Blinking Witness Evidence Allowed Into Maryland Murder Trial | NBC4 Washington

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Blinking Witness Evidence Allowed Into Maryland Murder Trial



    Melvin Pate, a father of three, was left a quadriplegic in the 2010 shooting, suffering a collapsed lung and a severed C5 vertebrae.

    A Maryland appeals court ruled Thursday that a dying man’s blinking to identify a suspect in his shooting will be allowed as evidence in the trial.

    Jermaine Hailes is charged with murder in the 2010 shooting of Melvin Pate in Capitol Heights.

    Jack Taylor/Getty Images

    Left paralyzed and unable to speak, Pate identified Hailes from a collection of photos, blinking when he saw him. The process was recorded on video.

    The defense argued the evidence can’t be used because Hailes can’t confront his accuser, a Sixth Amendment right, but the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that a dying declaration is exempt.

    Similar evidence previously has been admitted into trial in the United States just three times.


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