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Conviction overturned in D.C. killing

Washington Post Editors

A District man’s conviction for murder in the 2004 death of a cab driver was overturned Thursday.

The D.C. Court of Appeals overturned Eric R. Gardner’s first-degree murder conviction in the fatal shooting of of Andrew B. Kamara, 50, saying results from a DNA test admitted as evidence were improperly submitted because defense attorneys were not allowed to question a DNA expert who testified to the findings.

In a 12-page ruling, the ruled that D.C. Superior Court Judge James Boasberg erred in allowing DNA evidence in Gardner’s trial.

The court found that Gardner’s defense was not given an opportunity to cross-examine two DNA technicians who linked a small blood stain on Gardner’s jacket to Kamara.

Admitting the DNA technician’s testimony and report, the court ruled, was a violation of Gardner’s Sixth Amendment right. As a result, the court ruled that the forensic evidence was improperly admitted.

Because there was no eyewitness to the shooting and Gardner’s fingerprints were not found on the murder weapon, the court ruled, the DNA evidence was key to a jury’s finding Gardner guilty of first-degree felony murder while armed, second-degree murder while armed and attempted robbery.

Gardner, now 28, was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

“Without the evidence that the appellant had the victim’s blood on his clothing,” the judges wrote, “it is certainly not clear beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury would have found the defendant guilty absent the error.”

Last month, President Obama nominated Boasberg to fill a judicial vacancy on the U.S. District Court.

Gardner’s attorneys, with the District's Public Defender Service, also filed the appeal.

-- Keith L. Alexander

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 9, 2010; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Homicide , Keith L. Alexander , The District  
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so.. because of a procedural flaw.. this perp walks...

whatever.. he'll be back.. one a perp.. always a perp..

Posted by: kglkgl06 | July 9, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I can only hope he will be tried again...

Posted by: demtse | July 9, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

the man has spent 6 years in jail already. I wouldn't consider him getting away with anything, if they do let him go.

Posted by: MarilynManson | July 9, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Like Denzel in 'Training Day', 'it's not what you KNOW, it's what you can PROVE'. Hopefully he'll get his sentence served to him the street way.

Posted by: kahlua87 | July 9, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

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