Defense attorneys asked a judge to throw out key evidence for a man accused of raping and killing an elderly woman.
A cigarette is critical to the trial, because that's how police got the defendant's DNA. Thursday, the defense filed a motion saying that evidence was improperly obtained, and also filed another motion.
Donald Borders joked with his family in court, and read the Bible as his attorney entered a motion to strike the statements of Dr. Steven Tracey.
He is the pathologist who testified that Margaret Tessneer was suffocated, but his autopsy report listed her cause of death as undetermined.
The defense claims police convinced him to change his mind.
“They never asked him to do that,” said prosecutor Sally Kirby-Turner.
The prosecutor said the doctor has a right to state his opinion for the jury.
“I specifically asked Dr. Tracey, 'Did anyone coerce to change your opinion? No. Did anyone ask you to change your opinion? No,’” she said.
The defense also wanted a hearing to decide if DNA evidence should be shared with the jury.
Police obtained a sample of Borders' DNA by offering him a cigarette during an interview. They said they matched saliva from the cigarette to DNA found on Tessneer.
That evidence was used to charge Borders in 2009 with raping and murdering the 79-year-old woman.
The judge denied both of the defense's motions.
The defense then went after the man who tested the DNA evidence.
A special team tapped by the state attorney general noted that a past report by agent Russell Holly in another case left out information favorable to the defense.
When the jury was excused, Holly told the court about the old case.
“That was actually a typo on my part,” Holly said. “They reviewed that case and I was told there was nothing wrong in that case."