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LJWorld.com weblogs The Lawrence Crime Blotter

Mistrial declared in infant-death trial

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A mistrial was declared this morning in the trial of Jay D. Decker, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 5-month-old daughter.Jurors left District Court around 10 a.m. after being dismissed by Judge Paula Martin.Prosecutors this morning were about to call their last witness, Coroner Erik Mitchell, when the defense made an oral motion for a mistrial, on the basis of "newly discovered evidence." The state took no position on the motion, and Judge Martin granted it. The matter was discussed in Martin's chambers, not in open court. Martin, assistant Dist. Atty. Amy McGowan, and Decker's defense attorneys all said they would not discuss what the evidence was. McGowan cited "new evidence and legal reasons," but she would not elaborate on what happened."A request for mistrial was made this morning because of some new evidence that has come to light, and it was granted," defense attorney Tom Bartee said.A new trial for Decker was scheduled for Nov. 13. -Contributed by [Eric Weslander.][1] [1]: http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/eric_weslander

Comments

reginafliangie 8 years, 4 months ago

I bet this was the plan for the mom and dad of this child. "Lets do this and this and this and you say this and I will do that, and when all is said and done, I will get off and you might be on probabtion". What a load of crap. I hope the new information sends them both packing.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 4 months ago

that much planning would have taken brains I do not give them that much credit, would make them human.

joshs_mom 8 years, 4 months ago

You have to wonder. I hope both the prosecution and the defense both remember that this was a helpless baby dependent on her parents for survival and they killed her, thru their abuse, neglect or both.

mom_of_three 8 years, 4 months ago

If a mistrial is called, how does that affect the plea agreement with the mother??

betti81 8 years, 4 months ago

Can't the judge through out the plea deal if he/she does not agree with it? Or have I been watching too much Law & Order? Does anyone know?

ForThePeople 8 years, 4 months ago

ottr

This is one time when I am in total agreement with ya. Ma is IMHO prolly actually the guilty party and he's covering for her!

Both GUILTY!!!

Steve Jacob 8 years, 4 months ago

I think I said before no way was he going to get 1st degree murder, and I am sure i'm right now.

feeble 8 years, 4 months ago

I imagine this: http://www2.ljworld.com/blogs/lawrence_blotter/2006/aug/01/deckertrial1/

might have something to do with it, as other posters have hinted at.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 4 months ago

we all need more info as to why this happened, no matter what the baby is dead and they both seem guilty.

dozer 8 years, 4 months ago

Sigmund - you are mistaken. Assuming the reason for the mistrial is because evidence was not turned over to the defendant, a mistrial can be declared regardless of whether or not it was intentional.

rednecknascarfan 8 years, 4 months ago

I say the hell with them both and just put a bullit in their head.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

What do you want to guess that the new evidence implicates the star witness? I'd like to hear from some of you legal types on this one.

joshs_mom 8 years, 4 months ago

I really hope this guy doesn't get off-yes he is innocent until proven guilty-but come on. A five month old baby!!!! At some point someone needs to speak for her and give her justice-I hope the prosecutors do their best and don't plead this guy out.

BJ 8 years, 4 months ago

I have a legal question. Since this trial was deemed a mis-trial, can the DA now get out of the plea-bargain deal it has with the mother? Any serious reply encouraged. Thank you.

passionatelibra 8 years, 4 months ago

I would have loved to been a fly on the wall of the Judge's chambers...

daman 8 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like to me the State obtained or had and failed to disclose some additional evidence to the defense. Typically, the State has two options, either allow for a mistrial so they can use the additional evidence at a subsequent trial, or not use it at this trial and go forward. The additional evidence must have been damaging to the defense, otherwise, the State would have just forgone using it.

compmd 8 years, 4 months ago

I think there is some confusion over the significance of this. the state did not oppose the motion for mistrial. this means that something is wrong with the current trial and the only solution is a new one. if the evidence or new "legal reasons" were irrelevant or inflammatory, the DA would vehemently oppose the mistrial motion. this is not the same as a hung jury, even though the defendant is getting a new trial. this case is about to take a new twist, and I think it is going to be interesting. hold off on the "he got off" and "paula martin is evil" comments until we know what's going on.

monkeywrench1969 8 years, 4 months ago

Past cases in the news that involved mistrials and witnesses who had pleas never affected whether the DA could refile. Most of the time with the old DA they just never refiled or they had the suspect pleas to a lesser crime so they woul dnot have to go throught he court process again.

They both deserve jail either way. It does not matter how bad your life is growing up as a kid...one they should know how not to act from personal experience (becasue they did not like being treated this way) and two everyone knows a child can't protect themselves from an adult.

Sigmund 8 years, 4 months ago

I think compmd is closest on this. As to plea agreements in exchange for testimony IF the 'mother' didn't fully, completely, and truthfully testify the agreement could be void allowing the State to prosecute her! I'd like them be tried together and then let one testify against the other. Just as there is no honor amoung theives I doubt there is much honor amoung baby killers either.

acg 8 years, 4 months ago

When I saw the headline, I freaked a little, but there's no reason to yet, right? I watch alot of Law and Order but that doesn't make me an attorney so I'm hoping that my knee jerk reaction to be pissed is way off the mark. Hopefully the prosecution will come back with more and harder evidence and nail both of these pieces of garbage to the wall.

momoftwo 8 years, 4 months ago

Do we still live where it is "innocent until proven guilty"? This is something that i think gets forgotten! I dont like child abusers or molesters or rapists anymore than the next person, but come on people. Has anyone thought of the scenario of the police having a one track mind? I mean we live in a society where we automatically assume that it must be the man! Without much thought about it at all oh that poor women as i recall in earlier blogs from u all! And now its what a psycho! Which i totally agree with. Obviously there is new evidence which could possibly be benificial to this man and as compmd pointed out the DA didnt oppose the mistrial, obviously it was the only thing to do. So this makes me wonder if the cops did their job? Seems like to me that they went after him from the get go, having read some of the quotes from this women, i ask did she make any comments that were as obviously incrimidating to the police, as she did on the stand when they interveiwed her? Then they just chose not to think about it, or look at it cause she is female? I mean just look at the record of past child murders in the news....who did it....their own mothers!!!!!!!!

Sigmund 8 years, 4 months ago

So in general, I am trying to recall under what conditions newly discovered evidence during trial would cause the defense to move for and be granted a mistrial. If I understand correctly, if new evidence is uncovered during the trial and immediately turned over to the defense I do not think a mistrial is required. However, IF the prosecution "sandbags" the defense (fails to delivers evidence in its possession for some time in a timely manner prior to trial) no matter if the DA thinks it helps or hurts the defense's case a mistrial is almost always granted. The fact that this happened just prior to the Coroner Erik Mitchell taking the stand leads me to believe that the "newly discovered evidence" may be related to his testimony.

dozer 8 years, 4 months ago

Plea deals aren't based on the outcome of the trial, i.e. guilty or not guilty.

Plea deals require the person testify and cooperate with the prosecution. If the person cooperates, they get the benefit of the deal. If the person refuses to cooperate, the deal can be withdrawn.

Susan Mangan 8 years, 4 months ago

I don't know the answer to your question, Enforcer, but I certainly hope so. I'm guessing they would have to prove that she didn't cooperate with them on purpose...meaning they must show that her testimony didn't change just as a result of "remembering" new information. Personally, I think she's guilty as hell, but I'm guessing her lawyer would argue that her memory has "cleared up" as more time has passed since the "horrible emotional event that caused her so much mental anguish." Again, I think she's guilty, but I can imagine her lawyer arguing that she never intentionally changed her testimony and that she was just so upset in the beginning that she couldn't remember clearly.

I hope they punish the right people for this...all of them. If the dad is covering for the mom, he should get prison time, too (or vice versa). At the very least, he stood back and allowed the abuse to happen. But I can't imagine any mother would be comfortable leaving for work with her child showing signs of neurological injury...and then lying about it later. They're all just sick and need to be punished. It's little consolation, but at least the poor victim isn't being hurt anymore and my belief is that she is in God's arms being comforted while the courts and attorneys are trying to serve justice.

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