MANATEE — Attorneys for a man convicted last month of second-degree murder after he shot and killed another teenager last year are asking for a new trial after a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office crime scene technician failed to preserve evidence.
Mark Lipinski, a defense attorney representing 17-year-old Byron J. Galloway, filed a motion last week after the sheriff’s office disciplined a crime scene technician for not providing video footage and a crime scene sketch of the scene where DeJuan Williams, 18, was shot to death.
“This court should grant the defendant a new trial. Had the state disclosed the evidence of the failures of the crime scene technician, this likely would have resulted in a different verdict,” the motion states. “The jury could have taken into account the investigatory failure in the determining the credibility of the witnesses.”
Prosecutors at the state attorney’s officer declined to comment because the matter is pending in court.
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Galloway’s defense during trial was that he acted in self defense on Aug. 4, 2009.
Galloway, who chose not to take the stand, claimed he was scared when he brandished a gun and shot Williams once in the chest after he was confronted about being at Williams’ residence visiting Williams’ younger sister. Jamaetra Washington was not allowed to have boys over alone, according to household rules.
Lipinski is arguing a sketch with measurements could have revealed the actual distance between Galloway and Williams when the shooting occurred.
James Wade Holbrook, a sheriff’s office crime scene technician, said he could not locate the video footage. Holbrook also failed to complete a sketch of the crime scene, according to an internal affairs report. Sheriff’s office administrators suspended Holbrook for 16 hours off without pay.
Galloway, who faces up to life in prison, has not been sentenced in the case. A judge will consider the motion for a new trial at a hearing at 3 p.m. Oct. 25.