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Monday, April 28, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Dead woman’s video statement to cops admissible"

James D. Wolf Jr. writes in the Gary Post-Tribune on a trial judge's ruling in a story that begins:

VALPARAISO — Statements a woman made to police investigating a murder case can be used as testimony, even though she is dead, because the defendant likely had a hand in her death, Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford ruled.

The decision was handed down Wednesday and released Thursday in the case of Dontaye D. Singletary, 22, of Gary. Singletary is charged with murder and is accused of being hired by Sheaurice Major, 43, of Portage to kill 72-year-old Carl Griffith Sr. of Portage on Nov. 1, 2012. Major is also charged with murder.

During the investigation, Antoinetta Johnson, 34, of Gary, told police on video that she introduced Major and Singletary after Major allegedly told her she wanted Griffith killed, and she helped in the process, court records state.

Such statements to police aren’t normally be used as testimony because the witness can’t be cross-examined, but state law makes an exception if the witness is not available due to actions by the defendant.

During an April 14 meeting, former Porter County Jail cellmate John Allen Tener, 49, testified that Singletary indicated someone called “The Ghost” killed Johnson.

Bradford, in his ruling, said Tener’s testimony was “sufficient to show that the defendant encouraged wrongdoing, that is the murder of Antoinetta Johnson” to make her unavailable, and “the court finds that his testimony was more probably true than not true.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 28, 2014 09:37 AM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions