Daker is seeking a new trial and the hearing Monday before Superior Court Judge Mary Staley will continue today with Loretta Spencer Blatz, one of 15 witnesses and experts called for questioning.
Daker was convicted last October 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 23, survived multiple stab wounds.
Daker was sentenced to life in prison plus 47 ½ years and remains in the Jackson State Prison.
In his motion for a new trial, Daker originally wanted 86 people to testify, but Staley narrowed that list down to 15.
Blatz, who last spring filed four separate affidavits recanting her testimony during Daker’s trial, admitted that she lied about Daker’s role in the case and the nature of her relationship with him back in 1995.
Blatz said Daker never threatened her and her daughter. Contrary to her testimony at last year’s trial, she said she invited him to visit her at her then-Roswell home in 1995 and the two had sex. She now says he never told her he was homosexual, he never threatened her with a knife or gun and he never assaulted her with a gun.
Daker asks former lover about the lies
Daker asked Blatz during the more than two-hour round of questioning why she lied at the trial and “demonized” him for 17 years.
“I was terrified of you, I wanted you to pay,” she said while beginning to tear up on the stand.
“I did lie and say things that were not true because it was a horrific thing that happened (to Karmen Smith and Nick Smith) and I thought you did it.”
She said she “wrongfully accused” Daker and that after his conviction she decided to come forward with the truth.
When questioned by Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans, who originally prosecuted the case last fall, Blatz continued to voice regret for her lies.
“I have nothing to hide, Mr. Evans. I just want to do what is right and true, despite knowing that I’m going to go to jail for this,” she said in a raised voice.
“I am so sorry and remorseful for what I’ve done, not only to Waseem but to his family,” she continued.
“I wanted a conviction. I did, and said anything to get him behind bars. I did lie.”
In one of her affidavits, Blatz also stated that Daker’s hair follicle was found on the blankets Karmen Smith was wrapped up in after her murder because he had used the blanket a few days before while at Blatz’s apartment.
Blatz said she had given the blankets to Karmen Smith days before her death.
Among other things brought up during the hearing, Blatz said she has written Daker almost daily since he was imprisoned, including her signing and having affidavits notarized pertaining to her false testimony so that Daker could fill them out in prison.
She said she asked him to do this because her grammar was bad and she didn’t want mistakes in the court paperwork.
Several of the letters she has sent to Daker were read aloud, displaying her new-found dedication to Daker’s freedom.
“I will not abandon you, Waseem. You are not alone,” one letter states.
Blatz also admitted to paying for a court reporter to assist Daker while he serves his prison sentence and prepares for the new trial hearings, calling attorneys on his behalf for legal assistance and even trying to take out a mortgage to assist him in this case.
Hearing resumes this morning
Others called to the stand on Monday included Daker’s brother, Wesam Daker, Liquita Kenney with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, Cobb County Medical Examiner Dr. Brian Frist, DNA expert and geneticist Dr. Greg Hampikian with the Idaho Innocence Project, Cobb County District Attorney Investigator Nick O’Conor and Nick Smith.
Wesam Daker talked about search warrants served on his brother’s property following his arrest on the murder charges in 2010.
Kenney testified about Nick Smith’s misdemeanor arrests in January 2010 in Athens. Frist was questioned about his temporary probation in 1987 related to an autopsy.
Hampikian was questioned about his expertise in DNA and what his role is now with the case, advocating for Daker’s justice; and O’Conor was asked how he assisted in questioning witnesses and collected evidence for the October 2012 case.
Those left on Daker’s subpoenaed list who may be questioned on Tuesday include Ashley Burch, Allison Leigh, June Ragle and Terri Morgan, who each reportedly have information about juror misconduct during the 2012 murder trial; Cobb Police Detective John Dawes, who originally investigated the murder and knife assault; Cobb Sheriff’s Office Lt. Pete Gibson, who served as the security director over courthouse deputies during the trial; and Blatz’s daughter, Christina Valenti, who was 10 at the time of the 1995 incident.
Staley on Tuesday told Daker that he will be required to give his closing statements no later than 11 a.m. Court is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. this morning.