Opening arguments to begin today in E. Cobb murder trial
by Kim Isaza
September 12, 2012 01:12 AM | 5383 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A jury of seven women and seven men, including two alternates, was seated Tuesday afternoon to hear the murder trial of Waseem Daker, who is charged with strangling an east Cobb woman in 1995.

Opening arguments are set to begin at 9 a.m. today. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Daker is charged with malice murder, four counts of felony murder, burglary, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and other charges. He could face life in prison if convicted of murder.

According to Daker’s indictment, he was not “positively identified as having committed the crimes until DNA results were obtained in December of 2009.”

Daker, 34, made yet another bid Tuesday to represent himself, a day after Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley rejected an earlier bid to fire his court-appointed attorneys and get new counsel. Daker has spent much of the two and a half years since his arrest representing himself after firing multiple attorneys and filing more than 100 motions.

After hearing from Daker on Tuesday afternoon that he understood the seriousness of the charges and the risk of representing himself, Staley seemed to be leaning toward granting his request.

“Wait, I thought you told Judge Howe that Mr. Treadaway was going to represent you through the trial and that’s why you got the continuance,” Staley said, referring to a hearing held in February with a visiting judge presiding.

Daker said he made that agreement before the disagreements arose with his attorneys, the father-son team of Michael and Jason Treadaway.

Responded Staley: “That agreement was binding and they’re staying on the case. You’re not representing yourself.”

Daker was charged two years ago in the 1995 strangulation death of Karmen Smith, 30, in her basement apartment of a home in the Hunter’s Trace subdivision, which is off of Johnson Ferry Road just west of the intersection with Roswell Road. Smith was a flight attendant with Delta Air Lines.

Daker is also charged with aggravated battery on Smith’s son, Nickolas, who was stabbed 16 times on Oct. 23, 1995. Nickolas Smith was 5 years old and in kindergarten at Timber Ridge Elementary at the time, but he survived his injuries and is expected to testify in the trial.

About a year after the murder, Daker was convicted of stalking Smith’s upstairs housemate, Lottie Blatz, and spent 10 years in prison on those charges before he was released in 2006. Blatz is also expected to testify at Daker’s murder trial.

Rick Ludolph, who lives next door to the house where the crimes occurred and has lived there since 1993, recalled that police checked a culvert in his yard for any evidence after the murder.

“Karmen was a very outgoing, friendly person, and the little boy was always playing outside,” he said. “Such a nice person for that to happen to, and for the child, that’s just crazy.”
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