital affair and desire for a divorce.
“The last call recorded that May made was to a divorce attorney,” said Stephan. “She did not make any further calls.”
That last calling setting up an appointment is what the DA believes triggered May’s murder.
This isn't the first time the DA's office has gone after a murder conviction without a body -- they successfully pursued the charge with a Rancho Bernardo caretaker who tried to sell the property of one of her patients after he had gone missing (even though police never found a body).
Prosecutors can convict a defendant on circumstantial evidence alone, but criminal defense attorney Stefano Molea says based on the evidence announced publicly by the DA against Larry Millete, winning this case will be an uphill battle.
"The biggest issue, I think, is whether they have any forensic evidence to support that there was a death or injury,” Molea said.
Especially glaring, says Molea, is the lack of blood spatter in the home, or lack of human blood or tissue in the car detectives believe Larry Millete used to move May's body.
Right now, Molea says the prosecution must not only convince a jury Larry Millete killed his wife, they will have to convince them she was killed at all.
Molea also points to another problem prosecutors face without forensic evidence:
"It leaves an opportunity for Larry to make a claim about something that happened without the true ability to disprove it,” Molea said.
It appears the prosecution knows it needs more evidence, with the DA repeatedly urging more witnesses to come forward, now that Larry Millete is in custody.
“We are hopeful that now is the time to come forward if you have any information,” Stephan said Tuesday.
Larry Millete is being held without bail. His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday at the South Bay Courthouse at 1:30 p.m.