The appeal was made by Waseem Daker who was convicted in the 1995 strangulation death of Karmen Smith in her east Cobb home, and the stabbing of her then 5-year-old son, Nick Smith. The boy, now a man of 23, survived multiple stab wounds.
Daker was sentenced to life in prison plus 47½ years and remains in the Jackson State Prison.
The motions denied by Superior Court Judge Mary Staley included a new determination on indigency, which would declare Daker unable to pay for legal counsel, a string of requests to recuse the judge, and a motion to correct the court record and transcript.
In Staley’s ruling, she said there was no finding for trial error and the evidence still supports the guilty verdict.
Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans, who prosecuted the original case, said it is rare for a defendant to win a motion for a new trial.
Evans said Staley had been patient about the many new trial motions, then Wednesday gave a strong stance that the new trial would not be granted.
“I felt (the strong language of the decision) was perfectly appropriate, given how (Daker) has abused the judicial process,” Evans said.
For two days in August and two days in October, Staley heard motions for a new trial, where 15 witnesses and experts were called for questioning.
Key witness recanted her testimony
The three-week trial of Daker rested on a key witness, Loretta Spencer Blatz, who last spring recanted her entire testimony in four separate affidavits, which stated she lied about Daker’s role in the murder.
Blatz said she “wrongfully accused” Daker and that after his conviction she decided to come forward with the truth.
Staley said in Wednesday’s decision that the testimony by Blatz in the new trial hearing was without merit and that Blatz demonstrated “erratic post-trial behavior.”
Evans said there are thousands of pages of evidence taken from Daker’s prison cell that show repeated contact between him and Blatz where Daker asked her to change her testimony.
“He was pretty manipulative in the things he was doing from prison,” Evans said.
Evans said Daker handwrote the affidavits and mailed them to Blatz for her to type and submit to the court.
Daker represented himself at the trial with Jason D. Treadaway, a Marietta lawyer, as standby counsel to consult on questions.
Evans said Daker has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia.
“It is kind of a back door way to appeal the original trial,” Evans said.
Depending on how quickly Daker files a notice of appeal, it could take a year for the motion to be heard, if at all.