The jury has returned a verdict in the sentencing phase: life in prison without the possibility of parole.
After witnessing the manner in which the case was tried, I was concerned that the jury would return a death sentence. I suspect this case will stick in my craw for quite some time. There was more than enough evidence implicating Keyon Pittman, that reasonable doubt should have existed. Why did he borrow a woman’s shoes? Where were his alibi witnesses (other than the one he was “talking to”), Why was he calling other women for “comfort” within hours of Avis Banks’ death? Who else would have known when Avis Banks would arrive home? Who else’s vehicle would not have attracted any attention in that neighborhood? Why would Avis Banks pull into the driveway and into the garage if a strange vehicle was parked there (only explanation being it wasn’t a strange vehicle at all). And finally, why the hell did he have gunshot residue (GSR) on his hands?
Want more reasonable doubt? Why did the Mississippi Crime Lab not find any blood on the shoes? Why did the State send the shoes to a private lab for more testing? Why was the package unsealed when the private lab received it? Where was the blood spatter evidence? Was the blood on the shoes low velocity (fell straight down), or medium or high velocity (traveling at a high rate of speed in a slinging motion). Did the blood spatter indicate a left-handed or right-handed assailant?
Had I been trying that case, I would have written every one of those questions on a poster so the jury could see, in black-and-white, the problems with the case. This technique is very effective, especially if the prosecutor doesn’t have good answers to the questions. When you put it in writing where the jury can see it, they take those same unanswered questions into deliberations. It defintely changes the focus from the general “Did she do it?” to dozens of questions showing the State didn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
There was reasonable doubt everywhere. On top of that, Judge Chapman conducted a flawless trial, committed no error that I can see, and did absolutely nothing to prejudice Ms. Hughes. I just can’t figure out how she got convicted on this evidence.
Anyone have any thoughts?