Dying Man’s Blinks Lead To Murder Conviction

A dying man’s blinks led to the conviction of Ricardo Woods, 35, for murder and felonious assault. Woods was convicted of killing David Chandler, who was shot on October 28, 2010.

Police interviewed Chandler, 35, after he was shot in the head and neck while sitting in his car in Cincinnati. He was only able to communicate through blinking his eyes and died two weeks after the incident.

Woods appeared to have no reaction to the guilty verdict, issued on the third day of jury deliberations. However, he stated, “I’m innocent,” as he was being led from the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

Jurors viewed the videotape of the police interviewing Chandler while he was hooked up to a ventilator. The tape shows the dying man blinking three times for “yes,” as he identified a photo of Woods as his shooter.

The defense tried to block the video from being admissible, saying that Chandler’s blinks were unreliable and inconsistent. But Judge Beth Myers ruled that jurors could see the video, saying Chandler’s identification was made by pronounced, exaggerated movement of the eyes.

In the video, the dying man’s blinks were sometimes unclear. They repeated questions to get clarification. But when it came to the photo of Woods, David Chandler blinked hard three times to signal, “yes.” He repeated the eye movements when investigators asked if he was sure.

The defense argued that Chandler’s condition and the drugs used to treat him could have affected his ability to understand and respond correctly during the taped interview. However, a doctor who treated the shooting victim testified that Chandler was able to communicate clearly about his condition.

Woods’ attorney added that there was no DNA evidence, no fingerprints, and no weapon to tie his client to the crime. But jurors appeared to side with the prosecution, deciding that the dying man’s blinks were a good indicator that Woods was guilty. Woods’ attorney is planning an appeal.

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