Reversal Of Conviction Sought For Man Killed In Shootout
Posted October 18, 2006
RALEIGH, N.C. — Willie Forrest was killed in a courthouse shootout three months ago, but his lawyers fought Tuesday to clear his name in a previous conviction.
Defense lawyers asked the state Supreme Court to overturn Forrest's 2002 kidnapping conviction, arguing that the victim never testified.
Cynthia Moore was held captive in her Raleigh home in October 2002 when Forrest, her nephew, held a knife to her throat and used her as a human shield in a standoff with Raleigh police. He was later convicted of first-degree kidnapping in the case.
Detective Mary Blaylock of the Raleigh Police Department included Moore's statement in court, but Forrest's attorneys said that statement shouldn't be allowed as evidence.
"Based on what we have in terms of the facts in this case, the evidence presented by Detective Blaylock coming from Cynthia Moore qualifies as testimonial in every respect," defense attorney Irving Joyner said.
"The bulk of the evidence presented at trial in this case was by police officers who were eyewitnesses to the crime as it was taking place," said Kevin Anderson of the state Attorney General's Office.
Arguments from both sides focused on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on what qualifies as evidence.
The state also contended the appeal should be dropped because Forrest is dead.
Forrest grabbed an officer's gun and opened fire inside a Northampton County courtroom in July before being killed by deputies.
Defense attorneys argued the case still needs to be decided on its merits, however.