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Dying man's blinks lead to murder conviction

Ricardo Woods has been found guilty of murdering David Chandler in a trial that hinged on the victim's blinks.

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In 2010,  David Chandler spent the last two weeks of his life paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak after getting shot. As he lay dying, police showed him a picture of Ricardo Woods, and asked Chandler if that was the man who shot him. Chandler blinked three times--supposedly meaning "yes."

According to media outlets attending the trial against Woods in Ohio, the prosecution's case has hinged largely on those blinks. The defense, meanwhile, claims that Chandler's blinking testimony was unreliable because he was heavily medicated.

The defense also argues that it was "suggestive" of police to show the victim a photograph of Woods rather than a full line-up, the Times of London reproted

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Today, an Ohio jury has sided with the prosecution and convicted Woods of murder and felonious assault for the death of David Chandler.

Woods, 35, said "I'm innocent" as he was led to jail. Sentencing is scheduled for June 20. His attorneys plan to appeal, the Associated Press reported

Medical experts say that it is not uncommon for people who are paralyzed to communicate with blinks. That's because paralysis is usually caused by a spinal cord injury, not a brain injury. Since Chandler's paralysis was caused by a neck injury, it's possible that his blinks could serve as a "sufficient means of communication," according to Medical Daily.

However, Woods' defense team said that Chandler answered only about half of the questions he was asked during the interview and was not even able to make decisions about his own care. 

"At no point did the police ever investigate anyone else," said Kory Jackson, Woods' attorney.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130517/dying-mans-blinks-lead-murder-conviction