Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Infamous Louisiana capital murder retrial nears conclusion

On New Year's Day in 2003, a now 41-year-old Louisiana man broke into the home of a 70-year-old retired minister, killed him and seriously injured the minister's 68-year-old wife so that he and his girlfriend could rob their home.

Or did he?

That is what we are about to find out as we reach the end of the man's capital murder trial. He is being retried after his 2005 conviction was tossed out because the Louisiana Supreme Court believed he had not received a fair trial because of prejudice because a black man was evidently excused from the jury because of his race.

Back in 2005, the man was found guilty of first-degree murder by a Caddo Parish jury, which recommended the death penalty. In 2007, the state supreme court remanded his case for a retrial. The man's girlfriend has also been sentenced to death.

One of the biggest discrepancies in the case is that when the minister's wife recovered, she told investigators that she and her husband had been robbed by two white men. (She never completely recovered from her wounds, however, and soon died.)

The prosecution recently rested its case, which included experts who testified that the blood spatters on the defendant's shoes likely came from the minster.

Retrials such as this are quite rare. Some people claim, however, that they do not do the job because the defendant is already irredeemably damaged by his or her previous trial. What do you think? Does a retrial get us back on the right track, or is it an inadequate remedial measure?

Source: The Shreveport Times, "Coleman murder retrial reaches second day," Michael Doughty, Jan. 31, 2012

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