There was a technicality.
Murder and rape charges were dropped against a Guatemalan national accused of killing a 50-year-old Rutherford woman more than six years ago after a judge refused to allow prosecutors to use DNA evidence against him.
Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said she had no choice, leaving the family of Karen Splettstoesser without justice.
Rafael Camey is now in the hands of federal immigration officials who are expected to deport him.
The issue bounced around the court system before coming to a halt last month.
Superior Court Judge Marilyn C. Clark initially granted a defense request during the preparation for Camey’s trial to keep jurors from hearing the results of a DNA swab that she said Passaic police illegally obtained from him.
The state Appellate Division rejected a bid by the prosecutor’s office to overturn Clark’s decision, as did the New Jersey state Supreme Court.
The higher court sent a request by the state to take a new DNA swab from the undocumented immigrant back to Paterson.
Last month, Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed denied it “based on the improper conduct of police in obtaining the original sample,” Valdes said Monday.
Splettstoesser’s brutally beaten body was found near a riverbank behind a ShopRite on Eighth Street on Sept. 30, 2013.
Sohail Mohammed, eh?