Three weeks after Donna Paradis went missing after withdrawing money from a Northeast Bank, her body was discovered on November 12, 2007. She was found in a wooded area behind the Promenade Mall, buried under dirt and concrete.
After digging up her remains, police learned that Donna had been stripped of her clothes, while her wrists and neck were tied with red strips of material. The maternity pants and underwear she was wearing, along with a pickax and shovel were found nearby.
Police arrested Richard Dwyer, 45, of Canton, for the rape, robbery, and murder. Dwyer's trial began on Sept. 15, 2008.
State witnesses testified that Donna had planned to buy a car from Dwyer the day she disappeared. However, Dwyer's attorney claims his client referred Donna to a couple of used car shops in the area and offered to show her the car he bought, but he never planned to sell her one.
A crime lab analyst testified at the trial linking Dwyer's DNA with samples taken from Donna's sexual assault kit, on a flashlight Dwyer took to his girlfriend's home, on a cloth strip found knotted around one of Paradis' wrists, and on a work-issued lanyard and empty plastic ID sleeve found in Dwyer's vehicle.
The defendant's lawyer argued that another unknown DNA had been mixed in with the sample, therefore suggesting someone else had committed the murder.
Throughout the trial, Dwyer remained emotionless and spoke only to the judge to say that he would not be testifying.