Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Who Murdered Little Miss Sunbeam's Killer? - Part IV

The State's case against Donald Wayne Darling II hit roadblocks from the beginning. Darling himself claimed he had bragged of murdering Wilburn May Jr. in order to impress gang members with whom he was incarcerated in Madison. The day before Jr Witt had traveled to Madison to interview Darling, the teenager had attempted to hang himself and was under the influence of powerful anti psychotic drugs during questioning. Of the items taken from Darling's home by Witt, some proved to belong to Darling's father. Prosecutors in the case failed to allow the Darling defense to inspect the items, a fact that drew the ire of Judge Mike Suttle who had been assigned to hear the capital murder case.

As the trial began, the case against Darling began to unravel even further. The defense proved May's front door was kicked down by an individual with a larger foot than the teenager's and none of the defendant's shoes matched the sole pattern as the prosecution initially claimed. The defense also produced witnesses that several individuals, including May's ex-wife, had recently threatened the murdered drug dealer.

As the trial progressed, Chris Connolly asked for a mistrial based on the possibility of prosecution witness Torry Harrison being released early for his testimony. The witness had testified previously in several other trials in return for special considerations. Also, a main point of contention in the Darling trial was the witness being allowed to wear street clothes to the proceedings (We will inject here that even those who are incarcerated should be allowed some dignity--as long as the jury was advised that the witness was currently serving time in the Colbert County Jail, his clothing should have made little difference). Further, Junior May's heavily peroxided blond daughter Nancy Stevenson testified that she believed her father had also been beaten and that his axe had been turned over to Lauderdale deputies, but was not introduced into evidence. If May had been beaten, as his daughter claimed, this was another element that clashed with Darling's initial and supposedly drug-induced confession.

After two days of deliberation, the jury announced it was deadlocked, and Judge Mike Suttle declared a mistrial. Darling was returned to the Detention Center to await a second trial, but his defense attorneys had other plans--they immediately filed charges of prosecutorial misconduct by the Lauderdale County District Attorney's office.

What's up with this: It's been reported that murder victim Hollie Newbury's calls to the Lauderdale Sheriff's Department had gone unanswered previously. If this can be proved, the ABI, which Willis has long attempted to keep at bay, should be brought in to investigate this and all previous accusations against the department.