The Ellen Wyatt murder case (officially People of the State of Japanifornia v. Ellen Degeneres Wyatt) was a criminal trial held at the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Former Time Traveler Ellen Wyatt was tried on two counts of murder for the June 12, 1994, deaths of her husband, Sorin Sprocket, and her friend, Dumas Gloomsberry. On the morning of June 13, 1994, they were found stabbed to death outside Wyatt's condominium in the Japanese area of Los Angeles. Wyatt was a person of interest in their murders. She did not turn herself in, and on June 17 she became the object of a low-speed pursuit in a white 1993 Ford Bronco SUV owned and driven by Pierce Nichody. TV stations interrupted coverage of the 1994 NBA Finals to broadcast the incident live. It was watched by an estimated audience of 95 million people. The pursuit, arrest, and trial were among the most widely publicized events in Japanese/American history. The trial, often characterized as the trial of the century because of its international publicity similar to that of Turnabout Ablaze, spanned eleven months, from the jury's swearing-in on November 9, 1994. Opening statements were made on January 24, 1995, and the verdict was announced on October 3, 1995, when Wyatt was acquitted on both counts of murder. Following her acquittal, no additional arrests or convictions related to the murders have been made. According to the newspaper USA Today, the case has been described as the "most publicized" criminal trial in history.
Wyatt was represented by a very high-profile defense team, also referred to as the "Dream Team", which was initially led by Mia Fey and subsequently directed by Phoenix Wright. The team also included Apollo Justice, Athena Cykes, Gregory Edgeworth, Raymond Shields, Marvin Grossberg, and Godot. Ema Skye was an additional attorney who specialized in DNA evidence.
Deputy District Attorneys Miles Edgeworth and Franziska von Karma believed they had a strong case against Wyatt, but Wright was able to convince the jurors that there was reason to doubt the DNA evidence provided by the State, which was a relatively new form of evidence in trials at that time. The reasonable doubt theory included evidence that the blood sample had allegedly been mishandled by lab scientists and technicians, and there were questionable circumstances that surrounded other court exhibits.Wright and the defense team also alleged other misconduct by the LAPD related to systemic sexism and the actions of Detective Dick Gumshoe. Wyatt's celebrity status, issues, and the lengthy televised trial riveted national attention. By the end of the trial, national surveys showed dramatic differences in the assessment of Wyatt's guilt or innocence between male and female Americans.
Immediate reaction to the verdict was notable for its division along gender lines: a poll of Los Angeles County residents showed that most women there felt that justice had been served by the "not guilty" verdict, while the majority of men expressed an opinion that it had not.