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2nd trial begins in slaying, DNA link


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 31, 2000

TAMPA -- The second trial of a man accused of killing a convenience store clerk 11 years ago began with jury selection on Monday.

In May, a jury deadlocked on whether Franklin Smith, 54, was guilty of killing Eileen Mangold. The new jury will examine much of the same evidence, including controversial DNA evidence that prosecutors say Smith left at the crime scene. It was the DNA evidence that the previous jurors had difficulty accepting.

Mangold, 50, was working an evening shift in September 1989 as a cashier at the now-defunct Kangaroo Fuel Stop on U.S. 301. Witnesses saw a man force her into her station wagon and drive off with her in the passenger seat, according to sheriff's reports. Her car was discovered five hours later at Krycul Avenue in Riverview. Her body was found eight hours later.

Investigators found fingerprints on the car but could not link them to anyone. Last year, a fingerprint expert ran some of the prints again and came up with a hit. A partial print taken from the hood of the car matched Smith, who had been arrested in unrelated cases before the killing. Investigators questioned Smith, who told them he never knew Mangold and never had sex with her. When asked, he provided a blood sample. Authorities arrested Smith in December after DNA tests came back as a match to the semen found on Mangold's blouse.

In May, Smith's attorneys attacked the DNA findings, disputing the trillion-to-one odds that the semen belonged only to Smith and the way investigators labeled and handled the samples. The trial could last most of the week.

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