SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — An architect accused in the death of a woman he met at a bar a decade ago was killed by her older brother, who gunned him down at a San Jose coffee shop before killing himself, police said.
San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said Wayne Sanchez, 52, followed Maurice Nasmeh, 46, into a Peet’s Coffee and Tea and shot him dead Saturday night.
As police arrived at the scene, Sanchez walked into the parking lot and shot himself, Dwyer said. The two had initially met at a nearby restaurant, where police say Sanchez accused Nasmeh of killing his sister, Jeanine Harms.
Investigators don’t know whether the two ran into each other by chance, Dwyer said.
Nasmeh spent 2 1/2 years in jail on charges that he killed Harms, 42, a technology company purchasing manager who disappeared in July 2001.
A judge dismissed the charges in 2007 after crime lab problems led prosecutors to concede they weren’t ready to try the case. At the time, prosecutors still blamed Nasmeh for Harms’ disappearance.
Nasmeh met Harms at a bar while she was on a date with another man. After partying together on the night of July 27, 2001, Nasmeh and Harms returned to her apartment, police said.
Investigators believe Nasmeh was the last person to see Harms alive. Her body has never been found, but authorities presume she is dead.
Police found carpet fibers in Nasmeh’s car from a yarn project Harms had been working on. The same fibers were found on a rug that authorities believe was used to dispose of the corpse. The rug surfaced in 2003 when a woman turned it in after seeing news reports about its importance to the case.
Delays in testing the carpet fibers forced prosecutors to drop their initial case.
Nasmeh’s attorney, Daniel Jensen, continued to proclaim his client’s innocence after his death.
“Justice didn’t get done here. Instead, we got two more victims, and we still have a killer out there walking free,” Jensen told the San Francisco Chronicle.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)