Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

C-Murder: Rapper Lives His Lyrics

Records Expunged

The surprises continued when hearings on Corey's retrial bid resumed in mid-January. Christina Langlois, an employee of the Louisiana State Police Criminal Identification Bureau, told Judge Sassone that the records of key prosecution witness Tenika Rankins for felony theft in 1997 were not expunged until November 2003, nearly two months after Corey's conviction. Raksoky used this as ammo for his contention that the prosecution withheld key information from the defense about its witnesses' criminal backgrounds, as required by state law. He used Langlois' admission in his press for a new trial for Corey. Freese continued to maintain that he knew nothing of Rankins' conviction.

Efforts to locate Rankins before the hearing were unsuccessful.

Six days later, during another hearing, JPSO Detective Donald Clogher admitted he had assisted the prosecution in getting a new court date for Rankins to resolve her outstanding traffic tickets. However, Clogher denied doing any special favors for Rankins, other than to offer her protection because she was scared of possible repercussions from testifying against Corey. Rakosky contended that Rankins' expungement was improper because she had a misdemeanor theft charge pending against her in neighboring St. Charles Parish.

Clearly frustrated by Matthews' contradictory testimony, Freese told her and the court she could be charged with perjury.

Rakosky dropped another bombshell when he announced that jurors were overheard discussing Corey's arrest for attempted murder in Baton Rouge during their deliberations at the end of the trial. Sassone had earlier ordered that jurors were not to be told of the Baton Rouge charge. At that point it became public knowledge that that's what had been discussed when Sassone called the jurors back for private conferences on October 7.

Final written arguments by both sides were submitted to Sassone on February 19 and, on March 2, the defense wrapped up its effort to win a new trial for Corey. In oral arguments, Rakosky summarized the case he was making on behalf of his client: that Corey deserved a new trial because of improprieties on the part of the prosecution. He cited their alleged failure to notify the defense about their witnesses' criminal backgrounds as one of the main reasons.

"The jury had a right to know about these things," Rakosky told Sassone. Freese contended that he didn't know about Rankins' problems with the law because her record had been expunged. However, he maintained that the defense knew about the criminal records of other witnesses and chose not to question them about it during cross-examination.

Rakosky also said that security guard Darnell Jordan "was a wanted man" when he testified, with an outstanding warrant for a moving traffic violation. Freese said that Jordan got the ticket just before the trial and the prosecution did no special favors for its witnesses.

Following the conclusion of oral arguments, Sassone promised a ruling within a reasonable time. But, she added her belief that the side that loses will probably file an appeal and that would extend the overall decision-making process.

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