The People v. Mutch: Case Notes, Trial Transcripts, News and Photos

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Valerie Mutch at her home in Ellensburg, Washington on Aug. 15, 2016. (Adam Grossberg/KQED)

Chapter 3 of "The Trials of Marvin Mutch" podcast series covers the prosecution and conviction of Marvin Mutch for the murder of 13-year-old Cassie Riley. Prosecutors were able to obtain a conviction based on a complex chain of circumstantial evidence, which Mutch would later appeal as insufficient to merit a first-degree murder conviction.

The prosecution's key witness against Mutch was his then 16-year-old sister, Valerie, who was housed with a district attorney's investigator for months leading up to the trial and her testimony. It's unclear who involved in Mutch's trial was aware of Valerie's living situation, and when. But the jury never heard about it.

Explore case notes, selected trial transcripts, news reports and photos related to the trial below.

Interrogation

Union City detectives interrogated Mutch for hours the night of his arrest, starting at 1:50 a.m., according to the record of the statement he gave to police.

Marvin Mutch around the time of his arrest and trial.
Marvin Mutch around the time of his arrest and trial. (Courtesy of Marvin Mutch)

 

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The following synopsis gives more details about Mutch's initial, and only, interview with police. The synopsis of the interview appears to be written from an audio recording of the questioning, which is referenced several times at hearings leading up to Mutch's trial. Neither the audio tapes themselves nor a complete transcript of the interview were provided as part of the Union City Police Department's record of the case.

The Hayward Daily Review newspaper, Oct. 11, 1974.
The Hayward Daily Review newspaper, Oct. 11, 1974.

 

Sister is Star Witness

Valerie Mutch attempted suicide a few days after her brother's arrest.

The Argus, Oct. 17, 1974.
The Argus newspaper, Oct. 17, 1974.

Valerie Mutch said a week or two later, she started living with district attorney's investigator Phil Fry.

Marvin Mutch's defense attorney was looking for Valerie for months leading up to the trial, but he was unable to determine where she was living. That and other issues with the defense's access to evidence are argued in the incomplete pretrial transcripts below.

Valerie Mutch testified on May 9, 1975.

The Argus newspaper, May 10, 1975.
The Argus newspaper, May 10, 1975.

 

Read the transcript of her testimony below.

Defense

Mutch's defense attorney James McWilliams argued that shoe prints near Cassie Riley's body showed someone else had killed her.

Retired Alameda County deputy public defender James McWilliams in Berkeley, California on Aug. 8, 2016.
Retired Alameda County deputy public defender James McWilliams in Berkeley, California on Aug. 8, 2016. (Adam Grossberg/KQED)
The Argus newspaper, May 15, 1975.
The Argus newspaper, May 15, 1975.
A crime scene photo showing one of the shoes Cassie Riley was wearing when she was killed.
A crime scene photo showing one of the shoes Cassie Riley was wearing when she was killed.
A crime scene photo showing the shoe print of a Converse sneaker overlaying a shoe print from Cassie Riley's Keds.
A crime scene photo showing the shoe print of a Converse sneaker overlaying a shoe print from Cassie Riley's Keds.

Final Arguments

The Oakland Tribune, May 14, 1975
The Oakland Tribune, May 14, 1975

 

Read the full arguments of the attorneys below.

Verdict

The jury found Marvin Mutch guilty of first-degree murder for killing Cassie Riley. He later received a 7-to-life sentence.

The Oakland Tribune, May 22, 1975.
The Oakland Tribune, May 22, 1975.

Verdict form from The People of the State of California vs. Marvin Lee Mutch dated May 21, 1975.
Verdict form from The People of the State of California vs. Marvin Lee Mutch dated May 21, 1975.