Key witness recants testimony in Cobb murder trial

The Cobb County woman whose roommate was killed by her alleged stalker has recanted her testimony, according to two recently filed affidavits.

Loretta Spencer Blatz now says Waseem Daker — convicted last September in the 1995 stabbing death of Delta flight attendant Karmen Smith and sentenced to life plus 47-1/2 years in prison — never assaulted her or threatened her with a firearm, as she previously claimed. Blatz said she was suffering from depression and was under the influence of painkillers and “other substances” when she testified against Daker.

Prosecutors said Daker killed Smith and repeatedly stabbed her 5-year-old son because she interfered with his attempts to harass Blatz, who lived upstairs from the victim. He had already served 10 years in prison for stalking Blatz before he was convicted in Smith’s slaying.

Daker has reportedly asked for a new trial.

Despite the new revelations, Cobb Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans said he believes the conviction will stand.

“To the contrary, we stand by the defendant’s conviction and the overwhelming evidence of his guilt,” said Evans, who prosecuted the case. “This case was not about Ms. Spencer (Blatz). She was but the backdrop to explain why the defendant would perpetrate the murder of Karmen Smith and the brutal assault on Nick Smith, persons who would otherwise be strangers to him.”

Evans said he talked to jurors and they’ve assured him their verdict “was not based solely on the veracity” of Blatz’s testimony.

But Blatz’s affidavit challenges a key piece of evidence used by the prosecution to link Daker to Smith’s murder: a blanket discovered at the crime scene containing the accused killer’s hairs. Blatz now says he had slept under that blanket when the two spent the night together before she moved in with Smith.

According to Evans, Blatz — who refuses to meet with prosecutors — has been communicating with Daker in prison.

“Of note, Ms. Spencer (Blatz) has admitted that she has become unstable since the trial,” Evans said. “We have encouraged her to seek professional psychiatric help and offered to assist her, as we would with any crime victim. Ms. Spencer (Blatz) has also admitted to us that she has been having suicidal thoughts and that she is not taking medications recommended by her mental health counselor.”

Blatz came face-to-face with Daker, who served as his own counsel, last September when she was called as a state witness.

During his cross-examination, Daker asked Blatz why she didn’t tell police that he had run her car off the road or threatened to slit her then-10-year-old daughter’s throat, as she had alleged.

“Many things may not be on this report, ” Blatz testified. “My intention was to get it (the stalking) to stop. At the time I didn’t know it would lead to what it … what it led to.”

Daker allegedly grew obsessed with Blatz after they had met playing paintball in 1994. Blatz said at first she saw herself as a “bigger sister” and tried to help the troubled youth, but said she became frightened when he began calling her, following her and coming to her home unannounced.

During the trial, prosecutors played several recorded phone calls in which Blatz could be heard begging him to stop calling her.

Daker, of Lawrenceville, told jurors in his opening statement that the two were involved in an on-again, off-again romantic relationship.

“I did not kill Karmen Smith. I did not stab Nick Smith, ” Daker told Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley before his sentencing last September. “I hope that one day the truth comes out, because this is not it.”

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