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Friday, October 1, 2010

Demeatrius Montgomery Sentenced To Life Despite Questionable SBI Lab Evidence

Emotional Courtroom As Demeatrius Montgomery Is Found Guilty

In the minutes after Demeatrius Montgomery was found Guilty and sentenced to two terms of life in prison, there was an extraordinary scene in the hallway outside of the courtroom.

Montgomery's father hugged first one, then both of the fathers of murdered police officers Sean Clark and Jeff Shelton.

Minutes earlier, Shelton's father, John was given the opportunity to speak in court before Montgomery was sentenced.

As Montgomery stared straight ahead, John Shelton said of him, "His family will get to see him in prison. If I want to see my son, I have to go to Sharon Memorial Garden and look at a grave."

A jury deliberated for two hours on Wednesday and for most of the day Thursday before returning the verdict of guilty on two counts of first-degree murder.

Montgomery was sentenced to two life terms without parole that will run consecutively.

The Death Penalty was not an option because early in the trial the judge found that a former CMPD detective, Arvin Fant, threw away notes from his interviews with some witnesses.

After the sentencing, District Attorney Peter Gilchrist said, "I think to know that this man will never be back out again may be, realistically, the most anybody could hope for."

Police Chief Rodney Monroe said, "Having the prosecution put forth the case that they did really has brought justice, not only to the families but to an entire community."

Shelton and Clark never had time to draw their own weapons before they were gunned down at the Timber Ridge Apartment complex on March 31, 2007.

Montgomery's attorneys argued that someone else was to blame.

But Chief Monroe said the right man is going to prison. "I believe that the evidence that we had 3 1/2 years ago, it hasn't changed. It was solid then and it was solid throughout this case."

DNA Expert Can't Confirm Link Between Montgomery & Murder Weapon

An expert couldn't say for sure Friday that the DNA of a man suspected of killing two Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers is on the murder weapon.

The 13th day of testimony in the murder trial of Demeatrius Montgomery got under way Friday morning with John Donahue on the stand.

Donahue performed the tests on the gun when he worked for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg crime lab.

He testified that he couldn't exclude Montgomery's DNA from being on the gun because he found DNA from multiple people.

Donahue confirmed that DNA from Officer Jeff Shelton was found on the weapon, indicating there was a struggle.

Shelton and Officer Sean Clark were shot to death at the Timber Ridge apartments in 2007. Montgomery was arrested soon after the shooting. Witnesses have testified seeing him running from the scene.

If convicted, Montgomery is facing life in prison. A judge took the death penalty off the table early in the case because an investigator mishandled case notes.

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Sources: WCNC, Google Maps

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