Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yogurt Shop murders: today’s somewhat feisty hearing, part 2 of 2

Defense attorney Carlos Garcia wants to provide prosecutors a list of all alternative suspects to date, including Kenneth McDuff and Hank Worley, and wants to know if the state plans to compare those suspects’ DNA profiles to the Y-STR results received in March. “If they don’t, we’ll have to ask for money from the taxpayers to do it (DNA comparisons) ourselves," Garcia said.

Prosecutor Efrain De La Fuente did not say whether they were planning to do those comparisons but objected to the defense’s characterization of evidence contamination because the evidence was not always in their control, e.g., when items were in the possession of the defense for testing.

Ron Lara’s PowerPoint presentation came up yet again. Garcia still wants to see it, as well as some accompanying charts. Prosecutor Gail Van Winkle responded that she had just recently provided a copy to Judge Lynch and that it’s lengthy. She said that if, during trial, an officer relies on the PowerPoint when testifying, the defense will then see it. At the June 11th hearing, prosecutors said they couldn’t find this PowerPoint presentation. Garcia said one of the charts he wants to see is one of original defendant Maurice Pierce “with little bolts going from him to other people.”

Lynch ordered the state to provide the defense a full inventory of the physical evidence, including evidence not introduced at the last trials. The hearing concluded with Lynch’s recounting what he will be ruling on: the motion to remove the protective order and whether the PowerPoint presentation is discovery material.

Out in the hall after the hearing, defense attorneys for Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen addressed reporters. When asked if evidence had been contaminated, Garcia said, "I don't know if it was, but I think you certainly have to question the DA's intent. When you've got two seasoned prosecutors in open court handling evidence without gloves on, when they do it in every other court in every other courtroom, tells you they're trying to make some sort of point so that they can go to a jury months later and argue it could have been contamination. It doesn't take five seconds to put a glove on."

Springsteen's attorney Joe James Sawyer said, "I think the state is going to have be dragged out kicking and screaming in the light of day to tell the truth. One of two things is true--when they came out here and said we know whose DNA it is, only one of two things can be truth--they either lied directly to the public or they are wallowing in ignorance, and I think both are unacceptable. Sawyer continued, "Those DNA swabs match and they exclude all four of those boys, and if that doesn't scream innocence, then I want to know what does..."

Asked about the possibility the state will test DNA profiles of other possible suspects, Garcia said, "The DA is not going to test any alternative suspects that they've added in the last 17 years. That is not their plan. Their plan is to do everything possible to convict two innocent boys. That's the plan: it's not about justice. It's about getting a conviction."

The next hearing is scheduled for September 17.


Annie in Austin said...

Read or delete at your discretion.

Did you see this post on Grits for Breakfast?

It caught my eye.

Iris said...

Just popped inside for a minute from painting yet more purple paint samples on the house and must keep going before I lose my motivation in this hellish heat.

Thanks for the link: I look forward to reading it!