The Carroll County district attorney had harsh words Monday afternoon for the judge who reprimanded prosecutors for a video shown during closing arguments.
“I do not lightly say that I strongly believe Judge Simpson’s remarks rebuking the State this morning regarding the video the State played to the jury during closing arguments were plainly wrong,” DA Herb Cranford said in an email. “I state emphatically that the DA’s Office did not doctor or alter this video or any other evidence.”
At issue was dashcam video shown during the trial for Anthony “A.J.” Scott, who was allegedly driving 90 mph in a 55-mph zone moments before a September 2015 crash that killed two Paulding County teenagers, backseat passengers in a Nissan Sentra. But when jurors saw the video during closing statements, images of a speed-limit sign and crossing sign had been imposed in one corner. Defense attorneys argued that jurors should have been told that, and Judge John Simpson agreed.
WATCH: Live coverage of the trial
“The altered video was misleading,” Simpson told the court Monday.
Prosecutors argued that the photos were added as a reference for jurors and that the video was not altered.
“The speed limit shown on top of the dashcam video had been admitted into evidence during the trial and a chart of the defendant’s vehicle’s speed had been admitted into evidence during the trial,” Cranford said. “It should be noted that the jury had watched the admitted video during the trial, so the jury would know if the video had been altered or doctored.”
Simpson did not grant the defense’s request for a mistrial, but told jurors the video shown during closing statements should not be considered as evidence.
After an afternoon of deliberating, the jury failed to reach a verdict, and the court recessed around 6:40 p.m. Jurors will return Tuesday morning to continue their work.
Scott was indicted on two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, violating oath of office and one count each of speeding and reckless driving.
Kylie Lindsey, 17, and Isabella Chinchilla, 16, seated in the backseat of the Nissan, died from their injuries. Both were students at South Paulding High School. Two others — Dillon Lewis Wall, then 18, and Benjamin Alan Finken, then 17, both of Douglasville — were critically injured and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Both Wall and Finken survived.
Scott, who had not activated emergency lights, was fired from the state patrol days after the crash. During his testimony on Friday, Scott said he tried to avoid the crash, but said the teens’ car pulled out in front of him.
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