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Blinks of paralyzed victim lead to guilty verdict; appeal is planned

Posted May 17, 2013 7:34 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Cincinnati man has been convicted of murder based on the blinks of a paralyzed shooting victim.

Jurors in Hamilton County, Ohio, convicted Ricardo Woods on Thursday after prosecutors played a tape in which the now-deceased victim blinked his eyes three times to identify his attacker, report the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Associated Press. Woods, 35, said, “I’m innocent” as he was led away.

Prosecutors claimed Woods shot David Chandler as he sat in a car. A jailhouse informant testified that Woods had confessed to shooting Chandler because the victim owed Woods money for drugs, but was buying from a new person.

Woods’ lawyer, Kory Jackson, plans to appeal. He says Chandler’s identification was unreliable because of his poor condition and the drugs used to treat him. He also says police showed Chandler only Woods’ photo and should have used a photo lineup, according to the AP account. The Enquirer, however, says police showed Chandler the alphabet and he blinked three times on the letter “O,” which was Woods’ street name.

Woods had rejected a plea deal before trial that called for a five-year sentence, the Enquirer says. He now faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Victim blinked to ID defendant, police say; videotape will be shown to murder trial jury"

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