Court orders new trial in 2003 Dorchester murder case over testimony by controversial cop
A Mattapan resident convicted of gunning down a man outside a Dorchester birthday party will get a new trial because of serious errors related to the testimony of the lead Boston Police investigator on the case, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today.
Linrose Woodbine was convicted of first-degree murder based in part on the testimony of Det. Daniel Keeler, at the time a BPD homicide detective.
Keeler testified what Woodbine allegedly told him during an untaped interview in his hospital room - Woodbine was himself shot following Aston Dwayne Thompson's murder - but was not supposed to testify about a second, taped interview because the trial judge ruled it was taken after Woodbine exercised his right to remain silent.
In its ruling, the state's highest court said Keeler was allowed to review his notes from the recorded interview before his testimony and that this meant it was possible he actually testified about statements Woodbine made after the second interview should have been ended:
The defendant challenges the admission at trial of Keeler's detailed testimony concerning the contents of his unrecorded statement. He argues that, in the circumstances, Keeler could not have had an independent memory of the defendant's unrecorded statement, and that Keeler's trial testimony, which came after he had reviewed the subsequent recorded statement at least twice, effectively allowed portions of the suppressed statement to be placed before the jury. We conclude that the admission of Keeler's testimony without first establishing that it reflected Keeler's present memory of the defendant's unrecorded statement, in combination with other issues ... gave rise to a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice.
Keeler left the homicide unit in 2004 after a number of convictions based on his investigations were overturned.