A capital murder pre-trial hearing will continue Tuesday when District Judge
Steve Smith rules on whether to include the death penalty as a punishment
option when the case goes to trial.
Stanley Lamar Griffin, 46, of College Station, was charged with killing
29-year-old Jennifer Hailey and severely injuring her 9-year-old son in
September 2010 inside their apartment.
Monday, Smith began to review an array of motions and requests filed by
attorneys pertaining to evidence that will be admissible in trial.
A motion to suppress evidence that the 9-year-old boy selected Griffin in a
photo lineup as his assaulter was denied after District Attorney Bill Turner
and prosecutor John Brick presented a video of College Station Detective Danny
Junek asking the boy if he recognized any of the men from a series of 6 photos.
At the time -- the video recording took place less than 12 hours after the
attack -- Hailey's son was in intensive care and unaware his mother had been
killed, Junek testified in court.
In the video, the boy is seen communicating with Junek non-verbally and
indicated that 2 of the photos look familiar.
When shown the 2 faces side by side and asked which was more recognizable, he
pointed to Griffin's photo.
Stephen Gustitis, 1 of Griffin's defense attorneys, argued that the process
used by College Station police didn't adhere to procedures stipulated in a new
state law outlining the model policy for administering a photo lineup.
Although the law didn't go into effect until September 2011 -- a year after
Griffin was selected from the photo lineup -- Gustitis said the procedures had
been used by many state and local law enforcement agencies for several years.
Based on the state model, the officer who administers a photo lineup shouldn't
know who the suspect is; has to inform the witness being interviewed that the
investigation will continue regardless of if or who they select from the photo
series; and other people used in the lineup should be of similar height, weight
and age as the suspect.
However, Gustitis said, those conditions were not met when Junek asked Hailey's
son to identify who had attacked him.
Smith also denied a motion from the defense asking that media reports of the
case be restricted and a separate motion requesting the defense be allowed to
sit at the table closest to jurors.
Gustitis and his co-counsel, Lane Thibodeaux, have filed several motions
against using the death penalty as a punishment, along with other documents
pertaining to the constitutionality of elements of the law and Griffin's case.
Smith is expected to take up those matters when the pre-trial hearing resumes 9
a.m. Tuesday in the 361st District Courtroom.
Jury selection in the case is scheduled to start April 5.
(source: The Eagle)