NEWPORT CITY – A Putnam, CT, man who faces a charge of attempted second-degree murder and a charge of aggravated assault with a weapon wants the Orleans County District Court to suppress a photo identification of him.
Judge Robert Bent heard arguments from both sides Friday.
Oct. 14, 2010, Detective Sgt. Darren Annis of the state police responded to a report of a shooting on Route 5A in West Charleston. Dispatchers told Annis that a woman had been shot outside her home and two men, one white and one black, had fled the scene in a silver pick-up truck.
According to records, the ambulance transported the woman, identified as Donelle Morin, to North Country Hospital. She had been shot and stabbed.
Later, Morin identified one of her accused attackers as 24-year-old Deontae McNeil through a photo lineup. Now, McNeil's attorney claims that Detective Sgt. Darren Annis didn’t perform the photo lineup correctly and now wants to prevent a jury from hearing that evidence.
Attorney Bob Katims called in an expert for Friday’s hearing.
Professor Jennifer Dysart said there are several problems in the case including that McNeil and Morin are different races. Unlike some other races, African Americans can have different skin tones, Dysart said.
Morin described the African American attacker as 5 foot 10 inches to 6 feet tall, with a thin build, smooth complexion, in his mid 20s and dark colored lips.
Court records state that Morin told police she didn’t know the suspects, but could recognize them if she saw them or saw their picture. Dysart said that police should have gotten a detailed description of the suspect before doing a photo lineup.
Dysart couldn’t say if Morin’s identification is right or wrong, but suggested a number of things could have tarnished Morin’s identification. She compared a photo line up to a multiple-choice test where the chooser believes one of the choices is the correct one.
A second man has already been charged and convicted in this case. Andrew Ladouceur of Derby pleaded guilty Oct. 20 to attempted burglary. He is supposed to be sentenced on Wednesday.