EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSNIPER CASE
from Eyewitness News Online
New Info In Sniper Case; U.S. Marshall Says His Suspicions Were Ignored
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Jun. 27, 2012 7:02 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
New details have emerged about the sniper trial. On Wednesday, both sides argued about what evidence will be allowed at the trial which starts on July 30. The pre-trial motions provided some insight into the upcoming trial.
Shawn Lester, who maintains his innocence, is charged in the sniper-style murders of Jeannie Patton, Gary Carrier and Okey Meadows, Jr. All three were killed outside of gas stations in the Kanawha Valley in 2003. The prosecution has compiled a mountain of evidence against Lester, more than 150,00 documents and a long list of witnesses.
Some of those witnesses took the stand Wednesday, including a former US Marshal who says Lester was his prime suspect all along.
"I jumped up and down from day one. When we got Shawn Lester, I believed that Shawn Lester, within 48 hours of the last homicide, was the sniper suspect," Perrine says.
John Perrine testified that shortly after the shootings he was looking for Lester for violating his federal probation. But in the course of that search, he says he realized Lester was connected to all three of the victims and was told Lester had possession of a 22 caliber gun, like the one used in the shooting, and was driving a vehicle similar to the one thought to be driven by the shooter.
He says while Lester was in a holding cell, awaiting a federal arraignment, he asked Lester about the murders. "He looked at me and said straight faced, 'I was there but I didn't shoot her,'" Perrine testified.
Perrine says he passed that information onto the FBI and the other investigators on the Sniper Taskforce, but was ignored.
"I was told to go back and sit in court and let the professionals handle it. I was irate," Perrine testified. "It shocks the conscious that others didn't take this information and move forward with it."
Potentially damning evidence, but it was a win for the defense. Judge Duke Bloom ruled his testimony won't be allowed at trial because Lester wasn't read his rights before talking to Perrine.
Another man testified that he saw all three victims and Lester hanging out together about a month before the shootings smoking pot. Prosecutors say drugs, specifically meth, are the common link in all three murders.
Through the proceedings today, we also learned that the prosecution will call witnesses who will testify to seeing Lester with a gun the night of the crime and others who say Lester confessed to the crime. The defense attorney, George Castelle, argues Lester made statements in jest and there are a handful of other people who have also confessed to the sniper shootings. Castelle was also concerned about the amount of time that has passed since the shootings and the memories of witnesses becoming hazy.
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