Judge: Dying man's eye blinking video allowed in case
Video shown in court
WCPO Digital Staff
2:31 PM, May 7, 2013
1:00 PM, May 8, 2013
CINCINNATI - A judge ruled in favor of allowing a crucial video showing a dying, paralyzed man's testimony where he used eye blinks to identify his attacker.
The defense made a motion Tuesday that the video be excluded from the case, arguing that it is unconstitutional because Ricardo Woods, charged with the October 2010 fatal shooting of 35-year-old David Chandler, could not confront the accuser and because Chandler was not on his deathbed.
The prosecution maintained the video should be allowed after Chandler asked for last rites and was expected to die.
Judge Beth Myers denied both motions, allowing the video to be used as evidence. It was scheduled to be shown in court Tuesday afternoon.
Detective Howard Grant investigated the shooting and said Tuesday in court that he anticipated Chandler would not survive his gunshot wound.
In January of 2011, Woods was located in Lorraine, Ohio and Chandler was shown a photograph of him from the justice center. Grant said the reason they used only one photo of Woods to show Chandler was because they were not strangers to each other.
The video of Chandler's testimony was taken on Nov. 2, 2012 where officials communicated with him through eye blinks.
Three blinks meant, "yes," and two blinks meant "no."
Grant said he had no concern that Chandler could not understand the questions they asked him during the testimony.
The video, shown Tuesday afternoon to the jury, shows Chandler lying in a hospital bed with ventilator tubes and a neck brace visible.
Chandler's blinks are described as very slow and deliberate. Grant asked Chandler twice, "Do you know the person who shot you?" Chandler blinked three times.
Grant asked Chandler if he showed him a picture of Woods, would he be able to identify him? Chandler blinked three times.
Grant then showed Chandler the photo of Woods and he blinked three times. Grant asked, "are you absolutely sure?" Chandler again blinks three times.
Earlier in Tuesday's proceedings, an informant who was in prison with Woods said Woods admitted to shooting a man who owed him money from a drug deal. Woods never identified Chandler as that person, the informant said.
The informant has already served 10 years for armed robbery and he's facing four more armed robbery charges. He testified he and Woods were in the same pod together at the Hamilton County Justice Center.
During cross-examination, the informant said he contracted Cincinnati police about Woods in the hope of getting a break on charges in connection with a separate homicide case.