Agent testifies Gamble likely knew killer

By Michael G. Mooney
Bee staff writer

(Published: Wednesday, February 18, 1998)

Modesto's Genna Lyn Gamble likely was acquainted with her killer and apparently did not put up much of a fight the day she died, a state Department of Justice expert said Tuesday. But special agent Michael Prodan and five other witnesses who testified Tuesday were unable to directly tie Gamble's stepfather, Douglas Mouser, to the Oct. 14, 1995, slaying.

The computer expert is charged with killing the 14-year-old Beyer High School freshman, then dumping her nude body along Dry Creek northeast of Waterford.

Mouser was arrested Aug. 28 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he once held top-secret security clearance. Since his arrest, Mouser has been held in Stanislaus County Jail. He has been unable to post the $1 million bail.

Prodan and the others were called to the witness stand Tuesday by Deputy District Attorney Dave Harris on the first day of Mouser's preliminary hearing before Municipal Court Judge Hurl W. Johnson.

Harris will continue to lay out the case against Mouser when the hearing resumes at 9:30 a.m. today in Department F. The hearing, which could run the rest of the week, will determine whether there is enough evidence to hold Mouser for trial.

Prodan, the first prosecution witness to testify, said he was a supervisor and lead agent in the Department of Justice's violent crime profiling and analysis unit.

He told the court he reached his conclusions by studying evidence provided by investigators from the Sheriff's Department and did not personally visit the crime scene.

Prodan said Gamble was considered low-risk to be a random victim of a violent crime because she had no criminal past, was not an intravenous drug user, was not sexually promiscuous and had no history of running away from home.

He also said he was sure Gamble was caught off guard by the person who strangled her, because there were few, if any, defensive wounds found on her body.

Prodan also believes she was killed someplace other than where her body was discovered by two farmworkers, a theory supported by autopsy evidence.

He noted the soles of Gamble's feet were clean, free of dirt, cuts, scratches and bruises. That, he said, suggested Gamble had been killed before her body was dumped near a walnut orchard.

Later today, the prosecution plans to call another expert witness, who is expected to testify that other bruises and minor injuries found on Gamble's body occurred after she had died.

Prodan's opinions came under fire from defense attorney Richard Herman. He suggested several scenarios in which someone other than Mouser, but still known to Gamble, could have killed the girl.

The last witness to take the stand Tuesday was LatoyaLaBlance, who described herself as Gamble's best friend. La-Blance may have been the last person to speak to Gamble on the day she was killed.

Under questioning by Harris, LaBlance recalled two telephone conversations -- between 11 a.m. and noon -- with Gamble that day. LaBlance said she was getting ready to go to the mall.

She said Gamble was angry with her mother and stepfather because they had "grounded" her that day.

"(Gamble) said her parents were idiots," LaBlance testified. "She was mad at them because she was grounded. She seemed unhappy."

During both telephone calls that morning, LaBlance said Gamble's telephone erupted into static, cutting off their conversations. The second time it happened, LaBlance said she was unable to reach Gamble.

She would never speak with her friend again.