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Santa Clara County prosecutors dismissing murder charges in 1989 cold case

Santa Clara County prosecutors are moving to dismiss homicide charges filed earlier this year against Cathy Zimmer’s husband and brother.

Zimmer’s body was found under a quilt in her car at the San Jose airport in 1989. The 38-year-old was mother to two teens.

No charges were filed or arrests made until March, when prosecutors charged her second husband, David Zimmer of Half Moon Bay, with murder. Charges were also filed against Robert Zimmer.

David Zimmer and Cathy Zimmer were in the process of separating when she was killed.

On Tuesday, the District Attorney’s Office said it is re-evaluating the case after learning that the prosecutor originally assigned to the case had
an undisclosed and improper relationship with the case’s criminalist. The prosecutor also failed to turn over evidence to the defense in a timely fashion, according to District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

“We have an absolute and ethical duty to enforce the laws in a just and objective manner and without regard to sympathy, bias or prejudice for or against any particular party,” said Rosen. “We offer our deepest apologies to the family of the victim, but based on the totality of the circumstances, we simply cannot proceed without taking the time to reexamine and reevaluate the case in order to ensure we have not violated the rights of the accused, nor compromised the integrity of the criminal justice system.”

David Zimmer is out of custody and prosecutors said Tuesday they were moving for the immediate release of Robert Zimmer.

Prosecutors will now reassess the case. Felony cases that have not gone before a jury may be dismissed and refiled.

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