- Associated Press - Friday, September 5, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi death row inmate Jeffrey Havard can amend a post-conviction petition before the state Supreme Court to include statements from a forensic pathologist who suggests the girl Havard is convicted of killing was not sexually abused.

Supreme Court Justice Josiah Dennis Coleman granted Havard’s motion to present those arguments to the court. Coleman denied a motion by attorney Graham Carner of Jackson to order a hearing in Adams County Circuit Court.

“We are eager to prove that the prosecution withheld important evidence that shows Jeffrey’s innocence. The Supreme Court’s order allows us to demonstrate that the objective, scientific evidence shows there was never a sexual battery in this case,” Carner told The Clarion-Ledger (https://on.thec-l.com/1nA5riN ).

The newspaper reports pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne made statements, first to The Clarion-Ledger and then to the defense, that he told prosecutors before Havard’s 2002 trial there was no evidence of sexual abuse of 6-month-old Chloe Britt. The alleged sexual abuse, the underlying felony, qualified the case for the death penalty.

Carner said jurors never heard that evidence.

Carner seeks to have Havard’s conviction thrown out or to get a new trial.

Prosecutors said no evidence was withheld in the case and Havard’s arguments come too late.

Havard was convicted in 2002 of capital murder and sentenced to death in Adams County for killing a 6-month-old Chloe Madison Britt of Ferriday, Louisiana, the daughter of his girlfriend. Prosecutors said the infant’s injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome, but she also had suffered from sexual abuse.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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