Antoine Young- Nebraska- Convicted in 2009 May 4, 2017 1:55:34 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on May 4, 2017 1:55:34 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: omaha.com)
From the Omaha World-Herald website:
The forensic evidence recovered by Omaha police — four bullet casings and a black T-shirt — seemed almost an afterthought in a daylight shooting witnessed by multiple people.
Witnesses took the stand and put a killer away for life. And for 10 years, the items sat in an evidence locker, untested.
But that’s about to change.
Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon recently ordered DNA examination on the casings and shirt in response to a motion filed late last year by Antoine D. Young. The 43-year-old Omaha man is eight years into a life term for the first-degree murder of Raymond Webb, shot repeatedly while behind the wheel of his car in an Omaha fast-food drive-thru.
Young has always insisted the witnesses got it wrong — that he didn’t kill anyone.
If forensic analysts can pull a genetic profile from the clothing and casings, it could help settle lingering questions about whether the right man is behind bars.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine agreed to allow the DNA tests without an appeal. But that doesn’t mean the prosecutor now harbors doubts about Young’s guilt.
“We’re confident in our conviction, and we don’t think there’s any issue,” Kleine said last week. “So why not clear the air?”
The judge’s decision also is significant because it marked the third time Young had sought DNA testing of the evidence.
“It’s definitely a huge step toward an exoneration for an innocent person,” said Tracy Hightower-Henne, an Omaha lawyer with the Nebraska Innocence Project. Young also is being represented by two lawyers with the Midwest Innocence Project in Kansas City, Missouri.
The judge’s previous denials of Young’s motions for testing relied on a provision of state law that required defendants to show DNA testing was unavailable at the time of their original trials.
DNA testing was common by 2009, when a jury convicted Young, but his trial attorney didn’t ask for it. Despite the fact that the evidence had never been tested, the courts essentially ruled that Young had blown his opportunity and was no longer entitled to the testing.
The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the rulings.
But in 2015 the Nebraska Legislature changed the DNA Testing Act, which had gone on the books in 2001.
The amended law makes it easier for Young and others by allowing courts to order the testing if biological evidence from the cases had not been analyzed before. Lawmakers did away with the need to show that the trials predated the advent of DNA technology.
The amended law also allows retesting of previously tested evidence if a defendant can show that new DNA technology could produce more accurate results.
The Innocence Project reports that of the 349 DNA exonerations in the United States since 1989, 71 percent involved eyewitness misidentification. Young’s trial turned on competing eyewitness testimony.
Jurors heard from six people who witnessed the shooting, which took place shortly before 3 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2007, as Webb sat in the drive-thru lane of a Taco Bell near 62nd Street and Ames Avenue. Four said the shooter wore a black shirt, one said the shirt was white and the sixth was unsure.
Two of the witnesses identified Young as the shooter, saying they were with Young outside a nearby barbershop when Webb’s car pulled into the Taco Bell. The two witnesses said they saw Young run across the street and fire the gun through the driver’s-side window of Webb’s car.
Young now says he has evidence to prove one of those witnesses contacted Young’s brother before the murder trial and offered to withhold his testimony in exchange for $10,000. That witness is now dead.
At trial, three witnesses testified that Young was at a family picnic at a city park 4 miles from the Taco Bell the entire afternoon of the shooting. Young has told the court he can produce additional witnesses who will vouch for his alibi.
In addition, Young asserts he can present yet a different witness who identified the shooter as another Omaha man who was released from prison last year after serving time for an unrelated gun crime.
Last summer, before the man was released from state custody, Young’s lawyers put him on the witness stand and asked if he killed Webb. The man invoked his constitutional right to not answer potentially incriminating questions.
The World-Herald is not naming the man because he has not been charged in connection with the case.
Records indicate that police were told there had been a long-running violent feud between the man and the victim. But they also show that authorities eliminated him as a suspect after he passed a polygraph examination.
In the recent DNA order, the judge said testing should be done on the evidence recovered from the crime scene as well as swabs taken from Young and the man whom Young accuses.
It remains to be seen if any identifiable DNA can be recovered from the evidence. Obtaining DNA from bullet casings has proven more difficult than from other sources.
The testing will be done at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and will be paid for by the Innocence Project.
Thoughts? Young is my Innocence Project case of the month for May 2017. It seems pretty much an open and shut case- either DNA evidence will *potentially* exonerate Young or it won't, but I still thought this was an interesting case to point out because Young is getting testing after trial thanks to a new state law. We've profiled a few Innocent Project cases so far on this forum where the defense attorney stupidly didn't get DNA testing during a defendants first trial and based on the law he's screwed because the evidence was "always available" or the lawyer should have known etc...
Also I do have a few questions about the unnamed man they say killed Raymond Webb:
1. Why would he not want to say whether or not he killed Raymond Webb? A man is already in jail for it. I get it, he claims he doesn't want to incriminate himself or so he claims, but this is a guy that should feel pretty comfortable if he knows he has nothing to do with it.
2. Was it just the polygraph that ruled this man out as a suspect? Because as we be discussed a zillion times on this forum, polygraphs are not always reliable.