Victim found potential evidence months after crime.

Agreeing with prosecutors, a state appeals court on Friday said a man could face a burglary charge based on drops of blood found on a shirt in a dresser drawer months after the crime occurred.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned a lower-court ruling that dismissed the burglary charge against Joel David Fay Jr. in a Manatee County case. The charge came after the burglary victim noticed small stains on a white shirt as she organized clothes in her dresser about six months after the burglary, according to Friday’s ruling, written by Judge Craig Vilanti and joined by judges Edward LaRose and J. Andrew Atkinson.

“The shirt was stored beneath one of the drawers that was ransacked during the burglary,” the ruling said. “The victim could not remember the last time she wore the shirt but guessed it had been over a year.

She testified during her deposition that she would not have put the shirt away with stains on it and that the person who left the stains was therefore the burglar. The police sent the shirt to a forensic analyst, who determined that the stains were droplets of blood and that the DNA in the blood matched Fay's DNA.”

In seeking to dismiss the case, Fay argued that the evidence was circumstantial and that the blood could have gotten on the victim’s shirt sometime before the burglary. A circuit judge dismissed the case, but the appeals court agreed with prosecutors’ position that “the state's circumstantial evidence established a prima facie case of guilt.”