Defense Begins Presenting Their Case In Day 6 Of Marine Murder Trial

Posted at 4:35 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 16:35:31-04

LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18) On day six of the marine murder trial, the Commonwealth closed their case and the defense started theirs, which included filing a motion for a mistrial. 

The case stems from the June 2014 murder of Marine Jonathan Price. The defendants in the case are Quincinio Canada and Dawan Mulazim. They are accused of shooting Jonathan and Megan Price outside of Austin City Saloon. Megan survived the shooting and took the stand on Thursday, June 14. She claimed that the robbers took $60 from her that night.

That was four years ago today.

In court on Thursday, June 21, the defense claimed that the case was built on assumptions and filed a motion for mistrial. They argued that prosecutors used a different map in court than the map provided in discovery. Prosecutors claimed that the information was the same. They also said that they had issues with the testimony of multiples witnesses including, the firearms expert’s conclusion, Jonathan Price’s mother, Debbie, who read a letter from her son on the stand. They also said they were concerned with the testimony of the witnesses who said they saw Mulazim’s wife throwing clothes into a dumpster a few days after the murder. The defense claimed that it had to deal with another robbery so it was prejudicial evidence. The defense also said that Megan Price’s description of the weapon did not match the alleged murder weapon. 

Judge Goodwine said that a mistrial was not appropriate.

Then, the defense called for a directed verdict, meaning that the judge would order the jury declare a specific verdict, in this case, not guilty. They asked for this because they claimed there was no evidence linking the crime to the defendants. 

Judge Goodwine said no, and ordered that the trial continue.

The defense called its own witnesses, the first being Joy Birch, a woman who claimed she was with Mulazim the night of the murder.

Birch claimed that on June 20, Mulazim showed up at her home and they went to a club. They were then planning on going to a hotel room, but Birch said Mulazim had received a phone call and had to drop her off. She said she was with him from midnight to 2 a.m. 

"We stayed a little bit after 2. I remember them calling last call for drinks cause he did offer to buy another drink for me," said Birch.

The defense’s next witness said she saw Mulazim at a strip club at the night of the shooting. 

The defense also brought up Mark Wohlander as a witness. Wohlander is a semi-retired lawyer. He claimed that a woman came into his office in 2014 with information regarding Jonathan Price’s death. He said that he sent an email to the U.S. Attorney’s Office but never heard back. In court, no one said what the information the woman had was. 

Chris Spencer was also a witness. He works at the Kentucky Department of Highways. He said he works at the building next to the building next to the Quality Inn where the alleged murder weapon was stolen from days before the murder.

The defense asked him to identify where the cameras are on the building he works. He said that those cameras record when there is motion and that there are signs on the property indicating that there area cameras. Spencer said that no one asked him for surveillance footage regarding the Quality Inn robbery. 

Another witness was Dr. Jeffrey Neuschatz, who testified about making identifications from photo lineups. He talked about how imperfect memory can be. He said that there is something that comes over people when there is a weapon present that causes people to focus on the actual weapon. He also stated that people are better able to identify people of the same race as them. 

The jury will be back in Monday morning at 9 a.m.