Not sure if that's the case. There are plenty of people who have been convicted on circumstantial evidence.
I mean come on. Freshwater tackle? As opposed to saltwater? Meaningless by itself, but together with the other info suggests that he was lying about fishing that day.
I've seen it on a grand jury I was on. I would ask for the elements of the crime, the prosecutor would dance around the subject and everyone wanted to know why I bothered asking.
Same thing happened to me.
Prosecutors are human. To include, wanting to take the easy way out, tunnel vision, and having their own agendas. Juries are supposed to have the intelligence to catch them at it and stop them. This one failed to do its job, IMO.
What can I say.. If I was on the jury I would have convicted.
I don't see what the freshwater/saltwater tackle thing proves at all since the guy was an admitted first-time fisherman who bought his gear in Modesto - where most shops would have no use for saltwater gear.
Besides, I use hand-grenades for fishing and they work great in any water!
The type of gear he used is utterly meaningless since the guy was not experienced. Frankly, an experienced guy would not have taken a 14ft boat out on the Bay in December.
You might recall the police initially called him a liar about being on the Bay that day because it would have been dangerous for him to be on the Bay in that boat in the weather conditions that day. Now they contend he was not only in the Bay with that boat but that he did so and dumped a body over the side in treacherous conditions without getting swamped.
Show me an EXPERIENCED guy who can do this in the same conditions and I'd be damnably impressed.