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Freddie Gray case: Prosecutors turn over additional evidence during trial of Officer Caesar Goodson

Freddie Gray case: New evidence suggests medical examiner once intended to rule death an accident

Evidence disclosed for the first time Wednesday in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the van driver charged with second-degree murder in the death of Freddie Gray, suggests that the doctor performing Gray's autopsy at one point intended to rule his death an accident.

Assistant medical examiner Dr. Carol Allan ultimately ruled the death a homicide. She has stood by that ruling during Goodson's trial, testifying that she never felt Gray's death was an accident.

"The word 'accident' never crossed my lips to anyone, other than to say, 'This is not an accident,'" she said on the stand last week.

But the new evidence shows that, at a meeting last year, a police investigator noted that Allan suggested at one point that Gray's death was an accident.

Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams ruled Wednesday that the new evidence could be introduced at trial, despite being inadmissible on its face. He's allowing it in an effort by the court to "fashion a remedy" for the fact that the prosecution -- and the police, as an extension of the state -- had not turned over some evidence during discovery.

Allan's ruling that Gray's death was a homicide has served as part of the basis for the prosecution's charges against Goodson and five other Baltimore police officers in the case.

Gray, 25, suffered a fatal injury while being transported in the back of a police van on April 12, 2015, and died a week later.

Williams last week ordered prosecutors to go back to their case files and search for any evidence they had not yet disclosed to the defense. That followed Williams' finding that prosecutors had violated discovery rules by not disclosing information about another witness in the case.

Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow said prosecutors went back to their files, and also asked police to check their records again for any evidence that they had not turned over to prosecutors. Schatzow said police produced the notes of Det. Dawnyell Taylor about a meeting with Allan.

Taylor was a member of the police department's Force Investigation Team that investigated Gray's death.

The prosecution turned over other evidence for the first time over the weekend in response to the judge's order. They disclosed an interview with Kevin Moore, who took cellphone video of Gray's arrest, telling officers that he'd never been seat-belted in the back of a police van, but that there are other ways to brace yourself.

They disclosed an enhanced audio tape from Gray's arrest that prosecutors had created to see if they could hear Gray talking. Schatzow said the tape gave the state "no more clarity" than the un-enhanced tape that had already been turned over to the defense.

They turned over conflicting statements from police officers that they had interviewed Donta Allen, the other arrestee placed in the back of the van with Gray, and a two-page proffer agreement that prosecutors had taken to a meeting with Allen last year.

An undisclosed meeting prosecutors had with Allen last year was the original cause for the defense to complain last week about evidence not being disclosed.

Besides allowing Taylor's notes to be entered as evidence, Williams did not discuss any other penalties for the prosecution's late disclosures.

Following the discussion of the new disclosures, the trial resumed -- with the prosecution calling Angelique Herbert, the paramedic who responded to Gray after police called for a medic at the Western District police station.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

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