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US man gets 36 jail after blink

21 June 2013, 07:52

Cincinnati - A man convicted in a murder trial that hinged on a paralysed victim blinking his eyes to identify his shooter was sentenced Thursday to 36 years to life in prison.

A jury last month convicted Ricardo Woods, 35, of murder and felonious assault in the death of David Chandler, who was shot in the head and neck on 28 Oct, 2010, as he sat in a car.

Police interviewed Chandler in the hospital, and he was only able to communicate with his eyes. Chandler died about two weeks later.

During the trial, jurors viewed the videotaped police interview that prosecutors say showed Chandler blinked three times for "yes" to identify a photo of Woods as his shooter. The defence had tried to block the video, saying Chandler's blinks were inconsistent and unreliable.

A doctor who treated Chandler testified that Chandler was able to communicate clearly about his condition. But the defence argued that Chandler's condition and drugs used to treat him could have affected his ability to understand and respond during the police interview.

A jail house informant testified that Woods told him he shot at Chandler because he caught him buying drugs from someone else while still owing Woods money for drugs.

But the defence argued that the informant, who faced armed robbery charges, was trying to get a lighter sentence for himself. Defence attorneys also said Chandler stole drugs from other dealers and had many enemies.

Woods still maintains his innocence, and his attorney has said there will be an appeal.

- AP

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