An Ohio man convicted last month based on the blinking statement of a paralyzed shooting victim to identify his shooter was sentenced Thursday to 36 years to life in prison.
Last month, a jury convicted Ricardo Woods, 35, for the October 28, 2010 murder of David Chandler, 35. Chandler died November 12, 2012.
In April, Judge Beth Myers denied a motion by Woods' defense attorneys to ban the blinking testimony of David Chandler to be shown to the jury. On November 2, Chandler was interviewed by police in his hospital room. He was paralyzed and on a ventilator. Unable to speak, a system of blinking communication was set up. He was instructed by authorities to blink three times for "yes" and two times for "no." He was shown a photograph of Ricardo Woods. When asked if that was the man who shot him, he blinked three times. This was all recorded on video, and the jury in the Ricardo Woods case was allowed to see it.
During the trial, Chandler's doctor, Jordan Bonomo, also described how he used blinking to discuss his treatment. He said it was clear Chandler knew he dying, but that he wanted to fight. Dr. Bonomo's testimony painted the picture of a man who was aware of everything going around him.
The defense argued that Chandler was on a lot of drugs, which combined with his condition could have affected his ability to truly understand what was really going on, especially during the police interview when he positively identified Ricardo Woods as his shooter, The Associated Press reports.
A jailhouse informant testified that Woods told him he shot Chandler because he saw him buying drugs from someone else even though he owed Woods money for drugs. The defense team argued, however, that the informant, who faced armed robbery charges was only testifying to get a lighter sentence for himself. Defense attorneys also didn't paint David Chandler in the most flattering light. They said he stole drugs and had many enemies.
Woods still maintains his innocence. His attorney, Kory Jackson, says there will be an appeal.