Sunday, January 18, 2015

Christopher Edwards: Nebraska; Judge denies new trial in 2006 murder of Jessica O'Grady; Rejects argument that former Douglas County crime lab director David Kofoed was "dirty." World-Herald;

STORY:  "Christopher Edwards loses attempt at new trial in 2006 murder of Jessica O'Grady," by reporter Todd Cooper, published by the  World-Herald on January 16 2015.

GIST: "The attorneys had argued for a new trial on two theories: that Edwards’ trial attorney, Steve Lefler, had a conflict of interest and that prosecutors should have been aware at the time that former Douglas County crime lab director David Kofoed was dirty. Most of their hopes were pinned on Kofoed’s fall from grace. The O’Grady crime-scene investigation was conducted in May 2006 — about the same time that Kofoed planted a speck of blood in a car that investigators believed was used in the slayings of Wayne and Sharmon Stock of Saunders County. Follow-up investigation showed that that car was never used in the Stock killings. Kofoed served two years in prison after a judge convicted him of evidence tampering. However, federal authorities didn’t zero in on Kofoed’s actions in the Stock case until months after Edwards’ trial. At the time of Edwards’ trial, Douglas County District Judge J Russell Derr noted, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine had no knowledge of any suspicions about Kofoed. More important, the judge said, Edwards’ attorneys established no signs of any evidence tampering at the scene of O’Grady’s death. The 19-year-old’s blood soaked a mattress, streaked the ceiling and dotted a headboard, alarm clock, clothes basket and other items in Edwards’ basement bedroom. Even before Kofoed arrived at the scene, investigators had found her blood in the bedroom, in the trunk of Edwards’ car, on the blade of a sword and on the handle of pruning shears.........“There is no evidence in the entire record that establishes, much less even hints, that the state knowingly used false evidence to secure defendant’s conviction,” Derr wrote. Derr also dismissed Edwards’ complaints about Lefler. After Edwards’ conviction, Lefler went on to represent Kofoed on the evidence tampering charges. Edwards’ attorneys tried to seize on the fact that Lefler referred to Kofoed as a friend during Edwards’ trial. Lefler said he had no personal relationship with Kofoed, that he simply often referred to witnesses as friends as a way to disarm them and endear himself to the juries. Lefler said he had no knowledge that there were any questions about Kofoed until Kofoed called asking for representation more than a year after Edwards’ trial.“If I thought Dave was dirty, if I thought he had planted evidence, I would try to kill him in the courtroom, ” Lefler said."

The entire story can be found at:


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