Maryland prosecutors won a murder conviction on Tuesday involving a paralyzed victim who identified his killer by blinking, NBC News reports.
Jermaine Hailes shot Melvin Pate during a drug-related robbery in November 2010. The gunshot paralyzed Pate from the chest down and left him unable to speak. But once he was conscious, investigators asked him to identify the assailant.
“He was able to make an identification of Mr. Hailes by blinking during a photo lineup that police showed him while he was in the hospital,” John Erzen, spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, explained to NBC.
Prosecutor Christine Murphy said the investigators told Pate to blink hard once if he recognized the shooter, to distinguish his eye movement from a normal blink, according to NBC.
Pate died in 2012, but jurors saw a video of his testimony.
That clip was controversial. There was a lengthy legal battle over its admissibility in court. Ultimately, the judge ruled that the victim was competent and the identification process was legal, Erzen told NBC.
SOURCE: NBC News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty