Archive for Friday, June 26, 2009

Judge denies prosecutor’s evidence in murder case

June 26, 2009


Judge denies prosecutor's evidence in murder case

Douglas County prosecutors say a murder suspect threatened to kill a witness, but jurors will not be allowed to hear evidence of the alleged crime when the case goes to trial. Enlarge video

Douglas County prosecutors say a murder suspect threatened to kill a witness, but jurors will not be allowed to hear evidence of the alleged crime when the case goes to trial.

Durrell Jones is charged with first degree murder in the 2006 shooting death of Lawrence hip-hop artist Anthony Vital.

The 28-year-old’s body was found in a field west of Lawrence in October 2006.

Assistant District Attorney David Melton told a judge Friday that Jones threatened to kill a witness and his sister, if the witness testified at the preliminary hearing.

Prosecutors were seeking to have that evidence admitted at trial, but Judge Robert Fairchild ruled Friday that evidence of the alleged threat will not be allowed.

Both Jones and his co-defendant, Major Edwards, are scheduled to stand trial in October.


ModerateOne 8 years ago

Because the question at this trial is whether he murdered Anthony Vital, not whether he threatened a witness after the murder.

Certainly a strong argument could be made that the evidence of the threat makes it more likely that the defendant committed murder, but the law of evidence (as interpreted by Judge Fairchild) does not accept that argument in this case.

igby 8 years ago

Mod: Suppose someone claimed you did a crime and were lying about while you were in jail with them you said you did it and bragged about it, when you did not talk about it and the someone wanted to use you to get a sweeter deal for themselves in telling the court you did it.

He would be dead meat if I got my hands on this person who would lie just to get a break for himself.

If the same happen but the someone was a family member on the outside.

The sword cuts both ways and the judge did right by not allowing this evidence because it could cause a mistrial and if not would be reason for appeal.

Kyle Reed 8 years ago

They should have just thrown another charge on him as witness intimidation is also against the law.

Chris Ogle 8 years ago

What a bunch of crap..... charge him for the threat.

Judgesmails 8 years ago

Duhhrell ?

I bet he's a bright one....

Satirical 8 years ago


Threats against a witness is often treated as an admission, and an exception to hearsay. What do you think?

ebyrdstarr 8 years ago

Satirical, the question isn't whether the statements are admissible as a hearsay exception. Statements by a defendant are always admissible under the party admission exception.

The only question is whether the alleged threats are relevant. Unless the threats included an admission that the defendant committed the murder, the threats are not relevant. The claim that he tried to intimidate a witness into not testifying at prelim does not prove that he committed the murder.

The judge has an obligation to keep out evidence that is more prejudicial than probative. I think this evidence clearly falls into that category. It's easy to hear that he allegedly threatened witnesses and think, "boy, he's a bad guy, he must have committed this murder." But the one really doesn't prove the other, so the judge is right not to let the jury hear it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Even if he is acquitted on the murder charges, he can still be charged with threatening the witnesses.

If the witnesses' testimony is going to be damaging enough to warrant his threatening them, things don't look good for him.

jaywalker 8 years ago

B.S. I'm sure the guy wasn't threatening witnesses and their family for shiites and giggles. Of course the threats are relevant, and they certainly don't need to include an 'admission that (he) committed the murder.' Threatening to kill someone if they testify against you in a murder trial couldn't be more relevant. My guess here is that you guys don't really know the judge's rationale for barring the evidence. But saying it's not relevant or more prejudicial than probative is ludicrous.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"My guess here is that you guys don't really know the judge's rationale for barring the evidence."

I'd say you summed up your whole post with this sentence, jaywalker.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 8 years ago

"Judge denies prosecutor’s evidence in murder case"

Whoa... judge on trial for murder.

ebyrdstarr 8 years ago

You're right, Jaywalker, that I don't know the judge's rationale, but I can make a very educated guess. Did you know there's a statute that allows a judge to exclude evidence if the judge finds the evidence is more prejudicial than probative?

And I maintain that (allegedly) threatening witnesses who might testify against you does not prove anything regarding your guilt on the underlying allegation.

Bozo is right that the witness intimidation allegation should be charged in a separate case and should be kept away from the murder case.

Tbaby09 8 years ago

That bastard needs to be hit with intimidation of a witness. It is not misleading or cant make it a mistrial then. He is not the only one that I have heard he threatened. I have an intimidation of a witness charge on me from 6 years ago and I know it is possible. Fairchild needs to get his act together. Major did not do that sh*t and Jones needs to realize he has nobody on his side at that trial. Clacc (Anthony Vital) was everyones friend including Major Edwards' and did not deserve what happened to him.

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