Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yogurt Shop murders: more details from today’s hearing

Defense attorney Joe James Sawyer presented Judge Lynch with what was apparently a LONG list of items upon which the defense seeks to have DNA testing performed, explaining that the current, more sensitive and specific Y-STR testing was not available nine years ago.

After some argument from both sides, Lynch told the state and defense teams that they needed to “get together and whittle this (list) down…We need to determine what’s necessary and reasonable,” adding that it could cost a million dollars and take until 2012 if they were to test that entire list.

Lynch further advised the defense attorneys to “sit down with the state and whittle this to 20 to 30 things” that could be tested in two to three weeks.

Sawyer said he agreed with the court about not dragging things out and about meeting with prosecutors to progress towards a trial date. He clarified that in addition to the things on the list (that they intended to pare down), they were requesting DNA testing of fingernail clippings, palm prints, fingerprints, and a friendship bracelet belonging to Amy Ayers, which seemingly no longer exists. Defense wants to see all the state's chain of custody information on the missing bracelet.

At that point, prosecutor Efrain De La Fuente interjected, “We’ve had these meetings!” De La Fuente continued explaining, but I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying because I was watching Lynch, who had slapped his hand over his forehead in seeming exasperation. Lynch then told the prosecutor, “If you’re gonna sit there and complain…tell me what you think I should be doing.”

After some requests from defense attorney Alexandra Gauthier regarding the defense team’s DNA expert, defense attorney Dexter Gilford told Lynch that, “as to items of obvious forensic significance, we’re well on our way to testing.”

Lynch ended by reminding the attorneys that both sides need to work together to move things forward towards trial. The next scheduled hearing is October 29.

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