Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Stuart Heaton

Real Name: Stuart Heaton
Case: Appeal
Location: Ramsey, Illinois
Date: July 23, 1991


Details: In July 1991, carpenter Stuart Heaton was accused of the murder of high school sophomore Krystal Naab, who was found raped and stabbed to death with scissors in her parent's trailer on July 23. An autopsy showed that she was three months pregnant at the time. Stuart was an old friend of Curtis Naab, Crystal's brother. According to Curtis, he had been to the Naab home several times. Police were suspicious of him because of the cuts on his hands, which he claimed were from his job as a carpenter. However, he also had cuts on his forehead and other marks on his body.
Authorities also found that he had a truck identical to the one seen by eyewitnesses outside of the Naab trailer on the day of the murder. The truck's driver also matched Stuart's description. One of the witnesses described unusual and distinct hubcaps on the truck; the same type of hubcaps were on Stuart's truck. A mailman who knew Stuart identified his truck as being outside of the Naab home that day. Also, the witnesses noted that the truck did not have any toolboxes in it. A neighbor told police that he had helped Stuart put toolboxes in the truck several hours after the murder.
Stuart was indicted in September of 1991. Then, a blood sample taken from Stuart was shown to have matched the semen found on Krystal's body. The probability of it being someone else was 52,600 to 1. However, Stuart's mother claimed that there was other evidence at the crime scene that did not match Stuart.
At trial, Curtis Naab said that he had found Stuart in bed with his older sister Melanie about two years earlier. However, Stuart claimed that Curtis's testimony was inconsistent. Stuart's wife was also a witness at the trial; she stated that Stuart had different clothes on during the afternoon of the murder than during the morning. Prosecutors suggested that Stuart had hidden a pair of bloody blue jeans sometime during that day. Two more witnesses gave Stuart an alibi for the time of the murder (10 am and 3 pm), but the prosecution was able to show that their testimony was unreliable. Stuart did not testify on his own behalf at the trial, claiming that his lawyer had not prepared him and that it was against his religion.
A DNA expert testified about the odds that someone else's DNA was found on Krystal's body. The odds were actually lower than what is normally allowed in most trials with DNA evidence. Despite this, Stuart Heaton was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Krystal Nabb. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Despite the circumstantial evidence and DNA evidence from the prosecution, some claim that Stuart was railroaded.
Investigative journalist David Protes began looking into the case after Stuart was convicted. He looked at the records for trucks registered in Ramsey, Illinois, that matched the description of the truck seen outside the Nabb home. He narrowed down the list to twelve, including Stuart's, that matched the description. One of the other truck owners apparently had a lengthy criminal record and knew Krystal.
According to the statistic on the DNA sample used at trial, there were at least 4,800 people in the United States that had the same profile as the one found on Krystal's body. Stuart's new lawyers found that Dr. Robert Allen, the DNA specialist that testified at Stuart's trial, had retracted his methods that he had used to identify Stuart's DNA on Krystal's body. Protes stated that the DNA sample on Krystal's body was old and crusty and should not have been used at trial.
He also found evidence of subjectivity in Allen's reports. Allen's colleague felt that the DNA evidence was not strong enough to convict a person. However, the prosecutors maintain that the other evidence, including the various witness statements about the truck and its driver, and the cuts on Stuart's hands, were also key in proving Stuart's guilt. To this day, Stuart's guilt or innocence in the case is debated.

Stuart Heaton in 2004

Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 16, 1994 episode. The case was also documented on The Investigators.
Results: Solved. In 2001, a new round of DNA testing was done that proved Stuart was the killer; the chance of it being someone else's DNA was over 31 billion to 1. However, some supporters still believe that he is innocent despite the DNA evidence.