Man Sentenced in Case Where Victim Blinked to ID Shooter

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A man convicted of murder who was identified by the victim with only a blink was sentenced in court Thursday.

Jermaine Hailes, was sentenced to 70 years in prison in the 2010 shooting of 29-year-old Melvin Pate in a drug robbery gone bad. In June, a jury found Hailes guilty of first-degree murder

Pate, who was paralyzed from the neck down in the shooting, identified Hailes from a lineup by blinking at a photo of the shooter. Pate died before Hailes went to trial, but in a way, was able to testify through the video of the identification prosecutors showed the jury in court.

Pate’s mother, Felicia Pate said she is satisfied with the sentence.

“I don’t have to worry about him doing it to anybody else,” she said. “We asked for life and 20 — but 70 years is a lot for him to think about too.”

Pate’s family says is has been a long six years since the shooting and prayer is needed before they can forgive Hailes.

“I have to ask God to forgive me and help me with that,” Felicia said.

The case was the first time in Maryland where a nonverbal communication was used to make an identification and only the fourth time nationally.

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