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YOUNGSTOWN Man pleads innocent in slaying



Published: Sat, August 31, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Prosecutors say DNA taken from the victim matches DNA from the suspect.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Geauga County man pleaded innocent in the death of 22-year-old Amber Zurcher, who was found dead in June at her Austintown apartment.

Christopher L. Anderson of Parkman was arraigned Friday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where he is charged with murder.

Assistant Prosecutor Michael Maillis said Zurcher was found strangled on the floor of her Compass West apartment. The night before she was found, a group of people including Anderson were at her apartment after visiting a nearby sports bar, authorities said.

Witnesses told police that Anderson was the last guest to leave the apartment.

Maillis said authorities think Anderson went back to the apartment and killed Zurcher.

He said DNA samples taken from skin that was scraped from under Zurcher's fingernails matched DNA taken from Anderson. DNA taken from saliva that was swabbed from the victim's chest also matched Anderson's, Maillis said.

More charges possible

Prosecutors have said Anderson could be charged later with attempted rape or another sex-related charge, depending on the outcome of some forensic tests that were done on the victim's body.

Maillis asked for a continuance of the $1 million bond set for Anderson at the county court in Austintown. He said Anderson was on probation for failure to obey a police order when he was arrested in the slaying.

Defense attorney Joseph Rafidi said Anderson is a father of three who has worked at Delphi Packard Electric Systems for more than eight years.

Anderson is not likely to flee the area if he's released from jail and should be given a reasonable bond, Rafidi said.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum ordered Anderson to be held in the county jail without bond until a hearing can be held for lawyers to argue the matter further before Judge James C. Evans, to whom the case is assigned.

bjackson@vindy.com




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