Judge: Blinks OK as testimony in Ohio murder trial

AP News
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Posted: Sep 22, 2011 7:22 PM
Judge: Blinks OK as testimony in Ohio murder trial

A videotape of a dying man's blinking eyes, which prosecutors say identified his killer, can be used as evidence in the suspect's trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

Jurors in the trial of Ricardo Woods will be allowed to see a video interview of David Chandler blinking in response to police questions, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Beth Myers ruled. Police interviewed the 35-year-old Chandler while he was hooked up to a ventilator, paralyzed after being shot in the head and neck Oct. 28 as he sat in a car. He died about two weeks later.

Prosecutors had said that Chandler identified Woods, 33, through a series of eye blinks. Woods' attorney, Kory Jackson, argued that the blinks aren't conclusive and should not be allowed as evidence.

Myers watched the video and said Chandler identified the shooter as "O," apparently Woods' street name. The judge said she found "the identification is reliable, and there is not a substantial likelihood of misidentification."

Chandler's identification wasn't made by routine involuntary eye blinking, but by "pronounced, exaggerated (blinking) movement of the eyes," the judge said.

Jackson said he believes there could be flaws in interpretations of the blinks, and that the blinks were inconsistent.

"The judge on at least two occasions disagreed with how the detective interpreted some blinks," Jackson said.

He said he's considering asking that a doctor review the medical records to see what effects Chandler's condition at the time and drugs used to treat him would have on his ability to understand and respond to questions. Based on the findings from that review, Jackson said he may ask the judge to reconsider her decision.

Woods' trial is scheduled for Oct. 3.