FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An Allen County judge is citing ‘gross negligence’ on the part of the state after a case was dismissed. The problem came from a piece of evidence delivered very late to the defense.
Eddie Billingsley was charged with battery after police said he kicked an officer in January. His lawyer requested in-car police video of him, but was told it didn’t exist.
According to court documents police said they found Billingsley in January outside the Burger King on East Jefferson arguing with another man. He was arrested and taken to the hospital because he was believed to be drunk. Police said he made threatening remarks on the ride there, then kicked an officer while at the hospital.
Billingsley’s attorney, Michelle Kraus, received video from the hospital and also requested the video from inside the police car.
“It’s important to compare, when you have a video tape, to compare the description put into the report to what is actually seen on the video,” Kraus said.
According to a Motion to Dismiss, Kraus requested the in-car video from the prosecution first in March, then in May then again four days before trial. She said she was told the video didn’t exist.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael McAlexander said that’s what the prosecution originally thought.
“There are four different systems for in-car video,” McAlexander said. “The ones we had access to there was no finding.”
Kraus received the correct video on Monday, but that was after Billingsley appeared in court to request a jury trial. She filed a motion to dismiss because of the late delivery, citing other cases where she had had the same issue with the prosecutor’s office, including last fall’s Freddie Alcantar murder case.
“I received a video tape of someone after they had testified,” Kraus said. “So, I was upset, I was mad.”
Kraus believes the question of whether there was a video tape inside the car just wasn’t asked to the right person. Prosecutors don’t dispute that, and looking back wish someone had asked the officer involved.
McAlexander said the office made a mistake, and a dismissal should not have been granted.
“If the goal was to send us a message we received the message,” McAlexander said.
McAlexander said he met with police Wednesday afternoon to see if they can come up with a way to get evidence over to the Prosecutor’s Office so something like this doesn’t happen again.