- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

MANSFIELD, La. (AP) - The start date for the capital murder trial of a Keachie man accused in the death of a 12-year-old Stonewall student has been pushed back to March 11.

The Times reports (https://bit.ly/1cQI0jl ) the delay is to give prosecutors and the defense team time to prepare following the revelation last week fingerprints only recently identified as belonging to the victim, Justin M. Bloxom, were matched to one previously taken from Brian Horn’s cab.

DeSoto Parish sheriff’s investigators say the vehicle was used to transport Bloxom from a friend’s house to the location off U.S. Highway 171 near Stonewall where his body was found on March 30, 2010.

Horn, 37, faces kidnapping and first-degree murder charges in Bloxom’s death. He’s pleaded not guilty. The state is seeking the death penalty if Horn is convicted.

In a continuation hearing Monday, District Judge Robert Burgess said the fingerprints are admissible evidence. It will be up to the prosecution and defense to challenge any aspects of the fingerprint identification process during trial.

Burgess, in a hearing Wednesday, raised his own concerns about information supplied to him about how the fingerprint was confirmed. Those worries were alleviated during Monday’s hearing after Caddo Parish sheriff’s Lt. Owen McDonnell testified about how he used a computer software program to aid in making the fingerprint comparisons.

McDonnell, explained the program, CSIpix Comparator, is a digital viewer that allows the user to view fingerprints and make enlargements for side-by-side comparisons. “The beauty of it is it does not allow you to alter the image,” McDonnell said, so it preserves the “image integrity.”

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Information from: The Times, https://www.shreveporttimes.com

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