UPPER MARLBORO, Md.— A Maryland jury has found a man guilty of murder after the paralyzed victim, who later died, identified the person who shot him by blinking.
Multiple news outlets report that a Prince George’s County jury found 25-year-old Jermaine Hailes guilty of first-degree murder Tuesday in the 2010 shooting of 29-year-old Melvin Pate.
Pate was paralyzed and unable to speak because of injuries from the shooting. A video recorded by police shows him identifying Hailes as the shooter by blinking at a photo in a lineup.
Prosecutor Christine Murphy told NBC Washington, “They told the victim to blink once hard if he recognized someone in the photos he was shown. So, it wasn’t the involuntary blink that we all do. It was truly a closing of his eyes and opening them and you could see the tears coming from the side of his eyes as he identified the man who was his killer.”
Pate died before Hailes went to trial.
The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that Pate’s blink was a dying declaration and allowed prosecutors to show the video during the trial.
Hailes faces life in prison at a sentencing hearing set for Aug. 25.