Attorney Skip Cornelius represented a Defendant who was charged with Capital Murder for attempting to rob a dope dealer during a transaction, which resulted in the shooting death of the dope dealer’s associate. Our Defendant admittedly sold small quantities of weed from his apartment, using the State’s star witness as his source.

The source had always delivered the marijuana to the Defendant’s apartment but on this particular transaction he requested that the Defendant meet him at a gas station. The Defendant did not have a vehicle and asked a friend’s mother to drop him off for the meeting. After the Defendant got into the source’s car his mother’s friend drove off. Although the source had another person with him, the Defendant did not think twice about it, since he had done business with the source before.

The source drove away from the gas station and stopped the car after driving a few blocks. At this point, the stories are very opposite. The source stated that the Defendant, who was sitting in the back seat, pulled a gun and attempted to rob him.

The source leaned over the back seat and fought with the Defendant over the gun, which discharged, wounding the passenger. The Defendant then escaped from the vehicle and called his friend’s mother to come and pick him up. The source then drove around with his accomplice bleeding to death in the front seat of the car, before he called 911. Before emergency personnel and police arrived the source left his vehicle and hid the backpack with the marijuana. While the EMS people were attending to the passenger, who had been shot, one of the responding patrol officers found the backpack of marijuana nearby, behind a building.

Gradoni & Associates Investigate

Investigator Keith Kucifer interviewed the lady that had given the Defendant a ride. She testified at the trial that the Defendant’s hand was bruised and red when she had picked him up.

The State had charged the Defendant before the autopsy was even completed. Homicide detectives never tested the murder weapon, which was recovered from the vehicle, until 11 months after the Defendant’s arrest. A homicide detective testified during the trial that the source was very cooperative and had handed over the backpack of marijuana when the officers arrived, which Skip was able to prove was, at the very least, an inaccurate statement by the officer, who was trying to give the source some credibility.

Skip Cornelius opened his closing remarks to the jury by telling them that his Investigators had basically proven that the source was actually the person attempting the robbery and not the Defendant. The Defendant was acquitted by the jury.

The victim’s parents had been present during the trial testimony and when they learned that the source had driven around after their son had been shot and then left the car to hide the marijuana they were so angry that the Bailiff had to separate them from the State’s star witness after he got off the stand.

RESULT BASED ON INVESTIGATION: Acquittal of Capital Murder Charges

Return to the March 2015 Investigator’s Newsletter

The Weed Killing Investigation