Convicted murderer’s hearing set for Oct. 7, 8
by Lindsay Field
September 22, 2013 12:38 AM | 3728 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Convicted murderer Waseem Daker is led into the courtroom of Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley on Thursday to argue his more than 100 motions for a new trial.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Convicted murderer Waseem Daker is led into the courtroom of Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley on Thursday to argue his more than 100 motions for a new trial.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — The man convicted in the 1995 murder of a Cobb mother will only be allowed to question 15 of the 86 people he subpoenaed for an October hearing in his attempt to have a new trial granted.

Waseem Daker, who was sentenced to life in prison plus 47½ years last November for killing Karmen Smith and assaulting her then-5-year-old son, Nick Smith, will appear before Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley starting Oct. 7.

In preparation for the hearing, Daker subpoenaed 86 people, including news reporters, Cobb County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Cobb Police Department detectives, Georgia Department of Corrections’ employees, court employees, his own brothers, Nick Smith and even Staley.

Each of these people were subpoenaed earlier this summer and during an August hearing on Daker’s motion, Staley ordered him to write down each witness’ name and give an explanation of why he wanted to question them.

The information was filed with the Cobb Superior Clerk of Court on Aug. 16.

After reviewing the list, Staley filed a Sept. 16 order stating that Daker would only be allowed to question 15 people during the day-and-a-half hearing.

Below is the list of witnesses Staley will allow to testify and their connection to the case:

• Loretta Spencer Blatz: Daker’s girlfriend in the 1990s and a witness in the 2012 murder trial;

• Ashley Burch, Allison Leigh, June Ragle and Terri Morgan: each reportedly have information about juror misconduct during the 2012 murder trial;

• Sameh Daker and Wesam Daker: Waseem Daker’s brothers who reportedly witnessed misconduct related to served warrants, evidence and the trial;

• Detective John Dawes: Cobb Police detective who investigated Karmen Smith’s murder;

• Clark County Sheriff’s Office: reportedly has arrest records pertaining to Nick Smith;

• Dr. Brian Frist: former Cobb Medical Examiner who conducted the autopsy on Karmen Smith;

• Lt. Pete Gibson: Cobb Sheriff’s Office deputy who served as the security director over courthouse deputies during the trial;

• Dr. Greg Hampikian: DNA expert, geneticist, biology professor at Boise State University in Idaho and director of the Idaho Innocence Project who testified in the trial;

• Nick O’Conor: handled evidence in the trial for the Cobb District Attorney’s Office;

• Nick Smith: Karmen Smith’s son who was stabbed 16 times at the same time his mother was killed; and

• Christina Valenti: Loretta Spencer Blatz’s daughter.

The Cobb District Attorney’s Office will also be given the opportunity to question the same witnesses if Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans chooses.

In identifying who will be allowed to testify, Staley’s order also states that because Daker “has a shown inability to adhere to time constraints and has attempted to mislead and misdirect the court with frivolous, untruthful and irrelevant matters, the court notes that (Daker) is limited to one and a half days of testimony from these witnesses, of which he will receive 50 percent of the time and the (Cobb District Attorney’s Office) will receive 50 percent of the time.”

On the same date that the witness list order was signed, Staley additionally signed on an order denying Daker’s 13th motion filed Aug. 19 to recuse Staley from the hearing.

Evans has declined to comment on the hearing until it is over.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 7 in Staley’s courtroom.

DAKER DECISION

* WHAT: Waseem Daker’s hearing for new trial

* WHEN: Oct. 7 to 8 at 9:30 a.m.

* WHERE: Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley’s courtroom

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