Dying man's eye-blinking testimony could be shown Tuesday
Jay Warren, Jay.Warren@wcpo.com , Sarah Beth Hensley, WCPO Digital
6:20 AM, May 6, 2013
6:34 PM, May 6, 2013
CINCINNATI - On Monday, before jurors could see a dying, paralyzed man's controversial video testimony where he used eye blinks to identify his attacker attorney's had a heated exchange on the use of an informant's testimony.
Jurors were sent home, Monday, so arguments could be made about whether the informant should be allowed to testify in the case against Ricardo Woods, who is charged with the October 2010 fatal shooting of 35-year-old David Chandler.
Chandler was shot in the head and neck as he sat in his car in a West End neighborhood. He was paralyzed and in the hospital when police interviewed him days before his death. He could only communicate by blinking, according to police.
The informant in question met Woods in jail and purportedly had a conversation with Woods in which Woods implicated himself in the murder.
Then the informant called police and offered the information.
Today Wendy Calaway, Woods' attorney, argued that the informant, hoping for a lighter sentence in his own case, was essentially acting as an "agent of the state" in talking to Woods. Thus, Calaway asserted, testimony used from that conversation would violate Woods' right to have an attorney present at questioning.
The detective who was called by the informant said that in no way did he or any other officer ask the informant to cozy up to Woods in order to get a confession.
The second argument Calaway made was if the suppression of the informant's testimony be denied, she asked the court to hold what she called a "hearing of credibility" to determine whether the informant is believable.
That determination, argued prosecutor Steve Prem, should be made by the jury during the trial.
"Informants are uninhibited about committing perjury in the hope of reaping some benefit from the state," argued defense attorney Wendy Calaway.
The defense also contends Woods didn't shoot 35-year-old David Chandler in October 2010 and says Chandler's blinks were inconsistent and unreliable because of his condition. The defense had asked the video to be thrown out, but the judge is allowing it.
In terms of using an informant during the trial, prosecutors responded to the defense's accusations about the use of informants sternly.
"To suggest that we could never use a witness from jail is absolutely ludicrous and to suggest that there should be some procedure followed by this court that our Court of Appeals has specifically said is unnecessary and doesn't exist is absolutely ludicrous," said Dave Prem with the prosecution.
The trial will resume Tuesday morning when Judge Beth Myers is expected to rule on whether or not the informant may be used.
Stay with 9 On Your Side and WCPO.com for updates as they become available.