The judge called it a technical problem and sent jurors home early in the trial of Devin Blake Badon--but it could mean the trial does not go forward.
As part of the investigation, the Calcasieu Sheriff's Department analyzed certain cell phones seized in the investigation into the murder of Stephin Bergeron. Well, the analyses of some of those phones were not put into the evidence file and therefore the defense did not have access to them.
It could wind up causing a mistrial in the case. But that won't be known until Thursday morning.
Nowadays, when just about everyone uses a cell phone, it's common for investigations to include forensic analyses of cell phones. Both the prosecution and defense are entitled to those analyses.
But in the Bergeron case, disks with the analyses of some phones were given to the State but not put in the evidence file where the defense could get them.
Court recessed a while so the State could verify whether the disks were in the file and available to the defense. After contacting the Calcasieu Sheriff's Department, Prosecutor Rick Bryant explained in court that the cell phone analyses are on the server of the detective who analyzed them at the sheriff's department--and that they were not put in the evidence file.
The court has ordered the state to give paper copies of text messages to the defense-- but it's not clear if that will remedy the omission. The defense could argue that to be given the information in the middle of the trial does not allow adequate time for them to properly prepare.
So far, ten witnesses called by the State have testified. According to testimony, the killing of Bergeron was the culmination of an argument that went on over several hours between Bergeron and Devin Badon, who is being tried for second degree murder.
According to testimony Bergeron believed Badon was giving drugs to a former girlfriend he wanted to protect. Witnesses told about conversations between the two about plans to fight to resolve their differences. At one point Badon is quoted as saying he didn't want to fight Bergeron and when Bergeron calls him a sissy, Badon allegedly responds saying, "I got something better for you."
Through testimony of various witnesses the state is trying to show that Badon's actions helped accomplish the murder of Bergeron, even though Badon was not the shooter.
The jury has been told to report back at nine in the morning. By that time the defense will have had a chance to look at paper copies of cell phone text messages. Defense attorney Todd Clemons says he does not yet know if he will ask for a mistrial.
It will be up to Judge Kent Savoie to decide the appropriate remedy.